Death and Taxes

S02 — Session 19

1626, Dark Season, Disorder Week, Wildday

Dramatis Personae




Pavis City Guards
Chief Priest of Zola Fel
Lots of newtlings
A Black Fang Assasin
A Priest of Waha


As before, the log will be accompanied by extracts of poetry from the private collection of Dr Tomm.

Long trapped within
time withered out until
rebirth from promise

Venlar III.9 (Frag), ‘Loss of the Self’, Trans Goldman

After some discussion over how to find the most appropriate temple of Zola Fel, Nala and Suuraki led the party to the gates of Pavis, looking for the temple that was in the city, not the one in Big Rubble. The gate was guarded by people wearing the symbols of the White Bull. The guards agreed to allow the party into the city, after Nala explained her quest to them, but laid out a list of ground rules. Ten percent of anything brought out of the Rubble belonged to Argrath. Magical items had to be shown to Argrath’s priests for inspection. No metal armour was to be worn in the city. It was strongly implied that trouble in the streets would be frowned upon.

Rajar tried to enter the city regardless of his armoured state, and got the butt of a spear planted in his chest. He very reasonably pointed out that as a follower of the White Bull, the rules didn’t really apply to him. After a bit of discussion, the guards agreed with him.

Nala removed her metal armour with her customary grace. Xenofos removed his with his usual air of distraction, staring up at the architecture of the city gates. Varanis, resentfully, stripped off her armour and bound it to Berra’s bison. Berra had thought ahead, apparently, as she was not wearing her bronze armour, but her leather scouting armour. This might have had something to do with the heat, as she had worn it all the way up the Zola Fel.

On entering the city, Suuraki guided them to the Temple of Zola Fel. As they made their way through the streets, the demographic began to shift until more and more of the people were Ducks and newtlings, and fewer were human. As the ratio of newtling to human increased, so did Xenofos’ tension, rising to the point of becoming blatantly obvious. Berra took up position beside him, attempting to distract him with a bizarre display of flirting.1Berra rolled a special on Insight: Human and realised that Xenofos was likely to use his javelin, so she calmed him by keeping his attention and soothing him. Nala was the only person to pass Insight: Human to realise what Berra was doing and why.2Varanis didn’t bother rolling, because she already knew about Xenofos and Berra’s relationship. The Praxians discussed the strange newtling fear that the foreigner was exhibiting, but could think of no reason why anyone should be that tense about them.

The party reached the temple without Xenofos snapping en route. At the temple, the Chief Priest was a human who listened to Nala and then called for the High Priest. When he arrived he turned out to be a duck priest and his newtling aide. Nala was asked to tell her tale, which was done in Praxian with a lot of dancing. The ritual dance-based telling was long and drawn out, and Suuraki aided the non-Praxians with bits of instruction and translation as he deemed appropriate. At the end of it, Nala was able to return the salt-encrusted map-etched scapula and complete her quest, announcing, “It is done,” in Earthtongue. The priest was suitably impressed and offered the hospitality of the temple to Nala and her companions in a language they all understood.

Everyone was assigned individual rooms around a central courtyard with a fountain. Berra chose to make Xenofos’ room her place of rest, as she wanted to ensure the scholar felt safe, surrounded by so many draconic faces. Berra was the only person to notice the newtlings who kept on looking in and looking away, but she made sure that others knew. She particularly did not tell Xenofos, because he was already scared of them. Nala and Tiwr settled in for a period of meditation.

Varanis, feeling angry and impatient, decided it was necessary to acquire some armour that did not break the rules of the city. Although Berra did offer to accompany her, the Vingan was in no mood to wait. Instead, she enlisted Suuraki’s help to locate the appropriate section of town and accepted his offer to accompany her there.

Xenofos decided to make his way to the library, and for safety was accompanied by Berra and Rajar. He was guided to the library and then Berra and Rajar left him there safely to go to a bar. Berra let Rajar do the decision-making, and he took her to a Storm Bull place where she very nearly elbowed a Zorak Zorani cultist out of the way. Electing to be peaceful, she gave Rajar the cash for drinks instead. He bought a drink for her, a drink for himself, and a drink for the Zorak Zorani, who by now was ‘grinning’ at Berra. No violence happened. She sat down to drink with some Storm Bulls, who did not annoy her.3A pass on Devotion Humakt and a pass on Clan Loyalty so she did not start a fight with someone Rajar was drinking with. She was at least not unhappy with being called a Classy Bird by the Storm Bulls and sang Rajar’s Saga rather badly, and talked all about how he had been amazing in the Krarsht temple. He sang her sagas too. Vishi, the Flower Bison Storm Bull she had sat down next to, combat-hugged Rajar, and there was a lot of belly-slamming. Berra refused to take part in this because she was sitting down, but did point out that Vishi needed to drink his friend’s jug for the honour of the Storm Bulls, because the man had passed out. They then went to pick up Xenofos, as it was around dusk. They managed it without bouncing off too many people or walls.

As Varanis and Suuraki continued on their way about Pavis, Varanis noticed that they were being followed. She told her companion and he picked a suitable alley to duck into.4Special on battle; they found a place that was worth fighting in. It turned out to be occupied by a couple of people waiting in ambush. Varanis, who was spoiling for a fight, was happy to set off the ambush, with the Waha-worshipping Suuraki at her side. For his part, he was very happy indeed to take on those who tried to oppose him. They made an excellent team, effectively dispatching the two men who waited for them and the one who followed them in. When they searched the bodies, they discovered the men all had Death, Man, and Darkness Runes. The combination was unfamiliar to Suuraki, so after he prepared their bodies in a rather shortened ritual of corpse preparation.5You bastard, *kick*he suggested they visit the Temple of Waha to ask about the cult. First, they found an armour shop and Varanis was efficiently measured up for some decent quality rhino-hide armour. Varanis decided it was worth having to face the occasional challenge from rhino riders to get decent protection.

When they got to Waha’s temple, Suuraki and Varanis were greeted at the temple, which was mostly a stockyard and a sanded sacrifice area, by a priest. Suuraki reported their experiences and the priest asked if he had any enemies. When he answered in the negative, the priest’s gaze turned to Varanis and he asked if the foreigner had any. She said it was possible, though it was some time since she’d been to Prax. He explained that the runes were typical of the local assassins’ cult, the Black Fang Brotherhood. Suuraki asked if the Shaman would be willing to send them on a vision quest and was told to come back the next day. Before leaving, Varanis asked if there were any particular weapons to be on alert for. The priest listed a significant number, including poison, garottes, daggers, and other such pleasantries. One of his assistants mentioned falling rocks, but this was dismissed as probably a one-off thing. The Priest said that Varanis should get herself a Humakti, as Humakt opposed the Black Fang Brotherhood. Varanis decided this was fortunate as she knew one already.

Varanis and Suuraki returned to the Temple of Zola Fel, discussing suitable sacrifices for the Shaman, should he deign to see them. They both noticed that the temple had gained significantly more green faces in the time they were away. It wasn’t long before Berra, Rajar, and Xenofos returned. Berra, scout by habit, noticed the extra newtlings and made sure people knew this was strange as this was not Waterday. She also pointed out just how many newtlings had been looking in on them earlier. Xenofos casually slipped the peace knot on his sword. Varanis observed this, but said nothing, as she hadn’t bothered to re-tie her own. Disappointingly, nobody attacked. Everyone but Nala, who was meditating and praying, compared notes. Berra swore as she heard about the assassins, and seemed to know about the Brootherhood already. She decided that she needed to head to the Temple of Humakt immediately, suggesting that Rajar and Xenofos could guard the Vingan. Varanis was not particularly pleased about the idea of being guarded again. She told Rajar to sleep off his beer and took up watch in her own room. Rajar decided to sleep because this was a temple and he might be needed awake later.

“I will look down my Llama at him…” – Suuraki

“Like many conversations, this is over my head.” – Berra

“A strange thing happens as you travel. You all get… taller. Or at least, you’re taller than the people around you.” – GM
“Even Berra?” – Nala

“I’m in sword and armour.” – Berra
“And other sword.” – Berra
“I’ve got a few axes” – Rajar
“And a few more axes.” – Berra
“And a lance” – Rajar
“And the occasional axe” – Nala
“And our attitudes!” – Berra
“And Berra’s attitude!” – Nala

“Rajar, did you make it?” – GM
“Uh, make what?” – Rajar
“I think that answers that.” – Suuraki

“Nala: Berra’s almost… flirting with him? And there’s a bit of blushing. Mostly from him.” – Berra

“Place some food on the offerings tray” – Rajar
“Lizard jerky.” – Suuraki


“He is stripped to the waist. Beneath which is… feathers. So he’s wearing a belt, basically.” – GM

“Don’t check out the duck’s undercarriage. It could go badly.” – Berra
“Just focus on the beak.” – Rajar

“Which I will then anoint with… some anointy stuff. Shut up Berra.” – Nala

“The duck doesn’t hunker, on the grounds he appears to be pre-hunkered…” – GM

“Berra stares with interest at the story-teller, even though she can’t understand it.” – Berra
“Watching that misformed waterdragon with suspicion…” – Xenofos
“Newtling: licks eyeballs.” – Berra

“I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, while Insight Duck may be a thing in this party, I suspect none of you have Insight: Newtling.” – GM

“Our hospitality is offered.” – Chief Priest Duck
“Come sleep with the fishies!” – Berra

“Did the duck offer hospitality in Praxian?” – Varanis
“GM needs some signs to hold up saying which language he’s talking in.” – Berra

“Dammit, I knew I should have taken Insight:Newtling. Not that I knew Newtlings existed, but…” – Nala

“Berra’s going to check if the rooms are individual – if so, she’ll stay with Xenofos.” – Berra
“Berra’s moving into Xenofos’ room?!” – Varanis
“Apparently so.” – Berra

“Once we’ve settled into our rooms, Varanis is going to walk out. She apparently needs some non-metal armour.” – Varanis
“Rhino fat.” – Xenofos
“Bison bikini. Clearly.” – GM
“Arma maxima cano.” – Nala

“Rajar, were you with either of the groups? Berra invited you to escort Xenofos then go have a drink, if you wanted to.” – Berra
“I’d have gone with Berra.” – Rajar
“Armour off, down to padding.” – Rajar
“In that case, we can find a place to drink.” – Berra
“I can’t claim to be on duty in the Pub.” – Rajar

“Fighting in Pavis. How very several years ago.” – Nala

“Xenofos, in the library: Hmm, Varanis is very quiet… oooh, marginalia!” – Berra
“Marginalia seems to be more useful than the actual text though. Who is this Rodbeak guy anyway, seems to write only of edible roots…” – Xenofos

“I believe you do damage to his…weapon.” – Tom

“While she hesitates, I’ll just execute him.” – Suuraki

“Death, Man and Darkness.” – GM
“I heard that as Death, Man and Duck.” – Varanis

“Grazhnisht.” – Troll
“Gesundheit.” – Nala

“He finally lets go of you. Gives you a belly slam.” – GM
“Slam back! This is a ritual of our people!” – Rajar

“Seriously though…. where did you leave Xenofos?” – Varanis

“Bison inter clan politcs are….simple.” – Rajar

“Friend, have you annoyed someone? How about your foreigner?” – Waha Priest
“She has only been here a day. I would be surprised if she has found the time.” – Suuraki
“She is talented.” – Xenofos

“Can you swear in trade talk?” – Suuraki
“NO REFUNDS!” – Suuraki
“Default.” – Xenofos

“Berra is hanging around Xenofos – but now has to go. So will suggest that Xenofos looks after Varanis.” – Berra
“Is he looking after me or am I looking after him?” – Varanis
“Yes.” – Berra

  • 1
    Berra rolled a special on Insight: Human and realised that Xenofos was likely to use his javelin, so she calmed him by keeping his attention and soothing him.
  • 2
    Varanis didn’t bother rolling, because she already knew about Xenofos and Berra’s relationship.
  • 3
    A pass on Devotion Humakt and a pass on Clan Loyalty so she did not start a fight with someone Rajar was drinking with.
  • 4
    Special on battle; they found a place that was worth fighting in.
  • 5
    You bastard, *kick*