Boxing Clever

S01 — Session 25

1626, Sea Season

Season, Week, Day

Dramatis Personae

1626, Sea Season, Fertility Week, slightly before Fireday


Varanis daughter of Serzeen, of House Saiciae
Xenofos, of House Saiciae
Tiwr- Played en Troupe


Rajar (GMing)
A collection of horses, mules, and hand wagons, some well behaved and some… not
Assorted wagoners
A bridge (deceased)
Some elves
Assorted villagers
An unknown Lunar spymaster


As before, the log will be recounted with extracts from The Lay of Serala, Lance of the Cold Sun , The Death of Rajar, and NalaTiwrSaga. As with last time there will be extracts from the Sonnets to Varanis, and also The Sonnets to Mellia, Sweetest of Healers, White Lady of Esrolia, additionally, we will be seeing the Sonnets in Praise of Xenofos. Editorial commentary will be recorded [thus]. Both the {“D”} and “T” voice appear in this selection of extracts. Berra JarangsdottiHumaktisaga makes an appearance, but I have ignored the suggested selection.

[Good morning once more. It seems that plague has settled on your house, and so once more I am here. Garin. Professor.

I have distributed the marks, and the marking scheme I used, for last week’s flash test. Students with a good memory will recall I did not think I would be marking this. There has therefore been an acute lack of that mercy for which I am famed. Those of you who attempted to negotiate marks are now sitting at the front. Their eagerness does the entire class credit.

As before, I shall be reciting the poetry in question, and then we will discuss it. You may take notes. You may even refer to previous notes. I am a dull, formulaic person. We therefore begin once more with NalaTiwrSaga]

Within the forest
Aldr’yami are forest
Aloof the tor waits

Seeking does no harm
The path within is my own
The dim greenness theirs

‘All of this greenery and I can’t even eat a bit. You know what this is?’

Upon the hill does destiny await1Note the change of tense here. Five hundred words on why, for next week.
Varanis wild foresaw it was her fait2sic.
And in the place of nature crossed a line
Of trust and gave the Unicorn her wine

‘Because I deserved it!’

{‘Almost, but not quite, worth applause. She got caught.’}

[[Serala now. The Lay of the Lance of the Cold Sun.]]

Upon the hill of earth and plant and fertile seed
Serala turned to see Varanis’ desperate need
Masana Dark, mount who ever was trollish found
Had thrown the proud Varanis to the muddy ground
Within a moment she had caught the errant horse
In chase over hill and field, through tree and gorse!
But on returning to the pleasant hilltop stand
Her hawk eyes caused her bow to come to hand
Varanis sorcelled was by Lunar magic large
Swiftly Serala knew she had to make a charge.

[I dislike Cold Lance as an evidence base, but at least we know what we are getting, and it is almost certainly only one poem. On to Berra JarangsdottiHumaktisaga. If anyone would like to identify the first and last lines of this grouping, and whether you think they are original, feel free to impress me.]

Dagger dashed dire
Winding3Nowadays, pronunciation diverges, but this would potentially have both meanings. warrior woman
Wrestling wrath, wringing
Fight from flailing
Ferocious fury falling
Strong hands seeking submission

[Anyone? No? Well, never mind.]

{‘I’ll just take this. You don’t need it. Shame to get it trampled.’}

[Of course, there is always a disinterested observer, or at least, someone who writes himself up as disinterested. Xenofos.]

Brave Xenofos with javelin in his hand
Surveyed the unkempt and Barbarian band
Prepared to kill to save those of his Clan
Lest Saiciae be slaughtered to a man4Presumably a deliberate play on words, as he was the only man of Saiciae.,5The only noble man.,6Unless you count the merchant sometimes known as Irillo, recently buried..
But peace with ink flowed underneath his skin
As harmony stood he, beside his kin
And in a voice of calm and pure serene
He caused the barbarians t’ward peace to lean.

[Now we have that part of Mellia that proves to me she does have backbone after all. Sigris, if you are going to laugh, perhaps you would enjoy reciting instead? No? Very well.]

She spoke with Varanis in accents mild
The same to Urox as a wayward child
No blood she drew and yet Varanis quail’d
When told by Mellia that she had failed.
Wept she full sore, the Vingan in her woe
And promis’d she’d no more in error go.

[And there is the fire alarm. We shall continue this discussion outside. Leave your coats. You don’t have time to get them.]7And the last word from The Spurious Rajar as The Death of Rajar is oddly silent. Remember, never conflate these two in exam conditions.

When a bison rocks
And then goes for a quick roll
It’s all gone downhill

Archaeology student who thought this course was going to be an easy credit: “Professor Garin, do you think that these events could have happened at Skokkrafell, as Dr MacNessa has proposed? Or is it possible that someone named the hill later to fit with the stories? Kind of like matching stories to an existing landscape?” The student sounds very enthralled with his own ideas.

[Of course it’s possible. However, to look into it, you will need to consider that you are wrong as well as being right. I’ll have a set of briefing notes from you please, for debate on ‘This House Believes that Skokkrafell is not a Modern Name’. Everyone else, note I asked for class discussion, not questions to me.]

Redhead with complicated life: “It seems like, from the Sonnets to Varanis, anyway, that people were mad about a unicorn drinking? Is that a metaphor or something? Even if the unicorn is real, as some people believe, why does it matter if it drank some wine?”

[Well, class?]

Chubby guy with too many rings: “Contextually it’s read as a sin, no matter the reality of the unicorn. It’s constructed as such, so start with believing that it’s bad and then ask why that might have been.”
Thin guy, also over-ringed, slightly snarkily: “Well, why might that be, then?”
Chubby guy: “It’s my background understanding that the Unicorn was representative of purity, so passing it something that addled its nerves might very well be a problem. A thing can be a metaphor as well as being real.”

A rather senior looking management type academic in a pinstripe suit, looking up from a notepad, and adjusting his half moon glasses a little on his nose. “I noticed that the normally ‘fool’ archetype Xenofos is used as the example of sweet voiced harmony here- one naturally recalls Nestor in the Iliad. ‘ἦ μὰν αὖτ’ ἀγορῇ νικᾷς γέρον υἷας Ἀχαιῶν. αἲ γὰρ Ζεῦ τε πάτερ καὶ Ἀθηναίη καὶ Ἄπολλον. τοιοῦτοι δέκα μοι συμφράδμονες εἶεν Ἀχαιῶν. τώ κε τάχ’ ἠμύσειε πόλις Πριάμοιο ἄνακτος, χερσὶν ὑφ’ ἡμετέρῃσιν ἁλοῦσά τε περθομένη τε8 ‘Once again, old sir, you surpass the sons of the Achaians
in debate. O father Zeus, Athene, Apollo:
would that among the Achaians I had ten such counsellors.
Then perhaps the city of lord Priam would be bent
underneath our hands, captured and sacked.

Iliad, Book 2, 370-4
. My reading of the works in question suggests it is Irillo who normally fulfils this rôle. So my thought for discussion is this. In these extracts, why the change?”

Anonymous voice from the back: “Different professor.”
General laughter.

[Amusing, yet apposite. Or at least, not far off. We have time to cover the most representative parts of each saga, and Xenofos – who may or may not have written his own saga – is portrayed within his sonnets as a multi-layered warrior poet. But if we had ten such, we would drown in words. Nestor never stops talking. Now, is there really a change, or do we just perceive one in what has come down to us?]

(Due to GM illness, GM’d by Rajar, with thanks) We all flashed back to a minor episode along the road.

The party were just past the Greyrock turning near Wilmskirk when they noticed a disturbance up ahead.
Serala and Nala (and her various companions) scouted ahead to find the bridge ahead washed out over a deep chasm. The river raged in full spate below and nobody fancied trying to tightrope walk the Bison across the impressive gap.

Local wagoners reported that there were two possible routes around the impasse

Firstly taking the old road down into the valley through Colymar lands which would add another three days to the journey using the ford (this was the road used before the vile lunars built their now departed bridge). Or as the party had horses and mules and a small donkey cart (and a rather unsteady Bison) they might manage the path up the mountain and cross the river higher up, which is what all the locals were doing.

The group decided on the latter course and sent the two best riders, Nala and Serala, off to scout as they started up the path.

Our valiant riders noticed that the path seemed almost organic, with rock steps handily grown. Nala worked out that there were Aldryami present from the tracks. Everyone determined to be very respectful to the forest.

Irrilo cast Pathwatch and determined that there were traps off to the sides but no enemies nearby. The group however felt watched.

Eventually our heroes emerged through the tree line to find their mountain topped with a graven polished monolith. Carved into it were plant runes and the image of a tree. At the base was a small stone table and on that a carved wooden box.

The group decided to leave all this in serene peace and not risk the anger of the little green giant people. ok. Elves.

Well most of them did.


Well Varanis…decided the Box was her manifest destiny and it must be HERS.
Many threats were made and Varanis appeared cowed. Nala kept Tiwr between Varanis and the box, and the group, including Varanis, began to traipse out of the area, along the trail.
Meanwhile the others spotted a suspicious group emerging from the woods.
Elderly villagers, clad in grey robes and bearing torches and suspicious bundles (otherwise why would the group be suspicious?)
Varanis spotted a hornet on her horse and swatted it. Her horse reared and deposited her in the mud. Her horse bolted and Serala sped off in pursuit.

Irillio confronted the villager group with his normal golden liquidity of tongue and charmed them. It appeared they were here to honour the annual appeasement of the local elves with gifts of food and cider and other natural gifts. Berra managed to overhear muttered conversation at the back which indicated that while the villagers were not all entirely in agreement with their leader, the only problem they had was incompetence. She reported this to Irillo while Dormal talked about theoretically cleansing the altar of a rival gift.
Using this break in attention Varanis slipped the unicorn an amphora of wine and made a break for the box.

Much alarm descended. Serala got back and charged into Varanis with her horse, but failed to knock her down. Berra ran towards the struggle. Xenofos pulled a javelin and prepared to defend his clan member. Serala jumped from her horse and failed to hit Varanis, instead sliding into the altar. Varanis failed to dodge Berra’s incoming rush, fell over, and ended up pinned and immobile. Dormal retrieved the box and its fallen contents, some papyruswork in New Pelorian, and some money. The villagers (and a small party of elves) looked on aghast. Mellia and Nala could communicate with the elves. Nala was mostly busy being upset with Tiwr, but Mellia apologised for her idiot cousin. The elves said that the box did not belong to them.

Eventually peace once more reigned. Irillo persuaded the villagers that a feast would be in order, and everyone got invited. He bargained badly on purpose, to make sure the visitors did not inconvenience the village too much and then got taken to the cleaners by a mean old lady trader.

Later Xenofos Rune-translated the text which appeared to be the contents of a local lunar spy cell… the local clan agreed to round up the miscreants. Serla and Nala sped ahead of the party to Boldholme to find although their message had arrived the Great and the Good were still arguing on what to do about it. The others caught up a day later, to be told much the same thing.

“If you tilt the camera a bit, GM, you can show them everything.” – Serala
*cries of horror and denial* – everyone else.

“Very echo very echo” – Nala
“Fiddlesticks fiddlesticks” – GM

“All the footprints go one way… Into that cave.” – Berra

“I can’t really talk. Just eavesdropping and living vicariously for a bit.” – Varanis, lying

“I think we can continue, but be really, really respectful.” – Nala
“Well, personally, I respectfully don my armour that is usually on the back of the other horse.” – Xenofos

“What’s in the box?” – Varanis
“NO” – Nala
“NOOOOOO!” – Berra
“But….” – Varanis

“Varanis, more to the point, do you want to be put on a lead and taken away from here?” – Serala

“Welllll. Altar, stone table, picnic bench…” – GM

“08/30” – Xenofos
“99….” – Varanis
“01/40” – Irillo
“Oops.” – Varanis

“So, you’re hitting a hornet… ON your horse?” – Irillo

“A hornet is not on top of my list of things to worry about.” – Dormal
“It’ll be the top of your list in a moment, Dormal.” – Berra

“Who has been in the mules?” – Nala
“I’m sorry.. in the mules?!?!?!” – Serala
“Irillo, probably.” – Berra

“Berra’s just doing her trying-to-be-not-threatening thing.” – Berra
“Can you do it faster and better?” – Nala
“Not really.” – Berra

“There’s plot?” – Nala
“Possibly – the Regular GM’s not been involved, so we can have more hope than normal of plot.” – Serala

“And Berra is not killing anyone.” – Berra
“Which is a REALLY good hint people are peaceful.” – Berra

“Ever since the great… arrowing.” – Villager
“The great arrowing. Is that what it sounds like?” – Irillo
“Yes. It was very pointy.” – Villager

“Nice trees.” – Xenofos fails scan roll

“Not helping.” – Irillo
“Did I say I was helping?” – Berra

“-50%, not skill/2” – Berra
“HELPING!” – Berra
“Thanks Berra.” – Varanis

“Punch Serala’s horse. And take box.” – Varanis


“Serala is jumping off her horse and onto Varanis. I told you there would be mud wrestling!” – Serala

“We all think your box is very pretty, Varanis, but you need to think with your head instead” – Irillo
“When did you see her box?” – Berra
“Is that a euphemism for….?” – Nala

“The elves are just staring. Some have bows. Some have dropped their arrows.” – GM

“I’d glare at my cousin, but my ear seems to be stuck to my boot.” – Varanis

“Is that a euphemisn for Humakt’s bounty? Because we found out in the last installment that Humakt has bounty.” – Nala
“Wrong as that is.” – Nala

“Damn it. There’s mud in all of my armour.” – Varanis
“And in between armour and padding.” – Varanis
“And in my hair.” – Varanis

“I need a bath.” – Varanis
“You do.” – Berra

“I’m planning on letting them cheat me at trading.” – Irillo
“… How do you do that?” – Nala
“Bargain very badly.” – Irillo

“Made of meat.” – Elf

“Billy can just roll down the hill and clear the way for us.” – Berra

“GM, Are you eating the tarot cards?” – Nala

“Oh Varanis, I want to talk to you…. ” – Mellia
“Yes, Mellia?” – Varanis
“What on Glorantha got into you?” – Mellia
“I really couldn’t say, cousin.” – Varanis
“That’s unfortunate, because your lack of piety almost got us all killed by expert archers.” – Mellia

“Berra’s hovering not far from Varanis, but far enough to give her the room to talk.” – Berra
“Hovering. Lanasha taught Berra SOMETHING[” – Irillo

“HAR HAR HAR! – Serala
“Nicely and sympathetically done, Serala.” – Nala

Mellia shakes her head. “Never touch an offering on an altar. I hope we never need to have another one of these talks.”

“… Paaaag? This is the first time she has used the horse’s name.” – Nala

“I have yet to be killed on sight.” – Nala

“Ohh – a purge!” – Xenofos

“Split the money between everyone but Varanis. Give the box to Varanis.” – Irillo

“The great are discussing our next way forward.” – Harel
“Oh, they’re arguing amongst themselves.” – Nala

Related Logs

  • 1
    Note the change of tense here. Five hundred words on why, for next week.
  • 2
  • 3
    Nowadays, pronunciation diverges, but this would potentially have both meanings.
  • 4
    Presumably a deliberate play on words, as he was the only man of Saiciae.
  • 5
    The only noble man.
  • 6
    Unless you count the merchant sometimes known as Irillo, recently buried.
  • 7
    And the last word from The Spurious Rajar as The Death of Rajar is oddly silent. Remember, never conflate these two in exam conditions.

    When a bison rocks
    And then goes for a quick roll
    It’s all gone downhill
  • 8
    ‘Once again, old sir, you surpass the sons of the Achaians
    in debate. O father Zeus, Athene, Apollo:
    would that among the Achaians I had ten such counsellors.
    Then perhaps the city of lord Priam would be bent
    underneath our hands, captured and sacked.

    Iliad, Book 2, 370-4