Crying Wolf

S01 — Session 35

1626


Season, Week, Day


Dramatis Personae

PC

Varanis
Berra
Dormal
Nala
Rajar
Finarvi
Irillo
Xenofos

NPC

D’Val the Sword
Zinat the Wolf
Tiwr the Magnificent

Greyrock Fall:
Chief Carasai
Harvan, chief weaponthane
Forsar Wolf-hater
Galri of the Mantle
Falri and his band
More skeletons than anyone is strictly happy with facing, with faces
A zombie search party

Class of his own:
Draznk Backbreaker, he who cries havoc alone, and his mace Cracker

Events

As before, the log will be recounted with extracts from Berra JarangsdottiHumaktisaga, from The Lay of Serala, Lance of the Cold Sun and The Lays of Finarvi, The Death of Rajar, and NalaTiwrSaga. As with last time there will be extracts from the Sonnets to Varanis, and also Sonnets in Praise of Xenofos. There will be brief reference to the Accounts of the Travels of Irillo Goldentongue if Dr Tomm has added that slide. Editorial commentary will be recorded [thus]. Both the {“D”} and “T” voice appear in this selection of extracts.

[Good. Day. Yes, studentia, it is I. Dr Tomm has asked me to fill in after what I shall only be telling you was not a game of strip poker. If you need the student counselling service after that image, I’m sure some of you have it on speed dial by now. We are going to be looking at one of the many reasons that this segment is called the Descent into Darkness. The Rune itself, and the near failure of the Quest at a very early point. Draznk Backbreaker, as he appears in Berra JarangsdottiHumaktisaga.]

Foul fell foe
Faces oft flaying
Bone-breaking binder
Bulging-bellied boaster
Silent slow stalker
Snared Sword swift

[And, despite what our other sources may say, remember not to assume at this point that anyone would have known what was going on. Witness Rajar…]

Humakti are small
That is just how they were made
So easily missed
1Given the occasional deep thought within the Rajar we may assume a double meaning here. Rajar may well have missed a friend who was absent.,2And Spurious Rajar:

I won’t miss her now
The axe spins through the air. Damn!
Aimed too high. Again.

[Instantly, Serala would have taken command.]

Within the walls of Wilmskirk was eternal Fire
Of Yelm and of his son, and also Elmal’s ire
At he who prowled in night-mists cold to take the frail
For Serala knew well as Berra Humakt’s tale
Of how he fought the depths of Darkness in the dark
To win humanity a frail and fragile ark

[Naturally, Varanis was the voice of leadership.]

By honour’s double bind was tall Varanis pressed;
A cousin of her clan plucked from the Blue Tree nest,
And her sworn Sword, of loyal service given
Was from the company they kept together riven
Thus sware the bold Varanis, ‘If she still has breath
Then we will find her, else avenge her death!’
So cried their band that they would follow where she led
To rescue their dear friend, the slayer of the dead.

{“What do you mean, we can’t just leave her?”}

[And naturally, where we have … oh, you know this. Varanis does not come without her potential bard self-insertion hagiographer, Xenofos. But we’ll cut to the village of Greyrock Fall and the cattle raid.]

“They called me Pointy. Horse.”

When good advice is given to the wise and strong,
As Xenofos to Varanis, then strength can do no wrong
He called on her to save the cattle of the village herd;
She sprang to put to action every wise and sagelike word.
And such the understanding that he had of cattle,
That after all agreed that it was he who had the battle.

[Don’t groan. I don’t write this. I just have to learn it for these lessons. Perhaps we can look at the tale of an Issarian now. Not Irillo, but the other possible cover for him. Whether or not you subscribe to the story of the Death of Irillo, you must agree that we have pretty neatly inserted one Issarian for another, and indeed Irllo’s notes of the time talk about salt, and wondering if his cousin Varanis will get into trouble. So, Finarvi.]

The boldest of the traders and most wild
Stood proud Finarvi, saying he would find the child
3Some extracts talk of one Minstar, child or young adult, who was missing. Others attribute the childishness to Berra, either as a helpless victim, or based on her personality.
And with Serala by his side as old
Rode up the mountain though the trail was cold
Unto the cave where wolf-folk sat and howled
By heart-juice stained and with life-blood befouled.

[As we know, there is a Troll, and we will be dealing with that separately, but I would like to share this with you. I found it scribbled on a bit of paper tacked to my door, and I have memorised it rather than trying to identify the handwriting. A good Nala, if a little modern for some tastes.]

This troll annoys me.
I’d rather talk to the wolves.
Just go away, K?

Meditation would
Have been the best way forward
But things happened fast.

The group met up at Wilmskirk, only to find that Berra was missing. She had gone out to meet Varanis on the road and as Humakt make her Orlanth promise to put right what he had caused to go wrong. She had gone missing within a day’s travel of Wilmskirk. D’Val went to the Shrine of Humakt to find out if she was there, and try Divination, saying he would catch up with the others. Everyone else went to try to find her.

Late in the afternoon they discovered the remains of a camp, with crushed grass around it and the trail of something heavy leading away. Zinat found the camp and they followed the trail, and they pushed for a village overnight, so as not to sleep outdoors where something had done this. Along the way, they did not mark the trail for D’Val, who no doubt could follow anyhow! The village, Greyrock Fall, was on the alert, with people from the outlying houses pulled in, and extra guards on the palisade. A young man had gone missing and one of the search parties looking for him had also vanished. Nobody had seen Berra in the area, but everyone agreed this was likely to be more than a coincidence.

Overnight there was a raid by Telmori, who stampeded cattle around the place. Serala lit up a cow that they were trying to steal, with a Light spell, while the fyrd ran out to fight. The warriors of the party also did, and sounded a couple of Telmori, giving chase through the woods until they realised they were in ambush territory. Meanwhile, back at the palisade, Dormal started selling people on the Cult of the Glowing Cow, and one family took him up on it as a serious matter.

In the morning, with the old hunter Forsar, they set off on the trail, and after some hours met a lone Telmori on the path. He introduced himself as Galri of the Mantle and asked after other Telmori in the area. He said his nephews were here looking for something that they should not be, and asked the adventurers to say he was very disappointed if they met. Zinat was respectful to him and his wolf, and he was respectful to everyone, but obviously unafraid. He let them get on with following the trail of the Telmori – either he had not found it, or he did not want to follow it directly. The trail led up to the Cave of the Ancestors… where the Telmori were camped.

With Galri’s information they parleyed rather than attacking, and found out that in fact, the Telmori were much more afraid of the thing inside than anything outside – even their uncle the shaman. A THING had taken one of the wolves, and they could smell death inside. A wolf-brother sniffed at Minstar’s clothing. He was in there too. Nala had Zinat howl outside the cave to get Galri’s attention. They started to make their way in, and a Zorak Zorani Death Lord who was in there brought his undead horde out to the Holy Ancestor Cave for fun.

The Death Lord had Berra with him as a hostage, but people just started throwing javelins, even though she was a literal human shield. She opened her eyes, proving that she was not only awake, but alert. She cast shield, which was very fortunate as Draznk threw her at the ground, ducked behind a rock, and started bashing at her. Finarvi, Varanis and Serala began to try to get through the wall of skeletons and zombies, while Dormal cast invisibility and walked through them to try to pick up Berra. Failing that, he started to drag her away, and then started trying to get the lead bands wrapping around her, off her.. Varanis cast Leap to get over the Troll, and landed on the invisible Dormal.

The session ended on a cliff-hanger as the Telmori joined in against the undead, Rajar fumbled with his Great Axe while berserk, and the Death Lord turned for Varanis and cast what might also have been berserk.

++++ Notable Moments and Quotes


“So if there was an ambush, why isn’t there a dead body and Berra cleaning her sword.” – Nala???

“What an original way to define meeting someone.” – Xenofos

“I agree with her.” – Dormal
“Oh god.” – Serala

“There are quite a lot of torches on the village walls.” – GM
“Maybe Berra attacked it or it attacked Berra.” – Nala

“Guard your amphorae and lock up your mares!” – Finarvi

“In Grazelander to Fin: <Be ready to claim we don’t know them if needed., if we’re managing to get by unrecognised…>” – Serala
<Does this happen to you a lot?> – Finarvi

“Does this place look rich enough to buy anything worth selling?” – Irillo
“This village is rich because they got their cattle back.” – Co-GM

“Rajar has a quick sniff – religious duty and all – and declares the beer is lovely.” – GM

“Problems are our stock in trade. Wherever we go there are problems.” – Dormal

“Have you seen a woman about yay tall, attitude twice that size?” – Nala
“Varanis glares at Nala.” – Varanis

“I’ll join the Fyrd to help.” – Varanis
“But not on my horse.” – Varanis

“In Rajar’s mind, burning the village down to save it is perfectly valid.” – GM

“Not herding cattle – but Varanis.” – Xenofos
“I’m running into the woods.” – Varanis

“Billy has ridden into a tree.” – GM
“Chaos Tree?” – Nala
“Well, it’s winning.” – GM

“Surely the woods are thicker wherever Rajar is?” – Irillo

“We should follow behind Rajar, as there will be fewer trees…” -Nala

“Aiming left or right?” – GM
“Left.” – Serala
“Right.” – GM
“No, left.” – Serala
@@*@@stares@@*@@ – GM

“So, we went to this village so we wouldn’t be tracking blood trails in the middle of the night…?” – Finarvi
“You’re exactly right, Finarvi. So Nala, are you tracking blood trails in the middle of the night?” – GM

“Crap, one of the feathers of my helmet broke in that stupid overgrown forest.” – Xenofos
“He looks sad with his broken feather.” – Serala
“Crestfallen even.” – Xenofos

“We saw wolves in the woods.” – Varanis
“Telmori are tales for children.. and credulous barbarians.” – Xenofos

“Serala, do you really think my horses are a good idea with wolves around?!” – Varanis
“I think that you need faith in yourself.” – Serala
“Fine. I will have let Serala talk me into Manasa.” – Varanis
“Failed.” – Varanis
“Rolling again.” – Varanis
“Fall off horse.” – Varanis

“Will it ruin Varanis’ street cred if I put her on a lead rein?” – Serala
“Or get behind and push.” – GM

“I thought we agreed to never encourage Rajar to sniff.” – Serala
“I signed no such document.” – Dormal

“Rajar is looking a little bit puzzled.” – Varanis
“So that’s normal, so far.” – Serala

“There’s a long pause.” – GM
“Well, they are wolves.” – Dormal

“Are there more people in with the thing?” – Varanis
“More, yes. People? No….” – Telmori

“And a battle roll.” – Co-GM
“Interesting scale formations on the walls of the cave…” – Xenofos

@@*@@awe@@*@@ – party
“Kerching!” – Dormal

“47/30” – Xenofos
“Shield up walk toward the next cave…” – Xenofos

@@*@@explains rules of shooting into melee regarding uzko using a human shield@@*@@ – Co-GM
“Javelin on the big feller.” – Xenofos

“Ahead, an army of skeletons and zombies!” – GM
“For reals?” – Varanis
“YES!” – GM, happily

“Strike Rank for Dex: 0. But is a bit tied up at the moment.” – Berra

“Has Rajar gone off?” – Nala

“Finarvi, roll DEX x 5 to not fall over.” – Co-GM
“FAIL!” – Finarvi

“The Zombies look fresh – dead a day or two. You’ve found the search party.” – Co-GM

“Rajar swings at the Dark Troll, and indeed his axe swings at the dark troll, goes over his head, and off into the distance.” – Co-GM