Varanis — 1626 0860 Beach
????, Earth Season, Stasis Week
Earth Season, Stasis Week, Godday [[[s02:session-14|Session 14]]]
Berra and Irillo enter the structure through the front door. At the same time, Rajar barrels through the rear door, followed by Varanis and Xenofos. Almost immediately, loud yelling begins, and before Mellia can react, Varanis comes flying out of the building. The Vingan lands on the sand with a hard thump, knocking the air out of her. She stares up at the sky; her gaze lacks focus.
There was the crack, and the pain, and the bending of metal and the sound of wood and Varanis is … floating. In a warm place, where there is pain. She has been stabbed. There is water. Is this where she dies?
I float. Why does dying hurt this much? It was faster when Eril and Berra did it. When Humakt did it.
Because this is not death. This is fear… Warm, darkness. Lunar demons. Jonrika. A laugh cut off as two arms grabbed and one sliced. That fanged smile that filled all Varanis could see. The fear.
I scream, fear and rage combined. “No!”
Mad eyes, and death, and and and… The one with three eyes, rising up again, pulling Hulda up to watch, dragging itself towards Varanis. That one. The central red eye with its vertical black pupil. That. One.
I flail for my sword. Where is it? I need to to drive it home through that staring eye.
Then it blinks, and the paralysis takes her. The coldness of that pupil is a man standing on a hill, a blade driven through her family, the screams of her.. is the… there are screams…1GM says: Roll POW x 3, please? Result: 000 – FUMBLE!
The way this goes is the way this has always gone. The fear drops her in place. She cannot see, but she hears. There are screams, as her command is torn apart. Hulda, Jonrika, Mellia, Xenofos, Berra… All killed. Rajar lasts longest, mighty, and then drops onto her from behind, a huge weight, a thump on her back, and another pain in her stomach like fear and shame.
I sob. My fault. It’s my fault. I failed again. Too weak. Too stupid. I had no business leading anyone here. My fault. It’s always my fault.
The thump behind her has jolted her eyes open. Her eyes are wrong. They are seeing light, not darkness. Nothing red, just the grey blur of daytime. It should be a hospital bed, but Orlanth is above her, her face and hair wet with his power. The smell of Nochet is… is… almost salty. This is not where she should be.
I should be dead. This feels too painfully like life. I try to breathe, desperately trying to pull Orlanth’s breath into my chest.
And Mellia is alive…
Mellia says something nasty as she sees Varanis’ unfocused gaze. Mellia hurries over to Varanis. “Varanis? Can you talk?”
Varanis sucks in air and lets it out with a choked sob. “My f… my fault.”
Mellia holds up two fingers. “How many fingers am I holding up?”
“Mellia?” Varanis gasps. “Vinga! I hurt.” Her hand flies to abdomen and she groans in pain. “Hurts to breathe.” There is a serious dent on the right side of the armour just below her ribs.
Mellia mutters another curse. She reaches into her kit for a sharp, strong knife. If the cuirass’s buckles are too damaged to work, she’ll saw through the straps. One way or another, that armor is coming off.
“Don’t cut.” Varanis says between gasps. “Here. Buckles.” She tries to reach for the buckles on the side of her waist and her eyes widen at the sudden intensity of the pain. Her breath catches on a half-swallowed sob.
The buckles on Varanis’ armour do up from behind. It was designed in such a way that the Vingan would generally need help to deal with the straps. She’s had them lengthened to make it easier to be self-sufficient, but that doesn’t help Mellia just now. In order to unbuckle the sides Varanis will need to roll enough in each direction so that Mellia can access the buckles.2So the buckles are on the sides, but towards the back. The cuirass consists of two pieces, front and back. The buckles are on the back piece. Although the armour is deeply dented on Varanis’ right, the straps there appear to be intact.
Mellia fetches a stick. “Varanis? I’m going to put this between your teeth. Biting it will help with the pain. I need you to roll towards your right shoulder, so I can reach the left buckles. Once those are undone, I can open your armor like a book. I hope.” Mellia tries to undo the top buckles.
Varanis accepts the stick from Mellia. Her eyes are glassy with pain and tears slide down the sides of her face to drop into the sand.
Mellia manages to dig her fingers under Varanis’ shoulders and gets the top buckles undone.
The Vingan breathes in short, laboured pants.
“Good, Varanis. Keep breathing for me. On three, I want you to roll. One… two… three!”
As Varanis rolls onto her right side, she gives a strangled scream and goes limp, the piece of wood falling from her lips. It has deep teeth marks in it already.3Failed a con check. Going with her blacking out.
Pain in the cuirass. It’s broken. And it’s not even a body part. Pain in the arm where she is rolled over onto her side. But blessedly it ends.4GM says: POW x 5 please. 72/60 – fail
There is darkness, and her head hurts. Nothing but a long, long tunnel. She has been here before. There are krarshts about.
I yell defiance into the darkness. Not real. “Vinga!”
The light of a closed palanquin up ahead, its owner wanting privacy, is her answer. Tallowlight, not magical light. The smell of warmth and comfort, if you are poor, of poverty and hard times if you are rich. Only a little light leaks out. Light, and a woman’s soft giggle.
“Lenta?” I try to give chase. “Lenta? Are you there?”
The palanquin gets closer as she runs, but not close enough. Lenta’s voice is clear now, delighted and happy. “Oh Varanis…”
“Lenta! That’s not me! It’s a trick! Lenta!”
“The one true one for me,” purrs a voice that could be her own. Distance blurs. In the palanquin, Lenta hears the poetry written by Rillo to his mistress. “Made real where your love meets mine, as never before was I. Made whole by all that…”
“Rather poor turn of phrase,” says a voice conversationally. “Could do with more blood.” It comes from beside her.
Darkness. Stone tunnel walls. Her friends came with her, but now the tunnel is empty.
“Berra? Xenofos? Serala….” I feel like I will strangle on a sob.
“Gone,” comes the answer, in Garin’s voice. “All gone. But keep looking. I’m a generous man when I get what I want.”
I wheel again, searching for him. “I’ll kill you,” I growls into the darkness.5GM says: And roll on Truth? Result: 19 Varanis will recognise not all of this is ‘real’, then. She’ll know she’s putting together a dream.
There is no light at all now. The palanquin has vanished. The slope of the tunnel is unfriendly. “No, you won’t,” says his voice in disappointment. “You’re too hasty. You’re bait too.”
“Bait?” I wheel yet again, still seeking the source. Why do I hurt?
Why? Oh. Berra missed with a spear. The helmet took it. Her friends… were there, in support.
Mellia. I need to find Mellia. There has to be a way out of this. It’s a nightmare. Not real. No time for dreaming. Wake up, you stupid woman. You don’t have time for this.
A flash of light and sound – and pain – is her only reward. Still, the pain in her side was real. The tunnel dissolves into light. The palanquin opens and Lenta’s drowned corpse steps out, Garin smiling proudly behind her. And… out of place, someone shouts, “D..mm… the …sailo.ss..” The sailors? It’s not from this dream, although Garin echoes it. “Damn the sailors. They can’t catch us,” he tells Lenta. But it was not his voice. Was not. It was someone else. Outside.
This is a dream. I must escape it. I throw myself at the wall, trying to force my way out.
The wall gives way, to the next of krarsht tunnels behind. It was only ever wood and adobe! And now she has so many tunnels to choose from. She could run down them all. “Wait for me,” Lenta says. “Promise you will?”
“Lenta! Where are you? I have to save you….” I try to pursue Lenta’s voice down one of the tunnels.
Lenta is behind her, with Garin. The make-believe tunnel wall in front of her has a trollkin nibbling at one of the struts. Uzdok. He looks at Varanis guiltily.
“Eat it all,” I tell him before launching myself at Garin.
Uzdok opens his mouth wider than anything should be able to, yawning to take in bites larger than Varanis. “My tunnel! You’re no fun,” Garin tsks at Varanis.
Lenta is gone again. She is never there when Varanis looks…
“Where is she?” I demand, fighting despair. He won’t answer. It’s just a dream. But I have to ask.
“Oh, this again?” He looks disappointed. “I should have fallen for someone who can learn. Who can do new things. The poetry told you, you know?”
I yell at him. “You aren’t here. This is just a dream. I will never want you. You are an apple. Polished and gleaming. But there’s a worm at your core.”6POW x 5 again, I think… Failed.
The dream begins to fall apart, although Garin remains to the last. Varanis drifts in peaceful darkness, distantly able to feel something happening to her ribs, cold and blood and bruising all far away.
I try to force myself awake. “Wake up, you useless woman!” Even in the dream the words don’t fully form.
Ears are buzzy. Voice is not working. Peacefulness claims her.
Mellia quickly wedges herself under Varanis and gets to work on the left straps. Once those are undone, she’ll slowly let Varanis back onto her back and try to open up the cuirass.
It takes a combination of lifting up and to the side, but Mellia is able to remove the front section, laying it in the sand beside Varanis. Despite the damage, the straps on the right hold strong, so the two sections remain attached.
Beneath her armour, Varanis wears a lightly padded linen arming tunic. It falls to mid thigh on her and normally pulls over her head.
Mellia pulls the tunic up while trying to move Varanis as little as possible. If need be, Mellia will cut it off.
It takes some effort to slide the tunic up far enough to expose Varanis’ abdomen, but it can be done. As Mellia works, the Vingan’s eyes flutter open again and she whimpers.
“Brave Varanis. Now I can see what is wrong.” There area of impact is red, but the skin isn’t broken. There is no obvious bleeding.
“Melli… going… to be…” Varanis turns green and desperately tries to turn her head away from her cousin.
Mellia, who has seen it all before, gently helps Varanis turn her head to vomit and makes sure her airway stays clear.
Varanis pukes. There’s not a lot to come up, but what does is tinged with blood. In the process, she passes out again.
Mellia summons her magic and heals Varanis as much as she can, as gently as she can.
Perhaps it’s a mercy that her cousin remains unconscious for some time. In the wake of the healing, her skin colours up with vivid bruising across her abdomen. It is darkest where the armour dented.7The heal 6 brings her back from the risk of dying. It fixes the injuries and speeds the healing process, but won’t be enough to heal her completely.
Mellia settles down to wait for the others to return.
Varanis comes to again, before the others emerge. She puts her hand to her side with a quiet murmur of pain. “Mellia?”
“Right here, Varanis. You were very brave.”
“Water? My mouth tastes terrible.” Her eyes widen and she takes a breath. “Oh. Not comfortable, but not so painful. I can breathe again.”
Mellia gets her waterskin and carefully pours some water into Varanis’ mouth.
She swishes it around, then turns her head to spit it out. Some of the water dribbles on her cheek and chin, but she mostly manages. “More?” she asks quietly.
Mellia gives her a bit more water.
Varanis swallows it this time. For a moment, she closes her eyes, then her eyes fly open again. “Lenta! Garin has her here! I have to…” She tries to sit up quickly and pain turns her features grey. She drops back down.
Mellia replies, “You have to lie still.”
“Vinga!” she gasps as her injured body lands on the hard surface of the bronze beneath her. “But, I have to…” She tries to sit up again and her eyes roll back in her head and she collapses.8Varanis fails CON check. By the by, you might remember that V has that magic crystal she’s loaned you before. When she’s in armour, it’s usually around her neck and under her tunic, so it’s against her skin. It’s right there. You can see the cord around her neck. 12 points of magic, just sitting there, not being used…. Mellia’s player says: Mellia will try not to borrow it. GM tries to tempt her more, but she resists.