One Hell of a Time

S01 — Session 46

1626, Fire Season


Season, Week, Day

Fire Season, Truth Week, Godday


Dramatis Personae

PC

Berra, playing Humakt (and herself)
Dormal, playing Eurmal (and himself)
Irillo, playing Issaries (and himself)
Mellia, playing Chalana Arroy (and herself)
Nala, playing Ginna Jar (and herself)
Salid Troll-Killer, playing Flesh Man (and himself)1Played by Rajar’s player
Varanis, playing Orlanth (and herself)
Xenofos, playing Lhankor Mhy (and himself)

Rajar, standing guard

NPC
Kallyr, playing Yelm (and herself)
A dragon, playing a truth Lhankor Mhy could not comprehend
Draznk, possibly but not definitely playing himself and/or Zorak Zoran
A troll who ran away, and lived to eat another day
Dead villagers
Undead villagers
A spider troll, spider-troll, does whatever a spidertroll damned well wants to
Beneva, only as herself
Some guards, who may have wished to be other people

Events

As before, the log will be recounted with extracts from Berra JarangsdottiHumaktisaga, NalaTiwrSaga and The Death of Rajar. As with last time there will be extracts from the Sonnets to Varanis, 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.

[” Good day! We seem to be over holidays, sickness, and attacks of rodents both human and otherwise! So, now let us move onto the Lightbringer’s quest. Unfortunately much of this section has been badly damaged, and it appears that not all of this is accidental and the passage of time. The attempt to purge the consequences of this quest seems systematic, and the cause of much of the confusion about Gloranthan history in this period. Let us begin with a little scenesetting from the little know Vareena fragments, and then to the ever reliable Berra JarangsdottiHumaktisaga. It is my contention that the Vareena fragments refer to the same individual as the Varanis of the Sonnets. We can discuss why later. “]


Woe! Word went wide. Wise White Prince was lost.
Vingan Vareena vainly wept, giving voice to vanguishment.
Came then Humakt’s Herald, called her to his hall.

Oath-ordered rose only she, in guise of Overarching Orlanth.
Led line of Lightbringers, to Sartar’s light loyal.
Humakt hollered halt! Hovered before hall’s threshold.

“Make right the riven wrong, which you had wrought.”
Swift struck the Sword-Champion. Sword severed life.
Heart of hale Orlanth hewn by hand of Humakt.


To Sartar’s Sacred Stele
Swiftly swept Leika’s sept!
Lighting flames lofty leaping
Laying Kallyr’s light to rest!

“Now” Night clad Noble Eril
“Near is your path now.”
Smote he Sartar’s Sevenchild
Swiftly hellward spiralling.

[“This segment is well known, of course, from Staffords masterly history of this period, but note the differences here. The Saga authors are suggesting that Leika’s early lighting of Kallyr’s funeral pyre was in some fashion unnecessary. This is a major departure from our normal reading of the history. One needs to ask what the motive was either for the poet, or the historian, to alter matters. Let us continue.”]

Dark, deserted doom
Dauntless heroes descended.
Reaching river riven
With red-rend writers2 An interesting kenning, playing both as it does on the red colour of bronze, but also on the wounds a weapon would ‘write’.

Led by light flaming liquid
Launched in lances against walls
Trickster taking a touch
Testing the tale.

Ferryman forbade forward passage
Frowning at folks still living.
Goldentongued Guide giving
Gift of graceful going

[“Thus far we are broadly in keeping with our other accounts of the various Lightbringers quests, although very much abbreviated- notably the entire prelude quests are cut short, as it were, by Eril’s sword, and presumably the implied human sacrifice is the suggested explanation for that. Naturally a ‘stand in’ for the central figure must have been utilised at this point. ‘Lhankor knows the paths’ is missing, but given the fragmentary nature of the texts, this is probably lost to time.”]

Death troll before him, the knowing God led
Death to the Beserk God, leaving him dead.
The Sage to the battle, Flesh man before
His pike pierc’d the foe man, striking him raw

His magic back turn’d, the lance in his head
Fear felt but mastered, Flesh troll sav’d the stead3 This is a very obscure passage. Some authors (Wiermonken et al) have suggested this means a troll of some sort was playing the role of Flesh man. Others have argued (Fox et al) that this is merely a scribal error. Furthermore Flesh Man is hardly the normal participant for ‘Guarding the stead’.
And thus they went on then both full and fair
On to the only old one’s castle lair

[“Interestingly digs on the Tell al Bihome, note that ‘B-home’, incidentally, ladies and gentlemen; ahem. Digs on that Tell have discovered another ,,Salidstele,,.”]

,,Here, as Flesh Man, Salid struck down Zorak Zoaran,,


Flame-farewelled Fürst Kallyr, fiery-haired and fervent,
Hale she harked with spark in hand, from Humakt’s halls.
Daughter of Vinga, Vibrant Virgin Prince of Sartar’s vaunted vales.

Sanguine still Vareena stood, armour slick with battle-sweat,
Princely glinting gift of golden limb-fire gleaming on graceful arm.
Kinswoman, knight, and king’s grandchild, she bent the knee to Kallyr.


Ginna Jar entered the gate of the Underworld a bit behind the others, but kept pace with them, making the river crossing and arriving at the Obsidian Castle. As the party prepared to leave, minus Issaries, alarm bells went off and Orlanth was accused of a breach of hospitality because of Eurmal’s theft.

Ginna Jar suddenly found herself in a vast desert, drier than Prax. She called out for her mother and things became confusing. Her mother was divided. Her mother was many. Her mother was one.

Lhankor Mhy walked and walked along the thing that he could not comprehend, denying to himself all the time that it was a dragon.4But was definitely a dragon. He entered a cave between ivory stalactites and stalagmites.5Which were most definitely not teeth. There was a wet, slightly spongy floor6Which in no way at all could have been a tongue., and the path he knew of lead out through more stalactites and stalagmites. He saw an armoured skeleton between two of the ivory pillars – it was Uncle Sestar,7Varanis’ father thought killed by Tusk Riders. He pushed past the skeleton, following the path, and crawling over the dead man. Outside, alas, he was ambushed by a Troll and captured.

Chalana Arroy revisited villages she had been to before to find that in the first one, they were all dead rather than simply wounded and her healing salve was embedded in their wounds, having apparently eaten in and killed them. She had a crisis, although she also managed to find herself a walking stick.8This definitely was not stealing, because they were too dead to need walking sticks anymore. There was a lot of crying. She made her way to the second village and found that more than merely dead, the inhabitants here were undead. She ran, fell, and was scooped up by a troll mere moments before a zombie bit at her.

Flesh Man saw that Yelm had a spark he was holding, desperately cradling it, and went to get it a torch, offering Yelm food for the spark. The torch burned but the spark did not seem to get stronger.

Humakt ordered warriors, including Flesh Man, who had been a self-appointed guard to Yelm, to form a war party around him and go looking for the living that the God of Death could sense in his realm.

Orlanth finally forgave Eurmal. They discussed directions, spotted a path – it leads to a Lead Castle with lots of trolls. They crept up to investigate. In order to enter, Eurmal made himself look like a Troll, as he understood them, and Orlanth wore shackles as a prisoner. Eurmal bluffed them in past the guards. Once inside, they spotted a giant troll spider carrying a wrapped body-shaped bundle. They followed, at speed, and found themselves in the troll larder.

Present in one room of the larder, marked for feasting, they found a bleeding Chalana Arroy and an unconscious Xenofos, and the silk-wrapped wrapped forms of Issaries and Ginna Jar. Everyone was freed, made conscious.9Xenofos woke up face to face with a troll mistress and contemplated stabbing it with a knife, but didn’t, which was good, because it was Eurmal with his illusion. Clever Ginna Jar and Eurmal wound up the spider silk, saving it against future need, and making a great spindle of Issaries’ walking staff, after which they tried to sneak out. This turned into running out after the illusion spell ran out right at the gates. Impressively, Eurmal had enough manacles for all of them.

With a bit of help from each other and mobility spells, they managed to run away, pursued by a pair of trolls. One troll made a tactical withdrawal on hearing Humakt challenge the other. Humakt, Flesh Man, and a war party of dead warriors met them. There was a fight in which Zorak Zoran lost a leg to Humakt and an arm to Orlanth. Flesh Man bravely tried to stab the big troll in the face. Humakt was struck on the arm, and healed himself enough to return to the battle once he had retrieved his sword, but there was no need.

There was some discussion between Humakt and Orlanth, in which Humakt pointed out to everyone that the living did not belong in the Underworld, and that they had to leave or be dead. Orlanth offered to leave, if Yelm could come too. After a bit of back and forth, Humakt ended the discussion by killing Orlanth. Again. Everyone appeared in the Hall of the Dead, where Yelm was waiting patiently, guarding the Spark he was holding in his hand. Orlanth got all oratey, Yelm agreed to go, and Humakt agreed to let them because they were disrupting the peace of his hall, directing a special speech to Yelm about how she did not belong there yet.

The earth split around and above them, and they emerged, but there was unsureness all about, as to whether this would happen again. Taking the silk that the spider-troll had used, Nala wove it around her in a dance, creating a web that would keep such destruction from happening again.

And they all woke up in the Temple of Humakt, including Kallyr whose hand was blackened by the spark. Varanis woke looking into the concerned face of High Healer Beneva, but felt fine, really. Nala and Tiwr somehow rushed Kallyr from the Temple up the stairs of the Palace and all the way to the brazier. Varanis and several of the others took the back route and managed to make it there in time to witness the lighting of the Flame.

Boldhome erupted in jubilation. Kallyr ordered the summoning of her priests and Varanis took off, with Xenofos on her heels, to make it so. She went looking for Chief Priest Tennebris first, only to find out that he’d had an accident with the pointy end of a dagger which resulted in at least five stab wounds. He was recovering at the Temple of Chalana Arroy.


“Big scary troll…” – GM
“Small scary troll. Only size 20.” – Humakt
“But he was playing someone else.” – GM
“BIIIIIG Scary Troll.” – Humakt

“Sid is partying with the dead!” – Humakt
“I got dark Trolled.” – Flesh Man

“Sid is currently dead. So, Orlanth….” – GM
“But it took four of them and I got the Death Lord. YAY Sid.” – Flesh Man

“Varanis knows that she has to forgive Eurmal, but she’s having a hard time doing that…” – Varanis

“Connection is shit.” – GM
“It is his end. As it were.” – Humakt
“I don’t want to know anything about the GM’s ‘end’, thank you very much Berra.” – Varanis

“We went through all the forgive-y stuff…” – Varanis

“We’re not about blame. We’re about solutions.” – Salid
“And the lying, don’t forget the lying.” – Dormal

“Can you make me battle rolls, please?” – GM
@@*@@laughs@@*@@ – Varanis

“Are they pa-trolling?” – Humakt
“-_-” – Eurmal
@@*@@heavy regretful sigh@@*@@ – GM

“What should I roll for Trust?” – Orlanth
“I would have said, fail a sanity check.” – Mellia

“Mellia. I think we had left you with an unhealing wound.” – GM
“Oops, Sorry!” – Nala/Ikadz

“Is there more healing to do here? Can I borrow a walking stick?” – Mellia
“All of them are dead.” – GM
“Well, at least they don’t need walking sticks anymore.” – Varanis

“I don’t know about burying them–this is Hell!” – Mellia
“In your expert medical opinion, do any of them require their walking sticks?” – Varanis

“Something seems to have eaten into their wounds. And on the last one, right at the bottom of the wound, where it’s eaten into his heart, you find some of your healing salve.” – GM
“What have I dooooone!” – Mellia

“I’m going to breathe in and out.” – Xenofos
“Breathing. Breathing is good. Are you trying anything else?” – GM
“Yeah, walking.” – Xenofos
“One step at a time. Remember to breathe. Remember to walk.” – Xenofos

“There is a strange wind, blowing from behind you for five minutes. Pausing. From ahead for five minutes.” – GM
“Interesting. Like breathing. No nonono. it can’t be that big. It’s just the wind.” – Xenofos

“Give me the good news first, so the bad news is even worse.” – Xenofos
“The scale-like movement up and down has stopped. You’re on a smoother surface where the going should be easier.” – GM
“So that was the good news…” – Xenofos
“There’s a sort of cave entrance. Between ivory pillars.” – GM
“Are the pillars more like stalactites?” – Varanis
“Half. The others are Stalagmites” – GM

“Do you have any passions which would inspire you?” – GM
“Well, I could roll Fear (Dragons), which would certainly get me out of here.” – Xenofos

“Devotion (Lhankor Mhy). For Science!” – Xenofos

“Keep breathing. And keep walking. You’ve got this.” – Varanis
“That has got HIM.” – Humakt

“So this may be my fault.” – Humakt
“And I have to say it’s the sort of thing I do.” – Humakt

“You come to understand there are living beings in your realm” – GM
“Well, this is awkward.” – Humakt

“If they were a five-meter across spider, they would leave tracks like this.” – GM
“And me without a newspaper.” – Nala

“The other spear wielder. The burning one. What’s he doing?” – Salid
“He seems to be cradling a little spark.” – GM
“Food? Food for spark?” – Salid fetches a torch!

“Mellia. Are you done with existential angst yet?” – GM
“Yes, but I cried a lot…” – Mellia

“To be fair, dead is what they definitely are not. You might go so far as to call them Undead!” – GM
“Eeeeek! Perversions of life!” – Mellia

“And some of those faces look definitely familiar. All those people you failed to save through your career. They are definitely the slow, shambling type of zombies, but you know they’ll follow you forever.” – GM

“Do you want to make me a quick dodge roll?” – GM
“Yes. I may not succeed however.” – Mellia

“I’m not going to argue with however’s pulling me away.” – Mellia
“You sleep now.” – TROLL VOICE

“Rajar doesnt really grok punching people. I mean why would you when you have axe?” – Flesh Man

“There are scratchings outside each door…” – GM
“Best before dates.” – Humakt

“Well, how much worse COULD it be?” – Xenofos
“He keeps asking that question!!!!!” – Varanis
“That’s the bravest thing I ever heard anyone say.” – Humakt

“A half-decayed skeleton wedged in there.” – GM
“Well, this is a private hell… Anyone I know?” – Xenofos

“I do miss Issaries at this point!” – Lhankor Mhy

“Fire doesn’t work in here. I should have known.” – Lhankor Mhy fails to inspire himself with his Fire Rune

“It’s ok, I speak dragon.” – Eurmal
“Thhhhaaaaaannnnnkkkkkk yoouuuuuuuuuuu.” – Eurmal

“Oh, the bars are on this side? I’m used to it from a different perspective.” – Eurmal

“Well, I’m going to try to heal that one wound.” – Orlanth
“Go for it.” – GM
“I rolled a six… is she healed?” – Orlanth
“No.” – GM
“But that’s Chalana Arroy. If she can’t heal herself, that doesn’t mean someone else can’t heal her.” – Orlanth
“But where do you get your healing magic from?” – Eurmal
“Shush you.” – Orlanth

“There are these dark shapes looming over you, Mellia and Lhankor Mhy.” – GM
“Hello, delicious friend.” – Eurmal

“You are one-hundred percent sure that is not a him.” – GM
“Three-hundred percent.” – Mistress-race Eurmal

“Release everyone you can. We’ll need the distraction.” – Eurmal
“There are no other prisoners here.” – GM
“3/10, would not break into again.” – Eurmal

“I’ll put on the chains. I’m no good in a fight anyhow.” – Chalana Arroy
“Now you have lead chains to hit people with.” – Eurmal
“Just reflect on who you are talking to.” – GM
“Rules are made to be broken.” – Eurmal

“Because I can’t shoot into melee…” – Nala
“You totally can!” – Eurmal

“Humakt leans on his sword and ponders.” – Humakt

“‘Lanth. You rebel.” – Yelm
“Your Imperial Highness!” – Eurmal

“How can you be sure this will not happen again?” – GM
“I don’t think you’re looking for ‘nail Kallyr to the floor’.” – Ginna Jar

“The earth splits asunder in front of you.” – GM
“OW.” – Ginna Jar

“I’ll just stand around in the background as if I’m supposed to be here. Which I totally am.” – Dormal

“Bring the High Priests to me for counsel.” – Kallyr
“Um, does anyone know where Tennebris is?” – Varanis
“The Chief Priest? He was cleaning his dagger and he fell over.” – Guard
“… five times.” – GM

“Hurrah for Eril!” – Humakt
“Thppppppppppt” – Ginna Jar
“He’s the best.” – Humakt
“thpppppppppt” – Ginna Jar

“Ernalda feels empty, and needs something inside?” – GM
“She obviously needs Eril’s sword.” – Berra
….
“Varanis, can you come on video for a second so you can go off video?” – Berra
“NOPE!” – Varanis

“It is a long-term on-again off-again thing.” – Irillo
“Mules that pass in the night.” – Berra