Altared Perception

S02 — Session 41

1627, Fire Season


Fire Season, 1st Week, Up to about the 2nd or 3rd Day


Dramatis Personae

PC

Berra
Rajar
Suuraki
Varanis
Xenofos

NPC
Joquill Greenleaf
Some random Grazelanders
Manasa, the horse who isn’t nearly as bad as Fish
Dragonewt 1
Dragonewt 2
Fazzur Wideread
Mirava Saiciae
The Inhuman King

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 Xenefos 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.


Long days were followed by long nights as the party made its way into Tarsh, seeking to rescue Varanis’ sister. Although there was no clear plan on how to proceed, they were determined to make their way to Stone Over Souls, as directed by the divination of High Priestess Kalis in Boldhome. They hoped that once they were closer, they could get a better sense of the situation and formulate a plan.

Travelling was dull, but mostly they could guess where they were. Better, Xenofos had a map, and knew how to use it. The Praxians were less confident about where they are, because they were, after all, all at sea in forests.

The group saw a set of outriders – Grazelanders – who were shadowing them some way to the north, mostly staying out of the way just below the horizon, with outriders. While Xenofos could not make out details, their elf companion Joquill could – he could see that they were armed with spears and bows, and there were at least five of them. Veering that way resulted in the horse riders veering off and maintaining the distance. When night came, they camped in a declivity to keep any of their preparations out of the eyes of the Grazelanders, and as night fell, called out to the horsemen to talk.

Rajar, who was loudest, went out with Berra. He asked what they were doing, and they said they were keeping an eye on a lost Praxian raiding party. Berra spoke up and said she was one of them, and was told there was no place for a woman in a war band. She laughed rather too much for the sake of politeness. They said that they might take the word of a Yelmalian but it depended on which one, and this seemed to be bad company. While Rajar sent back to say they were passing through peacefully, and were going to be no bother, there was no further talk. While Berra had already turned to go back, thinking she was taking a message to Joquill, Rajar stood up on his bison to wave to the retreating outriders. From there, he could see the numbers – there were about twenty in the group.

Berra mentioned what the group had said about women and about the Praxians being bad company, and Varanis glowered. Joquill asked Berra if she minded whether she had xylem or phloem. She said she didn’t because anyone who thought she wasn’t good enough could challenge her and she didn’t care about anyone else. Then she had to ask Xenofos what xylem and phloem were, but he did not know either.

The group set up to keep watch with a light warding to let them know if the attack was indeed going to come. Berra mentioned she had caltrops in her bag, but Joquill would not countenance harming the creatures of Yelm. They all had bad sleep. Suuraki thought he heard horses, and woke the group early. Everyone armoured up, and Berra went out to scout for half an hour while everyone else waited. She thought she was out at their furthest pickets when an arrow thunked into the ground about forty meters in front of her, to tell by the sound. She waved in the darkness, and returned to tell what was going on; nothing. Nevertheless, an hour before dawn they had to get up again as Berra heard the sounds of people armouring up, and so several of them were tired the next day.

They came to a river and turned left to avoid Kordos Island, riding on for a time. As they rode, there ensued a brief discussion about the benefits and potential drawbacks of dunking Varanis to see if Salt and Tears might choose to bless the waters with her offspring. In the end, it was decided to wait a while, at least in part because they might have to cross the river again later.

After some time, they came to the confluence of rivers and began to look for a way across. An hour upstream they spied a pair of burnt out villages on either side of the river and determined that there was likely to be a ford or some other possible crossing between them. With uncharacteristic lack of curiosity, they largely ignored the villages and focused all their attention on crossing the river.

With an impressive degree of forethought, Rajar threw Varanis a rope without comment. She chose not to argue and instead tied the rope around herself, after stripping off her armour1Reminding other poor riders (Berra) to do the same.. It turned out to be a wise decision, as Manasa was unimpressed with the crossing. When Varanis hit the water (and a rock) on her second fall, Suuraki and Xenofos spotted strange little flurries of red above the water. Staring closer, to make sense of it, Xenofos was suddenly overwhelmed by their reptilian appearance and bolted, as he could clearly see that there were tiny water dragons forming and then being dissolved into red mist2Special on Fear Dragons? Or maybe a critical…. Berra gave chase, looking for the problem, and fortunately for Varanis, Rajar remembered he was tied to Varanis and had Joquill on Calamity the bison behind. Suuraki gave a happy whoop and gave chase, but on the other side Xenofos explained what had been going on. Using the rope that bound her to the bison, Varanis pulled herself from the water.

Suuraki asked about sacrificing to the Crocodile Mother here, to strengthen the babies against the Oslir, but they decided they were short on time and might have to come back this way, and there were Grazelanders nearby who might be hostile to such a religious act.

Once Xenofos was himself and Varanis had managed to armour up, they set off again. The Grazelanders finally lost interest and ceased to follow them. They rode according to Xenofos’ instructions for a time, eventually coming to a much older and overgrown road. On inspection, it appeared to be constructed of triangular paving stones, some of which looked distinctly similar to the rune they’d previously seen carved on stone plinths elsewhere, as they had obsidian clamps keeping them down, towards one point. Although the scribe may have wished otherwise, they followed this road, coming eventually to a stone plinth with an altar, on the left-hand side of the road. Varanis wanted to make an offering, but Berra stopped her. Suuraki noticed that there was blackened, burned grass in between the old slabs, but the burning was squared off, like it had been cut by a fireblade.

As they continued on their way, those who glanced back noticed that the altar was on the left as they looked back. This made some folks wary and many of the party chose to ride alongside the road, rather than directly on it. Rajar recalled the time he had seen a dragonewt – and in fact they had got in its way as it travelled the road – and they decided to ride alongside it. Joquill strode boldly down the centre and Varanis joined him, choosing to walk for a while.

As they rode – or walked – they saw a mountain ahead of them, oddly triangular, and weirdly cut off at the top, like a giant or a god had decapitated it with an axe. It was a bit like the lower part of the Dragonewt Rune. Berra and Suuraki in particular talked about how it might just have invisible bits above, and eventually Berra remembered that Xenofos was having a bad time, and shut up. She rode next to him, which may have been fortunate. As they got closer, they could see that there was a line above the top of the mountain, like the Rune made in a surprising amount of silver. Just faintly, above it, perhaps, was a shimmer that might have been a triangle.

As they went on, there was a smell in the air like a coming storm, which only some of them could truly feel. Suuraki said there was a storm, but Rajar was certain that Storm Bull was not about to bless them. Berra was sure there was magic happening.

The feeling grew rapidly, and then a green light streaked along the road, looking much like a green wall growing suddenly up towards them, and there was a moment of brilliance, and then there were two dragonewts standing by the altar – a big one and a small one.

The smaller dragonewt invited people to be guests of the Inhuman King, mentioning other guests as well. It tested the air around, then asked why/if/who? smelled like fear. Suuraki said that High Llamas knew no fear on the plains, and when the dragonewt pointed out they were on a mountain, said that High Llamas knew no fear off the plains either, and anyhow, where they went, the plains went, and that they made the plains by their actions. The dragonewt said that they too made plains, by magic. Meanwhile, Xenofos was starting to draw his javelin ready to throw. Berra talked him into handing it over.

It kept investigating and suddenly started talking about clutchmates. Varanis, hoping it might be speaking of Mirava, told him that she was seeking her clutchmate3A word that Berra could, and did, explain with a blurt. and could it bring her to her. With very little warning, the excited(?) dragonewt took her by the hand and they vanished into a streak of blue. Berra got very shouty, and Xenofos called the remaining, larger, dragonewt craven. It drew its klanth. Berra said that Xenofos was a bit afraid, and that she would volunteer to spill blood if it needed to be done and Xenofos said she would not, because Varanis was not her liege lady. However, the dragonewt paused and considered a while, and then wrote in the dirt with its klanth, so that Xenofos could read. “Fear is a little Death… A coward dies a hundred times, a hero once.” 4This provoked some OOC discussion, as everyone had met Kallyr. When asked what was written, Xenofos pronounced it bunkum, and said it did not tell them where Mirava or Varanis were.

For their part, Varanis and the dragonewt moved so quickly through an apparent tunnel of blue that the Vingan barely had time to understand what was going on and had no chance to prepare herself for her sudden stop. She came crashing to a halt, hitting the floor in her second belly flop of the day. When her vision cleared, she saw three sets of feet in front of her. Two were distinctly human, while the third, massive, pair were draconic. Her greatest fear in that moment was that she was now prostrate in front of her sister.5Priorities! A man’s hand entered her line of sight, and she glanced up to see Fazzur. “Welcome sister,” he greeted her. Varanis noted that her sister was dressed as a wife – but that was not news, as Mirava had already been married.

Others decided whether to take up the larger dragonewt on its apparent offer to transport them the same way. Rajar decided against it, and rode onwards, taking his bison and Varanis’ horses. Joquill walked onwards rather than travel in a way which had burned grass. Xenofos forced himself to it, for Varanis. Berra bounced up and down on her bison, volunteering to go and squeaking excitedly. Suuraki calmly led his llama to the altar. They all touched the hand of the larger dragonewt, which then put its hand on the altar. They too travelled through a strange blue tunnel. Berra looked back and saw that behind them, the tunnel was red. At the other end several people fell over, but no mounts crushed them.6“THAT WAS FANTASTIC I WANT TO DO IT AGAIN!” – Berra

They settled in as guests of the Inhuman King.


“Rajar is having chicken trouble.” – Varanis
“It’s the way he’d have wanted to go.” – Berra

“Were we allowed to have more than one go?” – Berra
“We weren’t, but he failed them all, so I don’t need to spank anyone.” – GM

“not knowledge Lunar, not lore Sartar and no way Intrigue…” – Xenofos

“What are you doing with the elf?” – GM
“He’s a plant. You can’t trust him.” – Suuraki
“And Berra can’t eat him.” – Xenofos
( Jealousy? ) o . – Berra

“warming campfires… chopping wood…” – Xenofos

“”Very far away from the nearest bath.”” – Xenofos
“and special on the survival” – Xenofos

“Berra, you’re not helping.” – Varanis
“Who do you think I’m trying to help?” – Berra
“You may be labouring under a misapprehension there.” – Suuraki

“How did Rajar get to be our diplomat? ” – Varanis
“He’s loud.” – Berra

“Suuraki. Scan roll.” – GM
“Woo! Fumble!” – Suuraki

*fumbles ride* – Varanis

“So it was four points to my abdomen, but how many to my dignity?” – Varanis

“Pass Scan.” – Berra

Xenofos gets a critical scan, passes fear dragons, and then gets a critical ride roll….

“failed scan…” – Xenofos
“Maybe we need to talk to him about this obsession with columns.” – Berra

“Can everyone make me a scan roll?” – GM
“Well, now I pass my Architecture…” – Xenofos fails Scan

Varanis hops down from Manasa to leave a small offering of meat at the altar.
“… VARANIS, BACK AWAY FROM THE ALTAR.” – Berra

“Surely that depends on which side you’re approaching from.” – Suuraki
“You would think so.” – GM

Berra’s bored of listening to talk about architecture and is looking around.
Berra’s architecture is stunning.

“‘crest another rise’ – Berra’s breathing…” – Berra

“I hate to use the phrase non-Euclidian.” – GM
“Don’t lie to us…” – Xenofos

“Those who pass can feel their hairs start to stand on end.” – GM
“I look down. Has my llama gone really fuzzy?” – Suuraki

“Inhuman King happy to serve man.” – Dragonewt

“I don’t even have Fear Dragons.” – Varanis
“Now would be a good time to get it.” – Xenofos

“The High Llama fear nothing on the plain!” – Suuraki
“We’re in the mountain, dude.” – Rajar

“What is a plane on an angle?” – Dragonewt
“What’s an angle?” – Suuraki

“Grandfather Shaman says when you travel, the plains travel with you.” – Suuraki
“That’s why you should empty your bedroll.” – Rajar

“Are clutch-mate of other guest?” – Dragonewt
“I am a companion…” – Suuraki
“That one might be.” – Berra

“It makes some weird clucky noises.” – GM
“Easy, Rajar.” – Suuraki

“Clutch is when you’re born together when you’re ducks…. Sorry, I’ll shut up.” – Berra

“Fear is a little Death.” – BIG Dragonewt.

“And one pair is three-toed, scaled, and massive.” – GM
“That worries me less than the possibility I am prostrate in front of my sister.” – Varanis