The Dark Side of the Home

S01 — Session 14

1625, Earth Season

Season, Week, Day

Earth Season, Movement Week, Godday until
Storm Season, Movement Week, 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
Salid the Sniveller (Sid)- Trollkin Guardstrollkin
Koraki- Wind Lord of Orlanth
D’Val the Sword- Duck Humakti Hero and Sarcasm-Master
Kallyr Starbrow- Prince of Sartar
Eril, Humakt- High Sword Lord in Boldhome
Tennebris- –High– Chief Priest of Orlanth in Boldhome
Kalis- High Priestess of Ernalda in Boldhome
Harmast- High Priest of Storm Bull in Boldhome
Naril- Master of the Horses to the Prince of Sartar


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 Sonnets to Vestra, Grey Lady of Esrolia, The Death of Rajar, and NalaTiwrSaga. Also included are some extracts from ‘The Accounts of the travels of Irillo Goldentongue‘.

[Welcome back to the next lecture in this series, where we touch on the concept of literary time- when the poet wants to fast forward a touch, because nothing is happening. This is to be expected in an agrarian society in the late Bronze Age, when most of the time must have been taken up with agricultural activity, with little time for the stirring heroics which are documented in this myth cycle. This of course is where archaeology can help us, and I draw attention to the works of Garin in particular to help fill in the blanks. Nevertheless, getting back to the ‘heroics’, when last we saw our heroes, it was travelling back from Alda-Chur towards Boldhome. The Sonnets to Vestra pick up at this point.]

And as the heroes still forth were riding
Their journey end from them still was hiding
A young scribe came riding pell-mell after
Pursued by an Airy spirit’s laughter

He bore forth the scrolls by Sage1 There is no evidence Vestra was a Grey Sage at this stage. Like other similar references, it is a deliberate forshadowing by the author of the Sonnets. then written
By Weird wyrd, fell fate the words were bitten

They twisted words and secret cultic sign
To lack all meaning true, and mystic rhyme
They blew the words as if t’were fallen green
The heroes puzzled over what it mean.

[This literary diversion does not delay our heroes long, however, and they proceed on to Boldhome. The nature of their arrival there probably sits somewhere between the extremes portrayed in The Death of Rajar, and the Lay of Serala, as excerpted below.]

Rajar and his folk
Saw Boldhome and met the Prince
They then spoke a lot.2This is not the Spurious Rajar of academic fame, but is lampooned there:

When Storm Bull Talk Lots
Have Big Wurd To Say Am They

The streets were decked with purple and gold
The people rejoicing, in spite of the cold
Serala led her knights in a demonstration of skill
Which cavalcaded their way up the high Royal Hill.

Where Kallyr the prince, with her minions arrayed
Looked on with admiration, at what she surveyed
And the Lance of the God came and knelt to the throne
(though there were plenty who thought she had one of her own)

“See I bring”, the Knight said, to her great Chieftain High
“Words of wisdom which were found twixt the Air and the Sky!
That Great Elmal would lay in the gift of the Throne,
So I bid you accept this, with the wisdom I own

Do not stray from the path that the Gods have ordained!
Do not cause strife or sorrow, or make others pained.
Let the Prince be a leader, to all Sartar’s thanes
To her Carls, and her Cottars, to all Orlanth Reigns

To all that the Earth calls, or the Sun warms and feed
To grant to all that which they wish, and they need
But last of all glory to her who is head
For her gift it is last, till she lays down as dead.”

But the Prince did not listen, with pride in her heart
Though she spoke brisk and simple, full of faith in her art.
“Tennebris, let us linger, and set out to Quest.
As we did when we rescued the Star of the West!”

Tennebris was most woeful, for he felt omens keen
But he could not impress this to th’ imperious Queen.
So he wept silent tears, and he spoke vanished words3Naturally, we all know the outcome, which we shall not be mention here.
Which were lost as the winter destroys little birds

But Lord Yelm heard the words (as he hears all his flock)
And he felt naught but sorrow, at those words which did mock
For he knew what was ‘fore them, these men of the Bold
As the Quest which Orlanth and his kinsmen performed, as of old!

Then the Prince bade them feast, with all, high and low
While the Darktime bestrode them, with winter and snow.
So they drank of the wine, and the mead and the beer
And ate of the beef, and the pork, and the deer

Of the fine roasted hind, of the Llama so tart
Of the Bolo4The lizard would have been served with its hollowed body filled with a mix of ryb bread re-cooked in spices, vinegar and honey, and its own scales presented to scoop out the prepared mix as an accompaniment to the otherwise stringent and uninteresting flesh., and horse, and the ox and the hart
And the produce from ‘Srolia, brought in by boat
Whilst they heard many lays from both bard, seer and pote.

[As so often, Berra JarangsdottirHumaktisaga gives a different cast once more.]

Daggerdaughter dared
Deploy dearbought Doom
Thrilled the Thane-Mistress
Tale tensed Tennebris

Resting revolved the Ravenfeeder
Rallying restless, resolved
Exercise eternal elated
Unanimous exemplars exacted5It appears that Berra was in good enough standing to join the temple here by unanimous vote, the only way of entering. Eril, the High Sword, would have polled his followers for reasons why Berra should not have been allowed to join, and failing that, she would be admitted as a person of honour. She was, after all, Humakti. Garin has (Altn 20.4) it that this refers to a later decision about, literally, exercise (see line previous). The ancient grammar is not up to, if you will allow the jest in a Humakti vein, Separating these two ideas. We must wait on other kennings for context.

Berra bold began
Boldhome’s barriers beating
Rising runnings midst ravens6This almost certainly does refer to exercise, and at this point Berra must have been a member of the temple in good standing, to be allowed to make the fabled Raven Run, chasing the clouds in storm season. This was the ancient prerogative of the Humakti of Boldhome – running to meet the North Wind, to run from it, was considered a ritual form of severing from the Storm Tribe, and Humakti making the effort from the bottom of the Ramp were a sight well known in this era. Depending on the mood of the people and laws of the times, they might or might not have right of way. It is said (Amb. 316) that some would run from the lower town in an effort to be exhausted by the time they reached the ramp, to further dedicate themselves to the climb.
Reaches and ramparts revealing!

[NalaTiwrsaga should have the last word, along with the T voice.]

Hills encircling
Warmth and food are good but are
Walls entrapping me


As they travelled East towards Boldhome once more, our heroes were disturbed by a couple of things. Firstly, a scribe came riding up from Alda Chur to apologise that nobody could read Vestra’s handwriting. She was surprised (5 times ‘neatest handwriting award at the Great Library’), and read the scrolls which had been sent through, and found the letters appeared to have been blown across the page. Secondly, despite the wishes of Rajar and Berra, there weren’t any attacks by anyone.

On the travel, Vestra considered the scroll, and discovered the letters were still being ‘blown’ across the page, forming eddies in the shape of Storm Runes. Vestra was puzzled, and Koracki wondered if she had offended any Air spirits on Kero Finn.

Unhindered, even by Devolin, the heroes reached Boldhome, and went to report to Kallyr, who had, afterall, sent them on the mission in the first place. She met them with the usual committee of High/Chief priests (plus Harmast to lower the tone considerably), and discussed their findings.

Kallyr decisively made the choice to perform the Stationary Lightbringer’s Quest at the next Sacred Time. Kalis decisively made the choice to perform the ‘Bit of Rough’ Quest, and Rajar was volunteered to help.

As the winter closed in, our heroes settled in to bait Naril, and pursue other activities over the dark season and after.

“Testing?” – GM
( Must say nothing ) O o . – Berra

“You’re muted, Berra.” – GM
“Ah, that’s because I had Berra muted.” – GM

*death-rune waving about scones* – GM and West Country Players

“Eat it with spoons, and ignore the scone.” – Berra
“Which is frankly a cobblestone made out of pastry anyhow.” – Berra

“The High Sages’ complements, mistress… but… nobody can make out your handwriting.” – Scribe
“Yes. Yes, it is definitely your handwriting. The letters do not seem to be in the order you left them.” – GM

“<sniffs paper>” – Rajar
“ROLL IT” – Berra

*does polishing actions* – Berra
*buffs Rajar*” – Berra

“41, which I think with 20 is a success….” – Rajar

“I considered it…” – Rajar. Lying.
“^re raising Sense Chaos.” – GM

“While this is going on, Berra’s going to be staring outwards, keeping watch.” – Berra, who in no way reminded the GM of this or gave him any ideas. Nope.

“((I totally considered raising sense Chaos but Axe came first. And second. And third if I’m honest))” – Rajar
“Sense Axe?” – Nala
“I have three or four” – Rajar

“DAMN” – Rajar

“So words on papery thing move? And you’re utterly sure this isn’t of Chaos?” – Rajar

“Maybe that is how words work?” – Berra
“Got me” – Rajar

*<shrug>* – Rajar
*shrug* – Berra
*Cult secrets* – Rajar
*<sharpens axes>* – Rajar
*Drinks beer* – Rajar
*stares out into wilderness in hope of Scorpion-folk attack* – Berra
*Jiggles lance a bit to make the heads dance. giggles a bit* – Rajar
*also giggles* – Berra

“Okay. Air is playing silly buggers. Right.” – Vestra
“Interesting, but still playing silly buggers.” – Vestra

*hums* “I wish they all could be Es-ro-lian girls!” – GM

“Koraki? Is…. well, is it a cult secret what air feels like? Is that airy?” – Berra
“But not very loudly, because I am concentrating on being on guard.” – Berra
“And loudly would be more helpful.” – Berra

“There is a slight hitch in library use…. You need a library.” – GM

“Sorry, it does horrid things when I mute/unmute.” – Berra

“That’s not me.” – Anonymous
“You light up every time that happens.” – Nala

“Nobody attacks.” – GM
pouts – Berra
“That wobbling lip is joy to me.” – GM

“Very shortly after you sealed it the letters started flowing.” – GM

“It looks very much like they are either being washed or blown across the page.” – GM

“Does the papyrus feel damp to anyone touching it?” – Rajar
“What are you using the papyrus for first?” – Berra

“BAD Berra. Naughty Berra!” – GM
“Wicked Berra?” – Berra

“‘It’s that damned wind.’- Vestra, requiring medication.” – GM
“Bad GM. Charcoal Biscuit.” – Berra
“Biscuit, you say?” – GM
*holds up biscuits, mockingly* – GM

“Or Truth…” – Vestra
“Buff by rubbing Berra against it.” – Berra

“Did you bring enough for everyone, GM?” – Berra

“What this feels to you is that Vestra has somehow offended the spirits of air…” – GM
“Yes.” – Vestra
“Some might call it trouble-making, some might call it petty vengefulness.” – GM (plus 1?)

“The Air spirits are petty vengeful creatures”- Vestra
“I didn’t say that”- Nala
( Riiiiiight) O o . – Air Spirit as channelled by GM

“Practise axe juggling with Sid…………” – Rajar
“Sid is not going to practice axe juggling with you, Rajar.” – GM
“But…” – Rajar
“awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww” – Rajar
*DAMMIT* – Rajar
*<sulks>* – Rajar
*<<considers a disguise>>* – Rajar

“I’ve offended very few people (who are still alive), just that one Lunar” – Rajar

“Koraki thinks there was an offence against the spirits of the mountain.” – GM
“In this inoffensive group? I just can’t see it.” – Serala

“I have followed my oath to Lhankor Mhy. If the spirits of the air have an issue with him, they should bloody well take it up with him. but they won’t, because mutter mutter…” – Vestra

“I don’t think you’re making yourself any more sympathetic with your language.” – Nala
“Neither do I.” – Vestra

“Work? What is this you talk of?” – Rajar

“We should go to see KALLYR.” – Berra
“We should go see her shinyness.” – Rajar
“His/her shinyness” – Rajar
“Its Shininess.” – Berra

“HELLO fellow warriors against the lunar opression” – Rajar

“Hi I also have Cha 18 no never mind.” – Berra

“Feeel the width.” – Rajar
“No thanks.” – Berra
“Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.” – Rajar
“But the fur, sure.” – Berra

“Just so you know… Naril’s…. really impressed with you.” – Palace Guard
“He always is.” – Nala
“I don’t think I’ve heard some of those words before.” – Palace Guard


“Salute, stash lance and shields and head on in. BEER AWAITS” – Rajar

“Small drink.” – Berra
“Small??????” – Rajar
“What is this?” – Rajar

“Your companion animals may, of course, remain with you.”- Kallyr
“And not have sex with any more horses”- Berra (sotto voce)

“A bit more drunk this time.” – Berra
“Not drinking heavily, but still drinking.” – Berra

“Ownership via MURDER DEATH KILL” – Rajar

“The horses previous owners are dead!”- Berra
“The horses previous users are dead. As Imperial Cavalry Horses, I think you’ll find the owner is that guy in the big palace.”- GM
“But that’s a beautiful point, and I love it. And screw you.” – Berra to GM

“((I just got extra skill points in another game for playing my character as powered by pure malice and spite.))” – Rajar

“We havent seen Whitebull in some time.” – Rajar
“He may be dead again.” – Rajar

“Kallyr comes in with Tennebris, Eril, and Kalis. Harmast (Storm Bull) elbowing his way in at the back.” – GM
“oooooooooooooooooooooooooo Harmast” – Rajar

“I’ll rise carefully. Bow politely.” – Berra
“Front and centre, Salute harmast and wave to the other folks” – Rajar

“Bring beer!!!!!” – Rajar

“Ow…” – Berra trying to squat like an infanteer after months in the saddle
“You need more beer, it relaxes the muscles.” – Rajar

“Oh and some food.” – Rajar
“Beer and food.” – Rajar
“Sooooo thirsty…..” – Rajar
*<fist bumps>*” – Rajar

“Tennebris does look slightly surprised. “Maybe not commit now, even where others do not hear…” – GM
“Did we not rip the star from the brow of the dead god? Did we not walk the heavens together you and I?” – Kallyr
“Yes, my Prince, but…” – Tennebris
“That came from the High Priest of Storm Bull.” – GM
“That wasn’t me.” – GM
“It was now. It’s in the log.” – Berra
*<fist bumps Harmast>* – Rajar

“Even the Wind Gods show omens!”- Kallyr

“I shall refill his broken mug.” – Nala
“How did you know it was empty?” – Harmast
“Mug is Always Empty. It’s magic.” – Rajar

“Prax can be saved from the devil” – Rajar
“Are you saying that, Rajar?” – GM
“Yes I am.” – Rajar
“This is where everyone else in the room – other than Harmast and you lot – prove they are politicians by not choking…” – GM
“QUAFF” – Rajar
*careful straight face* – Berra
“I think that might be a longterm project.” – Kallyr
“Oh, certainly. Not this season. Maybe next season!” – Rajar
“I think we can find some vocations that lead you in that direction. Strengthen you…” – Eril
*perks up* – Berra

“I saw things too horrible to speak of, Highness. But I reached an understanding of Harmony.” – Irillo

“From a dark corner, Sid perks up. “Highness? Understood Uzko does not have to be weak if god with him.” – GM
*cheer Sid* – Rajar
*go fetch Sid a beer* – Rajar

“Our companion Salid.” – Berra
“Free trollkin. Representing a husband of Ernalda.” – Irillo
Another swivelling of heads, this time towards Kalis.
“Ah yes. Ernalda. Warm-hearted and accomodating.” – Nala

“At least Ernalda is not a racist.” – Tiwr

*pretends that did not happen* – ALL THE POLITICIANS

( I should go to the temple… ) O o . – Berra
*subtly stretch out legs a bit* – Berra
“Ow.” – Berra

“She looks to Serala.” – GM
“Serala looks back.” – Serala
“There’s a pause…” – GM

“I got that slightly wrong. But I’m drunk, so hell, I’ll go with it.” — Berra

“Now to join my PC, by drinking.” – Berra Player

“I’m not sure your understanding is correct. Would you like to come along and discuss this in more detail?” – Kalis
“Sure!” – Rajar
“Get your cloak. You’ve pulled.” – Berra
“RAWR!!!!” – Rajar

“While I’m at the earth temple see if I can find another battle axe. I think 2 might be useful.” – Rajar
“Those guards have got them. I’m sure you could just steal one” – GM

“The axe maidens of Babeester Gor are curiously unwilling to offer over their battle axes except under very particular circumstances.” – GM

“I’m obviously angling to work out whether a young initiate can do better for Humakt at Whitewall or Boldhome.” – Berra
“Not yet asking directly, but taking in the context I’ll need to decide.” – Berra
“Whitewall has an elderly High Priest… It seems that there is going to be a carefully managed rebuilding.” – GM

“VIOLENCE…. Ahem.” – Berra

“And all her clouds fell off.” – Raja

“Mhintsi?” – GM
“Is it somehow better in your world if we use a stupid spelling, GM?” – Serala

“Naril is leaning against the edge of the paddock that Cavalleria is prancing in. “It has nice gait.” – GM
“Not as good a chat-up line as Kalis’.” – Berra
“(Except if you are Tiwr.)” – Berra
“And it’s not been gelded…. Have you thought to sell?” – Naril
“I was more thinking long-term investment.” – Serala
*turns the screws* – Serala”
“You could turn a good profit doing that. Or… you could serve the Prince really well by producing war-horses.” – Naril
“Favours? Really?” – Serala

“Sword!” – Berra
“Dagger!” – D’Val
“You know sword and dagger isn’t viable.” – Nala
“Oh, we just can’t have viable offspring.” – Berra

“Shake hands in time-honoured unhygenic fashion.” – Serala
“Oaths chase away disease spirits anyhow.” – Berra

“Let’s have the complete list of bodily fluids…” – Nala
“No, I don’t think I’m in the right humour for that.” – GM
“So, if we all mute him, we can play without him.” – Berra
“But because he never listens to us, it would take him ages to find out.” – Serala

“I’ve got a stack of cats now.” – Serala
“Video on!” – GM
*stack of cats* – video

*drinks* – Berra
*facepalms* – GM
*temporal confusion* – Berra

“PONY!?!?!” – Tiwr (not a pony)

“We missed fireday…” – Serala
“We were travelling. In a bit of a hurry. There had been a fire!” – Berra

“We need a list of euphemisms for Ernalda giving out her bounty.” – Berra
“…..” – Rajar
“Warm-hearted and accommodating” – Nala
“Attending to sacred duties” – Nala
“Communing with the Goddess” – GM

“Yes, I would hugely appreciate euphemisms for Ernalda giving out her bounty.” – GM
“But none for Rajar doing so.” – Berra
“Oh god no.” – GM
“…………………..” – Rajar

“Extending the hospitality of the earth.” – Nala
“Pounding the………….. no not going there” – Rajar
“Cultivating the harvest of…” – Nala

“So, plans for Dark Season.” – GM
“Buy another axe.” – Rajar

“I want to train at the Temple of Humakt.” – Berra

“Absolutely! Get out to the grazelands and talk to the clan, sort out the logistics of setting up the breeding and training program.” – Serala
“…possibly get married if she can’t get out of it…” – Serala

“Let it snow…” – Berra

“I’m looking to either lift heavy weights or practise left handed battle axe. But yeah What the Khan tells me” – Rajar
“The Khan advises telling stories, drinking a lot, and preparing yourself for next year.” – GM
“Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooot my favourite” – Rajar

*<another fist bump>* – Rajar

“The other thing is self-instruction…” – GM
“That is not a euphemism.” – Berra

“That’s a d3 or a 1?” – Berra
“So, 0 then.” – Berra

“I depend and rely on disappointing the GM at every turn.” – Nala
“I respect that.” – Berra
“Thank you.” – Nala

Berra is training:
“Camp out on the stairs and drink beer and eat and watch now and then” – Rajar
“Occasionally Berra gives a mad grin as she goes past. Most often, she just wheezes.” – Berra

“Rajar, check messages?” – Berra

“I am going to rely on my 150% naive roll.” – Nala

“He forgot to cast his shield again. It’s fine, he remembered his extension.” – Berra
“It sounds like he’s back with Kalis.” – Nala

“I’m going to cast Chaos near the Dark Young… Sense Chaos!” – Nala

“Woohoo! movement has gone from being my second highest rune to….even more my second highest rune!” – Nala

“I might melt down a tens d10 as an example” – Nala

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