Cracking Joints

S02 — Session 9

1626, Earth Season, Fertility Week, Wildday

Dramatis Personae




A mystery man
Some inattentive Hulta guards
Lenta Hulta
Lord Rillo Hulta


As before, the log is accompanied by an extract from the private poem collection of Dr Tomm. Here we have a palimpsest, scraped and re-used, but both in the same handwriting, identified as ‘Venlar’ or ‘Venlar the Lover’. First, the destroyed poem:

My hand is cramped with clay dust, hers red with the blood of Yelm.
One colour, dividing, uniting us.

Bronze torcs for weddings, bronze bones for a sword
Gold for our aspirations and our hopes.

I speak across a gulf, she hears me from afar
And so she comes, and we are one united.

Venlar II-23a, Trans. Garin

And the over-write:

All love and lust beneath one skin.
Oh darling, how you love and fulfil me,
Complete me without ever overflowing.

I am half a man without her. Unwed, alone, I let time pass.

Knowing not that I lived, I half-lived, one eye closed1This line is often used to identify the author as Venlar Silorsson, scarred at birth. Alleyn questions the addition of the stanza to the Venlar corpus..
You open them painlessly, with kisses.
Complete me without ever overflowing.

Venlar II-23b, Trans. Garin

Our heroes followed the trail through the slums of Nochet and drew some followers who were trying to work out if they were muggable. They located a building with a broken amphora outside its door and were discussing how to enter it when Xenofos decided he’d simply kick the door down. This proved to be an uncomfortable experience, as the building was warded, but he did gain entry, followed quickly by his cousin. Varanis knocked down one of the internal warding wands, thereby allowing everyone else access to what turned out to be something of a temple. Berra failed to cast Shield and then had her Rune Points drain away when she tried again. She came in shamefaced a few moments later.

While the party was entering the building, someone else was deciding what to do about them coming in. Unfortunately, they were too late to stop him, as he appeared to simply vanish. A few attempts were made to wave swords around in hopes of encountering flesh, but alas! The man made good his escape, or else stayed and listened to them. Berra stuck by the door, and Zinat could find no trail leading out of the one upstairs window, but neither could they locate the man who might still be inside.

A search of the place led Nala to conclude that it was a temple to Eurmal Murderer, though Varanis was absolutely certain it was trollish in nature.2Oh look! Varanis fumbled a knowledge roll. Before the party could come to any concrete conclusions about anything, Nala, who was probably still coming down from her Holy High, called on Maran Gor and created a fissure in the middle of the building. Varanis and Kesten both fell, in spite of Xenofos’ best efforts to catch them.

Rajar and Dormal circled the Hulta palazzo at a distance, and were seen but not interfered with by the Hulta guards. They picked up a skirmish site3Multiple tracking and area lore rolls passed. and eventually tracked the survivor(s) of the skirmish to the Great Hospital, passing through a market. At the market 4Dormal fumbled intrigue. they learned that Varanis had fought a pitched battle there and personally slain 500 Hulta guards and Lord Hulta himself. However they deduced 5A passed and a special battle that there was no evidence of so much as a fist fight at the market and it was unlikely the Hulta had a standing army of 500 guards. Pausing only to correct the tales 6Dormal pointed out it was clearly 1000 guards (passed kick Truth in the nadgers) they went on to the Hospital.

At the hospital they made a completely optional donation and learned that Varanis and her company had gone back towards the Hulta palazzo. Upon making their way there they had a brief conversation with the gate guard who was convinced 7Hooray for Dormal’s fast talk to tell them which way the party had gone. And they managed8more passed track and area lore rolls to pick up the trail of the group, but mostly to hear the sound of the earth crumbling and cracking.

Rajar and Dormal found the group as they piled out of a collapsing cluster of houses – something to do with small earthquakes making distinctive sounds in a place like Nochet. Dormal strongly advised the party to leave, as the local population seemed to be eyeing them up rather avidly. With weapons drawn, they made their way out of the slums.

Varanis insisted they stop by House Hulta so that she could finally check on Lenta and reassure herself that the green-eyed girl was unharmed. There were a few sad sighs and longing looks, but Lenta was otherwise fine.9Even when Varanis was a meanie and would not take her with her.

Meanwhile, Mellia made her way to House Hulta, to warn the family that Lord Rillo Hulta had been poisoned, as well as stabbed, and that he would need to stay for some time to recover from his death. Mellia had been informed by her servant that her Vingan cousin had slain a significant number of Hulta guards and was now in trouble. Her news was received by the House and it turned out that rumours of Varanis’ violent acts were somewhat exaggerated.

Berra got Rajar and Dormal caught up on the events and the party made their way to the Hospital to have words with Lord Rillo Hulta. His behaviour made it pretty clear that Nala was justified in her distaste for the man, as he steadfastly refused to provide them with any information that would help them investigate his murder, although he did provide a decent sketch of the man who had killed him. Berra demanded answers, but Lord Hulta responded by insulting House Saiciae, thereby derailing the questioning. Even when it was pointed out that he was doing that, he kept throwing insults and not answering. He also refused to cooperate with Kesten, presumably because whatever he was hiding was not something he wanted to have shared with the Hulta matriarch.[footenote]or because he was hiding something that could only be shared with her.[/footnote]

At this point, after everyone had left the room, Dormal made an offer of his own to Lord Hulta: He offered to carry a message that would be hard to trace as he, Dormal, was not Hulta and would not be expected to work for Rillo. Rillo threw a few insults Dormal’s way, but Dormal did not rise to these 10’Passed having a mental age greater than 7’. He also suggested that Rillo had been attempting to buy information, which suggestion Rillo leapt on a little too eagerly 11Passed Insight: Own Species ruling that out as his actual goal. Rillo indicated that he would like Dormal to carry a message to a certain place and bring back any response, and to come back the next day for the details.12and paid a few lunars for the service

Dormal took the opportunity to report his findings to Grandmother before nightfall.[footenote]but this happened offscreen[/footnote] He also put the feelers out for whether his Cousins had managed to annoy the Gaffs, the dockside gang whose territory they had invaded and partially demolished, enough to get prices put on their heads.

“Is the house there any good? Will I need to replace it?” – Dormal
“Define ‘any good’?” – GM
“Well, do I like it?” – Dormal

“I’m not dead yet!” – Dormal’s Grandfather
“Well, give it time.” – Dormal

“And I did it, so don’t you forget it.” – Dormal
“No, the gods did it!” – Grandfather
“Mmm. They had help.” – Dormal

“Rocks fall. Berra dies.” – GM
“Worth it.” – Berra

“So, you wake up. You have a headache.” – GM
“Beer!” – Rajar

“I can make…well, I can ATTEMPT to make a listen roll.” – Rajar
“Does he get a bonus to his Listen because of the hangover, and everything’s incredibly loud?” – Dormal

“OK, so I’m dressed at this point…” – Rajar

“You might wish to borrow a mirror and go a long way away and look at it.” – Guard
“I passed out in a Storm Bull Temple and I’m aware of the penalty for this.” – Rajar

“He’s been looking forward to riding Billy though a building all weekend.” – Berra
“One palazzo later…” – Xenofos

“Could I just stop you there for a second… I mean obviously I can’t stop you.” – Dormal

“Mint tea and a coverlet, it says. And being sat beside.” – Venlar
“But you might need to tell your nurse that he has the prescription wrong. I’m not sure why I wrote mint.” – Venlar

“Did they say who they were going to rescue, and how, and from whom?” – Dormal
“They may have, I wasn’t listening!” – Rajar

“Okaaay. Easy Rajar…” – Dormal

“If you’ve bumped me out of the front, I’m grumpy.” – Varanis
“You’re not bumped from the front, Varanis. You’re protecting Xenofos.” – Berra

“Squalid I say, squalid.” – Xenofos fails Scan again

“The mob is withdrawing? Berra calls, ‘If you’re going to try for it, come and try for it!'” – Berra

“OK, I’ll kick the door in. Let’s see what’s there.” – Xenofos
<3 – Berra

“3 points of Shield on me.” – Berra
“… Once the Truth will answer me in a moment.” – Berra
“…. Which it doesn’t. In fact I fumble. So 1 point of shield a moment later.” – Berra

“Xenofos, do you want to make me a Scan roll?” – GM
“You know, it’s pretty dark in here. I can’t see a thing.” – Xenofos

“We didn’t draw our swords until we got to the slums.” – Varanis
“Well I did…” – Xenofos

“That poor, poor man.” – GM
“I thought you said they were trying to rescue a woman…” – Dormal

“I tried to roll on troll lore. I got 99.” – Varanis
“Eurmal-murderer.” – GM/Nala
“No no, it’s definitely troll.” – Varanis

“It’s probably going to be Intrigue, OK, this is going to go badly… FUMBLE!” – Dormal

“Don’t worry Varanis, I’ll follow you to exile if you become outlaw for that murder.” – Xenofos

“Back but munching.” – Mellia

“She does sometimes do some rash things. Says Rajar.” – Rajar

“Murdered, married. So close.” – Nala

“No lanterns here to haul Aristos up onto. You have to use the phallic statues instead.” – Berra
“Even less dignified.” – Berra
“If you prick them thus, will they not bleed?” – Nala

“Is this important?” – Hulta guard
“I wasn’t told, but things from Grandmother usually are.” – Dormal
“Smile. Lean on my axe. Nod at him.” – Rajar

“If you’re asking what I’m doing, it’s swearing violently…” – Varanis

“Nala is laughing madly and then jumping.” – Nala

“You know, possibly better to do that spell not after five days of heavy drug use.” – Nala
“Oh, that explains why you did it at all.” – Berra

“I can’t help thinking that it goes against the spirit of a Maran Gor spell to shoo everybody away first. You had notice; you didn’t boogie.” – Nala

“He appears to have the remains of a penis on his forehead.” – GM
“Is this a Chaotic feature?” – Berra

“Leaving armour, and sword, and shield, armed with a penknife…” – Xenofos
“Xenofos is best armed of us.” – Berra

@@*@@bosom heaving@@*@@ – Lenta

“Berra looks like she’s about to get giddy with bad decisions, and bites her lip, and steps back a bit.” – Berra

“My lord, are you in a position to say why you were murdered?” – Kesten

@@*@@is very rude@@*@@ – Rillo Hulta
“Chain Cast Shield 4, Fear, Beserk (JOKE) (for the moment)” – Rajar
“Nobody would conv… We’d help.” – Berra

“I have no idea who hired him. Perhaps one of the Saiciae.” – Rillo Hulta
@@*@@uproar@@*@@ – Saicians with Honour
@@*@@cleans fingernails@@*@@ – Dormal

  • 1
    This line is often used to identify the author as Venlar Silorsson, scarred at birth. Alleyn questions the addition of the stanza to the Venlar corpus.
  • 2
    Oh look! Varanis fumbled a knowledge roll.
  • 3
    Multiple tracking and area lore rolls passed.
  • 4
    Dormal fumbled intrigue.
  • 5
    A passed and a special battle
  • 6
    Dormal pointed out it was clearly 1000 guards (passed kick Truth in the nadgers)
  • 7
    Hooray for Dormal’s fast talk
  • 8
    more passed track and area lore rolls
  • 9
    Even when Varanis was a meanie and would not take her with her.
  • 10
    ’Passed having a mental age greater than 7’
  • 11
    Passed Insight: Own Species
  • 12
    and paid a few lunars for the service