G01 — Session 14
Season, Week, Day
Henderost the Horse-Master
Korina, God-Talker of Orlanth Thunderous
Queen Leika Blackspear
Ghostly King Berenveros
The evening in Apple Lane was spent being feted with cider.
The Grazelanders, including Henderost, left to check on the horses from time to time. Not one for crowds, Serala found an excuse to drag Finarvi and Ivalla away from the party. Henderost went with them and gave them a tour of his beautiful stables and grand house. Henderost’s house was effectively a Guildhall with a sleeping area large enough for guests and trainees.
Jorrim spent the evening improving relations between Sartar and Tarsh, having to institute a queue system for all the Ernaldans who wished to share his cultural understanding, and also finding time for a religious discussion with the Priestess of Uleria. The next morning, some people had sore heads from all the cider but Jorrim was brimming with vigour.
Ivalla had persuaded Korina to guide the party to the mound she believed to belong to King Berenveros. She was willing to guide them there but not accompany them inside. She led them to a hill with a double burial mound (large mound with a smaller mound on the top). Jorrim was persuaded to stop staring and making nipple jokes by the rest of the group.
The side of the smaller mound had disturbed earth, a spoil heap where earth had been dug out of a hole in the side of the mound and a large stone had slid down, revealing a tunnel. It looked to be a few seasons old.
The party thanked Korina and entered the mound. Inside, a desiccated corpse lay on the floor of a smallish room, its attitude suggesting it died crawling to get to the outside. Its garments were Lunar. Bronze grave goods were scattered around, and a blackened silver chalice lay not far from the corpse. Ivalla reached for it, and Jorrim tried to stop her but his desperate grab for her reaching arm missed. Ivalla lifted the heavy chalice and placed it back with the other vessels before pouring an offering of cider into it. Jorrim watched, looking irritated but making no further move to stop her. They added food and drink to the plates and cups there.
They proceeded into the next chamber. The first was round and small; this one was larger, with a stone dais and a large pottery urn. A warlike panoply surrounded it – blackened helmet, a massive shield, two spears, one heavy and one light, and an electric blue cuirass of enamel over some strange metal. As they stepped into the chamber, the air shimmered and the figure of a mighty warrior faded into life. He wore a silver helmet with a horsehair plume, the blue cuirass and held the bigger of the two spears in his hand with the other sheathed over his shoulder.
The spirit bellowed, “You dare disturb my rest!”
Jorrim leaped to the fore. “King Berenveros! We have a dragon problem!”
Jorrim went on to praise the legend of King Berenveros and explain why it had drawn them there. The ghostly king was mollified by the grave gifts and that his legend was remembered.
The King agreed to lend his aid in the form of a loan of his panoply, but in return he wanted regular worship from peasants (sing his songs, refresh his grave goods). Jorrim negotiated 10 years of worship, and Arim pointed out that the people could not sing his songs if they didn’t know them. At Jorrim’s request, the King related the song of his final battle and death.
The Loan of weapons and armour was conditional on never compromising on fighting dragons.
Silver helm (6pts armour plus Demoralise spell matrix.)
Iron cuirass (blue enamel)
Shield (Impervious to Dragons)
Spear, Chestbreaker, (double normal armour points, pierces dragon armour)
Javelin, Andrinor (If it misses, it keeps attacking until it hits)
Arim took off his vambraces, put them in his helm, and handed them to Jorrim. He tried the silver helm on for size. He shrugged off his linothorax and tried on the iron cuirass too, but it was too massive on him (SIZ 15 Arim and armour is SIZ18). Regretfully, he left the cuirass.
Serala took the heavy spear, Jorrim picked up the javelin and looked surprised. The party left with Berenveros’ blessing. Ivalla and Finarvi between them wrestled the giant shield out of the barrow.
The group returned to Apple Lane for the night and debated what to do next, with Finarvi opining that Red-Eye the Boar might be easier to deal with if they had magic spears and javelins that never missed. They decided instead to return to Clearwine, as the magic of one of the spears was linked to dragons, and they were not fully prepared for the boar. Next day they paused at Blackspear and asked if there had been any further sightings of the Dragon, and were told it was still somewhere in the Thunder Hills behind Blackspear and Tarnasil’s grove. Arim polished up his helm and Finarvi crafted a new crest for it from the hair of their horses.
In Clearwine, Leika considered the virtues of appointing a new thane to Apple Lane, and Jorrim immediately pointed out how tragic it was that everyone else was on the move all the time and it would be terrible if that were offered because they’d be so terrible at it. She noted that at any rate, it should wait until the dragon is slain, as having to appoint two thanes in close succession would not look good. Jorrim worked hard to persuade her Law-Rememberer that none of them wanted to be Thanes, and that an economic reward such as a monopoly option on the trade route would be much preferred.
Riding out they encountered a group of Dragon-newts on the road ahead, some riding giant birds. One approached the party, laid down its wood and stone sword and addressed them, asking them to liberate the dream from its prison by cutting off its head with a special tool, the stone sword. They then needed to bring the tool and the dream’s head to the nearest Dragon-newt plinth and place them on the plinth. If the humans were to do this, they would get a boon.
Jorrim had all sorts of fun with the concepts of the dragonnewt’s attempts at Heortling. He asked if it could guide them to where the dream was trapped. The speaker conferred with its leader and said the wandering dream lay curled around the legend of a queen, at the ruin of an ancient tower near a standing tower. The legend of summer. Ivalla said she knew of a landmark tower in the area, and talking with the Dragon-newt Speaker, learned that the new tower stands but the tower of the queen did not stand in this time, but it was still there, buried. So the dragon was underground, in its foundations. The place Ivalla knew of was Aelbard’s Tower, the ruins of a fortress.
It just so happened that Ivalla also knew of a burial mound near that tower called the Queen’s Tomb. She led them to it. It was a lot larger than the tomb of King Berenveros, carved into the solid rock of the mountaintop. Even Arim looked impressed. The remnants of a road led to an entrance to the West. Above the entrance a terrace held 10 huge seated statues, weathered and headless (the heads lay on the ground, broken and defaced, each a metre tall.) Beyond the entrance, a tunnel led down deep stairs.
Ivalla carried the Dragon-newt’s Klanth. Finarvi had the bag of wind that Leika’s Law-Rememberer had offered them. The chamber was empty except for paintings of runes and spirits on the walls. A staircase led down into the next chamber, which was roughly symmetrical with doors to left, right and ahead. Dozens of niches lined the walls, once held decorated urns. Some broken, cups with food or plates. There was a feeling of unquiet spirits, to Arim.
Jorrim peered in through the first door on the left. Serala made sure she was keeping him safe, and peered through closer, as the scribe was in a gleeful trance of note-taking and might have done himself an injury. The room beyond had more niches and urns with funerary offerings, and they could hear the whispers of a language even Jorrim did not understand. Another door in the same wall led back into the next room. The next room showed deeds of Orlanth and Vingkot in well-painted religious paintings and history of the people of the area (Vingkotlings). Another exit led back to the previous room. Jorrim studied the paintings, fascinated, and had to be dragged away by people less fascinated.
The rooms led to one central, circular room with one other exit leading deeper into the hill. Dominating this room was a large circular pit 2 metres across carved in the centre. At its edge stood a small statue of a woman with a crown of 5 serpents, riding atop a draconic serpent, in a niche.
The bottom of the pit was littered with thousands of offerings of ceramic snakes. There was also the glint of gold and bronze down there. After discussion, the group decided it could be a hero or goddess from the Empire of the Wyrm Friends and that it would probably be a good idea to leave it alone.
They examined the last doorway. Beyond was the largest chamber yet. Its walls were also painted, like the mural room. In centre stood a large stone cube with a statue of a goddess wearing lapis lazuli and copper. But, this was the second thing they noticed about the chamber because curled around the base was a dragon, long and serpentine, and as they peered in, the dragon opened its eye.
Then the air shimmered, the dragon vanished and a beautiful goddess appeared, proclaiming herself to be a past and future goddess. Jorrim cast True Speak upon her…
“Cats are better.” – Everyone
“I kiss her hand” – Jorrim, saying farewell to the Godspeaker Korina
“HAND! Hand, Jorrim!” – Arim
“That’s not a hand I’m kissing” – Jorrim, regarding a desiccated Lunar corpse.
“I chop off its head.” – Arim.
“The archaeologist objects!” – Ivalla.
“The shield is huge. It would take two people just to lift it in battle.” – GM
“So it’s a wall. A portable wall.” – Jorrim
“Dragons, you say?” – King Berenveros.
“Well, one dragon, anyway.” – Arim
“Any tips on fighting dragons?” – Finarvi
“Don’t get eaten alive.” – King Berenveros.
“Finarvi pays attention. I often find it’s worth listening to Finarvi.” – Serala.
“Somebody say something so I can ’translate’.” – Jorrim
“Hey, Queenie!” Serala
“I’ll do my best but you might want to give me better material.” – Jorrim.
“These are simple folks. The common clay of the New West.”
“You know. Morons.” – Arim.
Approaching the dragon’s lair: “We do still have the Bag of Wind, don’t we?” – Finarvi
“Yes, Jorrim is still with us.” – Serala
“Can we toboggan down the stairs on the shield?” – Jorrim
“Ghosts walk this place.” – Arim.
“Not float?” – Jorrim.
“With all these little urns, is there a large Ernie around?” – Arim
“There’s a goddamned dragon.” – GM
“Is it the same one we saw before?” – Finarvi