Trolling the Party

S01 — Session 4

1625, Earth Season

Dramatis Personae


Berra Daughter of Jarang
Nala of the Unicorn Ladies
Tiwr, Unicorn of the Unicorn Ladies Tribe
Rajar son of Ranulph
Vestra, Grey Sage


Jaldis, High Priestess of Chalana Arroy in Whitewall
D’Val the Sword
Devolin the Deadly
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
A Dark Troll
And a Chorus of Trollkin (including Salid the Sniveller)

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. A new poem joins our narrative at this point, NalaTwrSaga1 NalaTiwr saga is unusual, in that it is a saga of two heroes, not one. This is not totally unheard of, as it is often invoked in Heroes following the twin volcano Gods, [* Caladra & Aurelion] but this saga is unique in the surviving literature in linking a human and non-human hero. The style of the Saga is classic for the Praxian epic, but some of the construction suggests it was not originally written in Praxian, but in Esrolian, or possibly Tradetalk. The stylistic links to the ‘Death of Rajar’ implies the same author. . “Insertions will occur” in a cynical voice, of a manipulative outsider to these heroics, which is labelled in the literature as ‘The Q voice’ . Further {insertions} will occur in another cynical or sarcastic voice, best recalled amongst the Unicorns of Prax. 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.]


[We begin our text with NalaTiwrSaga. Earlier stanzas are lost, but it is clear the Heroine and Equoidhero have met with Venna, a central figure in many of the tales from this period, and been given a task by her. Intriguingly, there is no VennaGryflawdottirUroxisaga. It may be she is a common motif of the era for a Deus ex Machina2 Although naturally, there are no Deus in any Machina, as that would break the Great Compromise! , but commentators are unclear on this.]

Riding from Venna
Nala, Unicorn Lady
To Kallyr Starbrow

Bearing dispatches
Atop Tiwr- swiftest Huntfriend
Thro’ Earth season road

{“What’s this WE will go? You just have to sit there!”}

Reaching old Whitewall
Given Hospitality
Green hill fort greeting

[We will now cut through to Berra JarangsdottiHumaktisaga which is less stylised than the Praxian texts, and which cuts to the chase.]

Hailing Heroine handily
Hale Berra harkened to the Host
Heard Whitewalls Whispering Wyter3 It is very unlikely that the community at Whitewall at this point had a Wyter, after the Lunar sack, and the subsequent incursion by Delecti. The author is implying Berra was informed of Nala’s approach by a spiritual message, rather than by hearing hoofbeats.
Wakened from her Wonderings.

Gladly greeted she the girl
Gaily garbed in gear of Prax.
Saw in her a likewise Soul
Seeing signs in spear and steed4 Berra JarangsdottiHumaktisaga is a little less ‘giving’ in regard to non-human contributions to the greater myth cycle, at least at this point.

[The arrival is also echoed in the Sonnets to Vestra]

Atop Whitewalls pale and perished pile
From within her God gripped mental file
Did Vestra draw her thoughts anew
And knew the hand which Undead slew
Was not sufficient, as was tasked5 This set of Sonnets implies that Vestra inspired the Humakti Lord with the idea that more magical chops were required to deal with the portal. It is unclear the evidence behind this, but the theory has been enthusiastically taken up in Esrolia ever since.
D’Val was gifted Wisdom, asked
The Sage and all her brethren go
To Kallyr, and thus let her know
That Delecti’s hand was clawed, extended
That Undead’s Unlife here was ended,
But like unto a spirit canker
Would end the life of….6 The manuscript here is damaged, and it is unclear where the poet is going with this.

[Flipping to the Lay of Serala}

Swiftly Serala’s swordsmen left the Fortress fall’n
Swiftly sallied leaving Star Crossed Whitewall,
Rode they, swift and noble as Centaurs,
As ‘Elmal7 Elmal, the ‘Faithful Guardian of the Stead’ is the Orlanthi Lord of Horses, and is usually viewed as identical to Yelmalio. Clearly the poet concurs. , lord of Horses’ claws

Rested they in darksome valleys
Rested they, whilst closer to them unknown dallied
Some darkly horde of trollfolk beastsome
Who sought to fall upon them by dark clad treason

Serala’s sight and hearing left exposed their plotting
Her call to Cold Sun, their vision rotting
Truely a Faithful Guardian springing
To horse, her warning shout a-singing!8 One must recall Serala was a Grazelander. Nobody leapt to horse except her. Nala leapt to Unicorn, Rajar to Bison, and the rest fought on foot.

[Back to NalaTwrsaga]

Troll and some trollkin
Striking afar? No, charging
Is best not-horse sense

Spear and Horn striking
Troll sways and gasping- Dying
with Disruptive spell9 There is the implication here that magic may have been involved in the death of the Troll. If so, who cast it? .

“Technically I killed a troll. Those two just helped.”

[Compare with the treatment in Berra JarangsdottiHumaktisaga]

“Humakt” hollering Hero
Hewed against horde
Slaughtering Uzfolk sagely
Slaying and severing souls

[And The Death of Rajar]

When Bison and ‘kin
Meet in a wood. Who hears the
Fall of trollkin heads?

[And the Sonnets to Vestra]

When trollkin meets a Sagemaid in the woods
And seek to steal her life and goods
They learn what Lhankor into battle sage packs
The pen is mightier than the mace- as is the axe!

[Moving back to Serala, we find that …]

Slew they the Trollkin, Slew to a dectile
Let the rest flee down to their home caverns vile
So led Serala safely, let them somehow
Sped they all on, to the Seat of Starbrow!

[This leadership is disputed, of course, in NalaTwrsaga]

Horn Thane, heroine
Led swiftly on the war band
To Starbrows Palace

[In any case, aside from the delivery of Nala’s message, (the written one stating when the next year’s campaign would begin, and the verbal one saying, ‘but 5 weeks earlier than I wrote down’) all the surviving sources from this period of the HeroWars agree Berra did the speaking for the next bit. ]

Bravely began Berra,
Before her Prince bowed
Spake she of Slaughter
Spawn of Delecti’s spite

Declared D’Vals Desire
Destroying dark device
Letting life lift
Light upon lost Whitewall!

Cold Kallyr considered
Called for quiet Counsel.
Spoke she with Sages
Sought out Priests Speech

Earth Lady Kalis Lovely
Lifted hope into Light
Gave Guidance- Gods
Granting Good for worship

Emotion stripped Eril
Echoing. Evil driven out
By Blessings Boundless
Born of Bravery

Wind lord Tennebris wakened
Wishing to speak his Words
Opened Temple to Orlanth
Otherworld would close Out .

Nala of the Unicorn tribe was given a letter from Venna to Kallyr Starbrow, and an oral message to go with it, telling Kallyr to be prepared five weeks before the date in the letter. She set off, riding her unicorn Tiwr. On the way she passed by a toll set by Devolin, on behalf of the Prince of Sartar. Rather than be delayed by the obvious lie, she paid him; to her coins were simply round flat things anyhow, and not very important. Devolin high-tailed it into the trees, and nala and Tiwr cantered on.

In Whitewall, Qidane had written a tune catchy enough for children to sing, lampooning the cowardice of the High Priestess Jaldis, and used rune magic to make sure it stayed dancing around in the air even when there were no children about. Jaldis was not very pleased.

At Whitewall, the smell of the city made Nala and Tiwr choke, and they nearly left, but met up with Qidane and Vestra in the city below, and then were invited by the Priestess Jaldis to be guests there. They decided to spend the night up on the plateau, above the stink, where there was grass and safety. There, they met Rajar, Berra, Mellia, and Serala, getting ready to leave for Boldhome the next morning. They agreed to travel together for safety on the next part of the road. D’Val’s word was enough to get horses from the local lord, along with money he was able to put down as ransom for that word. Anyone who survived mugging the duck would be set.

They set off in the morning, after allowing D’Val one final sleep. The fyrd stepped in to keep the space behind him. Mellia was called on to deal with growing fevers and Shaking Chills in the shanty down, so the others were without her. They set off for Boldhome at a good pace, with the bad riders holding them up. Serala put Vestra onto a lead rein, and Berra rode Billy behind Rajar.

That night, they were attacked by a troll who was unfortunate enough to have his trollkin fumble a sneak roll, waking half the camp. The rest woke when Serala cast a Sunlight spell, destroying the Trolls’ advantage at the same time. Berra’s Detect Enemies was rendered pointless, but yes, there they were. Tiwr and Nala charged the troll, doing enough damage that Qidane could kill it off with one more spell, as Billy and Rajar hit the line and Serala peppered the trollkins with arrows. A moment later Vestra and Berra hit the line as well, and the trolls routed, with few escaping.

The next day saw them at Boldhome late on in the day. Nala glamoured herself to get the attention that meant she could be directed to the Palace, and enter like a queen. She delivered both her message and the whispered oral content. Berra then announced that D’Val had found a problem he could not deal with, causing Kallyr Starbrow to evince a touch of surprise. In a closer tone, Berra explained the problem, but Kallyr sent them away to a private house, to be fed and refreshed while she called for the High Priests of Boldhome. When they arrived, Berra recited all she knew of the problem and the rift, and the Priests agreed they had to go to Boldhome. Kallyr did not want her soldiers nervous over what the enemy could do, especially if the Lunars had done it, and would not send her own guards. The heroes agreed to guard the High Priests on the way back to Whitewall.

“Real unicorns have curves.” – GM
Rhino: “Come here often?” – Berra

“Graze? what am I, a mule?”- Tiwr

“Apparently, ‘Vestra’ is close enough to Alexa that she woke up.” – GM
“Vestra, buy a doll’s house!” – Rajar

The obligatory mugging scene to learn about the system comes with ducks.- Berra

“See, I’m intelligence 17, and part of that is letting the intelligence 14 unicorn think it’s smarter than I am.” – Nala

A singing child just at the edge of hearing singing a rhyme over and over. The sound moving about the whole camp in a slow pattern- Qidane (haunting Jaldis )

:racehorse::dash:- Tiwr
screech to a halt- Tiwr

“This is why all of my strength is in my thighs”- Nala

“Quick, quick, curse me so I can’t smell!” – Tiwr

My unicorn does NOT have brakesqueal!- Nala

facehoof– Tiwr

“Allow us to offer you the hospitality of the great city of Whitewall.” – Jaldis
“Ah.” – Nala

“Bison? Oh what, so we’ve got hooves, so we all look the same to you?” – Tiwr
“I know Speciesism when I hear it…”

“A burned out bison…” – Nala
“Up on Bricks.” – Berra

“Necromancer? Is it helpful if we kill it?” – Nala
“Quack-squawk!”- D’Val
“Breathe”- Berra.

“PS. I serve the sword god. Which eye didn’t you want?” – D’Val

“Every time I try to hold on with my knees, the damned thing accelerates.” – Vestra

“Serala, would you like to make me a spot roll?” – GM
“No thank you!” – Serala
“That wasn’t even a request, was it?” – Serala

“I failed.” – Nala
“Not as hard as I did.” – Berra
“Yeah, I saw you rolled the devil’s testicles.” – Nala

“You can heal someone, by prodding them with your horn.” – GM
“That’s not automatic is it, because that could be quite embarrassing.” – Tiwr

“I’m going to ask the Unicorn to skirt around the edges, while I thin down the Trollkin with arrows.”- Nala
“I mean, if you tell me to stop charging, I will veer off, but I have started charging.” – Tiwr

“Am I going to charge? Let me think about that for ten picoseconds…” – Rajar

“I’m thinking of doing something rash.” – Rajar

“Would you like to shoot into melee combat.” – GM
“We’ve had this twist before. I know this one. …Yes.” – Serala

Rajar is a meat shield, which is interesting because of what he does to his shields.- Berra

“I will let this one slide past.” – GM
“Like a drifting bison.” – Berra

“Oh gosh. That’s rather a lot.” – Rajar (on a damage roll)

“My Ransom is One and a Half Lunars!”- Salid

“D’Val the Sword requests help. He says he cannot do a thing.” – Berra
“Say that again?” – Kallyr Starbrow

<<eat more pies while the talky types talk>>- Rajar

<<Looks up from pies>> Chaos runes in a temple. not good. My axe and lance are yours.- Rajar

“Unicorn laments
Hoof-owning makes syllable
counting far too hard” – Berra

“But I know for a fact that Rajar once paid to get an entire bar drunk so he could have a decent brawl.” – thing Berra just made up
“True facts nod nod” – Rajar