Underground Snail Road

S01 — Session 32

1626, Sea Season

Season, Week, Day

Late Sea Season, exact date unclear. Kindly GMd by Rajar.

In the name of Full Knowledge
I rip this tool from Thanatar
To confound his presence
In the scheme of being
And hasten the end of chaos
On, spirit, to the fate of your will

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 will also include commentary on the so-called Salid Stele discovered under the speculative Green Fish Tula, and associated with this time. There will be brief reference to the Accounts of the Travels of Irillo Goldentongue. Editorial commentary will be recorded [‘thus’]

[‘Good day, class. Dr Tomm sends his apologies, or would, if the current acute case of sniffles left him capable of talking. Never mind – he’s pretty sure it’s not Thunder Lung.

Aaaaand I see none of you know what that is. Five-hundred words on diseases of the Late Bronze Age as seen through the lens of the Great Hospital in Nochet, please. Goldman’s work is, of course, indispensible. Also, the footnote on page 43 is about someone most of you will have heard of.

We will be covering the gamut of poetry this week, as the fabled Death of Rajar fails to happen – yet. While we look at his work, I would like you to be thinking about the Death – given the known ending of the poem is the subject about his literal death, or his bonding with and seeking for a great, glorious death that is suitable for a Storm Bull? But, having seeded you with that – look up the verb ‘orlan-t’ if you don’t know what that means in that context – we will go first of all to the apparent shamanic trance of NalaTiwrSaga‘]

All earth is my earth
Creation is now spirit
Without earth Within

Time is in the world
I leave to the clay fragments
Until my body calls

[‘Presumably a protective trance for the more physically active warriors. Of whom… Xenofos presents to me the most interesting example. Is he warrior, poet, or latter-day construct?’]

Full of poesy and wisdom’s calling on him
Xenofos thrust fear and doubt far from him
Advising Varanis of how to order battle
Lest Sartar’s barbarians fall like slaughtered cattle
In shambles underground and tunnels dark
Beneath th’ sweet smell of the Hazia park1Clearly not modern Hazia, then.

[‘Naturally, there are many fragments here, all claiming that some particular hero led this raid. Witness Berra JarangsdottiHumaktisaga.’]

Fyrd-feeding fortitude2Believed to be the Morale ritual of the God of Truth and Death
Fang-wearer bellies filled
Strengthened stout spirits
Strong spears and swords

Darkness delighted3In the writing of the Sage Llewun, this is evidence of a love of Salid the Sniveller, rather than the upcoming battle. Dagger
Drew down danger
Crying command calls
Clarion clearly

[‘And a brief snatch of Sonnets to Varanis but only a brief one, because more later.’]

To her bent brave Humakti her strong knee,
And Rajar rushed to lend his axe in glee –
And Nala of the Horn and Tiwr the Maned
In Saiciae plaits their service to her planned.

[‘And for once, we have a probably uncounterfeitable record, a source from the time that must be associated with this time period. A Salidstele. As you will know, I have refused to acknowledge the existence of most of these, but try as I may, I cannot ignore this. At the base of the filled but only partially collapsed entrance tunnel, a record of someone who was not attempting to be in charge of anything but his own decisions.’]

Here Salid entered Darkness
As Warrior
Free Decision
Spear Carrying
Not Slave
Maybe Food

[‘And marginalia from Irillo‘]

NB: shield futures?

[‘As for the fights within the outer tunnel complex, we have the ever-reliable Lay of Serala, Lance of the Cold Sun.’]

Through miles of tunnels far beneath th’invaded ground
Serala strode, her voice a call to rally round
A Queen below the earth, with fire’s circlet crowned

On creatures of the vilest form swift would she glance
And underground had brought her bow not her strong lance
So arrows flew with aim and speed so fair
They almost knocked4‘Nocked’ would have the same pun in Esrolian. each other from the riven air

[‘But it is within the full embrace of the darkness that we find the true horror, of course. And onto The Death Of Rajar‘]

Foul stench of chaos
Sweet smell of battle ahead
Divine Urox’ Wind

Low tunnels but fat5The Spurious Rajar has:

Slide goes up and down
No room for good honest swings
Just roundabout ways

No room for Stormy to play
But Cute Axe Fun Time

With this many legs
And only one low body
Best to take a knee

[‘The repeated ‘take a knee’ motif in this set of poetry could be accidental – and if you believe that, I have a giant to sell you. Interestingly, the best description we have extant of the depth of the problem is in one who did not fight at all. Mellia.‘]

Into the hall of Krarsht she entered, swift
And saw surrounds of horror by the gift
Of light Serala gave to see by clearly,
A cost that made the sweetest one sigh dearly.
Her comrades fought with foes all made of legs and mouth
And sticky tongues and hungry manners all uncouth.6Translator’s note: Sorry.
Within a Temple Cube of Chaot Earthen make,
They shed their life blood so it pooled a-lake.7Or ‘alack’.
And up above there raged a Priest of face awry,
Who Mellia and her gentle goddess would defy.

[‘At this point, our sagas briefly diverge. It seems that Nala has begun some ritual combat, in which Rajar is also enmeshed.’]

A hardness I hate
And a softness beneath it
Underbelly – a target

Another timeless moment
In which it seems to me now
This thing should be Slow

Sadness of Bison
Left outside the Hut of Fun
Is wider than me

Oh for a foe now
Woe is me for I have none

[‘And within the temple area, insofar as these things can be read accurately, more from Varanis.’]

Varanis led her force across the temple floor
As down the walls poured krarshtid bodies, broo, and more
She Leapt with Vinga’s power to land beside
Her foe, and with her Lightning caused the tide
Of life within him swelling to subside.

Then fled the Chaos things but could not hide.

[‘And the last word to Berra with a detail unmentioned by others.’]

Secret screened space
Set slyly back
Hewed Humakt’s hero-woman
Hunger’s hidden altar

What Really Happened

Session Quotes

  • 1
    Clearly not modern Hazia, then.
  • 2
    Believed to be the Morale ritual of the God of Truth and Death
  • 3
    In the writing of the Sage Llewun, this is evidence of a love of Salid the Sniveller, rather than the upcoming battle.
  • 4
    ‘Nocked’ would have the same pun in Esrolian.
  • 5
    The Spurious Rajar has:

    Slide goes up and down
    No room for good honest swings
    Just roundabout ways
  • 6
    Translator’s note: Sorry.
  • 7
    Or ‘alack’.