Foxed Condition

S02 — Session 39

1627, Sea Season, Movement Week, Fireday to Illusion Week, Freezeday

Dramatis Personae




Davorala, the foxy lady
Danaril, once of Blue Tree


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.

Our story begins in Duck Point, the morning after Yamia’s pregnancy became general knowledge, and Rajar’s subsequent joyous bender. Some people were unnecessarily perky.

The party headed out for Boldhome, travelling along the King’s Road. They found themselves at Quackford in the Colymar lands, where they spent time in worship. On Godsday they set off again in misty weather. They decided to take a known good shortcut, which was not in any way a problem, even on a slightly misty day.

En route, when Varanis was running point, they encountered a dense fog. Irillo noticed they were being shadowed by one or more foxes in the distance, who seemed to be pacing them, but not drawing close. The Vingan confidently led the way, right up until Berra and Suuraki noticed that the road seemed to have vanished. They backtracked along their trail, in search of the road and encountered a beautiful, gorgeous, entrancing woman, Davorala, with warm, inviting brown eyes, lush skin, and a teasing smile….. Valseena was not especially interested in women and Berra loved Death too much, but the rest of the party was seemingly enthralled. She entreated them to help her – her home had an intruder, and the adventurers could help her get rid of it. There was some discussion and debate, but Varanis ended it by simply following the clear (though previously unseen) path to the woman’s house. Everyone else followed her.

When they arrived at the end of the path, kept safe by pathwatch, there was an old, rather broken-down house, once a grand villa, but now sadly fallen. Outside was an old, horrific scarecrow figure – the head of a goat had been mounted over the body of a man, who was headless. In its hands, it still held ducks’ beaks. It looked like it had been there for some time; the duck beaks had not fallen out. The smell of smoke lingered in the air. Suuraki glanced into the well, but there were no duck-related attacks from under the water.

There was a lot of discussion. Berra and Varanis favoured going in through the roof, but others could not climb so well, and nobody answered a challenge from Suuraki or a call from Irillo. With characteristic impatience, Varanis picked her spot and went up the wall, dropping a rope to enable others to follow. Once the Vingan reached the roof, Berra Humakti followed. Together, they explored the rooftop and found a reasonable way in through a broken part of the ceiling. They landed in a clatter of broken roof tiles, Berra first, followed by Varanis, and explored the upper level. Varanis was briefly distracted when she noticed a bedroom with a broken bed, while Berra spotted a child’s room with a broken doll on the floor. Returning to the lower floor, via a broken floor, they continued their explorations.

The group on the ground entered by way of a door and investigated some of the rooms, finding evidence of an extinguished hearth fire and some footprints; that of a fox, and that of a sandalled human. Disturbingly, there was an old corpse staked out there, and an area that had once been a Seven Mothers shrine with a dog mosaic on the floor, but which now only had an icon of Yanafil Tarnils. Smashed crockery was everywhere; the place had been destroyed rather than being looted. A fireplace had evidence of recent use, while another was empty. Hearing a disturbance beyond an empty doorway, Rajar and Suuraki leapt through it, axe and dagger-axe at the ready. Startled, Varanis and Berra dodged back and no one was injured. A quick exchange of information revealed that there was one door within the structure as yet unexplored.

Beyond this door they could hear the distinctive sounds of someone bathing and singing a peculiar song.

Heat the bath, heat it white
unused to the wide world, head hung
blistered by scalding steam, I might
be seared ‘til I loosen my tongue
Heat it!
Heat it!
Heat me a bath, gatekeeper,
until I’m scorched, ‘til I burn out
On the benchs’ edge I’ll teeter
And beat away my doubt
I’ll unwind and shed all propriety
Pour cold water on my dream
Skin inked with cult of the emperor
my tattoos flush in the steam
Heat it!
Heat it!
Heat the bath, heat it white
unused to the wide world, head hung
blistered by scalding steam, I might
be seared ‘til I loosen my tongue
Our idols, our trees, all are fallen
tracks of tears, all the tracks we tread
On my left chest profile of Moonson
on my right, my dear Doa’s sweet head
Ekh. In payment for selfish barbarity
I had punishment, pain and despair
In exchange for a life that is hopeless
I surrendered my stupid belief.
Heat the bath, heat it white
unused to the wide world, head hung
blistered by scalding steam, I might
be seared ‘til I loosen my tongue
I recall that Sartar morning
Only “help!” to my brother I moaned
Two fine guards brought me without warning
to a Tarshland I’d never known
Into quarries and marshes we’re fallen
from raw whips and tears bellies ache
On our left breast the profile of Moonson
to better to hear our hearts break
Don’t heat the bath, not white
unused to the wide world, head hung
blistered by scalding steam, I might
be seared ‘til I loosen my tongue
Okh I shiver with dwelling on details
This steam makes the dark thoughts retreat
From the chill of past’s cloudy veils
I plunge to a cloud of pure heat.
I was pardoned, let by Fazzur to walk
but who’d give me back my life
These thoughts have so branded my brain
I need hardly have branded my skin

With birch branches I am beating in vain
At the marks of the dark age’s sins
Heat, don’t heat…
Heat, don’t heat…
Heat the bath, heat it white
unused to the wide world, head hung
blistered by scalding steam, I might
be seared ‘til I loosen my tongue

Entering the first chamber they found a sadly disturbed frigidarium. The singing came from further in, so they continued into the tepidarium. There was a tunic and coarse wool cloak hanging up. They continued into the final room and there, they found their singer. He looked to be in his fifties. Blond, nearly white hair atop an emaciated frame. His body was decorated in red tattoos, with inked chains wrapping his lower torso. Studying him more closely revealed the presence of older, blue tattoos beneath the red. Berra started looking oddly nervous, as if she sort of recognised someone but was not sure. Irillo spoke to the man and his story was drawn out of him. He was a former Lunar prisoner, and, it emerged, one of Berra’s lost kinsmen, Danoril. He was miserably beaten down, and agreed to leave the house even though he could have stayed; he said something about being a guest, but was not up to arguing.

They invited him to leave the house and they would share food and resources with him. Varanis gave him her Praxian coat, as the clothing he wore was threadbare and insufficient for the weather. Irillo and Varanis called out to the Fox woman to tell her that her unwanted guest was no longer in the house. When she appeared, she informed them that this man was her invited guest and that they’d need to wait until night to meet the other. They fed Danoril, and Berra hung around him miserably. Varanis went back into the house to search anyhow.

There was one door still unopened, which they went into to look. It was a weaving house, with a broken loom. There was a message on the wall in old, dried blood. Xenofos tried to persuade Berra to leave before he read it, but she was having none of it, so he read it anyway. “Duck-screwer.” Berra did not seem to care.

Irillo established a warding so they could rest in safety. The fox woman kept Danoril warm. And Varanis heroically and specifically was not jealous. At all. When Yelm set, they offered Danoril the choice of coming with them to hunt the ghost or staying with Salid in the safety of the warding. He didn’t seem to care that he had a choice. Berra told him to stay outside.

At night, they could make out the form of someone walking in the courtyard, and hear them wailing. The group let Irillo do the talking. The woman’s ghost asked where her children were – Berra dashed off into the dark house to look for the ghosts of children, but there were none. She brought the broken doll down instead. Meanwhile, Suuraki and Rajar had spotted that the ghost was dripping water everywhere; Irillo had noticed too but was busy talking. The Praxians went to fish bones out of the well. Irillo asked what the dead woman’s habits for the dead were – she said she should be buried in sacred ground, and that she was cold. Berra suggested putting the bones by the fireplace to warm her.

After some negotiation and discussion, it was decided to cremate the woman’s remains. Irillo would transport her to a Temple of the Seven Mothers. They would try to learn more about what happened to her daughters Kana and Sandana. The ghost, Yaranbora, reached out to touch Irillo, who braced himself, and then extended his hand too – her touch was freezing, but he was not possessed. Instead, she vanished. The rest of the crew held a funeral for the bones and Irillo put them into an urn. They called for the fox lady. Who did not appear, leaving many hearts disappointed.

The mist lifted and there was a clear path away.

With Danoril in tow, they set off for Boldhome.

“Ah. 0-8. That is almost certainly a success.” – Irillo

“Nice rains making the Earth fruitful and ready to put out…” GM

“And you have a bit of pig fat stuck in your beard.” – Berra
<Rajar cheers up at that and eats it>

“I fumble… There’s no river nearby is there?” – Varanis

“Let’s think…. 2 fox furs at 1L a piece… Or if they’re white, maybe a bit more. But a lot more in Esrolia.” – Hobbitomm

“But you totally cuddled me for the longest time on the RQ group” – Hobbitomm
“She sends snuggly wuggly hugs. Irillo, I refuse to mime this.” – Rajar

“Ummm 5/65 on Fertility.” – Varanis
“Fancy (Fox Courtesans)” – Berra

“14/50 Fertility.” – Rajar
“Rajar throws the pork rinds over his shoulder.” – Rajar

“Failed Fertility.” – Berra
“And for giggles, Specialled Death.” – Berra

“<Rajar wipes the grease off on Vengance>” – Rajar

“Damnit. Critted INT roll.” – Berra

“One day, Xenofos will fumble Inspiration on Truth, and he’ll realised that SOMETIMES THERE ARE POINTS OF VIEW.” – Berra

“Shall we just charge into the building? I mean, on foot, because that door is tiny.” – Suuraki

“Poll: should Suuraki be ashamed of himself? ” – Berra

“Unlike Varanis, Irillo has thought beyond the immediate moment.” – Varanis

“I want a bath now.” – Varanis
<evidence of long-dried poo>
“Ok. Now I don’t.” – Varanis

“Waspline. Like a bee but for someone small and vicious.” – Berra

“Hey… do you still like dried apple with cinnamon?” – Berra
<Berra offers a bit to Danaril>

“I don’t think you’ll want to hear this.” – Xenofos
“You’ve never understood me.” – Berra

“Someone who hasn’t seen The Ring, go and investigate the well.” – Suuraki

“Arnorings = barbarians?” – Varanis
“She’s a Lunar.” – Berra