Charges May Apply

S02 — Session 47

1627, Earth Season, Disorder Week


Earth Season, Disorder Week


Dramatis Personae

PC

Berra
Mellia
Nala
Rajar
Suuraki
Valseena
Varanis
Xenofos

NPC

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.


Xenofos asked Rajar for advice about gifts for surprise babies – and Rajar offered him beer, and talk about giving things to women. Rajar suggested sending herd beasts to the Clan, but Xenofos wanted to give them to Neela.

Venna summoned the group with a political mission which it was easier for foreigners to do. She wanted to call on those who were not Praxians to help, because the Praxians were not in good favour with the locals, after having essentially ruined a harvest by arriving and foraging as they wished. Someone who was kin to the ‘Queen of the Kheldon’ would do. Varanis, as a Colymar, was a Sararite, and therefore less tainted by the theft from fields.

She gave them a short briefing:
Around Alda Chur, there were three major tribes, with three somewhat smaller ones around Alone. Venna was sure that the Tribes of Alone could be handled, which left Varanis trying to make accords with those who held Alda Chur as their main city. Harvar Ironfist, King of the Vantaros (and captain of the Yelmalian Regiment), had risen to power and crushed those who opposed him; at least two of the other Tribes. The Vantaros themselves were based in Alda Chur, but the Tovtaros were based at Ironspike, and the Princeros at Glasswall. The Princeros had been crushed worst. Argrath was after an internal rising of the tribes of Alda Chur. Venna hinted that there was some disquiet in the Vantaros, but it was unlikely this could be brought to the fore in time. After considering the options, the group decided they should bring the army rather than travelling as a small force.

Xenofos said that he needed to visit the merchants (who turned out to be part of the quartermasters’ crew, really), in order to make some arrangements. His cousin asked him to see if they had any knowledge about the roads. He meant to, he really did. But he was distracted1Drunk.Grey eyes.. He did, however, successfully negotiate for some zebras to be sent to Neela in the Straw Weaver Clan. Varanis had to go speak to the quartermasters and scouts herself to get the information needed.

Berra rounded up the troops and got them ready for the march, which required far less yelling than previously. Some of the yelling was at people nearby, over whether anyone would move into the space while they were gone. Varanis decided that they would make for the Princeros first, as that tribe had the strongest grudge, having been forced to pay tribute to the Vantaros for some time now.

Xenofos and Rajar were out scouting along the road when Rajar spotted a ferocious pack of trees.2He thought they were long spears. The Esrolian was skeptical and before long even Rajar had to admit that the trees were likely not a threat. Later in the afternoon, they spotted actual troops issuing from the Princeros town, Glasswall; it was a force about equally balanced with the Esrolians for numbers, which Rajar decided meant they wanted to parley. They reported back to Varanis and Berra, and the army marched up the road to deploy. They did it in good order, again with relatively little shouting.

The Princeros were formed up to defend the road, but in an odd spot to call for a pitched battle. As the Esrolian army came to a stop, a small group broke off from the Tarshites as though to ride forward. Xenofos mentioned the banner and Varanis decided to bring it, and called for three pale staves to go with it, for signalling Harmony.3Irillo Quartermaster was very well prepared. This seemed to trigger a similar movement from the other side, which was not entirely prepared to have its banner brought forward, but managed to look not too flustered about it. Varanis asked Xenofos, Rajar, and one each of the Vingan and cavalry commanders to accompany her and they rode out to greet the Tarshites.

The Tarshite party was generally better (and more expensively) equipped than the Esrolian group. At the head of the party was a man in an iron breastplate, with more iron at his side and a gold circlet. He introduced himself as Arofarn of the Estaloth, speaker for the Princeros, while Varanis introduced herself as Varanis Saiciae, Vareena of the Colymar, and Lightbringer. After greetings were exchanged, he offered a meal, asking if Varanis wanted two seats, one for her and one for Vareena.4Possibly, the second was for her ego. She declined politely and thus only two seats and a table were brought forward. A range of fancy finger foods were elaborately laid out on a platter, and Arofarn made a show of tasting much of it so that Varanis would know she was not being poisoned.

Negotiations ensued. Varanis explained what Argrath wanted and Arofarn seemed amenable if certain demands could be met. First, he wanted the Princeros to have the sole rights to the sacking of King Harvar’s villa. Varanis raised an eyebrow at this, but decided it was probably doable. He then stated that he wanted Tovtaros Regalia. This was something that Varanis knew was not viable, as she also needed to win that Tribe over to Argrath’s side. She pointed this out and he amended his request to say that what he really wanted was to have them be the losers in a Heroquest restoring the Princeros to their former standing. This would need to involve the Regalia. Finally, he wanted the Princeros taxation rights for the stretch of road between Glasswall and Alda Chur to be restored.

Varanis agreed to take all these back to Agrath, at which point Arofarn attempted to show off by signalling to a hidden force flanking her army. Unfortunately, they did not respond well, coming out of hiding without cohesion, and Varanis’ left flank turned out to have some very ready cavalry of the Greens nearby, and executed a neat wheeling retreat to present a shield wall at the end of the left.5Fumbled battle vs passed Battle. Arofarn seethed silently, and Varanis gave him a bright smile. They parted as if they were friends.

In order to travel to the Tovtaros lands, the army needed to return to Alda-Chur first. Varanis stopped in to report to Venna, letting her know the progress. The troops camped with the Praxians again and then left early the next morning for the Tovtaros.

Once again, Rajar and Xenofos were riding out as scouts, this time with a scouting unit of cavalry under Xenofos’ command. Some distance out from the army, Rajar and one of the scouts spotted a set of a dozen armed people coming down the road. The big Praxian reported it to Xenofos and suggested stopping them and sending a report back to Varanis and Berra. After sending a scout back, and getting the cavalry together, Xenofos called the charge.6But why? This is the great mystery!
(To some people.) A troop of cavalry can be stopped by charging them. And they did stop.

Meanwhile, back at the army, Varanis was sorting out how to get wagons over rocky ground – she followed Irillo Quartermaster’s suggestion of using the Infantry. All was peaceful.

With the charge called, the cavalry scouts leapt into action, throwing javelins at their new-found enemies in a flanking run. Rajar shrugged and rolled with it, showing everyone what heavy cavalry was capable of. After a couple of rounds of javelins, and a brief interaction with the Kopis-wielding leader of the group, they were still balanced pretty evenly, although Xenofos had seen his javelins bite. Rajar charged in and went berserk, and did a lot of damage, despite the attempt by the party of twelve to surrender. He even got mind-blasted, but this made no appreciable difference to his level of intelligence; he still fought.

The army saw a scout arrive – he was over excited, but they got enough information from him that Berra was prepared to pour the cavalry forwards and advance with the infantry, as fast as she could go without exhausting them. Varanis rode with the cavalry, eager to get to the others as quickly as possible.

Given that they had surrendered, Xenofos used magic to remove the Berserker spell, and Rajar stopped where he was, and stopped responding to anyone at all. The cavalry arrived about ten minutes afterwards. By that point, Xenofos had found out that his javelin had killed someone. He handed the leader’s iron kopis to Varanis as a means of giving the prisoners to her. There were two dead warriors and ten captives. Lenta helped Rajar as best she could, but suggested that he would need better healers than her. She knew that it was Lunar magic that had harmed him. One of the captives was a bard, but the rest were warriors.

Irillo Saiciae finally caught up with the army; his namesake had put staves in the ground around the supply wagons, but they were not needed (and indeed not activated). The two Irillos talked a bit about supply. It was too late to return to Argrath’s camp, so Varanis decided that the army should return to the supply wagons and camp for the night. This led to a happy(ish) reunion with Irillo. Xenofos drank heavily again, Rajar drooled, Berra prowled, and Varanis fretted. She did let slip to Irillo that Xenofos had learned that his Praxian lover was expecting. He reacted shiftily, but somehow did not get around to explaining why and Varanis did not ask.7”Tell us about the baby, Irillo…. You can’t hide it forever.” – V
“It’s because he was there as a spy and that is WRONG.” – B
Berra told him that she thought his spying was bad for Harmony. Irillo sold wine to Xenofos at cost, as it was clear the man needed to be drunk.

The next day’s return to the Alda Chur environs was as quick as they could make it. Xenofos continued to drink and Rajar continued to drool. After a little while this was improved when he was taken to the White Ladies, who restored enough of his intelligence that he could at least eat random things. Varanis was preparing to go speak to Venna when a large Storm Bull stormed into camp and killed one of the prisoners. Berra tried to intervene. Things got heated. The man spat on Berra, which almost set Varanis off, but the Vingan did not want to get her entire army killed. Berra looked to Varanis for permission to go after him, but this was refused. Xenofos was pissed AND angry now, as he believed his honour was injured by the killing of the helpless (if Chaotic) prisoner.

Varanis received a summons from Venna. This was particularly irksome, as the Vingan had been going to see the Storm Khan before the interruption. She was tempted to decline, but was informed that it was not really a request.8Berra asked for the hints to be put in short words so she did not lose her rag. Angry now, Varanis took Xenofos, Berra, and Rajar with her. After seeing how drunk Xenofos was, Berra stabbed his wineskin as they walked.9Around this point is when Varanis got the first special on Air. As they approached Venna’s tent, Humakt gave Berra a little nudge. She declared that she was entering the tent first and while Varanis was set to argue, the little Humakti gave her no choice.

On entering the tent, Berra was grabbed by the straps of her armour and lifted from her feet. Venna raged and raged even more when she realised that she didn’t have Varanis.10”WHAT THE FUCK, AND WHY AREN’T YOU FUCKING VARANIS?” – Venna
“I’m not fucking Varanis because I don’t find her attractive.” – Berra
From outside the tent, the others could hear Berra hit the ground when the Praxian tossed her to one side. Varanis attempted to enter the tent then, but this time Xenofos stepped in front of her. Tempers on both sides of the tent flap increased noticeably. Again, Venna grabbed and yelled and raged. Xenofos was both drunk and angry – furious about the blow to his honour. As he and Venna argued, Varanis finally made it into the tent, followed by the toddling giant that was Rajar.

Much more yelling ensued as Venna argued that Chaos is never protected by honour and how dare Varanis bring a Chaos-tainted Lunar to her camp! And why did she break Venna’s Storm Bull?! For her part, Varanis raged about how Rajar was her Storm Bull and how dare Venna lay hands on her people!?!11In retrospect, it’s a little surprising that there was no sudden onslaught of a thunderstorm, given the tempers involved, especially as Varanis had specialled Air for a second time. Somehow, things wound down, possibly because Rajar distracted everyone by chewing on worms and an axe. Xenofos continued to try to argue until Varanis sent him away, ordering him to return to camp to check on people.12And trying to keep him alive because she was certain that if he kept pushing Venna, things would get even worse. Varanis explained that they had no way of knowing the man was Chaos-tainted and that her intention had been to bring a powerful bargaining chip for Argrath.

Berra and Varanis left the tent, but as they did, both heard Venna dismiss Varanis in Praxian, using a slang term usually reserved for sending away ladies of the night. Varanis was ready to storm in again but Berra was outside so she stood in the way with her arms out and refused to let Varanis back in. Varanis backed down because it was that or go through Berra, which she mentioned; Berra said that was why she was standing there.

They returned to the camp, where Xenofos noted sadly that he had torn his wineskin. Luckily a friendly trooper had a skin of Impala kumiss, which Xenofos accepted and continued in his attempts to knock himself out.


“If there are children born outside marriage, what is the proper way to address this situation?” – Xenofos
“Well, then they are a blessing on the herd!” – Rajar

“A child is a blessing. A new calf is a blessing. All is good. Drink.” – Rajar
“… what did I say about the advice I’d get?” – Xenofos

“In Esrolia you’d send a gift of celebration…” – Xenofos
“Is this a question for your scrolly things, or is this a more.. practical question?” – Rajar
“Oh, it is certainly a practical and personal question.” – Xenofos
“Oh, don’t worry about it too much. Have a drink.” – Rajar

“Gifts are always welcomed.” – Rajar
“You don’t think that would be intrusive?” – Xenofos
“…” – Rajar does calculation of value transfer

“Is there a tradition of what these gifts should be?” – Xenofos
“Herd beasts. Bison – not herd men.” – Rajar
Berra: SEND HER A DRESS!

“Possibly best to make it a general gift. To the clan.” – Rajar
“I don’t think that’s a good idea.” – Xenofos
“It’s your gift…” – Rajar
“I suppose horses are out, even given they’re the animal I’m most familiar with.” – Xenofos
Varanis: Eat Fish!

“Gold and bronze are always welcome.” – Rajar

Varanis: Xenofos you were asked to find out about road conditions…

Berra: he’s drunk, though…

Varanis: He should at least have an INT roll.

“I did that thing… I’m quite relieved.” – Xenofos
“I asked you to find out about the road conditions.” – Varanis

Varanis: Chaos trees!
Varanis: Waste of a fumble, Xenofos!

Xenofos: Quite. Disappointing.

Xenofos: As anyone else than Xenofos I would suggest some random burning and looting right now

Varanis: Are they real people this time?
Varanis: Not just sharp trees?

Rajar: What’s the betting this is the Prince we wanted to talk to?
Varanis: Not taking that bet!

Varanis: Though, he does have a kopis…

Varanis: Urox-shock is a bit like shell-shock, only different?
Hobbitomm: Not VERY different

Berra comes to stop Xenofos getting more drunk, after a bit. “Or else name a second.”

Berra: Berra is vibrating with anger.

“WHAT THE FUCK, AND WHY AREN’T YOU FUCKING VARANIS?” – Venna
“I’m not fucking Varanis because I don’t find her attractive.” – Berra

Berra: Tom is WAY nicer than I am with numbers.

Berra: passes What Would Varanis Do

“Do I need to provide you a new Storm Bull?” – Venna
“Rajar, you SICK FUCK, what are you eating?” – Berra

“This wineskin seems to be broken. I can’t understand how, I was really careful with it…” – Xenofos