Ducking the Head

S02 — Session 36

1627, Sea Season, Death Week, Wildday

Dramatis Personae




Wellan, Teltra, and Galrach, three Drakemere Humakti
Darvyn Blackfeather, Chief of Drakemere
Some animated skeletons
The skeleton of a rune lord
A chariot


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.

Valseena had caught up with the others, possibly sent by Rajar to get him more beer.

Finarvi and Serala were en route to the Grazelands when Fin spotted strange lights in the distance that looked like some kind of fight. There was a reddish moving glow and then a green glow. Under cover of the blazing moonlight, the two of them snuck up on what appeared to be a Vendref village. The sentries failed to notice them until they got fairly close, at which point a bit of back and forth yelling led them to realise that they knew each other.

Inside the inn, Nala asked Jorgrim about the very fine horses that there had been, and Jorgim, under the influence of her highly activated charmingness, babbled a bit, but said that only Orvald the ostler had fine horses, and did not seem to understand that she meant they had come from outside. He insulted her by accident, saying that she would understand horses, being a unicorn rider, and he narrowly escaped her ire, going to hide behind Berra, who had got up to shout about people keeping her awake when she needed sleep. She was short, so Nala got to look over her, but Berra snarled a lot and they managed to talk instead of anyone chasing anyone.

Once Serala realised it was Xenofos in front of her, she yelled for Varanis. The Vingan woke up and ran to greet her beloved. After greetings were over and Finarvi and Serala had been filled in on the situation, Varanis reluctantly went out to do her guard shift. The remainder of the night passed uneventfully.

Suuraki asked why Drakemere was called Drakemere, and was told that ducks had recently moved into the area, and they were unfriendly. The group rode out towards Drakemere. On the way, there was a small incident when Fish, Varanis’ faithful but vicious mount, kicked out at Xenofos’ horse.1Varanis fumbled her scan and may have failed ride. He managed to stay on, and even control it, but he ended up with a damaged horse, which Valseena and Xenofos healed. Serala took over riding Fish, to teach him a lesson.

As they approached Drakemere, with Nala and Berra out towards the front, they saw a group of scouts up in the trees, and hailed them. Berra tried to persuade them of her Humakti wish to deal with undead, but they did not believe she was all she said she was – they had heard of D’Val but the feather in her helmet was the wrong colour. However, Nala used significant magic to make herself charismatic, and her ability to charm them led to an invitation into the duck village. The leader of the three warriors – all Humakti – was Wellan. He led them to meet their chief, Darvyn Blackfeather.

Darvyn, persuaded by Nala, allowed the group to deal with the matter. He seemed a good leader for ducks, but came over as a blowhard hater of humans (or at least the nearby humans) when he was reminded of the outside world. A combination of reminding them there were undead who could come after the village, and Nala’s personality, prevailed. He sent the three Humakti with the adventurers to deal with the problem.

Wellan introduced the others, Teltra and Galrach, who had come to Drakemere after their parents were murdered. He was happy with how well Darvyn and his mate Cornflower looked after the place. Recently, they had started clearing the water weed and lilypads from the lake, and as Suuraki noted, that would mean that the Red Moon could send its light into the waters.

Berra asked about magic for breathing underwater, and while there were people in the village who had that magic, there were none who were close enough to make a difference. Suuraki scouted around the lake and spotted the point at which chariot tracks entered the water. He collected the party, along with their additional Humakti Durulz support team, and they pondered their options. Finarvi and Serala spotted the chariot under water, by way of the Blue Tree rivereyes spell. After some discussion, it was decided to try to haul the chariot out of the water by way of hooks and ropes. A tree was also selected to serve as an anchor and a rope was strung between a couple of other trees to potentially clothesline the skeletons. It all seemed like a very good plan.

Wellan went in with a hook and rope and the intention of hooking it to the chariot. Not long after he went under, the water began to froth. The two other ducks dove in to fight. Berra threw on rivereyes at this point, saw that one of the skeletons was strangling Wellan and she dove in swords first to save him. Suuraki rode his llama into the water so he could give Berra support if needed. She didn’t get very far before she began to drown. Watching this, Varanis prepared to go in after her, only to have Nala get in the way, making noises about crocodiles breaking hospitality. Suuraki and his llama fished the drowning Berra out of the water and deposited her on the shore where Valseena set to work healing her. For some reason, Valseena’s healing magic did not work well, possibly to do with her spirit being shocked.

At about this point, the chariot began to emerge from the water on its own. Berra, regaining consciousness, spluttered and bolted for her spear, with Valseena chasing her in an effort to finish the healing. Varanis’ blade caught fire. Xenofos readied a javelin. And everyone watched with bated breath, hoping the rope would remove some heads. Sadly, the skeletons easily evaded the crude trap. Xenofos’ javelin took the chariot driver in the eye, knocking the skull clean off. This did not slow the chariot down. The runelord skeleton cast Fear on Finarvi, who began to back away immediately. Nala attempted to Demoralise the skeleton, but lacking intelligence, it failed to notice.

As the chariot advanced, Suuraki struck at it with his dagger-axe, doing a small amount of damage. Varanis cast Leap and launched herself into the chariot, whereupon she began fighting with the skeletons up close and personal. This, of course, meant that Xenofos could not throw his second javelin.2One of these days, he will anyway. It would make his life more peaceful. Serala and Suuraki paced the chariot, striking at it and the skeletons repeatedly. Xenofos attacked from horseback with his spear. The fight was desperate and despite all the damage they inflicted on both the chariot and the skeletons, they just could not seem to make it stop. Even when Tiwr took out one of the chariot wheels, there appeared to be no effect. The driver was almost destroyed and the rider was down at least one hand, yet when Xenofos attacked it, the place where the driver’s head had been still put up resistance, like there was something there. Nala rode into the water to see if Wellan could be helped, but Tiwr pronounced him dead. She brought the body out.

During the intense fighting, the charioteer used his vehicle as a weapon. First he tried to squash one of the ducks, who managed to dodge out of the way. Then, despite his damaged vehicle he rode for Finarvi to try to trample him too. The Grazelander dodged, tried to attack, and threw his sword in Berra’s general direction.3Fumbled attack Then he legged it for his horse. The charioteer did manage to ride down one of the Humakti Durulz, crushing the warrior’s head.

Just when it looked like nothing was going to work, with Varanis having removed the Rune Lord’s head to no avail, and Berra calling to attack the chains, Finarvi threw Dispel Magic at the chariot and skeletons. Varanis managed to leap clear as the whole thing exploded into bone dust.

“Justifiably dispatched him,” Varanis says.
“Murdered him… and then they disposed of the bodies, completing the murder.” – Xenofos

“Berra’s riding a bison.” – Berra
“(Not at Breakfast. She’s not riding then.)” – Berra

“Varanis quietly admits to getting kicked in the face by her horse.” – Varanis
Serala gives said horse the Evil Eye.
“She’s rather embarrassed by it.” – Varanis

“So metalstealing ducks took the chains…” – Xenofos

“If Finarvi and Serala look at Varanis at the Salt & Teeth thing, she’ll also explain that there seem to be crocodile incidents when she goes swimming.” – Varanis
“It could be a good test to see if this is a real thing, mind you. We could just immerse V and see what happens.” – Varanis

“It didn’t happen when she took at bath at the Temple of Uleria….” – Varanis
“I would have thought Xenofos would have mentioned it, seeing as he was sleeping at the temple.” – Nala
“He was busy.” – Varanis

Varanis is staring at Serala, and fumbles Scan. 100.

“Valseena – you can heal animals, can’t you? Would you heal a horse, despite your likely bias against horses?” – Varanis
“If you asked me nicely.” – Valseena

“…taking our land away.” – Wellan
“Their land’s a bit heavy… for taking away.” – Berra

“How come Varanis always ends up with unmanageable horses?” – Serala
“That’s not strictly true. She’s had unmanageable zebras too.” – Suuraki

“What would oppose Serala’s ride roll?” – Varanis
“Fish’s Do Not Be Riden roll.” – Nala
“Fish’s ‘Vicious bastard personality trait.'” – GM

“Is ‘Fish’ just short for ‘Vicious’?” – Finarvi

“This horse should just be glue.” – Varanis

“Varanis. Or her horse. It’s a toss up which is more interesting right now.” – Serala

“D’Val is tall.” – Finarvi
“Eight feet tall with eyes of fire. They’re small feet…” – Finarvi

“Humakti here come for paperwork. In triplets” – Nala

“If I dive in, I will be…” – Berra
“Sinking.” – Varanis

“Varanis looks at where Berra went in, swears, and looks briefly indecisive.” – Varanis

“But Berra’s down there….” – Varanis
“Yes. With three other HUMAKTI and UNDEAD” – Nala
“”Exactly!” Varanis looks urgent. “They are in trouble!”” – Varanis

“This may be my goodbye.” – Berra
“Worth it.” – Berra

“”I have to help. We can’t let them all die.”” – Varanis
“It’s fine! It’s coming!” – Berra

“Xenofos. Your javelin takes the driver clean through the head.” – GM
“Well, that sounds promising. But?” – Xenofos

“We can’t demoralise the eternal battle.” – Suuraki

“I shall dodge like I want to get out of Dodge.” – Finarvi

“Run for my horse.” – Finarvi
“Doing it wrong. Horse runs for you” – Valseena

“Oh, that is interesting. I actually passed, with a one-handed spear.” – Xenofos

“To lose one Duck might be considered misfortune. To lose two looks like carelessness.” – Suuraki GM

cute sneezes – GM

“Oh yes, parrying. Like dodging, only with a sword.” – Varanis

“God, ducks are weedy.” – GM
“Duckweedy?” – Nala

  • 1
    Varanis fumbled her scan and may have failed ride.
  • 2
    One of these days, he will anyway. It would make his life more peaceful.
  • 3
    Fumbled attack