Lunar Ticks

S01 — Session 10

1625, Earth Season

Season, Week, Day

Earth Season, Fertility Week, Waterday-Godday


Dramatis Personae


Berra Daughter of Jarang
Nala of the Unicorn Ladies
Tiwr (played en-troupe)
Rajar son of Ranulph


Irillo Jasilsson- Initiate of Issaries Goldentongue, and Merchant Adventurer
Endars- Brother to Serala
Endar’s warband
3 Baboon guardsbaboons (unnamed)
A ballad or two about 5 Unfortunate Scorpion men (Or twelve, or a mountain of them. In memoriam only.)
Salid the Sniveller (Sid)- Trollkin Guardstrollkin
Gallem- High Sword of Humakt in Alda Chur
Koraki- Wind Lord of Orlanth and surprise Guest Star
A host of market-goers, city-dwellers, and tavern-drinkers, and a matched pair of bar-maids.

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 , The Death of Rajar or The Sonnets to Vestra, Grey Lady of Wisdom, and NalaTiwrSaga. {insertions} will occur in another cynical or sarcastic voice, whose precise nature is unclear, but may prove identifiable with future work. Whilst some of the comments of the ‘D Voice’ may sound like the ‘Q Voice’, who also appears in this work as “Comments”, and indeed sometimes strikingly similar to the ‘T Voice’, the context indicates it is a separate interlocutor who has opted to step outside the heroic narrative. Also included are some extracts from ‘The Accounts of the travels of Irillo Goldentongue‘. Whether or not this opus (as some refer to the cycle) does indeed account for the obtuseness of writings from this period is still highly doubtful, as that would require some level of Jungian cosmological thought and instance, however each of the works has been enormously influential, and poetic motifs are reused in other later works1 See Berra’s Saga which is clearly influenced by these poems. .

[Our tale picks up where it left off, in Alda-Chur, with our heroes settling in. In the extracts selected for today’s lecture, however we begin to see how not all is rosy amongst the heroes. Wiermonken in particular draws out this point (sometimes to extremes) in his book, ‘The Flames of Heroism’. Let us begin with “The Lay of Serala“, whose exploration of the duality of Serala’s Gods has been taken to prefigure the division of even the most united group.]

Serala Yelmals child unto the hill of Alda Chur2 It is known that like most 3rd Age settlements, the Agora of Alda Chur was indeed set upon a hill, or rather, excavations have shown, a Tel, caused by the accumulated detritus of centuries of human (and non- human) habitation. The distinction is obviously not clear to the poet of the Lay of Serala, which is one of the arguments Derzinsky puts forward for a contemporaneous dating to other Sagas of this cycle for it, compared to other scholars, who prefer a later date. processed
Her blades were golden and in coats of shining silk were dressed
Her entourage3 This seems unlikely- few would travel in this style, at this time era, and in this season and location. It appears more related to showing Serala’s magnificence and preeminence. , whilst unto her own splendour none approached
But in her view, the cult of Yelmal she reproached.

For it was cleft in twain (like Sky and Air) in her sight
On the left was Elamal Horsefriend, Yelmal Cold sky the right.
She saw the foolishness of choice, for both alike were one
And she would as Hero, set it right ‘ere she was done!4 A clear prefiguration to later events, which supports the suggestion of post-dating for the composition of the Lay, according to Fox. In addition, the break in the metre of the last line speaks compellingly for interpolation.

[Refreshingly, The Death of Rajar has a far simpler solution to spiritual doubt.]

Bison Warrior
Came to Alda Chur to drink
In Beer there is truth!

[Meanwhile, Berra also seems to have sought spiritual counsel.]

Brave Berra boldly to
Blade Gallem’s biding
To Temple then
To seek a Teacher

Said the Sword softly
Scorpion men slayer,
They say seventeen!
Seldom seen such is!5 Wiermonken makes a heated defence of this as justification for the inclusion of the sometimes disputed ‘Scorpion Man Segment’ of Berrasaga, based on the passages in
BerraJarangsdottiHumaktiSaga. He strongly attacks Alleyn for the suggestion of the poor fit of styles, noting that whilst ‘fragment 9’ is indeed a poorly integrated text stylistically, other early sources for the incident occur in multiple other examples from the time, which could only be ignored by selective choice of sources. However, as Sayers observed, Alleyn was always inferior to the charm of acts of Wimsey.

Truthful then told
The Tale to him
Just as Jarang’s Daughter
Judged it, self-Jeering6 The modesty of the hero is noted as being both a vital aspect of the Humakti, and a way in which the Humakti Hero is different from the more typical boastful Orlanthi one. .

Spoken so, Gallem said
Soft sword from street stealer7 This implies that it is a poor quality bronze sword being accepted as a votive offering. It seems probable that this relates to the Bandits Berra encountered in Chapter 8 of this work
Could within the Confines
Of Humakt’s Court come!

[Mellia’s approach appears to have been much simpler, and perhaps reflects a much needed blessing from her Goddess.]

Mellia to the temple came at last
Her time for healing sickness seeming past
So here in Alda Chur could she sleep now
Without worry’ng o’er her new friends enow

[Others of the group also made their way around the ‘city’.]

{“Really? I mean, who relies just on magic for their shop security?“}

[A day appears to have passed, and Berra and Nala met at an inn. We see this documented in

Yelm is ascending
Nala and Berra break their fasts
From hide breaks Wind8 It is unclear if this is a deliberate flatulence joke. -lord

[In BerraJarangsdottiHumaktiSaga the arrival of the Windlord is treated, as would be expected, with more respect. But not much.]

Windlord waiting within
With wine and Wenches willing
Hiding hurt and heroism
With Hilarity and hedonism9 The role of Koraki in
BerraJarangsdottiHumaktiSaga is open to much dispute, and he is clearly written as a complex character, whose motivations are not straightforward. Brave, but self-depreciating (especially for an Orlanthi), hedonistic in his approach, but unswerving in his willingness to endure hardship, he is a hard figure to put a finger on. Fox has suggested he represents the restlessness of the Human Spirit, whilst Wiermonken has implied that he has a shard of the divine within him, and the incongruities within his makeup are the result of the warring of the different aspects of his personality. This is generally accepted as unlikely, due to the Great Compromise (see Beaufort). In anycase, this is viewed variously as either evidence of the genius of the author in making up such a lifelike, contradiction filled human character (Fox), or, alternately, the fact that the Saga is written ‘from life’, and in near-contemporaneous time, and thus the contradictions displayed are nothing more than a “sketch from life” (Wiermonken). Clearly, this is an area in which uncertainty will remain. .

To Berra told he tales
Of Tarshite tossed by Fates talons
Wafted where winds willed
Worn and weary, but still willing.

To Unicorn-maid urged he
Useage of upset
Chances cast
Compelling his course

Quipping and quaffing
Quick doubt quenching
But both bore doubts
As burdens in their breasts.

[It is clear that others, notably Mellia, Vestra and Rajar must have joined the group at this time, and it is implied that the ‘D’ voice does too.Interestingly the next two stanzas appear almost identically in the Sonnets to Mellia and the Sonnets to Vestra, supporting the identical authorship theory (or at least extensive plagiarism).]

An inn there was in Alda Chur nearby
And ‘pon its vittles did the folk rely
For cooked meats and num’rous grains, wines galore
Pelorian, Esrolia and yet more

And in Bantar blesséd place heroes came
Vestra, and Mellia10 In the Sonnets to Mellia the first two names are the other way around. , Blade blessed- Berra named
Nala wise, and Rajar fierce. Others yet
And there they the Hero Koraki met

Who called ‘pon them to make whole their questband
To draw lightbringer in from close at hand.
The merchants charm to stay the warri’r heart
But they feared he would not from profit part

{“Uh, they’re pondering kidnapping you. Just thought, you know, you’d want to know.“}

So Vestra to the marketplace stroke forth
And called Issar’es to serve a greater worth
With profit in a wider sense to find
Lhankor Mhy to the quest her friend did bind!

[Naturally, this event does make it into the Accounts of Irillo Goldentongue]


Esrolian Silk, unworked: Sold 100L, Cost in Nochet 50L
Esrolian Spices, various: Sold 70L. Cost in Nochet 40L
Pleasing The God. Unknown value.

1 amphora of Clearwine (small). Medicinal. Cost 5L
Time. Unknown amount.
Danger. Unclear.

[And so, the heroes left for parts West. Most of the tales actually skim over most of the travelling, but all relate the passage variously called ‘The Temptation of Berra’, ‘The Wisdom of Serala’, or ‘Eurmal questions the Ways’.]

At Dwarven Dale
Dared Dormal direly
Taught teasing Truth
Taunted with Tales

Rage rising, Rathik’s grandchild
Raised her razor red11 Presumably a bronze sword. But that’s kenning poets for you 12Alleyn (Amb 3.1) takes issue with the easy dismissal of ‘red’ here, noting its frequent use as a descriptor of the bronzed metal, and the archaic word ‘redsmith’. The Saga of Berra, also known simply as Berrasaga, contains enough references to red metal and red blood to tie together these most basic of concepts. Garin (Altn 12) argues that this connection exists only within the life of a warrior, or of a redsmith who includes blades and arrowheads among his wares. ‘Red’ is used to refer to a wide variety of colours (ibid), but as colour descriptors are so seldom used in poetical form, must hold a special place here. It cannot be simply that a weapon is red, but that it is red because it is a weapon.
Stroke swiftly to strike
Serala for her honour stood surety!

And thus betwixt the grim and all-too smart
Serala placed herself with noble heroes heart
On one side grim and deadly God Humakt
The other one who sense of caution lacked

One questioning the ways in which the heroes act
One raising blade when questions raised sans tact
Balancing them, perfection with the grace
Who knows it is not what, but also time and place

The fulcrum twixt the Air and Sky
Yelmalio, the Truth, but held on high
His fav’rite lance, Serala guiding those about
Both sure of self, and full of doubt.

And with her words of wisdom and her skill
She made both sword of death and fool be still
And thus she showed the blesséd middle way
And with her horse, stopping friends from wisdom stray

[None of the sagas say anything very meaningful for another day of travel, based on distances involved, and we return to The Death of Rajar for the next meaningful entry.]

Scarlet land staining
Rajar undaunted crossing
Glowline marks a change

[And again there is little said for the next day of travel, except for a cryptic comment in NalaTiwrSaga]

Wise Nala said, “Let
Many sleeping dragons lie
Even if they are dead!”

[The main commentary for the remainder of the journey south occurs in the Lay of Serala, and it is sometimes referred to as ‘The Refusal of the Call’, but of course this is a subversion of Campbell’s Monomyth, since the Call in question is not to adventure13 Wiermonken hypothesises here that Serala’s “Adventure” is the quest within her own tribe, resulting in her final position which is well known to history. If this reading is accepted (which is disputed by, eg, Fox), then the adventures which are documented are actually the areas where the hero is not progressing towards their eventual status! .]

Across the steppes swift rode the band
With Serala taking e’er the lead rein hand
And with her eye, hawk sharp, she saw
A band of riders swiftly t’wards her draw

She feared not ill, for with the Gods own sight
She saw their symbols as her own, she heit
Her kinsman greeted her and rode with her
And did her to her nuptual rites refer!

Serala heard, but felt she had a duty great
And that such rites, and deeds would needs must wait
She bade her kinsman leave and as he went
She felt she was on quest from Elmal sent!

And now above her towered the mighty spire
Cloud crowned Kero Finn, storm wrapped in ire
And at its foot, the shrine to Maran Gor
Nestled atop its own most sacred Tor.

[Let us leave with a couple of stanzas from NalaTiwrSaga.]

Let spiritual she
Beware when entering to
The Shaker Temple

She who looks too hard
On Earth Goddesses may find
They look back more hard

Our heroes took the advantage of Alda-Chur to rest, and to seek the solaces of religion- namely, Berra went to be noble and heroic, Mellia headed to the hospital, to see if there was anyone there who needed her care, Nala sought out somewhere else to plant moss, Serala decided if she’d rather go to the Yelmalio (Heavy Infantry) or Elmal (Cavalry) temple. Unsurprisingly she opted for Elmal. Meanwhile Rajar sought one-ness with his God through the medium of Beer, and Dormal opted to case joints for a little burglary, but suspected his magic wasn’t really up to it.

After a night of relaxing, Berra and Nala met back up at the pub which had been their rendezvous, to find a familiar figure, the WindLord Koraki already in place, bullshitting them about what he was doing there and spending his time with two of the holy trinity of wine, women, and song. Gradually the others dripped in, and Berra and Dormal spent time mutually antagonising one another. On Koraki’s suggestion, Vestra and Berra, accompanied by Qidane (just in case ballads needed writing) went to talk to Irillo, but not before Dormal had a chance to slip out, to bear news of their first draft suggestion (“We could just kidnap him….”). Despite this, Irillo accepted the call to adventure, not without sighs about the loss of his nice quiet profitable life. The fact that he was being told to do so by an aristocratic female of his own clan may have had something to do with his acceptance.

And so the next day they set out, and after some debate decided to go on to the West side of the mountains, and then head down the west side of them, to the Shaker Temple, and from there to Kero Finn. They passed a Runestone marking the path to Snakepipe Hollow. It was also decided that it was only fair to tell the Baboons of the new destination. The Baboons expressed a desire to consult with their ancestors on the subject. So, come darkness, the Baboons lit a fire, which burned green, and spat out something, which one of the baboons peed on, and then ate. After this the baboons gathered to discuss matters. In the morning, when the caravan had not been attacked by anyone or thing, they brought back the decision that this was nothing to do with them.

After another days travel, the group settled by where a very different side path joined, this made of tightly fitting identical hexagonal paving stones. Dormal suggested they turn aside towards Dwarf Mine, and after much temptation, Irillo, aware that the season was moving on, opted not to do so, but press on. Just visible in the distance at this point was a strange red/orange glowing line over the landscape.

The next day they reached the Glowline, and pressed on for a while, turning south to skirt the Dinosaur’s graveyard, and enter the edges of the Grazelands. After a while they encountered a large cavalry band, but after a while Serala realised it was from her own Clan, and indeed led by her Brother, who enquired when she was coming home to get married. Her answer was not really printable.

Escorted by the Grazelanders they made good time, with a brief interruption by a lunar tarshite cavalry patrol, who opted not to tangle with the more numerous group. And then they peeled off towards the Shaker temple, passing the skulltopped marker posts, where the Baboons were paid off, and someone finally got around to telling Sid what was going on! Despite this total neglect he opted to remain with them, and so they entered the dread temple of Maran Gor, without actually having had to commit violence, despite an attempt by Berra earlier in the journey to do so in response to Dormal’s comments about her commitment to Truth. Thankfully Serala had a horse sit on Berra to prevent any real violence.

“We don’t need an Orlanthi. She’d only make us sensible.” – Berra
“By dint of great effort, I should add.” – Berra
“No. Really, she wouldn’t.” – GM

“Hey, we could RP!” – Berra

“PUB????!?!?!?!??!” – Rajar

“So there is a Storm Bull temple, possibly in the pub…” – Rajar

“I will go down to the pub tomorrow. Assuming I remember when tomorrow is.” – Rajar

*o/ waves* – Rajar
“That’s a bit of a Nazi wave, TBH.” – Berra

“There are carvings, picked out in paint. Bits of gilt work.” – GM
“Gilt, not Guilt.” – Berra

“Pft gods. Eurmal helps those who help themselves…” – Dormal
“…to other people’s stuff.” – Dormal

“A disturbance in the furze.” – Dormal

“Heortling as she is spoke. Pardon my lateness, my postilion has been struck by lightning.” – Dormal
“Show me the other MUSHROOM.” – Rajar
“I may have to extend my Tradetalk to VERY SMALL BADGERS.” – Nala

“Temple of Elmo? Is it ticklish?” – Nala


“Go up a mountain and hippy it up. Check.” – Dormal

“Dormal, I think you were trying to find out what worrying anchors of the physical world are holding back the spiritual…” – GM

“There is indeed a Street of the Silversmiths and Goldsmiths.” – GM
“And a street of the executioners.” – Berra
“That’s the Humakt and StormBull temples.” – Rajar

“WE ARE DEATH. Also, drunk.” – Berra
“The sacred chant of ‘TOGA TOGA ….er? <whispers> TOGA'” – Rajar
“And the traditional drinking song ‘Come and have a go…'” – Berra

“Five. And that was worth a ballad?” – Humakti High Priest
“I don’t think so, but the ballad writer did.” – Berra

“It’s not the sword that is the value, it’s what it means.” – Berra

“At the crack of noon.” – Dormal

“D’Val swims extremely well.” – GM
“Both ways?” – Nala

“Wine for him, beer for me, and waiting while watching the door.” – Berra

“Yeahhh! Pointy horse! He’s my friend!” – Rajar
“Oh, he said you’d fallen down a well.” – Storm Bull.
“Have I?” – Rajar

“Oh, it’s tomorrow, isn’t it?” – Rajar

“Wine for me.” – Dormal
“I will get the drinks in.” – Berra

“No, you do not fry the barmaids.” – GM
“Oh, Fry, not Try.” – Berra

“Rajar’s already had breakfast, because fry-ups are mandatory for Storm Bulls.” – Rajar

“Breakfast beer is good beer.” – Rajar

“I was just cleaning my scythe when it went off.” – GM/Farmer

“DRINK.” – Rajar

*<this appears to be a private fight> drinks* – Rajar
“Berra looks perfectly prepared to sit down and drink beer again.” – Berra
“It’s like I hadn’t left the Storm Bull temple.” – Rajar
“Berra also looks perfectly prepared to kill someone, and these two states seem to be about the same to her.” – Berra

“One of the constant mysteries on the universe: is it time to shove the Dormal in the teapot?” – Nala

“Oh dear. Looks like you can’t hold your beer.” – Dormal
“Your beer.” – Berra
“Rajar this is my beer.” – Dormal imitating Berra

*stares at Dormal* – Berra

“It’s definitely a dog.”
“It’s got a horn on its head!”
“It’s a pointer.” – Dormal

“Dormal v. TEAPOT. My money’s on TEAPOT.” – Vestra

“I am not scratching the GM’s belly, no matter how good his big brown eyes are.” – Berra

“Doing the Quiet Humakti Swagger.” – Berra

“He’s not an obnoxious cousin. He’s just a bard cousin.” – Vestra
“What’s he barred from?” – Nala

“Lankor-Mhy comes to Issaries in search of the Solution.” – Issaries
“Stranger things have happened.” – Lankor-Mhy

“I just have to kill Orlanth.” – Berra
“Every head turns to look at you.” – GM
“I have to send him to the Underworld. In some stories, I kill him. But I suppose I could also just tell him to go.” – Berra

“PSYCHO.” – Dormal
“YEP.” – Berra

“Humakt doesn’t drink on duty.” – Berra
“Storm Bull really does.” – Rajar
“It is Storm Bull’s Duty to drink.” – Berra
“True….” – Rajar

“Clam McIllan.” – Berra
“Fishy.” – Dormal
“Clan, not Clam.” – Berra
“McIllan, that well known group of bivalves.” – Dormal

“Cut n shut job.” – Dormal
“Two half horses.” – Berra
“That accident was /terrible/.” – Berra
“THATS how unicorns reproduce!!!!!!” – Rajar

“Sid and the Baboons – that’s a light guitar combo, right?” – Vestra

“I cut a leg off that Trollkin that one time…” – Rajar

“Berra’s doing the whole professional thing, organising people who are under orders, but she’s going to check it Koraki wants to be in charge of the guards. She says that like someone who expects to command Orlanth’s bodyguard.” – Berra
“Koraki waves a hand. The flesh one.” – GM
“Oh, do carry on, that chap.” – Koraki
( Anticipating your orders… ) o . Berra

“Aren’t they Irillo’s guards?” – Dormal
“Yes.” – GM

“You’ll be pleased to know nobody attacks you during the night.” – GM
“No I’m not!” – Berra

“Ancestors say, ‘this is hairless ape business’.” – Baboon
“RACISM” – Tiwr per Berra


“There are beautiful bridges.” – GM
“Which we shall not burn.” – Nala

“Cheeses Wept.” – Dormal

“Glowline?” – Berra steals Dormal’s glory.

“Berra continues to be in charge of people, while being thoughtful.” – Berra
“With a lot of sizing up Rajar.” – Berra

“We’re off on a Heroquest…….this bit isnt that suspect….its like a bunch of NVA setting off down the road …it just happens to cross the border into South Vietnam.” – Rajar

“I think the magic word is –” – Vestra, cut off
“The magic word is ………….Arrrrrrrrrrrrgh” – Rajar

“Storm Bull says not to kill your colleagues unless it’s a special occasion.” – Rajar
“He’s not my colleague.” – Berra

Serala looks at Dormal. “She’s managing the entire train right now. Don’t poke the stressed Humakti, it’s not clever. And it might not be pretty, if you keep it up.”

“I’ll spend time trying to persuade Salid to get a shorter spear he can control better.” – Berra
“Not. Happening.” – GM

“And you chopped his leg off.” – GM
“Which is pretty Dark Troll behaviour. Although I didn’t barbecue it later.” – Rajar

“So far, there have not been any Lunar patrols.” – GM
“How long has it been? Twenty seconds?” – Nala
“About that, yes.” – GM

“It will not be a forest by the time we are done, if we take Rajar.” – Tiwr, per Berra

“Bison is going to have /such/ flatulence.” – Berra
“Yes, Rajar, you may have a rocket-propelled Bison by the end of the day.” – GM

“Let’s not go that way.” – Nala
“Why?” – Serala
“Because you shouldn’t poke sleeping dragons, even if they’re dead.” – Nala

“Berra asks a good question – a) does Serala have any clue and b) farsight.” – Serala

“NOT YET RAJAR!” – Berra

<<<<looks really puzzled, looks up at lance tip speculatively>>>> – Rajar
“No, Rajar. We know them, it seems.” – Berra

“Now my thighs are chocolatey.” – Nala
delicate wince and freeze – GM
“I’m going to leave that image alone.” – GM
“That’s because he’s already used it.” – Berra

“Check spam for prettiest chocolate croissant you have ever seen.” – Nala
“’tis very pretty.” – Rajar
“Check it for Chaos, Rajar.” – Berra
“Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm chaos flavoured.” – Rajar


“Serala’s brother will peel off.” – GM
“I don’t care. I’m not looking.” – Nala

“Completely unattacked.” – GM
“Us, or the Shaker Temple?” – Nala
“…Yes.” – GM

“I’ve got movement, but I’m DEATH. Also, sober.” – Berra
“Death, Beast, Air.” – Rajar
“Movement, Truth, Death, Mumble…” – Berra
“None, Ofyour, Beeswax.” – Dormal

“Stick by me laddie, you’ll be fine.” – Rajar to Salid
“Hmmm. What do we do about Sali…. Right.” – Berra
“Here wear this lovely red shirt.” – Rajar

“You’ve got nothing against his leg.” – Dormal
“He’s a good trollkin. I’m sorry I chopped his leg off.”- Rajar
“As soon as you saw his leg, you thought, that’s a fine leg.” – Dormal

“Zorack Zoran is actually an allied cult to Storm Bull.” – Rajar
“BASTARDS.” – Berra

“He’s not nearly as terrified of me as he is of Rajar.” – Nala
“For one, you have a positive charisma.” – GM

“I ff-freely choose! To protect my employer!” – Salid
“I’m going to pat the Trollkin on the back. ‘Well said.'” – Berra

“Eurmal accepts [stolen] cash.” – Dormal
“Eurmal takes pin numbers and ID’s.” – Rajar
“But even Eurmal does not take American Express.” – Nala