Interlude: Wrong In The Head

I01 — Wrong In The Head

1626, Dark Season

Season, Week, Day

A Flashback Session in Dark Season, 1626, to introduce Maalira.

Dramatis Personae


Berra, Varanis, and Xenofos were sitting around a fire in the Straw Weaver bison camp, when an unfamiliar White Lady made an appearance. Varanis invited her to join them. She introduced herself as Maalira, the White Lady. Berra had put her boots too close to the fire and managed to hard boil one, such that it was unwearable and the others were trying to be helpful. Berra was being shouty. Eventually, the little Humakti wandered off to find trouble, or to ask if anyone knew where any was, and possibly to find herself some better shoes.

While she was away, Erhehta arrived at the fire, and told Xenofos of a vision he had seen, of a chained skull and a bearded man, and Xenofos fighting them and stamping the skull to nothing.1Xenofos passes Devotion Lhankor Mhy, and feels he has to deal with it. The shaman noted that if it came to stamping, Maalira’s spirit weighed as much as ten thousand bison. He seemed to like this notion. They all prepared.2Xenofos wore trousers!

Erhehta took advantage of his geas to wear no clothes by persuading a guide spirit into the clothes he did not wear, and sending it out to be the thing that led the adventurers. Berra immediately looked under its hood, and blinked a bit, and looked marginally less curious. They followed the clothes over the plains of Prax for some hours, overnighting warmly (the clothes paused where they made camp) and the next day, around noon, they saw some animals off in the distance. Xenofos, with his sight magically improved, saw that they were baboons.

After some discussion on whether the clothes should be stopped, with Berra wanting to put them onto her bison, Varanis asked Maalira what she thought. Maalira decided that Erhehta had known there were bison and this was a risk. Berra tried to out-stare the spirit, but in the end just scooped it up and vaulted back onto her bison.

The baboons were a troop trying to deal with a spirit problem in the area, where they said a bad thing was forming. Maalira was able to introduce herself and say that she had warriors. The baboons were slightly unconvinced, but said they could prove this by wrestling, or by a fight to first blood. They were not prepared to take on the spirit-wrangling idiot with the clothes on her lap, so Berra could not volunteer. Instead, Xenofos did. After a lot of arm-locking, and being unable to throw a baboon that had very long arms and a strange centre of balance, Xenofos just pinned the alpha to the ground. The baboon admitted they were warriors, and suggested that the baboons keep up the rear, as they were specialists in spirit problems.

Following the clothing, Varanis, Berra, and Xenofos took point, keeping Maalira behind them. The baboons followed the humans. Berra had spotted movement near the mouth of a cave, in the same direction the clothing was going. As they drew nearer, they were assailed by ghoulish screaming. Xenofos and most of the baboons were instantly afraid, though Xenofos did manage to press on. When the ghoul screamed again, the White Lady was struck by how horrible it was. Varanis and Berra were unmoved and continued to make for the cave. It screamed yet again and the Humakti faltered, leaving Varanis to press the attack. With a swift, sure blow, the Vingan cleaved the ghoul in two, killing it. (They hoped.)

On investigation, the cave turned out to be a tomb and Maalira spotted a stake that must have been driven through the ghoul’s body at one point. Concerned that if it reanimated once, it would do so again, she urged the others to destroy the remains. She was able to persuade the baboons to take on the task of burning the ghoul’s body, although they argued about it a surprising amount.3Fumbled Prepare Corpse.

By the time the fight was over and the baboons were engaged in their preparations, Xenofos realised that the clothing had vanished. It left tracks in the snow that the humans were able to follow and it wasn’t long before they spotted the clothing, lying in a small heap. Varanis and Berra slowly and cautiously raced each other to the clothing, which sprang up suddenly to attack.

Berra tried to stab the clothing with little effect and it swung at her with just as little. Xenofos threw a javelin and seemed to do some damage. As Varanis closed in, Berra managed a wicked slash, chopping off one of the legs. There was an eerie purplish glow that hurt Xenofos’ eyes. Almost immediately after, Varanis grabbed the clothing in a bear hug. There was some confused back and forth fighting for a time. Berra punched the clothing, which meant she also punched Varanis, but did more harm to her fist than to either of the other two. Xenofos tried to grapple it, but it decided to spend its attentions on Berra, its first target. They wrestled mentally, and Berra tore it apart.4She won Spirit Combat, and it fumbled and did enough damage to itself to dissipate.

Maalira told the baboons that there was spirit trouble, and they piled up the bits of ghoul into a fire, and began to dance around it, staying away physically but projecting themselves onto the spirit world. Varanis gave the clothes to Maalira to hold.

Up ahead, around a corner, there was a large yurt. It was disturbing to Xenofos and the native Maalira, because it was a mixture of impala and sable hides, and looked like it had been made that way from the start. Berra wanted magic on her to find out if anyone was an enemy, but instead, Xenofos cast Detect Life, finding out that there was a single living being within. Berra shouted a challenge to come out and fight, but nobody did. There was quite a lot of discussion about whether it was sensible to call a challenge, with Berra saying it was obviously an enemy. In the end, they decided to tap on the uprights of the door with the butt of a spear. They did this, using Xenofos’ javelin, and a voice called out, “Come in, if ready.”

Xenofos pushed in first, to see a well appointed work room, with various skeletons in dismemberment around the room, and a robed man standing behind a solid table. The other two warriors came in a moment later, with Maalira sensibly staying outside. Both Berra and Xenofos noticed that there was a purple tinge to the man’s right hand, but they did nothing aggressive. However, he did. He released his spell. The glow bounced off Berra, who screamed in rage and drew a sword, going for the robed man. Varanis already had her sword out and went around the table on the other side.

Xenofos threw a javelin, impaling the man’s right arm, but it did not seem to faze him much – he simply touched something with his left hand, and vanished. Fortunately the adventurers were not denied enemies, as the skeletons began to reform and stand up. Varanis and Berra each put one down, with Varanis knocking off its head so it was useless.

Outside Maalira noticed that the top of the yurt was in flames, and it was travelling down in a spiral. She shouted for the others to get out, but Xenofos went forward to see what the man had touched, out of duty to his god. The others therefore kept on fighting skeletons. Xenofos destroyed whatever it was5A purple-black light that hurt his eyes. with his sword, chanting against the Thanatari, but in the meantime the fire had come down even over part of the door. Maalira shouted out the first lines of a saga she had heard the foreigners knew, about a house-burning6Passed Sing.. Xenofos mis-recalled it, and thought she was calling for them to burn the place. Berra knew it as a Sartarite story, and said they really had to get out – and kept on fighting skeletons.

With the horrible magic killed, Xenofos went for the door, only to find it would not open. Berra hit it with her sword, but it was too strong. She cast Fireblade, but Varanis cast a rather more useful Strength spell, and managed to rip the door partway open. Everyone called for everyone else to leave, with Berra going out first, backwards, after it seemed that nobody else would. Then Xenofos left, and Varanis piled out.

The area around the yurt glowed green, and several skeletons revealed themselves as they were destroyed in the spirit world by the baboons. The entire yurt burned down, swiftly.7Inside there were spells to do things like destroy the Air, but everyone was safely out.

Parting ways with the baboons, the humans returned to the Straw Weavers’ winter camp. They were greeted by Erhehta’s assistant, who directed them to the shaman’s tent. Almost as soon as she crawled through the entrance, Varanis was overcome by dreamroot smoke and began to see spirits8Fumbled CON*5.. Maalira and Xenofos reported on what had happened. Erhehta seemed pleased, although such things can be difficult to read with a shaman. After a short time, Erhehta noticed that Varanis was staring at the pretty spirits, and then she began talking about them. Eventually, the babbling Vingan irritated him enough that he expelled her from the tent. Varanis didn’t mind, as there were plenty more spirits outside for her to gawk at.

Session Quotes

  • 1
    Xenofos passes Devotion Lhankor Mhy, and feels he has to deal with it.
  • 2
    Xenofos wore trousers!
  • 3
    Fumbled Prepare Corpse.
  • 4
    She won Spirit Combat, and it fumbled and did enough damage to itself to dissipate.
  • 5
    A purple-black light that hurt his eyes.
  • 6
    Passed Sing.
  • 7
    Inside there were spells to do things like destroy the Air, but everyone was safely out.
  • 8
    Fumbled CON*5.