Spark to a Flame

S01 — Session 33

1626, Fire Season

Season, Week, Day

Fire Season, Disorder Week

Dramatis Personae






As before, the log will be recounted with extracts from Berra JarangsdottiHumaktisaga, from The Lay of Serala, Lance of the Cold Sun , The Death of Rajar, and NalaTiwrSaga. As with last time there will be extracts from the Sonnets to Varanis, and also The Sonnets to Mellia, Sweetest of Healers, White Lady of Esrolia, additionally, we will be seeing the Sonnets in Praise of Xenofos. We begin to see entries here from The Lays of Finarvi. There will be brief reference to the Accounts of the Travels of Irillo Goldentongue. Editorial commentary will be recorded [thus]. Both the {“D”} and “T” voice appear in this selection of extracts.

[“Good afternoon. I trust you have made a useful study period out of our enforced absence last week. No? You decided you would rather spend your days out of your heads on energy drinks and vodka, and watch debates in the parliament? Well, constant bickering and character assassination attempts probably does count as preparation.

Now, we reach the segment known as the ‘March into Darkness’. von Sturm here has the definitive analysis, if your tastes turn to the esoteric, (and times being what they are). Garin- yes, that Garin- is more of a literalist on the details. I shall leave it to you to decide who is right. We begin with Sonnets to Varanis, who does much of the heavy lifting for this lecture. I assume none of you are allergic to iambic pentameters.”]

Varanis then to mighty Kallyr strode
Her path becoming then a night shade road.
“Great Prince, I have an oath most grim ensworn
To find and light that flame- long from us torn!

Not for my pride or pui’ssance do I act
But for your Kingdoms ancient sacred pact!
Both kinfolk and a thane to you am I
And with this sworn word shall I live or die!”

Wise Kallyr to her deepest thoughts bestirred,
And pondered long on what her ears had heard.
And tho’ she fearéd that her kin would die
She knew this act was right, the thane must try.

[“But wait, I hear you say. The Fellowship is broken, is it not? (Note… that is an excellent phrase that an academic wishing to write a work of heroic fantasy should try and squeeze in. I shall have to remember it.) Well, yes. And where are the other members?”]

When unicolts talk,
It’s good to mention these things:
Commas. Full stops. Full. Stops.

“So proud. So. Proud.”

[“It would appear that Nala travelled into Prax, with the unicorn colts. Naturally there she met the army of Argrath of Prax. As the same poet says, “]

The earth is weary,
never meant to bear armies.
Sandalled feet flake her.

[“Things get a little more obscure, however, when the poet writes,”]

Try instead, seeress,
seeking secrets deep within
that damp the soul down

[“There is considerably less evidence of the actions of Irillo and Dormal, but we find archaeological evidence in the depths of Rhegos, where a recent underwater dig has found another Darktongue Stella, inscribed with the words:”]

,,Negotiation begins.
In Rhegos, humans press their flesh.,,

[“We also have an unusually meditative entry from the Accounts.”]

What price service?
To Clan: estimated 100L loss in potential earnings over the year.
To Cult: Estimated 200L loss in potential earnings over the year.
To Sartar: Gain of 2 hides of land. Gratitude of Princes, uncertain value.

{“I really have no idea if the Duck is playing me, or I’m playing him.”}

[“Moving back to the main ‘Thread’ of the Heroic Journal, I’m sure you will identify a few notes of late. Varanis is called back in Nochet, and rejects the call, acting as one would expect, as a spoiled noblewoman. She meets the mentor- perhaps Berra, perhaps the whole group of Heroes. But in an internal sense we see the whole matter playing out again in the discussions in the Palace, where Varanis and her companions meet with Kallyr and Eril.”]

Red handed Finarvi to the halls of princes came
Where blades were to the hand of command tame
Varanis a path to the most glor'ious battle sought
And Blade Thin Eril, then a noble path to glory wrought.

Rajar met Khans Khan1Or, as the Spurious Rajar has it:

Our honest Bison
By words plunged into error
Fears no Battle Boobs

Hearing of Snakepipe Hollow
Cheer’d for glor’ious death!

2I do not like haiku.
This line here is holding space.
First line says it all [fn]

[fn] This demonstrates either the spurious Rajar, like the mythical one, getting maudlin into their beer, or, like the marginalia in much later texts, is an anonymous scribal plaint against monotony of form

Xenofos heard the paths of death and glory
The Lunar paths and Snakepipe gory
The Dark path to the Queen of Trollfolk sent
Where routes to Darklands thro’ the veil a-rent!

Brave Berra bade
Bright bladed lord
Let them know the Night Necklace
Where Noble-God’s Knight prevailed!

Speaking Sagely she
Sought a safer way.
Taught thrice-hailed Sword-Thane3 Whilst the Bright Bladed Lord is doubtless the High Sword Eril, it is a little unclear if the Sword-Thane is Eril, or Varanis. Thane of Swords would be a kenning for a High-Sword, but could also refer to her Thane, albeit presuming the future ‘Sword’ status of Berra,4 And “teaching” a High Sword a well known Humakti tale might be regarded as insolence of the highest order, surely unworthy of Berra. ,5As a further complication, Berra JarangsdottiHumaktisaga lacks in many of the time-giving cues of the Sonnet style of Varanis or Mellia, and so it is impossible to tell where this particular teaching moment takes place. It could be that Varanis was taught over the course of some days, after the meeting, or that the teaching was in the presence of the Prince of Sartar, and thus would have been an admonition to other Humakti present – indeed not worthy of Jarang’s Daughter.
Tales of Time past quest!

In a stunning bit of pre-emptive grovelling, Varanis went up to let Tennebris know that she’d caused flames to flicker on the Flame of Sartar. He was surprisingly understanding, if a touch world weary. She also mentioned that she had sworn to help Kallyr relight the Flame. He asked her to come back with her companions the next day while he had a bit of a frantic think about things.

Meanwhile, making good their escapes from Boldhome (Greatest City in the World), Nala, Tiwr, and the two Uni-colts headed to Prax, whilst Dormal and Irillo made their way to Duck Point, en-route for Nochet (Actually Greatest City in the World). On the way each had encounters, Nala with some Bison riders, whom she regaled with tales of Rajar, and Dormal and Irillo with Devolin, whom Dormal bribed to join them later in Rhigos. Dormal and Irillo uneventfully made their way down river, and reported to Granny. Nala made her way equally uneventfully to the Paps, where she found an army gathering, and Venna in planning mode. Nala passed on the story of Wind Tooth (Berra’s sword… see sessions 1 and 2), and learned of the life of the Khan who had borne it before.

Berra, Finarvi, Rajar and Varanis headed up to the palace, to be taken (along with a tagalong duck) through to where Kallyr told them that she believed the spark of the Flame of Sartar was probably with Sartar in the Underworld. She handed over to Eril who explained that access to the Underworld could probably be found by him stabbing them, in Peloria (probably in 2 places), or in Snakepipe Hollow. Berra “helpfully” pointed out another option, and the group retired to consider their options

Dormal and Irillo continued on, to Rhigos, arriving in the City of Sin.

“I shall be on video, so you can admire my pretty face.” – GM
“89/not-89 for admiring GM’s pretty face.” – Berra
“Can I please not have a tick on that?” – Berra

“Wreak your Rune upon the mountaintop.” – Berra

“Learning the skills that Storm Bull values, most of which include dismembering people.” – Rajar

“Are you taking anyone to the palace with you?” – GM
“No.” – Varanis
( I think we just dodged a sling bullet ) O o . Berra

“He is seated in his little sitting room. He’s got a goblet of wine. He’s looking quite a lot better than the last time you saw him, but still extremely tired.” – GM

“Hhh. Thane Varanis. How can I… serve you?” – Tennebris

“Chief Priest, I went to visit the Flame of Sartar. I wanted to visit where my ancestors have been.” – Varanis
“Just a little nod. Nothing particularly impressive. Perhaps he’d been expecting this? Perhaps not.” – GM
“My lord Chief Priest. When I touched the runes on the basin where the flame should be it flickered blue. I felt for that moment that my great great grandfather was there with me. Just for a moment.” – Varanis
*little nod* “You know, just occasionally it would be nice if somebody were in fact simply a usurper.” – Tennebris

“Very well. What we all suspected and the Prince had accepted has been confirmed. You are of the Royal Blood.” He gives a slightly dry smile, pours anothergoblet of wine and offers it to you. “CongratulATIONS. You are now eminently more assassinatable.” – GM/Tennebris
“Oh, Chief Priest I think it gets worse than that.” Varanis takes a sip to fortify herself…
“I made a promise to the spirit of Sartar while I was there, and I promised that I would try to relight the flame for him, for the people of Sartar, and for Prince Kallyr, so she can rule.” – Varanis
“He considers for quite a long time.” – GM
“Imgonna have another drink.” – Varanis

“Tell me, did you make this oath on – for example – a Truth Rune under the auspices of Humakt, anything that will make it even more complex?” – Tennebris
“Um, there was a Humakti present as a witness.” – Varanis
“Did she call upon her god as witness?” – Tennebris
“I don’t recall that she did.” – Varanis
“Siggggggh.” – Tennebris
“… No, I don’t believe that she did.” – Varanis
“There would have been HUMAKT there.” – Berra

“There is an air of ‘I guess I picked the wrong week to give up wine.’ “Very well.”” – Tennebris
“But he’s drinking wine…” – Varanis
“It’s already been the wrong week to give it up, then you happened.” – Berra

“I didn’t know at the time that might doing do might be construed by some as a claim to the throne. Kallyr is the true Prince and should be Queen.” – Varanis

“Yes. I agree. That’s why I’ve been adventuring with her for twenty years. That’s why I have sworn a solemn oath to see her Queen or die in the process.” – Tennebris
“I would like to help make Kallyr Queen.” – Varanis
“”Gooood. Not least because it does simplify my life really quite a bit. Alright… It is not an easy thing that you have sworn. I had considered asking you to sound out some of the neighbouring Royalty. However, this takes precedence… It is possible Sartar needs to be found, in the Underworld. It is …. it is possible that the flame of sartar is so called because he brought it here. It is possible it is an artefact of elsewhere.” – Tennebris
“And of course, as ever, both is a possibilitiy.” – Tennebris
“So, I feel like I might have a quest to work on.” – Varanis
“Yes. Give me time to consider this matter – and of course to speak with the Prince. Come tomorrow. Perhaps if you could gather your band of heroes…” – Tennebris
“Yes.” – Varanis
“No hero succeeds alone.” – Tennebris
“Yes, Chief Priest.” – Varanis

“Just send her off to fight the Lunars. Sartar will know his own” – Dormal

“Testing the new dice…. I don’t love the new dice.” – Varanis

“Sorry I may have accidentally insurged a bit.” – Dormal

“Royal Toll?” – Dormal
“Royal Toll.” – Devolin
“Tell me, have you considered opportunities in the private sector?” – Dormal

“There’s a really … psychotic short for a human stabby Humakti who’s got a serious stab on for you in this local area.” – Dormal

“That’s for free. But I’ve got a job down south, coincidentally a long way away from this particular duckicidal Humakti.” – Dormal

“Down Thouth, you thay? Let me tell my band of Loyal Followerth they can dithperthe.” – Devolin

“Tho. I am Devolin the Deadly. Follower of Humakt, the god of Death and War.” – Devolin
“That’s what I thought the first time I saw you. That’s a follower of Humakt, I thought.” – Dormal
“Tho. You with the rich guy?” – Devolin
“Yes… certainly going in the same direction.” – Dormal

“So, I should probably roll on Devolin’s greed vs his greed.” – GM

“Let’s do the harder Sartar bit first when they don’t know how to complain, and the easier Prax bit when they have words.” – Nala plans a route for the Unicolts

“Heist is not a word I like in my plans.” – Xenofos
“Clan members these days. No dedication.” – Dormal

“‘milking the sheep'” – Berra
“No, that is not a euphemism for Ernalda’s bounty. So, you go into [* the Good Place].” – GM
“Is that a …” – Berra

“If they come close enough to talk to, I’ll hail them, and tell them what a wonderful job Rajar is doing.” – Nala
“Rajar… is he still alive?” – Bison Rider
“Thank you!” – Rajar
“And Billy!” – Nala
… “One of the bison riders hands a coin to another.” – GM
“So, Rajar. They call him Chaos-Killer now, you know?” – Nala

“And I will relay to them that most important piece of poetry that Rajar commissioned about Eril.” – Nala
“It was a very important bit of poetry!” – Rajar

“During the dance there will be some comedic moments when my eyes go wide and I fall over.” – Nala dances Billy

“Berra looks exhausted and on edge.” – Berra

“Now is the time to say if you’re not going to do this…” – Varanis
“Oh sorry, I should have said yes! I just didn’t say no.” – Berra
“We’ve already agreed as far as I’m concerned.” – Finarvi
“Rajar is a little fuzzy on what a kingdom is to be honest.” – Rajar

“Ah thank you. Khan of Khans. Like Argarath but with boobs. Right.” – Rajar

“At the top of the steps, sitting down, cleaning his fingernails…” – GM
“The DUCK!” – Berra
“A Duck… The Duck, in fact.” – GM

“They’re waiting for you.” – D’Val
“The guards are there and they are completely ignoring him. There is no attempt to move him on.” – GM

“The guard waits until we have clearly finished talking, and goes, ‘Ah! New arrivals! Is the Prince expecting you?'” – GM
“The Chief Priest is.” – Varanis
“I think you’ll find the Prince is.” – Guard
“The Duck stands and ambles on after. One of the guards holds up a hand.” – GM
“He’s with me.” – Berra
“I’m with her.” – D’Val
“With with?” – Varanis
“No, just next to.” – Berra
“Got to have some duck stuff this evening, hyeah, some duck stuff doing tonight….” – Nala

“Berra is standing next to D’Val. Proudly.” – Berra
“Trying not to lean on him casually.” – Berra

“Finarvi tries not to stare everywhere.” – Finarvi

“Behind her and slightly to one side is Tennebris. Leaning sardonically against the other doorframe in a black robe is Eril.” – GM
“Rajar stands at the back and looms a bit.” – Rajar
“He sees your Loom, Rajar, and raises you a Brood.” – GM
“Excellent. Rajar doesn’t notice the brood. That’d be subtlety. – Rajar
“After Xenofos does all the formal greetings, Rajar will wave and say hi to everyone.” – Rajar

“Rajar does bow a bit to herself the Khan of Khan with boobs.” – Rajar

Kallyr nods slightly. “So, my kinswoman.”
“Yes, my Prince.”
“You have made a rash promise, I understand.”
“I did, my Prince.”
“Well…. Orlanth will be Orlanth.” There’s a thoughtful nod. “There is a thing you can do for me.”
“Yes.” – Varanis
“You can bring back the Spark. I believe our ancestor has it with him.” – Kallyr
“I will go looking, and I’ll do my best not to fail you.” – Varanis
“He is of course in the underworld.” – Kallyr
“Yes my Prince.” – Varanis

“Now, I have taken counsel, because there are several ways to reach the underworld. High priest.” – Kallyr
“She turns to look towards Eril.” – GM

“Yes, your Highness. Firstly of course there is the direct and if I may say so to the … point way of reaching the underworld. There are gateways. it is possible the Trolls have one. The otherworld is a true Darkness. Otherwise I know of several. There are …. at least two which are close enough to be useful. One is in Peloria.” – Eril

“There may be more than one there. I believe their …alleged goddess returned through one. There is also said to be one in Snakepipe Hollow.” – Eril

“WOw. WOoooow.” – Rajar

“Given the need to keep you as it were alive until you reach the land of the dead I have taken the liberty of asking D’Val the Sword to accompany you if you choose one of those routes.” – Eril
“Thank you.” – Varanis
“Believe me when I say it is entirely my pleasure.” – Eril
“He says, with no evidence of pleasure on his face at all.” – GM

“Gee, if only you had someone good with the otherworlds, or a troll, or someone with IGNITE, but no, you’ve gone and pushed them to the ends of the earth.” – Nala

“They may offer you fortune and fame….” – Nala
“Love and money and instant acclaim…” – Nala

“Uh, what about Indrodar’s necklace? It’s where Humakt came out of the Underworld, bearing Death… Unless that’s a Humakti secret… If I may, High Sword?” – Berra
“As that particlar yinkin has been released, do proceed, Initiate.” – Eril

“Indrodar’s Necklace is in the Greydog Clan. It’s in Lismelder lands, so it’s easier to get to.” – Berra
“This is certainly something that might work, yes.” – Eril

“Rajar they’re trying not to go to SPH!” – Dormal

“I think she called you cautious.” – Dormal

“We’d like some time to think about this, if that’s alright with you?” – Varanis
“I would expect nothing less of you. Action is the mark of a hero but so too is consideration.” – Kallyr

“Varanis – Eril gave a choice of three forms of increasingly lethal there. Well, four, technically, if you include the trolls. Anyone would think…” – GM
“He was trying to do away with me?” – Varanis
“Well, you or your group.” – GM
“I was kind of suspecting that. I don’t think I even needed an Intrigue roll to work that out.” – Varanis

“77/25” – Xenofos
“88/10” – Finarvi
“66/25” – Rajar

“Do you mean your Hate Eril passion?” – Nala
“I don’t have that passion, but I think I could rapidly develop it.” – Varanis

“Impassive marzipan face?!” – Nala
“*mask-like” – GM
“Ah.” – Nala
“That’s how they disguise the duck face.” – Berra

“So we are taking the part in basically same quest that reputedly annihilated Temertains retinue when he had been crowned the king of Sartar. What could possibly go wrong.” – Xenofos

“Now you need to paint Devolin as Cleopatra. Duck of DeNile.” – Nala
“No, Nala, I do not.” – Artist

“Oh crap. Don’t say we need an Eurmali too.” – Xenofos

“Ginna Gor?” – GM
“Maran and Bab’s long lost sister.” – Rajar

*rolls* “Not even gonna bother looking.” – Rajar

“Sid’s on his way South. We need someone who’s afraid but does things – and Xenofos is taken.” – Berra

“Once you’ve had bill, you long for it thtill…. – GM

“You don’t know what you’re missing.” – Cloacasan
“Yes, that’s true.” – Dormal

“It’s a Eurmali deal. It’s Dagger and Cloacasan.” – Nala

“Salid should not show his backbone. He only has Heal (1).” – Berra

“She is the Perky Humakti.” – GM
“I’m having a bit of conceptual trouble with that, but sure.” – Dormal

“Waiting to see how he sells me out…” – Varanis

“They are with me.” – Salid
“I’m so proud of Sid. <snf>” – Nala

“Teabreak so as not so spoiler self… or popcorn?” – Berra
“Popcorn.” – Nala

“When you play the game of Nochet, there is no second best. You win, or you die.” – GM

“She has never met Eril.” – Berra
“Lucky, lucky Grandmother” – Nala

“That die is still tumbling. We will see where it lands when the Lunars have been through Sartar again.” – Grandmother

“Well, that went well.” – Berra
“Are you sure your Storm Bull is still alive?” – D’Val
“He knows when to fight chaos and when not to fight chaos.” – Berra
“Are you sure your storm bull is still a Storm Bull?” – D’Val

“…I’d like to point out he is his own storm bull. He’s a friend, but he is his own person.” – Berra

“Tho. It appearth I live to fight another day.” – D’Val
“Unless you want to come to Indrodar’s Necklace and be a mad hero.” – Berra
“Well, I’ll come, but I don’t think I’ll be the Humakti that completes this quest.” – D’Val
“Well, I don’t see any others here, so if I die on the road, you get to do it.” – Berra

“He orders wine and beer with the air of a Duck with nothing to prove.” – GM

“Would the Trolls kill you?” – Berra
“It depends how many of them I killed.” – D’Val
“I’m not afraid of trolls, but I’d prefer to look at other options.” – Varanis
“It’s fine, D’Val’s saying he’d prefer to look at other options too.” – Berra

“And then I could go to the temple and ask what I can find there….” – Berra
“I’m right here, you know?” – D’Val
“Yes, and I’m very glad you are!” – Berra

“D’Val could be Indrodar and then that would let me be Ginna Jar or Flesh Man, and come with you.” – Berra
“Can everyone except Berra roll Insight Own Species, please.” – GM

“The Good Place is good? Who would have believed it?” – Nala

“When you see him, punch him on the shoulder for me.” – Venna
“Can’t reach.” – Nala
“Then punch him in the balls for me.” – Venna
“OK!” – Nala

“That’s Irillo. Always a thought for the futures.” – Nala

“No beer yesterday, only wine. And I suspect there was an alynx with very bad habits.” – Xenofos

“Do you want God Learners? This is how God Learners happen.” – GM

“Snakepipe Hollow feels safer somehow.” – Varanis
“… No.” – Berra

“I’ve been reading the Lightbringers’ Quest. It was really nice knowing you all.” – Varanis

“Yes. Do not allow Xenofos be the one to be afraid all the time.” – Berra
“Flesh Man goes through the MINCER.” – Berra

“Well, we’ll be going relatively slowly anyhow, i suspect, in 3 parts, like Gaul.” – Berra

“What could possibly go wrong…” – Xenofos
“Us.” – Berra
“Wait, was that rhetoric?” – Berra

“I don’t want to die….” – Varanis
“But Eril and Tennebris…” – Xenofos

“Khan Razig Taneraug. Declined to quest for Iron.” – Venna

“When your High Sword says, ‘Go and die’.” – Berra

“I have a plan. It involves kidnapping Varanis.” – Finarvi
“I like it” – Rajar
“I think I like it!” – Berra
“It’s for your own safety! And ours!” – Finarvi
“It might work better if you don’t warn me first.” – Varanis

“You haven’t died gloriously yet. You’re very bad at it.” – Nala

“I am not sure what I think about Eril, at the moment.” – Varanis

“Is it heteronormative porn?” – Varanis
“It’s 12 volumes bound in leather” – Rajar/last-GM

“Eril is looooooovely.” – GM
“Good gods, GM. I thought that said ‘lonely’ and was in reference to the Pelorian porn.” – Berra
“Muahahahahahahahahahaaa” – GM

“The most valuable thing is the porn stash.” – Xenofos
“Pornstache?” – Dormal