Ducking Out

S02 — Session 13

1626, Earth Season, Stasis Week, Godday Eve to Noon

Dramatis Personae




Some torch bearers from Saiciae
An old retainer
Garin Meralt
Eranda, briefly
Vasos and a friend, who are both highly competent and drunk
Vasos and same friend, sober, and sobered
Lord Kesten Hulta’s guards
Lord Kesten’s duelling second
Lord Kesten Hulta
Some other Ducks


This week, we are pleased to welcome back Doktor Forrest Oldman, noted expert on Xenofos, as our guest lecturer.
[[His commentary will be denoted thus.]]

[[Guten Abend. This is an unexpected pleasure.]]
This week’s texts are fragmentary in nature, elegic doublets close to, but not quite,to measure conforming.
You should pay close attention to variances and possible weaknesses in use of meter and kennings for you analysis.

“To wielders of woundbronze swore her innocence the Wind Daughter fair,
prayers offered to Ernalda and wise Saiciae blood.”

[[Now you, there in the backrow, fidgeting. Please explain woundbronze to the class.
And everyone, who would be its wielders in Esrolian context? Who is Wind Daughter?]]

“To foehouse foul went fair Mellia, with words of wisdom and Peace
Offered aid earnest, refused was by Matron moody.”

[[These texts have been found as fragments from a collection of clay tablets stored in a archive that lamentably has been at some point subject to collapse, perhaps in an Earthquake. They are presented here in an order that would seem to make sense in temporal continuity, but keep in mind this is just one possible way of reading them.]]

[[Now Mellia is primarily remembered from her sonnet material and some texts attributed to pseudo-Venlar. Stylistically both differ from these couplets.]]

[[What does it tell you? Is this even the same lady? What do you think, yes you, the redhead in the third row?]]

“Apparition watery and wet was Xenofos on his return late
To embrace of sweet sleep he swiftly succumbed.”

[[Like Mellia, Xenofos is better known for the sonnets. But he also appears as attributed author of some works. Do these lines just refer to atrocious weather or do they hint of some aquatic exploits of which there is no further description? Are we perhaps witnessing a recovery of a drowned man and his internment?]]

“Larnbrils’s way took eager Varanis Vingan, following call of the Piper
to a manor dark, to palazzo abandoned, empty.”

“Yer gates do open, for White Lady show respect
bellowed mighty Uroxi, announced wild Bison Rider”

[[Now those of you who have read your Frazer properly should have no trouble interpreting this kenning. To others I suggest refreshing your look at the Golden Bough, Volume II.]]

[[While you are at it, check if you can gain any insight to the identity of the player mentioned. Now these two fragments have been connected because there is good reason to believe they have once been written on one now broken tablet. But are they two parts of same narrative or totally different, independent poems. You in the front row, what is your opinion?]]

“declined to meet her foeman dreaded Humakti Berra
now is not time for fight, dawn duel must wait”

[[Warrior showing restraint and peaceful intentions. Some of you may wonder if this is the same Berra as mentioned in SagaBerrajarandottirs. A good question indeed.]]

“Vouched was sire of Colymar by words of Yelornan Nala
unhappy remained Tightbeak, beak geld bore on his mind”

[[Who is sire of Colymar? Who is Tightbeak? Yelornan-Nala? Lots of questions. Beaks might be the key as they are mentioned twice and the Sartarite association makes it likely that this bit is at least tangentially related to previous ones.]]

[[Now your assignment for next week. Analyze and explain these fragments through their content, form and language and give argument whether or not they are pieces of one longer text or texts by different authors. I expect proper notation as always. Professor Garin will add something more closely related to corpus of texts used by Herr Dr Tomm. Over to you Professor.]]

[‘Thank you, Doktor. Those of you who do not have the updated Frazer, or have not read the updated Frazer, or do not remember the updated Frazer, will now have the opportunity to refresh your memories of the book, or at least where the library is. Who, or what, is Lanbril? Thief god, or aspect of Eurmal? Shadow of Yelm? Attestations and citations as usual, five hundred words, my desk.’]

The session began with Mellia, a pair of palanquin carriers, and a half-dozen Saiciae guards making their way to House Hulta. Mellia was able to gain access to the House, where she asked for Kesten Hulta. She was told he was not available, but after saying she had information about Lenta, was met by one of the Ladies Hulta and a grumpy-looking Babeester Gor. Mellia tried once more to get House Hulta to listen about Lenta and Garin Merelt, telling them about what Varanis had sworn, but in the end was forced to leave with no real sense of having been heard. The Lady did ask if the Sartarite Humakti was in the house of Saiciae.

Varanis and Berra were in the House Saiciae chapel where Varanis had been praying and Berra had been attempting to nap. They were interrupted by a damp and exhausted Xenofos who came through the entry and then artfully collapsed into a heap on the floor. Varanis fussed over him, offering what healing she could. Others came quickly, including Nala, Irillo, Rajar, and Mellia, and he was healed, looked after, and bundled into bed after reporting that he and the guards had been saved by merfolk.

Irillo suggested that Berra and Rajar should go check out the Merelt town house. Varanis was entirely unwilling to be left behind and invited herself along, which meant that Mellia came too as she was unwilling to let Varanis go unsupervised, which was probably a good thing. At House Merelt, the heroes looked around outside for evidence of activity, then tried to get a better look. This involved Varanis trying and failing to scale the wall, while Berra got a boost from Rajar. After seeing Berra’s success, Varanis got a Rajar boost too and followed up the wall. Berra noticed a light inside, which vanished when she took a second look. Berra decided to keep climbing, as entering the House would be dishonourable.

Varanis caught the notes of a song about her, played on the wall. Honour failed in the face of her anger and her determination to catch Garin. She entered the house by way of the window. Berra muttered a few rude words at this point, and called down to let the others know what had happened. Rajar contemplated following, using his axe to give himself a hand up, but ultimately decided that it might just be easier to use the door. He and Mellia sought out the back door, followed swiftly by Berra. Given the relatively high risk of Chaos inside the house, and the lack of people answering his polite knocking, Rajar decided that it was a holy obligation to knock the door down. Berra accepted a payment from Mellia of another bolg as a bribe to enter the house.

Inside the house, Varanis stumbled about in darkness, following the sound of the flute.

Downstairs, Rajar, Mellia, and Berra encountered an old servant who did his best to be brave and prevent the intrusion of these outsiders. As Mellia was failing to reason with him, and he was lying about nobody being in, Berra just pushed past. The man tried to stop her, stabbing ineffectively at her. She patted him on the shoulder and kept going. Rajar, having been impressively polite about things up to this point, called on his god and scared the old man into terrified flight.

Upstairs, called onward by the taunting flute music, Varanis spotted light coming from beneath a door. She let herself into the room to find Garin and the flute. He said a lot of things, while she mainly said, “Where is Lenta?” Things came to a head when her temper snapped and she leapt across the room at him, fist first. She impacted, probably breaking his arm. There was a blinding flash of light and Varanis was left alone and temporarily sightless, while Garin escaped. This is where the others found her.

They made their way back to House Saiciae, after Rajar left some money for door repairs with the frightened old servant. Back at the House, they were greeted by Eranda who had managed to locate a pair of drunken sailors, one of whom was Vasos from their trip to Nochet. The noise led to Nala and Irillo being disturbed. Somewhere about this point, Irillo suggested that since Lenta was in trouble, Varanis really ought to be able to divine her location. The Vingan gave this task her customary careful forethought and planning, which is to say she threw herself into it unthinkingly and failed miserably. She fell apart and Mellia did the kindest thing possible and put Varanis to sleep. Berra stayed by Varanis. Everyone got some sleep overnight.

In the morning, a few people (and one unicorn) had headaches. Kesten turned up to demand Berra’s attention by way of their seconds. Irillo went out to see Kesten and after a guard tried to stop him, noted that the street belonged to Issaries, and trying to stop people from getting through for a duel was very bad. This got Irillo through to talk to Kesten, who for some reason would not or could not hear that he had been lied to about the situation.1GM’s note: Getting into the right mindset to fight the duel with a fellow Humakti was perhaps in Kesten’s estimation not the time to prattle with a merchant who behaved rudely interrupting matters of honor.

The arrival of Kesten’s second led to a lot of yelling and some very foul words from Berra, mostly at a closed door behind which he was waiting for an answer. This was not good for the headaches. Ultimately, Berra refused to fight Kesten at his timing, and would not even listen to his terms, sending out to say that she was busy rescuing his kinswoman. By the time the group left, he had gone, leaving the staves for the duel still in the street.

The party still managed to leave early enough to get to the Temple of Vinga so that Varanis could divine properly on where Lenta was. She was informed Lenta was ‘guarded by snakes and crabs, between Engizi and Magasta’.

They went to meet Tightbeak and arrange passage on the reed boats to the pirate island. Nala convinced Tightbeak to take everyone except her, as she was entering the spirit plane to follow them. There was some question about whether or not Berra was Colymar, which Nala avoided answering directly. Tightbeak figured it out later when Berra pointed out that she was of that Tribe, but asked him his problem, and explained her Clan had looked after Ducks. Tightbeak was not convinced but followed through on his promise to the Lightbringer. It was decided that since Nala was staying on the shore, Varanis was in the lead, though this would change if they entered into conflict. The trip to the island was remarkably uneventful, and they landed on mudflats on the North side, trying to reach some tree cover, with an agreement on where to meet the Ducks later.

“In defense of GM, we knew how petty, murderous, and vicious he was when we allowed ourselves to be seduced into playing in his web.” – Berra
“Moi?” – GM
“Well, maybe you didn’t know.” – Berra
“Were you aware that you’ve been GMing again?” – Berra

“You can, I assure you, sleep when you are dead. It’s a thing.” – Berra
“Practically an expert here.” – Berra

“He’s been doing this while other people are doing things they say are important.” – Rajar
@@*@@awards medal for bitchiness to Rajar*@@*@@ – Berra

“So you’ve shrunk to SIZ 20 from all the steam”–Nala to Rajar
“That’s not SIZ 20, Nala…” – Berra
“He just tells you it is.” – Berra

“You reach Hulta without being accosted by any street gangs.” – GM
“This is because the street gangs have the good sense not to be out in the rain.” – Mellia

@@*@@cat’s tail wanders past@@*@@
“Tentacles…” – GM in loving parental tone

“Several people have sworn comprehensively that they saw her leave with Lenta, so this is getting us nowhere.” – Matron

“But since you are here, is that Sartarite Humakti, Jarang’s daughter, in the Saiciae palazzo?” – Matron
“She was when I left it.” – Mellia
“I see.” – Matron
“Would you rather hear this from her?” – Mellia
@@*@@whole-body wince*@@*@@ – Berra

“…no evidence…” – Lady Hulta
@@*@@drips*@@*@@ – the swimming party

“Stop biting me!” – Irillo
“Sorry!” – Berra
“And here’s me sharpening my teeth special.” – Nala

“You want pure honesty? I can give it still dripping and unrefined. LEMME AT ‘EM!” – Berra
“She wants Lenta, not home truths, Berra.” – Nala

“Rajar is not known for putting spin on his statements.” – Rajar
“Just on his thrown axe.” – Berra

“Are you pleased to see him, or is that a broadsword in your belt?” – Irillo
“Bit of both.” – Berra

“A man’s job is to suffer and be beautiful.” – Irillo

“Wonder what the Cult spirits of Issaries are. “Foreclosure”?” – Irillo
“If Irillo is anything to go by, the cult spirits are Botched Bargain Roll.” – Nala

“You’re not making much progress climbing. Maybe less beer…” – GM
“Fah!” – Rajar

“Knock on the door politely.” – Rajar
“The oaken door is not giving you any grief.” – GM

“Nobody is answering.” – GM
“Knock on the back door impolitely.” – Rajar

“Nobody has come to the door, and I believe there may be Chaos inside, so it’s my religious duty to knock on the door impolitely.” – Rajar

“I will walk behind the white lady.” – Rajar
“Who is going first, with a torch in one hand and a speech prepared.” – Mellia

“OK, give me Insight Human, everyone who is in the downstairs.” – GM
“Yep, there’s a human there!” – Berra

“It’s alright, we’re from Stormbull, we’re here to help.” – Rajar

“You can’t just come in.” – old man
“That’s why we knocked.” – Mellia

“But it wasn’t on fire when I got here.” – Rajar

“You are wearing armour, and he makes a whopping two points of damage.” – GM
“I’m just going to pat him on the shoulder and walk past.” – Berra

“Rajar’s come up with a non-lethal solution, which is a first.” – Rajar

“Why would I tell you, even if I did know?” – Garin
“Because the consequences of not doing so would be very unpleasant.” – Varanis
“Promises, Promises.” – Garin

“Vinga is the goddess of women in trouble, yes?” – Irillo
“Yes.” – Varanis
“So a woman in trouble is her province, yes?” – Irillo
“Yes.” – Varanis
“He’s asking why you don’t use Divination.” – Berra
“YES!” – Irillo

“What goes up must come down. It’s as true in biochemistry as it is in physics fields.” – Mellia
“Someone’s talking Erustulian god-learnering.” – GM

“Nobody loves me.” – Tiwr, sadly

“Huzzah a duel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” – Rajar
“I shall come with. Shall I bring friends? That was fun last time.” – Rajar

“Huzzah. I’ll go find some really trustworthy stormbulls. Like last time” – Rajar
“Not the other one. The dead one. Wait, did I say that?” – Berra
“I won’t bring any dead people.” – Rajar

“Berra’s pixelated.” – Nala
“It’s because of her rude content.” – Irillo

“Mellia? Could you… ahem… achieve harmony around here?” – Irillo
“I am out of credit with my goddess, Irillo.” – Mellia
“Um… sleeping people are harmonious.” – Irillo

“Rajar pulls his gauntlets on. ‘I think the lady says you’re not very important.'” – Rajar

“Guarded by snakes and crabs, within Magasta’s and Engizi’s meeting places.” – Vinga’s answer

“Will one of the ducks volunteer to stay behind?” – Nala
“All of the Ducks will volunteer to stay behind.” – GM

“You didn’t tell me you were bringing Sartarites.” – Tightbeak
“You didn’t ask.” – Nala

“Berra works out what to catch hold of when the boat tips.” – Berra
“A Duck.” – Nala

“You’re a healer.” – Varanis
“I know. That’s why I am not saying let Humakt sort that out later.” – Mellia

“We should send the GM to bed so he gets SOME sleep.” – Varanis
“No, he’s the one who wasted time. Let him make up for it.” – Berra

“I wanted to kill Garin. I feel like V showed remarkable restraint, all in all.” – Varanis
“I think so too.” – Berra
“Definitely. Besides, Lenta should get to kill him.” – Mellia

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    GM’s note: Getting into the right mindset to fight the duel with a fellow Humakti was perhaps in Kesten’s estimation not the time to prattle with a merchant who behaved rudely interrupting matters of honor.