Chick Flick

S01 — Session 38

1602, Fire Season, Movement Week


Fire Season, Movement Week, Freezeday to Waterday


Dramatis Personae

PC

Berra, when not NPCd
Dormal
Finarvi
Irillo
Mellia
Rajar
Serala
Varanis

NPC

Berra Jarang’s Daughter (not Jarangsdottir) when not being a PC
Rondrik, innkeeper at the White Grape
A chicken worthy of Storm Bull

NPC (but in the past)

Almost certainly Eril
Some chickens
An unfortunate child hit by a chicken cart, and his father
An initiate of Chalana Arroy, exhausted by healing

Pre-event Scenes

THIS LOG SHOULD BE CONSIDERED A MILD TO MEDIUM SPOILER


The roof of the Society of Orphans is pitched so it would be hard to stay on for long, although there are plenty of nesting spots nearby. From the old meeting spot the ladder has gone, which is a bit of a hint. Nobody seems to be hanging around on that nice, interesting roof either.

Dormal settles down to watch the society for a bit then.

There is quite a lot of coming and going at dawn, and mousy-guy is replaced by someone stoatily different after about an hour. Then Roka walks in, after stoat-guy has looked around a bit, obviously on some signal, and failed to see you. The place settles down. Either she’s staying in there today, or there’s a back way out you don’t know about. Or else she hasn’t come out yet.

After an hour or two, Dormal does a circuit of the place at rooftop level, look for ways in and out, comings and goings, and so on.

There are a couple of ways in and out, and a couple of roof guards. One is asleep, the other is either really good at hiding, or is shaped like a chair. One front door, one hole cut in the back that would work as a door, and a window that has a ledge that while perfectly innocent would allow anyone going out that way to perfectly innocently get up to that plank wedged between two posts, and so up onto the roofs around here.

Dormal waits for a rooftop messenger to leave, and after they’ve got a little way away, gets their attention and tell them he has informaion for Roka.

That takes about twenty minutes, and the guy nods, asks for a tip, looks hopeful.

Dormal tips him a couple of clacks – the usual sort of fee, plus a little on top. “Tell her I’ll be where we last talked.”

He has to go run his errand, but he promises to be back. When the messenger comes back, there isn’t a rush of people pouring out of the place, and Dormal strolls over to the ladder spot.

The stroll is a pleasant one, and Roka is already there, although this time the ladder’s a knotted rope that she tosses down.

Dormal heads up. “Somebody talked. When I got there there was a whole squad of Thane Vareena’s men waiting.”

“Well, crap. So then what?”

“I got into the Heroquest by sn[e]aking round, they weren’t on top of the rock so I had room.”

She wrinkles her nose thoughtfully.

“But somehow they ended up in the Heroquest with me. Not just the people I trusted, them too.”

That gets a face-palm, although not one that stops her from watching Dormal like a hawk.

“I saw the target come out of the Lhankor Mhy Temple, not the Humakti one. I was in a Lunar patrol in there. I didn’t know where everyone else was yet.”

“Well, yes. The Humakti one is a bit up the way. You can only see it if you stand on the roof. But the Lhankor Mhy temple, huh? Iiinteresting.”

“They started vacillating, I wasn’t the commander and they were going to let the target walk away, so I shouted the alert so he’d have to run and we could follow.”

“Fair enough.”

“Here’s the thing. He was wearing arnour, the good stuff, showy, and he was armed – but he wasn’t lugging a cache of jewels. The only thing he had was a scroll, maybe. Something small and light. So if he stashed the gems, they’re in that temple. I didn’t get to see more because the Thane’s men mobbed him and put him down… I do not know why they did that. It can’t have been my people that talked because I didn’t tell them where we were going.”

Roka purses her lips. “Someone probably shouted to stop him, or something. But… they can’t be there after all this time, can they?” She seems to be thinking things through, and then shakes her head. “He was splashing money around afterwards. Enough to think he had money. Can you get into the temple?”

“Maybe? I do have legitimate questions to ask them about an unrelated matter.”

“You’d be looking for a bag or two. Or something hollow but that would have to be the size of your head. A lot of people joined that Temple just before they died. Tithes, you see? But no expenses.”

“I can have a look around but it’ll be tricky, if they’ve been hidden all this time and not found. Of course if he has a guy on the inside they could have trickled the jewels out.”

“Yeaaaah.” She shakes her head. “That’s not it. Whatever it is… more likely, yes. It’ll be significant, but I don’t know what. But hey, at least you now have people who can finish the Quest, right?”

“If I can stop them putting an axe in my head, they were already working their way up to blaming me for their actions in the quest when I left.”

“Hmmm. Maybe someone who tells them you’re in trouble and need help? What nasty person lied to you? What do you need to happen? A bit cut up around the face, maybe? Or you’re ill because you tried to fight off that disease spirit only people got in the way of the Quest?”

“They’re not the helping type. They’re more into blaming. No, I just need to stall the axe to the face until I can talk them round. Although if you could find out who roped them in…”

“You know them best. If all else fails, sob at Orlanth’s feet and he’ll let you into the tribe and take on all your punishments – but then he gets to punish you, so you might want to think about Orlanth as a resort of someone who’s just taken an axe to the vitals. And I’ll look into my people. It’s the problem with having people. You’d think a charitable concern would be honourable, but there’s always someone listening.”

“How many people knew where I had to be?”

“I thought it was just me,” she says carefully. “And an ally who didn’t have reason to do that. So now I have to think carefully.”

“Falling at this Orlanth’s feet would be a bad move, I already took all her land. Not ceding that upper hand.”

“Like I said. Axe to the face incoming, you want it to be her face, not yours. But anything short of that, yes. Freedom is a religious calling, and who are we to refuse?”

“Indeed.”

Events

As before, the log will be recounted with extracts from Berra JarangsdottiHumaktisaga and The Lay of Serala, Lance of the Cold Sun, the Lays of Finarvi, and The Death of Rajar. As with last time there will be extracts from the Sonnets to Varanis, and also Sonnets in Praise of Xenofos and The Sonnets to Mellia, Sweetest of Healers, White Lady of Esrolia. There will be reference to the Accounts of the Travels of Irillo Goldentongue . Editorial commentary will be recorded [thus]. The {“D”} voice appears.

[Dr Tomm sends his apologies, but the state of wildlife around his house leaves him unable to attend in person, but he can join us on screen. Those of you who are joining us post-exam may wish to know I am Professor Garin. First name, Prof.]

[I will be reciting certain passages of poetry, of varying value to the ear but great interest to the historian of Late Bronze Age Glorantha. You will listen, mark, and inwardly digest. Class discussion and tutor groups will help you with this. You will be required to demonstrate understanding of context as well as content. Marking is by spot essay, sudden exam, and end of year swotting up.]

{“And corruption, we hope.”}

[We left our various heroes and heroic constructs having just failed at the strangest of known Heroquests, and their discussion is not, in most cases, recorded. Still, there is some thinking from Rajar and some action from Finarvi. With Serala they form a good understanding of the Heroquest. And yes, the chicken is a literal one.]

Forward to battle
Taking up any weapon
Last one’s a chicken!
1This play on concepts, if not identical words, has been passed down the ages. People forget that chickens are bred from fighting jungle birds.

Within his mind of water and quicksilver change of speed
Finarvi stood as infantry and left his mighty steed.
It being better as he thought to infantry portray
Than in his pride to freely ride but Heroquest betray.
His orders to his crew of two were subtle as his heart,
All calculated to confuse and keep them in their part,
So although he called to catch a man his orders caused delay
And by the Light within his heart helped Eril find a way.

Upon the horse she took as loot from treachery of Moon,
Rode proud Serala, Cold and Pure, as bright as Yelm at noon.
Within the quest she took the part of highest as was ever right,
And thrust the peronality of Sanra-Eel to endless night,
So when the young Lord passed before her in his panicked flight,
She answered the surrounding Darkness with the challenge of her light.
Her voice rang out to guide him to an alley safe and near,
And bolstered him although he fled, and left him safe from hunting fear.

[Not too difficult to follow, and in general all of the sources seem to agree here. But as a reminded that this strange quest could pull people in, literally from their sleep elsewhere, Mella.]

The sweetest of all women toss’t in slumber
Her love for all immeasurable, no number
Could be given to all those she healed in love
E’en in sad Boldhome, pressed down by the iron glove.

{“Iron? You know what that glove must be worth? I can find you a buyer.”}

[Meanwhile, the reactions of other, more Esrolian adventurers, tells a different story. Varanis sees another vow, and Xenofos a visit to the Temple of Knowledge.]

Then Orlanth stood upon his longhall’s roof in storm
And spoke unto the winds that threatened others harm,
And offered peace to those who fought with honour by his side
And swore their works would be sung loudly were they thus allied.

Within the labrynthine and turning scrolls
Keen Xenofos found mention in the Deathly Household’s rolls
2This is an untimely break in the manuscript.

[And, last – unusual for such a swift runner – Berra This fragment is sometime associated with the almost non-existent DevevalSaga and on this I shall allow you to make up your own mind.]

Deep death disclosing
D’Val throat-sword drew
Feather-favoured favourite
Flew from failure

(( Tommy, again over to you. You’re the Irillo Expert. G. ))

[ “Thank you Professor Garin. Now, I’m sure you’re all wondering what, precisely the Accounts have to do with the rest of the myth cycle. They are the dry, often dull, financial accounts of a minor merchant in late Bronze Age Dragon Pass, whilst our other heroes are just that. Heroes. And their stories are full of the fantastic, and amazing, and indeed the scarcely believable. They are works of literature, with all that means and implies. So, why Irillo? As Tanya… as Professor Garin has indicated, why do I make the Accounts my study, and why involve them here? Because they are dull, and boring, and prosaic. They provide a lynchpin, and sheet anchor, if I may mix metaphors. They show us where the other myths are straying from boring reality. They give us the texture of the Late Bronze Age. As such they are fascinating, especially after 1626, when they stop being primarily financial, and include some of his thoughts. But occasionally he seems to have allowed himself to stray, sometimes in a most interesting fashion. So, in this instance, we see his jottings:”]

Lost learnings leading through time's ledgers
Loyal Lord lacking reward
Eril earned plaudits unspoken in past era
Echoes of Boldhome's Ending.

Balance beyond belief
Bestowed upon Boldhome's best
Sartar saving, speaking nothing
Sword Lord, standing apart.

[“Five hundred words for next week on _why_ this is interesting. In the meantime, in the more prosaic way, he says,

Debit: Suit of armour (greaves, linothorax, vambraces, open helm): Votive sacrifice. To whom?


Around mid afternoon on Freezeday, Berra arrived at the White Grape, rather loudly, drawing most people to the common room. Mellia was absent (at her Temple), as was Nala (at the Earth Temple). Dormal was also conspicuously absent, hiding in his room.

Berra presented a battle report about her interactions with the Iron Lord. Apparently, Nala came to the Temple and spoke with the Iron Lord. He said something along the lines of “To put it right, it should start from the beginning.”

Dormal casually sauntered in through the front door a few minutes after Berra called his name, having left through the window. Rondrik, after looking at the assembled heroes, decided the back alley needed cleaning again and left quietly, whilst Dormal was encouraged to explain things from his perspective. His story was that he had intended to enter a quest to get information and was displaced from his position within the quest. On questioning, he revealed that the quest was to learn about events during the invasion of Boldhome. The Lunars came looking for something, but didn’t find it. Apparently, neither have the Sartarites. Others displayed various degrees of belief or disbelief, with some questioning of the story.

In the meantime, Mellia visited her Temple in order to get some answers. It was a long discussion, as Jaldis talked to her about the difficulties of creating a Temple structure, a wyter, and enough worshippers. She returned to the White Grape through an anti-pick-pocket experience which left her with a clay tablet tucked into her robes, while most of the party was still in the common room. The tablet, when read by Irillo who was wincing over the terrible spelling, indicated that a blood sacrifice on the truth stone would start the quest, and saving Eril was paramount. Berra recalled that the stone had once been white, but in the three days after Boldhome was taken, enough blood flowed out of the Humakti temple to make a path down to the Truth Rune of the Lhankor Mhy temple, where a white rock turned red. Faking a ritual by pouring blood on the ground instead of the stone would probably be the same as pouring it onto the stone, she thought.

A long conversation ensued about whether or not the quest should be attempted again, and if so, how. It was eventually agreed that the best first step would be to attempt to flush out the rat-faced man who enabled Varanis and Finarvi to bring some of the others to where Dormal was attempting the quest in the first place. The fallback would be that they ended up in the Heroquest, so they planned for that as well.

During the afternoon and evening, Rajar acquired a chicken for a pseudo-sacrifice (which was not expected to work, as Dormal said a thinking being’s blood was required). Irillo and Finarvi went armour shopping. Most everyone else chilled out or prepared in their own way, with Dormal and Berra scouting out the area.

In the wee hours, the group made their way to the square in front of the Lhankor Mhy Temple, most out in the open, but with Dormal on a rooftop and Berra lurking out of sight. Rajar attempted a Peaceful Cut sacrifice of the chicken, but it bit him viciously, resulting in a mix of chicken and Rajar blood on the stone as he beat it to death, and our heroes were plunged into the quest.3Imagine the Incredible Hulk bashing Loki back and forth like a ragdoll and you’ll get the idea.

This time, they knew who they were. Serala was once again Sanra-Eel, but this time she was mounted on horseback and patrolling the streets. She headed in the direction of the Temple. At the Temple, Finarvo, the Lunar leader, and his small gang of soldiers was confronting Erillo as he attempted to escape from the Temple with something. Rajar found himself playing a chicken farmer who was smuggling weapons. Most of the Lunars were playing ‘enemy’, people without names or much of a personality.

There was a comedic chase scene, in which Erillo flicked his scabbard at Finarvo as a distraction and took off, pursued by Finarvo and two Lunar soldiers, who were in turn pursued by a chicken farmer with a cart pulled by a very bison-like animal, possibly a mule. A weaselly Lunar sniper followed along the rooftops. Sanra-Eel/Serala rode into the mix, coming between the impressively fast Erillo and his barely competent pursuers. Erillo ducked into an alley, and Serala made a spectacular dismount, giving chase, but alas (hooray!), he escaped. The Yarnafil Tarnils initiate who was very, very fast could not keep up with Eril, although she nearly managed to intersect him.

In the meantime, Mellia was awoken to tend to an injured child. The child was run over by a man in a chicken cart. She healed many broken bones and prepared for more injured as the day dawned on a burning Boldhome.

Everyone except Irillo (and Mellia and Nala who were absent) came back to themselves in or around the square. The sacred stone in front of the Lhankor Mhy Temple was covered in chicken blood and feathers. With some encouragement from folks inside the Temple, Xenofos4Yet another failed Charm Roll from Xenofos. and Varanis did some clean up and return to the White Grape, where most of the rest have regrouped. Irillo was missing. Rondrik hastily made chicken soup, on Rajar’s demand, and so the Holy Meal of a blood sacrifice was eaten.

For his part, Irillo went into hiding, after ditching his beloved heirloom armour so he could not be traced by it, and managing to fix his mind into Eril’s thinking. He dropped out of the Heroquest in an attic with no exit, one of Eril’s many, many bolt-holes years ago. He required rescuing with an axe, almost got arrested, but bought his way out and returned to the inn, without his new armour.

Irillo explained what he recalled, as well as he could; that Eril had a plan to smuggle out the royal treasury, and the relics of the Household of Death. The treasury was potentially used to bankroll the rebellions ever since, meaning Eril might just have saved the Kingdom. He had been cut off from his Regiment, freeing him from the oath of the Household of Death and his geas to die for Sartar. He had been coming out of the temple of Lhankor Mhy after writing himself out of the records there, so he was no longer a person who could be traced.

The chief topic of discussion was what might have happened to the Relics, as they had never resurfaced. Berra was certain they would have been heard of. For some reason, Eril had never reclaimed them. Rajar suggested he had also cut himself off from memories of them. The discussion broke up into smaller talks.


“You were in a Heroquest, playing Lunars.” – GM
“RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWR (guess how Rajar feels)” – Rajar

“I’m sorry Irillo. I didn’t set you on fire, if that helps at all.” – Varanis

“Feeling any better?” – Xenofos”
“Not on fire…” – Irillo

“Dormal central to trouble? Surely not!” – Rajar

“We made a mistake – we gave Dormal more than five seconds to come up with a good story…” – Serala

“It’s going to be like that scene in American Werewolf, isn’t it?” – Irillo

“91…? I was wrestling during that lesson…” – Xenofos

“Xenofos throws bits of broken kindling to fire. Snaps his rapier out and in of sheath. Smiles. A bit pale.” – Xenofos

“It’s raaaaaat face!” – Serala
“Rodent-featured!” – GM

“Rajar looks pleased that the White Lady is here. It’s always good to know you might not accidentally kill all your friends/associates/the poor innkeeper.” – Rajar

“Can we playact the restarting of the quest to draw out our rat?” – Finarvi

“I SNEAK REALLY WELL” – Rajar

“Eril, the chicken…” – GM

“With our luck, sacrificing the chicken will put us in a Dragonnewt quest.” – unknown
“If a thunder lizard appears, something’s gone wrong.” – Berra
“To be fair, that’s the case no matter what.” – Dormal

“I CAN BRING BILLY AND CALAMITY!!!! We will run them down with our fleet footed charge!” – Rajar

“We spot him and then use the famous tactic of my people?” – Rajar

“Xenofos – Dormal said it had to come from a thinking being.” – Varanis
“Rajar counts, even.” – GM

“Fetch me a chicken, I’ll be back for breakfast!” – Rajar

“I have a spare set he could wear. It would fit… more or less.” Rajar, re: loaning Irillo armour.

“Some very unfair people keep describing Irillo as ‘Stout’.” – Irillo
“He is the very figure of a slim and slender trading god. Like me.” – Rajar

“Irillo, take a blood pressure and cholesterol roll.” – GM

“Time for the choke the chicken act.” – Rajar

“PUNY CHICKEN!” – Finarvi

“Would that be a fumble?” – GM
“Yes, yes it would.” – Rajar
“The chicken takes a lump out of your hand. A round bite at the base of your thumb.” – GM
“SMACK SMACK SMACK DEAD FRIKIN CHIKIN!” – Rajar
“Rajar blood and chicken blood fly everywhere… The question of whether animal blood is sufficient becomes moot. You’re in a Heroquest.” – GM

“Head my cart of chickens towards the temple. Check the cart for weapons.” – Rajar
“You appear to be smuggling rather a lot of them, in fact. Under your chickens.” – GM

“I’m going to go into battle on my cart of chickens waving axes!” – Rajar
“Chickens don’t wave axes, Rajar.” – GM

“CHARGE WITH MY CHICKEN CAVALRY” – Rajar

“Making sure my squad continues its slow yet apparently enthusiastic pursuit of Erillo.” – Finarvi
“Should we dress the ranks, optio, with the tribune around and all, this formation is a bit sloppy?” – Xenofos
“Good point, let’s stop and sort ourselves out. There’s a commander ahead and we look like a bunch of children chasing a pig.” – Finarvi
“Hopefully our snipers can follow him.” – Finarvi

“Lost the suspect sir, but our formation was perfect.” – Finarvi???

“It’s not easy chasing someone across the rooftops when they have mobility!” – Dormal
“I can put an arrow through him, no problem.” – Dormal
“But he got tetchy about that.” – Dormal
“Yeah, he will throw an axe at you if you arrow him.” – Finarvi

“Slow down my chicken cart.” – Rajar

“Did someone take my name in vain?” – Mellia

“WE KILLED A CHICKEN!” – Dormal
“With extreme prejudice.” – Rajar
“But it fought valiantly against all odds.” – Xenofos

“Slow motion running. And trying to follow orders.” – Varanis

“CHICKEN OF DARKNESS!” – Irillo

“So Rajarblood counts as sentient…” – Xenofos

“The priests of Lhankor Mhy demand to know what’s going on. Please roll your Esrolian Charm.” – GM

“They’d believe you but you’re foreign, and here you are with a Praxian and a dead chicken…” – GM

“I’ll help Xenofos clean the stone, so we can chat and make sure that our understanding of events is similar.” – Varanis

“I have rather bad feelings of this. Blood is sacred, sentient people’s blood should not be used in sacrifice… ” – Xenofos

“Where are you cooking the chicken, Rajar?” – GM
“As the flame of Sartar isn’t lit, I can’t bake it.” – Rajar

“Was he limping a bit?” – Rajar
“No chicken had attacked him…” – GM

“I dont know nothing, but at least I got chicken.” – Rajar
“Any day we eat meat and live is a good day.” – Berra

“It all rests on Irillo now. We’re doomed.” – unknown

“Did he cut himself from the Kingdom?” – Rajar
“No. Worse. His Regiment.” – Irillo

“There were technical issues with the chicken.” – Rajar to Irillo