S02 — Session 10
1626, Earth Season, Stasis Week, Freezeday to Waterday
A young lady who should not know about that bar
A barman who should not serve that beer
The same barman, but he also should not serve that wine
An honest, if deceptive, guide
An honest, if decrepit, psychopomp
A variety of house-slaves, public servants, private servants, and people hanging around the backs of houses
A slave, twice
No blonde woman
No Rillo Hulta either
Typing by a player’s cat
Mellia’s connection woes
As before, the log will be accompanied by extracts of poetry from the private collection of Dr Tomm.
Be still, spirit.
Flutter no more at my heart.
Be calm, heart.
Rise up no more to my throat.
Be silent, throat.
Sing no song of questing love.
Be free, love.
You are answered and need no more.
Venlar III.4, ‘Marriage Call’, Trans Goldman
What Really Happened
Our heroes began the day with a team meeting in the baths at House Saiciae. Xenofos and Varanis were soaking and mostly ignoring each other, while Berra supervised from the sides of the pool, apparently unwilling to get clean1Or damp.. Irillo came to join them, and shared rumours of Lord Rillo Hulta’s less than discreet visits to a house in the Blackwine neighbourhood of Nochet. Rillo had been guarded on his way through the slums.
The party decided that this information should probably be shared with Kesten Hulta, so they toweled off, armoured up, and collected Rajar for a nonchalant stroll across town with many axes. Irillo made some excuses about needing to earn a living and declined to join them.
At House Hulta, Kesten came out and told his accompanying guards to get lost. He listened to their information and agreed to investigate. Rillo had had favoured guards, and was likely to have spent any such journey with limited company. Kesten travelled across town with Berra, Varanis, Rajar, and Xenofos.
The only hint they had to go on was that Rillo’s guards might have been frequenting a tavern in the area. Rajar went undercover as a Stormbull looking for cheap booze and managed to sweet-talk a young lady into suggesting a likely place. It was just outside of the Blackwine area and was a rather unofficial sort of place. She suggested that they look for shoes outside the door, a sign the place was open. It didn’t take long for them to locate and they casually strolled in, bristling with axes, swords, expensive armour, and attitude. They bought beer, which was undrinkable by Saiciae standards, though Rajar enjoyed it well enough. Varanis ordered wine instead and was surprised to receive an amphora marked with the queen’s seal2Aaaah, fumbled Read/Write. On tasting the wine… well… maybe it was meant for cooking.
By eyeing up the people probably thinking about rolling them for cash then offering them money without the certainty of violence, Berra was able to find someone who could provide information about a person who might have followed Rillo’s guards. Her informant generously agreed to guide them to that person, provided he received sufficient resources to support his medical needs. Berra pushed over some money and the informant led the way… right to a temple of Daka Fal, and the grave there. The slum guide was still waiting outside, but did not get any more money, because in an attempt to find someone who could speak to the dead, the group encountered the Daka Fal Ancestor talker, a man for whom the word ‘crone’ was inaccurate in only one respect. He could not summon up the spirit, who was not an ancestor, but he did remember where the body had been found. He was happy to tell them this, and then to take them there, for a consideration to help repair the roof. Once at the place, part of Blackwine outside the slums, Kesten said the guards were in his estimation efficient but not subtle. That meant the body was probably on a line between where they were going and the dive where they drank, and they had narrowed it down to part of a neighbourhood.
With the exception of Rajar, they began knocking on doors and asking questions. Rajar stayed on watch, as talking was not his expertise. It took some time and a lot of doors before Varanis encountered someone who mentioned a lord who visited her neighbour. Berra had already checked that house and determined that there was no information of value there, but Varanis insisted that they knock on the front door and ask again.3Berra fumbled and warned the householder they were after, while Varanis specialled.
Varanis’ good manners did little to persuade the thrall who answered the door to say anything of value, but Xenofos made some rather unsubtle threats about torture, while Rajar loomed large. The poor thrall sang like a songbird and it rapidly became clear that they were in the right place. The lady of the house had left ten minutes4Lit: a sixth part of an hour. after Berra’s visit, escaping northwards on horseback. The thrall described the woman as blonde, of middling height, with an Ernaldan figure. The party decided to split up, with Rajar escorting the thrall to House Hulta.
Xenofos and Kesten rode to the Harmony Gate. Both riders had some challenges with their borrowed horses and ended up missing the trail. Kesten managed to hit the ground, however.
Meanwhile, Berra and Varanis ran to the Filial Gate.5Varanis had her second fumble of the session, managing to fall and possibly put one of her ribs out. She gamely picked herself up and tried to keep pace with Berra who outdistanced her in spite of having short legs. They walked and ran for roughly half the day with no evidence of a trail and so returned to check for news at the other gates. It turned out that the blonde lady had most likely left through the Harmony Gate a day ago and the trail was rather definitively cold.
The party regrouped and decided to revisit the lady’s house in Blackwine. They searched very thoroughly,6except for Varanis who fumbled yet again and Rajar discovered a lovely little picture book with some intriguing diagrams. Berra found some money and perfumes which she did not care about, and a small private shrine to Uleria which made her briefly express sympathy for Rillo. Xenofos found some poorly executed poetry. Very racy, poorly executed poetry. It detailed how the recipient made the sender feel like he could rise to her worth, and do anything when she completed him. After a discussion on how much to tell the Hultas, Berra fetched Kesten, who was carefully examining a dung heap for the third time7He too can fumble. This was his second. Some would say that as a gentleman he was keeping Varanis company., and he confirmed that the handwriting was a match for Lord Rillo’s.
Now, this raised some interesting questions, as Lord Rillo was an Esrolian First Husband and therefore expected to be faithful to his wife and all evidence suggested that he was not. Xenofos questioned their continuing involvement in what was clearly a Hulta matter. From Varanis and Berra’s perspective, the murder was also a matter of honour and justice. Berra said there was nothing to prevent them from going to see their own Grandmother. Rajar had strong opinions about beer, but wasn’t too worried either way about House Hulta. In the end, Varanis suggested they bring what they knew to Grandmother Saiciae and let her make the decision about their next steps. Kesten opted to visit Rillo in the Hospital, and Berra caught up with him to check he would not be in danger if Rillo’s wife found out. Kesten said he thought not, and offered Berra his support over any problems of othodoxy that would come up in future. Berra asked if he could send a message for her, and they agreed to meet up at a drinking hole that was close to the House of Hulta but not there.
Grandmother was definitely intrigued by this juicy bit of gossip and encouraged them to continue to provide assistance in the matter. Unfortunately, over the following weeks, they learned little more. Rillo Hulta was eventually released from the Hospital, but sadly expired shortly after his return home from an apparent weakness of the heart.
Early in that time, Berra had a conversation with Kesten in which he warned her that some in the Temple of Humakt would not take kindly to her saying that Humakt felt fear, even if she had lived it in a Heroquest. Having no understanding of how not to speak the truth when asked, Berra thanked him, but asked him not to interfere if anyone was attempting to discuss doctrine with her, as it was not his argument. He wrote a note to the Boldhome High Sword[footenote]whoever that might be[/footnote] to let them know what Ty Kora Tek had said to Humakt in her house.
“So, we have a sweet barbarian, we have two approximately civilised people, and Berra.” – GM
“Some of us have to earn a living to please our gods.” – Irillo
“I’m working too. Those parties are not fun.” – Varanis
“Can I mention at this point how very good I am at killing people?” – Berra
“A friend of a friend said their aunt’s sister’s nephew had seen Lord Hulta and his guards in the blackwine district. On several occasions. And they said he was skulking, I believe was the phrase.” – Irillo
“Rajar is excellent at investigating. He’s up for wearing a red wig?” – Rajar
“You can be Scoobydoo.” – Varanis
“I’m Scrappy. I’m OBVIOUSLY scrappy-doo.” – Berra
“Small, violent, and intensely annoying?” – GM
“Oh, it’s going to be messy. Full armour it is. And the axes.” – Rajar
“And the shields.” – Rajar
“And the other axes.” – Rajar
“And the other other axes.” – Rajar
“Helm down because the ink hasn’t quite worn off yet.” – Rajar
“Customs Esrolia, or Bargain” – GM
“Failed!” – Berra
“Berra does not bargain.” – Berra
“She demands.” – Berra
“Yay, go Team Librarian!” – Berra
“Someone asked about bars.” – Xenofos
“I’m thinking we should ask Rajar to find the cheapest bars in the area.” – Berra
“Oh make me a charm roll.” – GM
“So, maybe this was not one of my better ideas.” – Berra
“A charm roll? From Rajar?” Rajar with complete disbelief
“And I feel I should take responsibility.” – Berra
“By the standards of a Storm Bull, I was the model of decorum.” – Rajar
“The girl is not on fire.” – Berra
“HUZZZZZAH. I smell beer.” – Rajar
“l.; jk,;l./,” – players’ cat
“Put my great axe on the bar and smile.” – Rajar
“DRINK the beer. Look puzzled by my colleagues.” – Rajar
“I mean compared to courniss…” – Rajar
“lllll`1kl N” – player’s very insistent cat
“Rajar isn’t drinking wine.” – Rajar
“Drink all 5 of the beers I ordered.” – Rajar
“Berra’s not drinking the beer very fast … wait, did Rajar just STEAL MY BEER?” – Berra
“I AM trouble…” – Berra
“We’re leaving already?” – Rajar
“I’ll help with his beer.” – Berra
“One for the road! As Berra’s drunk mine, I’ll order one more, and take it with me.” – Rajar
“Rajar, that skinny bird drank your beer.” – GM
“I am not a skinny bird. I’m a short bird!” – Berra
“Nobody’s dead.” – Berra
“She is getting more civilized by the day…” – Xenofos
Player’s cat: sits on laptop
“67yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy”” – player’s cat
Many many line breaks…
KLGH” – player’s cat
“I can’t figure out how he keeps putting my laptop on airplane mode.” – Player
“Talent” – Rajar
“What the?” – GM
“The cat. The cat is typing.” – Berra
“Back doors? What?” – Xenofos, panicked
“It’s where poor people go, Xenofos.” – Berra
“I think this is probably intrigue.” – GM
“That’s because you’re good at it… and I’ve fumbled!” – Berra
“This is not a place for kicking doors down.” – Xenofos
“… No. If you’re going to kick down the door of a free person who’s poor, you should be prepared to kick down the door of a free person who’s rich.” – Berra
“The doors are solid here.” – Xenofos
“The architrave is nice…” – Xenofos fails his scan roll
“I might have messed up and warned her.” – Berra
“Can we make a sing roll to know that?” – Berra
“Yes… yes you can.” – GM
“Well, I can’t.” – Berra
“So…. how do we know Lord Hulta won’t have the slave killed to silence him? Was it wise to send him to Hulta?” – Varanis
“Lord Hulta is still in hospital… Grandmother wants the truth.” – Berra
“Pass on movement, pass on DEX x 5.” – Berra
“Varanis will run with Berra.” – Varanis
“Oops. Varanis trips.” – Varanis
“So, Rajar, it’s you that finds the porn.” – GM
“Some of this might be sacred to Storm Bull.” – Rajar
“Are you going to investigate it?” – Berra
“Well, I’m going to look at the pictures.” – Rajar
“”Indeed, you may all make intrigue rolls.” – GM” – Berra
“… oh, thank goodness. 22 is still a fail.” – Berra
@@*@@wincelaugh@@*@@ – GM
“Kesten fumbled his Search… he’s poking through the dunghill.” – GM
“Hulta affairs could well be examined through dunghills…” – Xenofos
“No, no. It’s not a fumble. I don’t do as poorly as Varanis in her own home town.” – Rajar
“I am unsure of what he is doing here.” – Kesten
“Yeaah… have you ever been in a brothel, mate?” – Berra
“How unsure are you?” – Berra
“Not very.” – Kesten
“Would you recognise his handwriting?” – Xenofos
“Yes.” – Kesten
“You may wish to have this drink first.” – Berra
“I’m sorry to have to do this to him, so I’ll let Xenofos do it.” – Berra
“Why thank you.” – Xenofos
“I show him a couple of lines. Is this his handwriting?” – Xenofos
“Yes.” – Kesten
“Oh bugger.” – Xenofos
“It was only romantic drivel anyhow.” – Varanis
“No, some of it was frankly pornographic.” – Berra
“He’s smart. He’ll work that out.” – Berra
“Are you talking about Kesten, or Rillo?” -Xenofos
“Kesten. I don’t give a f*ck about Rillo.” – Berra
“Good.” – Xenofos
“She is such a lovely old woman, Xenofos!” – Berra
“Full of compassion to fellow matron.” – Xenofos
“What do you give the Storm Bull who has everything?” – Berra
“More axes.” – Xenofos
“I will be strict with you!” – Varanis
@@*@@perks up@@*@@ – Xenofos and Berra
- 1Or damp.
- 2Aaaah, fumbled Read/Write
- 3Berra fumbled and warned the householder they were after, while Varanis specialled.
- 4Lit: a sixth part of an hour.
- 5Varanis had her second fumble of the session, managing to fall and possibly put one of her ribs out. She gamely picked herself up and tried to keep pace with Berra who outdistanced her in spite of having short legs.
- 6except for Varanis who fumbled yet again
- 7He too can fumble. This was his second. Some would say that as a gentleman he was keeping Varanis company.