S01 — Session 3
1625, Fire Season
Berra Daughter of Jarang
Rajar son of Ranulph
Vestra, Grey Sage.
Jaldis, High Priestess of Chalana Arroy in Whitewall
D’Val the Sword
3 Pale Ladies
A motley chorus of villagers, warthanes, and zombies
As before, the log will be recounted with extracts from Berra JarangsdottiHumaktisaga, from The Sonnets to Mellia, Sweetest of Healers, White Lady of Esrolia, The Lay of Serala, Lance of the Cold Sun , or The Death of Rajar . A new poem joins our narrative at this point, The Sonnets to Vestra, Grey Lady of Wisdom 1The similarities between both poetic style, and title between the Sonnets to Mellia and The Sonnets to Vestra has been widely remarked upon in the literature in the past (See Derzinsky et al, for example). The general conclusion is that they share an author (but see previous footnotes for more speculations as to authorship). . “Insertions will occur” in a cynical voice, of a manipulative outsider to these heroics, which is labelled in the literature as ‘The Q voice’ . Footnotes for the interested are included at the bottom of the extracts. [Editorial comments will be bracketed thus. See S1, ep 2 for other footnotes related to titles of epic poems.]
[Leaving the inn, after their plans to perform heroics last time, the party ran pretty much straight into Vestra, an Initiate of the Grey Sages, and half-sister to Mellia, and part of the same clan to Qidane. Given the likelihood of this occuring, some have speculated about this, but this _is_ heroic literature, afterall- and of course Esrolia had problems of its own in 1625, which would certainly make it plausible for multiple people to be in that area.]
Through longest walk and longest mile
Brave Vestra bore a dauntless smile
For she knew the Grey sage Tale
Of Lhankor’s travels through the Vale
Until he met Issaries there
And both addressed the great worlds care
So Vestra, seeking e’er a greater truth
Passed Sartar’s woes, it’s slaughtered youth
At Whitewall’s toppled towers she met
Blood and soul akin to hers, but yet
Following a diff’rent Lightbringer
A maid who did Arroy Aver.
“Oh, Gods, now I have TWO of them to look after?? And the pay off for this had BETTER be good.”
[Contrast with the analagous Sonnet to Mellia]
A sign Chalana did approve
Of how Mel’ia did sooth
The troubles of the sick and Sword bit folk,
A healing balm upon the Cruel World’s Joke
Came to her then, through rainy night
Kinsfolk coming to the Storm Folks Plight!
Thus doth House Saiciae display anew
What those who art its friends have ever knew
That noble is, as noble does, and so
May we, this house as thrice thrice noble know!
A house that to its noble self does knit
Those who in their God’s good graces sit!
[Vestra, hearing a tale well worth recording in a more….. strictly academic standard than Qidane might opt for, decided to join their investigations on the zombie haunted hill of Whitewall. Our tale resumes the next morning, from BerraJarangsdottirhumaktisaga.]
Humakt’s Sworn Sword2The ‘Her’ here indicates the Humakti speaking is Berra, but according to the Saga itself, this is before she became a Sword. Earlier editions do not have the ‘s’ capitalised, and so it is clear that this is a case of post-hoc editing to make the Skald look prophetic, if it was written in near ‘real time’. Spoke thus
“Sages Swiftly gather to us
Let us Worship wisely, we warriors
Who Wend to Wight Wafted Whitewall!”
Her saying words spoken sagely
So gathered Soldiers to her Side
From Sartar and the Sultry South
From Sun soaked Prax, and Sundry lands
Her calls to Humakt Heartened Hearts.
Hefting Battleaxe and Halfted Spear
Of Thirsting Swords and arrows Shaft
Slashing Earthwards, Singing through the Air and Sky! 3Axes are associated with Earth Cults, Spear and Arrow with Sky, and Sword with Air. The implication is that the elemental runes, with the exception of Water, Darkness, and Moon have united in this expedition, putting aside the ancient rivalry between Sky and Air Pantheons.
[This is clearly a Ritual aimed to raise the ‘Morale’ of the regiment going up the hilltop. The Dawn setting maximises duration.]
Lady leading, lofty ledge assailled
Lightly lead the land assembled
To White Walls with War a Kinfolk
Wending Way between the Wights
[Now we switch to ‘The Death of Rajar’]
Bravely Rajar went
Up to Whitewalls Wasted Gates
White Mist encloaked him
Dead lay sleeping by
Till they wakened at their tread
Bison Khan4Similarly at this point Rajar was not a Storm Khan. This may be flattery. Because who doesn’t flatter a giant with a War Bison? Charging!
[A similar theme can be picked up in ‘The Lay of Serala’]
Swift was their charging, swift was the riding
Swifter than death, as the dead who were rising
Struck on the dead-folk, struck on the car’ion
Struck with the speed and the force of a Lion!
Drove them before her, drove them most fiercely
Whilst there behind her, the Fyrd fought more meekly
Pushed back and besplattered by gore of her sent’nals
Mellia dove foward and bound closed their vitals
[Contrast to the Sonnets to Mellia]
As Sweet White lady there did weep
Upon that hill most dead and steep
Where battles Fought and long gone past
Did to Chalana’s grief fight eternal last.
“No life to death shall yet be lost today!”
The fyrd did hear their Whitest Lady say
It filled their hearts will joy and hope anew
That none of them would walking dead then slew 5Yes, the grammar is wonky here in English. Remember, this is written in Esrolian!.
[And to Vestra’s Sonnets]
As healer kin to help did run
A cloud did pass upon the new born Sun
A sign, as any sage could tell
That danger ‘pon a friend then fell
So Vestra forward with an axe did lunge
Arresting down a broadswords plunge!
As so is shown a rarely spoken word,
The mind is might’ier than the sword!
[They gained, without any losses, and only moderate wounds to the NPCs, the top of the hill. Particular Renown went to D’Val and Mellia, noted for her dive forward to heal someone in the front line on the point of death.]
As Yelm looked down upon his favoured maid
And to her view the Fortress top then laid
It seemed to her that huts left intact
Had weather’d all the Red Moons ‘ttacks
And in them yet might live despite
The Red Goddesses army and it’s spite
And towards them she did assay
To see what secrets in them lay
She saw twas but a maid
Who to her sweetest words then laid
Yelmalio defends her from the touch of death
Who sought to consume her ev’ry breath!
Sought and failed, and thus she rode
And swiftly then like grain she sowed
Her arrows which like light struck deep
The thing which did spurn death’s eternal sleep!
Chaos seeing then
Charg’d Lady to Fog turning
Rajar’s lance blow mist
Humakt’s Homely Haven foul’d
By Horrors from the Hell Returned
Berra bade the Runesword banish6Unlikely given their respective ranks, but possible. Rune Lords of Humakt were known to give Initiates a Trial by Command rather than making decisions on their behalf. Berra’s presence in the field indicates that the Rune Sword D’Val was either testing her, or felt no need to step in.
His Blade with fire he then bedecked7 Garin indicates that the Colymar Saga of Berra shows her essential youth at this time, by having her waste her magic when D’Val makes his sword fiery, thinking that they will do combat together with the undead. This shows the Humakti as both eager to do her duty, and lacking in her later cunning, much of which echoes the many deeds of D’Val.
Lifted like a lantern lighting
Lands and lending loving light
D’val Duckchild dangled in the arms
Rajar deftly doing duty
Berra tore to other temples
Terrors told of tainted times
From forth the fatal village
Vampire found a spot that failed
Down she sank, Humakt’s dropped sword
Saved by speed of Vestra’s swing
Down the Vampire sank a-vanquished
Valiantly vanquished by Vestra!
In burned out temple then they saw
A sight which only Sages Draw
A hole like to a door in space
That let then to a marshy place
So came our heroes from the hilltop
Humakti staying then to stop
The dead returning through the pathway
To befoul another day!
What Really Happened
Morning saw them meeting Vestra outside the inn, and inviting her to accompany them so that the truth of the day could be written down. Then Berra enacted the Ritual of Morale, letting the soldiers know each other, break bread, eat salt, and know that Humakt’s truth was with them and would show them the way. The effect was to last the whole day, and then they fought up the hill, past at least twenty undead things, probably many more. Billy the Bison had room to charge, and did so, while Serala used her arrows from a distance, and shot into melee at least once too often. Notable in the battle were D’Val and Vestra for their skill, and Mellia for her healing, as she endangered herself to help others. At the top of the hill they made a beachhead and sent Serala (a real scout) and Rajar (an armoured hulk) in for a look-see.
There were a lot of old bodies around, and four buildings still obviously standing, close to each other. The plateau was wide enough to lose track of where people were, so the others had to listen for trouble, which came after a little search. Serala saw a beautiful woman in one of the buildings, who tried to ensorcel her, but failed. Serala withdrew and as the pale lady came out to get her, calmy shot her. Rajar saw, charged, and found that the lady was suddenly made of mist that was flowing away.
The others arrived, with D’Val staying back by the gate. They soon recognised the temple as one of Humakt, with the runes defiled. On hearing what had been there, Berra called for D’Val, who came at a run, and then torched the place by applying Fire Blade and having Rajar carry him around the roof. Meanwhile, in an attempt not to defile any temples that might be untouched, the others made the surprising decision not to burn everything else, and Berra was quickly ensorcelled by one of the pale ladies, after having spent her magic on Bladesharp for anti-vampire combat. She was swiftly drained, but Vestra hit the pale lady in the face with a battle-axe, winning the argument of pens, swords, and what was really important to a combat librarian.
With the second vampiretta destroyed or damaged enough to flee, and a third that snuck away without being seen, the other temples, all desecrated, were safe to enter. Mellia cleaned blood and a skeleton from the floor of the temple of Chalana Aroy and retrieved the holy symbol of the ex-High Priestess, and they cleaned blood from the temple of Orlanth. Ernalda’s temple was epicly destroyed when Chaos Runes were found in it, and Rajar performed a wallectomy to remove them.
Berra came round rather faster than expected. The burning temples burned a bit, and then the roof collapsed on the Temple of Humakt, revealing a rift in space that had a swamp on the other side of it. D’Val evinced fear for the first time, and settled down to watch it. The rest of the plateau was searched and pronounced safe, and the fyrd began to stack wood and bodies for burning. Mellia went to the temple in the slums and showed Jaldis the holy symbol; the High Priestess ganked it immediately.
Notable Moments and Quotes
We don’t need no stinnnnnking drains….oh wait- Rajar
“There is a crude, smelly encampment at the base of the hillfort”- GM
“Smelly, crude… You mean Rajar?” – Berra
“Oi!!! I wash whenever it rains”- Rajar
“The huts look like they’ve been thrown together.”- GM
“Like Portacabins?”- Vestra
“Without the architectural charm.”- GM
“If you recall the first thing I did was find lodgings.” – Qidane
“That would be because you’re a thoughtful logical thinker, and I’m a Storm Bull.” – Rajar
“I’m going to turn the video off because I’m wearing a dressing gown and I’m drunk, and it could all end in tears.” – Serala
“No, I think it will all end in cheering. You’re safe here.” – Berra
“Rajar is huge, in a ‘who ate all the pies’ way.” – Rajar
“Ok. I prefer more transferable currency”- Rajar
“They transfer a long way. Quickly.”- Berra
“You know where you are with Cows”-Rajar
“It’s okay to take someone who can write it down.”- Berra
“It’s okay, I didn’t botch the Sense Chaos”- Rajar
“Oh, you know Qidane.” – Mellia
“Well, I don’t know him, but I’m starting to get the idea.” – Berra
Morale: Until sunset we add half of our normal weapon skill with any weapon we are using.
Berra: Loses count.
“Does this mean that if they film this it’ll be a woad movie?”- Vestra
“The pen is mightier than the sword”…- GM
“But not the battleaxe” – Vestra
<<sniff the air for signs of the foul taint of chaos>>- Rajar
“Vestra, would you like to make a search roll?” – GM
“If you do it again while writing it down, it’s a re-search roll.” – Berra
“Use my famous rallying battle cry of, ‘make a hole, coming through’.” – Rajar
“I don’t do any damage, but I can do no damage really quickly.” – Serala
“You are now going to be firing into a melee. Do you wish to do this?” – GM
thinks – Serala
“Yes.” – Serala
“I think I have a soldier-crush on a duck.”- Berra
“D’Val is just a swift whirlwind of death.” – GM
“I want to be like that when I get small.” – Berra
Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”- Rajar
“Probably-bad-charge!” – Rajar
“I don’t want to fall over with a flaming duck in my hand.” – Rajar
“What is your current magic point?” – GM
“One.” – Berra
“EErrrrm, why is there a Chaos Rune in there?” – Qidane
“Mroooo?” – Rajar
“Rager.” – GM
“He’s going for it like a bull in a wicker shop.” – Vestra
“And bury the skeleton properly… as long as the skeleton will hold still for it.” – Mellia
“I’m guessing that the tear leads through to Delecti’s marsh. What are the chances I’d know about that?”- Berra
“Pretty reasonable. Intx4”- GM
runs headlong for dice– Berra
“Yup. You could say you’re aware of the Corpus Delecti!”- GM
“I /could/. But I’m not going to, because that would be terrible.”- Berra
- 1The similarities between both poetic style, and title between the Sonnets to Mellia and The Sonnets to Vestra has been widely remarked upon in the literature in the past (See Derzinsky et al, for example). The general conclusion is that they share an author (but see previous footnotes for more speculations as to authorship).
- 2The ‘Her’ here indicates the Humakti speaking is Berra, but according to the Saga itself, this is before she became a Sword. Earlier editions do not have the ‘s’ capitalised, and so it is clear that this is a case of post-hoc editing to make the Skald look prophetic, if it was written in near ‘real time’.
- 3Axes are associated with Earth Cults, Spear and Arrow with Sky, and Sword with Air. The implication is that the elemental runes, with the exception of Water, Darkness, and Moon have united in this expedition, putting aside the ancient rivalry between Sky and Air Pantheons.
- 4Similarly at this point Rajar was not a Storm Khan. This may be flattery. Because who doesn’t flatter a giant with a War Bison?
- 5Yes, the grammar is wonky here in English. Remember, this is written in Esrolian!
- 6Unlikely given their respective ranks, but possible. Rune Lords of Humakt were known to give Initiates a Trial by Command rather than making decisions on their behalf. Berra’s presence in the field indicates that the Rune Sword D’Val was either testing her, or felt no need to step in.
- 7Garin indicates that the Colymar Saga of Berra shows her essential youth at this time, by having her waste her magic when D’Val makes his sword fiery, thinking that they will do combat together with the undead. This shows the Humakti as both eager to do her duty, and lacking in her later cunning, much of which echoes the many deeds of D’Val.