Holding Out on a Hero

S02 — Session 8

1626, Earth Season, Death Week, Windsday to Fertility Week, Wildday

Dramatis Personae




Venlar, in a slightly Orlanthish way
Venlar, in a rather alarmed way
Some guards of Hulta who are not important
Some aristocracy of Hulta who are very very important
Kesten Hulta, probably a Lord
The corpse of Lord Rillo Hulta
The ghost of Lord Rillo Hulta
Zinat, who can fly
Tiwr, who cannot fly
Some dead guards
Some more guards of Hulta, neither important nor dead
The scent trail of a probable assassin


As before, the log is accompanied by an extract from the private poem collection of Dr Tomm.

The ravaged brown land-bones stiffen under frosts and the desperate warmth of golden leaves is trampled.
No softness can last, until she comes.

As the white cloak of winter descends
We slip shivering to our homes and hearths
To wonder on this question
Does she wear snow for its quiet heavy patience
Or did it settle on her to keep off the fever heats?

Within, we do our work of words.
Outside, mercy falls.

Venlar III-2, Trans B. Prince

Nala and Xenofos went to the library so that Nala could learn more about the Young City. They were introduced to Fig, possibly a Pameltan, who introduced them to Date, an Ancient Impala Rider (at least 40 years old!) who was able to tell them that the Young City was Pavis, back when it was called Robcradle. There was a bit of discussion about further details required and Xenofos agreed that a donation was entirely in order.

There was a holy day and Nala danced all the dances extremely well and got to lead the parade. Tiwr thought he was the centre of the universe during this parade and might have been slightly confused by some of the fertility statues. There was a lot of dancing, and quite frankly, I think Nala’s reputation should go up because of it. Unfortunately, no matter how amazing she was, Nochet has a glut of temples, shrines, and altars and the High Priestess really didn’t think there was room at add one for Nala’s Ma.

At some point on Clayday, Nala gave Grandmother Saiciae a gift of a Goddess’ tear. Grandmother accepted with her usual effusive enthusiasm. Many gifts were given, including a dress for Berra and some things for Venlar that he could not break easily.

Early on Wildday
Berra went to visit Ky Tora Tek. It was a building close in shape and concept to a ziggurat. She had words with a Babeester Gor guard who went off to see if she was allowed in. While waiting, she took up the attitude of Humakt, the wolf at the door, as she was looking for information on what had happened after Humakt ate Voria. When she was invited in, she remembered how to be a human, however. She asked what Humakt had asked the goddess and what she said, when he returned the guest visit from Hall Left Empty, and was told a very obvious secret.

Mellia had a very bad time. A patient died and she was plunged into a HeroQuest where Yelm died (again) and Orlanth/Venlar ran off with a green-skinned floozy (albeit one who looked rather like her). Chalana Arroy found herself feeling a little green-eyed and pursued. Her pursuit led her, still bloodied, to a square where Berra, Varanis, Xenofos, Nala, and Tiwr were passing through en route to House Hulta. Chalana Arroy called on Orlanth the murderer, saying he had slain Yelm.

Chalana Arroy/Mellia tried to stop Orlanth. Humakt intervened. As did a group of House Hulta guards with bad timing. One of them accused Varanis of killing Lord Hulta in ambush, based on the blood and the words of Mellia. The Hultas went as far as drawing swords. Everyone was very careful, although Berra did tell them that she would be delighted to have a fight, and Xenofos suggested they just get around to it. Varanis have been very offended by the accusation and might have lost her temper, except that she was too busy trying to be Orlanth for Mellia, in order to get Mellia back to the Great Hospital. She allowed herself to be questioned and it became clear that she was telling the truth. She, Xenofos, Nala, and Tiwr got Mellia back to the hospital, while Berra made friends with the Hulta Humakti, as they had a dishonourable death to find out about.

At the hospital, Mellia was encouraged to have a very sudden nap. Tiwr and Nala went to collect Venlar. Xenofos and Varanis were left standing about until Berra and her new-found friends arrived. Some of the House Hulta guards got a little belligerent with Healer Raisin and were also encouraged to have a nap. Varanis and the one guard still standing moved the sleepers into a nice, neat pile out of the way of everyone else.

Berra and her new friend, Kesten Hulta, found another way to get the information they wanted, by asking about the body of a member of the House. The two were escorted by a /very/ sympathetic (but rather dim) healer to the room where Lord Hulta’s body was laid out. They were given hankies and sincere condolences. Shortly after, Varanis and Xenofos located them and were also given the requisite hankies and condolences.

There was some comparing of notes and discussion. Varanis decided to go wait for Nala’s return so she could be sent to the corpse room to speak to Lord Hulta. Venlar appeared first and she pointed him in the direction of Mellia. He rather naively expected his horse to be looked after by an urchin. It was rapidly sent to the Nochet equivalent of a chop shop.

Tiwr appeared in the room with the corpse and was sent in the direction of Healer Raisin, who had dried apples for him (and some mint-flavoured pastilles some people in need of healing).

Nala had a brief chat with Lord Hulta’s spirit, who said he wasn’t saying who killed him until he was resurrected. It seemed that he didn’t exactly trust people to resurrect him if he didn’t have leverage. There was a short discussion back in the Middle World over whether calling him an arsehole was an insult to the house, or strict accuracy. Before Kesten Hulta could get offended on behalf of his house, Varanis derailed him by suggesting they go do some tracking now.

Mellia woke up from a dream in which the happy forest creatures were gathered around her to find that the deer nuzzling her hand was in fact Venlar kissing her, and her hand was tangled lovingly in his hair. Venlar was emotional and loving, having feared he had lost Mellia. There was some chaste (if damp) hand-holding and a little kissing until Mellia was distracted by someone mentioning Berra’s name. Mellia found everyone out in the hall. There was a bit of confusion over who was doing what, but eventually it played out as Mellia staying to work in the Hospital, watched over by her dearest love. And everyone else traipsing about Nochet in the wake of Tiwr and Zinat.

Mellia ran into a few difficulties in her efforts and was eventually put on desk duty under the expert guidance of Healer Hankie, who made sure to explain everything Mellia might need to know about being a Healer in the big city, in exquisite detail and a patronising tone. Venlar made himself useful, reading paperwork for Mellia. Mellia was given the opportunity to observe the resurrection, as it would be a good learning moment for her. During the rather unusual ritual, she noticed that Lord Hulta’s tongue was black, suggesting he’d been poisoned for good measure. She tried to deal with the poison but failed. Healer Raisin did not and Lord Hulta was not only resurrected but mostly healed of his injuries. However, it was deemed he needed to stay in the hospital for some time given the poisoning.

The rest of the party reached the location where Lord Hulta was ambushed. There were some dead guards and some living ones and a fair bit of blood. Varanis noticed a few footprints. It was established that it was highly unlikely this was a casual fatal encounter and more likely a deliberate ambush involving some kind of lure. Kesten had mentioned that the guards were shot in the back, probably to force Lord Hulta forwards into a trap.

Zinat followed the primary assailant’s tracks through various parts of the city, eventually hitting a wall. Varanis cast jump on her so that she could go over the wall. Up they went, with Varanis even kindly putting planks back over the long leaps to allow those less jumpy members of the party the opportunity to keep up. There was a point at which the trail went, twice, through the Great Market. Once it passed through the meat-sale area, once through the spice market. Each time, Zinat held onto the scent. Tiwr followed at ground level, and they ended up in a very poor part of town.

“I assume we all do it together as a big thing.” – Nala, about dancing

“04 on Ma’s dance” – Nala
“4 out of what?” – Berra/GM
“05 on ecstasies” – Nala
“Cool. What’s the total Dance there?” – Berra/GM
“127” – Nala

“No one in Esrolia would consider a Praxian rude.” – Grandmother Saiciae
@@*@@raises eyebrow@@*@@ – Nala
“Praxically the same thing.” – Xenofos

“Oh, no! 00! Have I been kicked out of the cult?” – Mellia

“Ziggurat.” – Varanis
“Ziggurnear rather than Ziggurat.” – Nala

“He opens his eyes and says, “You abandoned us.” – GM
“You left the Tribe. This would not have happened if you had not run off with that barbarian!” – Yelm
“Your Imperial Majesty, let me heal you.” – Chalana Arroy
“It is too late. He has slain me.” – Yelm

“I hate to say this, but Venlar is running off with some floozy.” – GM
“WHHHAAAAT?” – Chalana Arroy

“Irillo doesn’t give it away for free*” – Berra
*except for Serzeen

“I get myself neatly in the way between that and everyone else, and then assess the situation.” – Berra
“Nice architecture.” – Xenofos

“I didn’t do it!” – Varanis
“((shut up and pass the shovel))” – Xenofos

“Make a roll on it at half skill.” – GM
“Oh come on. It’s only thirty-two.” – Nala
“It’s sixteen now.” – Berra

“I’ll be looking at Mellia and doing my best Venlar impression. So maybe stumbling a little.” – Varanis

“You heard the White Lady.” – Guard
“Yeah, but the White Lady is currently hopping out of her head and thinks that is really Orlanth.” – Berra

“002. I don’t have to look that up. I know it’s a pass.” – Varanis

“He doesn’t have to ride me, does he? I’m pretty sure he’s sexually experienced by now.” – Tiwr
“He hasn’t given birth, Tiwr.” – Nala
“He looks like the type.” – Tiwr


“At some point will X and I (and maybe Nala) spot Berra?” – Varanis
“Preferably before the nobility gets a look-in.” – Berra

“Now I understand why they were giving me the cold shoulder. They’re idiots… hi, Varanis!” – Berra
“Berra. That was your outside voice.” – Varanis

@@*@@snores@@*@@ – Mellia

“Berra is not part of the altercation!” – Berra

“Put them somewhere safe…” – Priestess
“The gutter?” – Xenofos

“Now I’m going to go look for Berra, because she should have been there.” – Varanis
“What, where the argument was?” – Berra

“I’ll take them to an empty room and stack them neatly.” – Varanis re: bunch of sleeping guards

“Grief can be assuaged in many ways, and we are with you in your sorrow…” – Hanky Initiate
“Goddam call centre scripts.” – Nala

“He has gone to a better place.” – Hanky Initiate
“Its not a better place. Seen it, it sucks.” – Xenofos

“Meanwhile, Varanis and Xenofos are wandering the halls. ‘Have you seen a Humakti about this high?'” – Varanis

“We could just ask…” – Humakti
“I’m not used to doing that…” – Berra

@@*@@watches Tom play someone who falls over a lot@@*@@ – Berra
“They will look so sweet in hospital beds side by side.” – Xenofos

“Hey! I’m a better rider than Venlar!” – Varanis
“Some horses are.” – Berra

“Venlar has Flight and Shield. This may be important for a soft landing.” – Berra

“That is a horse that will not be seen again.” – Xenofos
“To be fair, I don’t really care what happens to a horse.” – Nala
“(All the legs removed and left on bricks)” – GM
“Repainted.” – Berra
“As a zebra.” – GM

“For later reference, was that Venlar’s horse, or just a random one?” – Berra
“A random one.” – GM

“So, I get the idea this guy’s going to be a bit hard to handle when he wakes up, but I said I would, so I should, but if anyone else doesn’t want to, that’s fine.” – Berra
“Because he’s a bit of a dickhead.” – Berra whispering with actions

“I was trying to heal someone who was dying…” – Mellia
“Yeah… bad news about that.” – Berra

“There is a horse-shaped hole in the universe.” – GM
“Yaaay!” – Nala

“Quality of architecture is – squalid.” – Xenofos
“Who looks at architectu… oh, right.” – Berra

“Favoured husband-protectors don’t run simple errands.” – Kesten

“Wide variety of Hulta women I guess.” – Xenofos
“Xenofos calls Hulta women fat.” – Berra
“Curved.” – Xenofos

“She must have an endless supply of hankies. Do you think she spends her nights hemming little hankies?” – Varanis
“She is so full of love.” – Berra

“You noticed, as he began to move, that his tongue was black. What are you doing?” – GM
“Give him a handkerchief!” – Berra