Regrettable Death Choices

S02 — Session 27

1626, Storm Season, Death Week

Dramatis Personae




Some unhappy priestesses
A skulking Straw Weaver Bison
A vision of the Goddess of Salt and Teeth
A jerk of a Humakti who makes false accusations


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

[In1Garin gives ‘Within’, citing a capture state.] the bounds that were mine
And filling them with joyful sound
She comes, and colour creeps on white

[Her] brightness is the paint and decoration
On this plain room I thought was painted
Before she came

Her laugh is the Air within me
Her touch is slow and steady hooves
That pull my skillful plough
2The Sage Llewun notes that it is the ploughman who should be skillful, and wonders why this requires the touch of a woman.

Venlar IV.18, ‘The Tula’, Trans Goldman

Beginning at the Paps

Mellia and Nala (not present) were at their respective prayers and holy work. Xenofos was hanging around outside the Temple where Varanis was praying and contacting Orlanth Rex.

Rajar decided it was his sacred duty to paint runes all over Toras’ rhino and to trim more runes into his own bison’s hair. He worked on the task with great enthusiasm and drew the attention of passers-by who stopped to comment. Fortunately, Rajar remembered that he was at the Paps and chose not to make any of them eat their words or his axe. It likely helped that Valseena invited them to move along in her gentle way. She then offered Rajar some assistance in his bison grooming and by the time she was done, Vengeance looked particularly smashing. The rhino was also very spectacular, but alas! Toras and his rhino had set out days before, so it turned out it was some other rhino rider’s animal who got the paint job. The rider was very good about it, but got Rajar to help him wash the beast.

One evening, as she was sitting around camp, Valseena spotted a vaguely familiar bison rider skulking around and thought he might be from her own clan, the Straw Weaver Bisons. She told the others as they gathered together and they decided to try to track him down. Varanis and Rajar had been having a deep conversation about the challenges of grand politics, which ultimately resulted in Varanis getting very drunk and that was probably why she thought it was a great idea to go haring off into Prax in pursuit of an unknown bison rider. Whatever the reason, they set off tracking. Suuraki managed to get them moving in the right direction. They ambled around for some time, having started in the dark, ending up on some kind of spiral track towards the Earth Temple. Somehow Varanis spotted a Babeester Gor guard and very loudly pointed the woman out to the others. There was a bit of a confrontation and frankly, Varanis is hoping she can forget all about it.

They were allowed back into the camp, and tracked the man further, towards a Temple of Ernalda used occasionally and seasonally by the Flower Bisons – a clan that was not friendly to the Straw Weavers. Going further would cause a massive upset. However, Varanis heard a woman crying out, so she charged in. Everyone else, who had worked out this was a fertility ritual, tried to stop her or else to support her in going in…3Xenofos put his sword dangerously close to Valseena, and had Rajar eyeballing him. And Varanis heard clearly that the woman’s cries were passionate rather than pained. They traipsed back to sleep in various forms of disgrace and embarrassment.

Some time after that, as they were preparing to leave the Paps, Suuraki decided to set up an altar and shrine to the Goddess of Teeth and Salt. Varanis, Valseena, and Rajar joined him in worship. The Goddess came in a vision to Varanis and everything seemed lovely right up until they were interrupted by an irate Ernaldan priestess and her accompanying Babeester Gor guards. Valseena failed to make contact with the goddess, and so she was excused the ear-bending that happened then. The priestess was pretty perturbed and particularly peeved to note that the party had just introduced a predator to the Paps, especially right before Sacred Time. She suggested that it was time to leave the Holy site and ordered Suuraki to quest to find out how crocodiles and crocodile goddesses fit in Waha’s covenant; they were not to return until they knew. She painted a beast rune on Varanis’ chest and then sent them on their way.

They collected Xenofos, who had wisely chosen to have nothing to do with the Goddess of Teeth and Salt, their mounts, and their gear. En masse, they made a hasty departure.

At the temple of Humakt, Berra had spent a week in ritual and meditation, and accidentally annoyed at least one person, drawing attention to the fact that she had an iron sword with her, and was only an initiate. Her attention was drawn, in turn, by the fact she had Dispel Magic suddenly cast on her, which would have ruined her magic if she had had any on. She remonstrated, finding that she was the target of a man who was managing to lounge in a Humakti Temple. She gave him some credit for trying.4”That’s RUDE…. Do you have a brother who’s a Wind Lord?”

The man said he couldn’t believe that Berra was not a Eurmali, attempting to disrupt the Temple, which she rather took exception to, asking if he’d swear that on his Truth Rune. He said he did not think a tiny… initiate should have iron, and while she was happily explaining to him that indeed it belonged to her Lord, he called her a Ducksucker. She invited him to walk outside, and he said he would be delighted to. When they got out there, she noted they were now outside, and he could stay there; she was going in to worship. Toras applauded as she did, and got the attention of the other Humakti, Xarnis.5”You didn’t expect that, did you, Sable?”She meditated, and spent some time asking the Hero Eril some questions, about what to do about Argrath’s bloodline.

After that, Berra asked for permission to see the Blacksmith, and was taken to his bothy. As she came out of the Temple she noticed that someone who was probably Xarnis was being held down by a large number of Humakti guards. Toras said that he had gone into a berserk rage. Berra managed not to laugh out loud.

In the Blacksmith’s room, Berra told the man how she got her sword. He told her that the god said it was true, as well as her thinking it, and that he recognised the work of ‘the leaver’. He told her that the Boldhome smith should repair it.

After a quick conversation with Toras, while the cat-pile on Xarnis struggled to keep him down, the pair decided to leave town. It being the end of Death Week, they went towards the Block, to meet the others there, just a little earlier than planned.

The others, on their way out of the Paps, paused to deal with Xenofos going down from heatstroke, after insisting on wearing his metal helmet. Some time later, they saw dust ahead. Some managed to make out that it was two dust clouds, but Valseena was certain it was two big animals – rhino or bison – followed by a set of smaller animals, sable or impala. After some thought they gave chase, and found the rhino and bison were headed through thick muddy land, and occasional horrible terrain with thorn trees. The big animals drew away from everyone else’s, even managing to leave the light cavalry – sables – behind.

The sable crew circled warily as the other group caught up with them, with Xenofos and Varanis managing to get some speed out of their zebras. Rajar and one of the sable riders did the weaving back and forth dance of being prepared to speak with each other, and met between the two bands. The sable rider identified the band as being that of Xarnis, although he did not go so far as to name himself. He said he was looking for a rhino rider who might have kidnapped a young Humakti, or at least, might mean trouble for her. He and Rajar played the not-actually-lying game while telling each other nothing, and then they parted. Suuraki and Rajar both recognised the name. Xarnis was a recently-made sword who had ridden with the Lunars.

The group pressed on despite the falling dark, to finally meet up with Berra, Toras, and an impressively muddy bison and rhino, in the early hours.

“Aah. I don’t think we can get to the Block before they catch us, and I don’t think we can be sure that’s our friends. And it would be awkward to be caught one way or another.”

“We probably can. Got a decent start on them. But yes. Would be.. inconvenient.”

“Got any magic to speed up? We could start now. And what we have to do is find some of your people, right?”

He shakes his head. “Mean to learn it, but no.”

“Can you pull that thing where you send one of them mad, and he’s one at the back? I’ll get magic to find enemies on you, so we can share. We both use shields. And we try to have them be the ones fighting.”

He shakes his head, “Not till I pray.”

“Right. Then I can shield you, and me. I can cut away their magic. I can make you see who wants to harm us. But I’m best up against someone and I think so’s the sable. got anything we can use as a signal?”

He pats the javelins in the carrier behind him. “Oh… you mean to others?”

“Yeah. I don’t want to set fire to my bison to make a smoke signal, if you get me.” She seems more jovial than serious. Probably.6Berra and Toras both get Special ride rolls. The Sables fail theirs, leading to a saga-worthy escape of heavy cavalry from light cavalry over the course of a day.

Along the path, Berra asks, “Do caltrops work on sables?” She seems to be enjoying the ride.

“Probably. Lances do.”

“If they start to catch up, find a good place. I’m best dismounted so we should make them be dismounted too.”

He is eyeing a flooded wadi. “There next? Ford it and watch from outside bowshot? If they try and cross, we charge as they reach the shore?”

“They can get into the water at any point. We need somewhere they can’t get out so easily. We’re far enough ahead we should keep moving, I think. But we can go across this as many times as we like.”

He nods, in amusement, “Little weak animals like that do not like the floods.”

“Says someone who can look down on my bison without being on it. Just keep heading downhill, unless you can find some serious undergrowth. The wetter, the better, as my girlfriend… uh, maybe that doesn’t translate.”

“Valseena, you’ll get back to the camp – Suuraki is there, but the others are absent.” – Berra

“The morning we arrived here, I had a conversation with Turas.” – Varanis

“That’s the one with the wrong rhino…” – Rajar

“I’ll go chat to Suuraki” – Valseena

“There was someone from my clan sneaking around the camp” – Valseena
“Sneaking? That is not the way of the Bison tribe. Do you know why? Or where they went?” – Suuraki

“Argrath seems to want Kallyr’s throne.” – Varanis
“Ooh, that could be awkward for Kallyr!” – Rajar

“Fortunately there is a solution for this…” – Rajar
“…?” – Varanis
“DRINK!” – Rajar

“I see your problem. I do see your problem. You’re definitely thinking too much.” – Rajar

“Rajar hasn’t got his bison drunk yet.” – GM
“No, it’s best only one of us drinks.” – Rajar

“Guy casts dispel magic on Berra.” – GM
“That was rude!” – Berra
“I simply couldn’t believe you were not a Eurmalite trickster trying to dishonour the temple.” – Xarnis
“… Do you want to swear that on your Truth Rune?” – Berra

“I almost drank from my dice cup again.” – Varanis

“I’m moving as stealthily as possible, given I’m drunk and in plate.” – Varanis

Tipsily, “Rajar… I have to go warn Kallyr. You understand, right?” – Varanis
“I wouldn’t betray White Bull if I were you.” – Rajar Chaoskiller
“It’s not a betrayal. He is King of Pavis. I fully support him as King of Pavis. Just as I fully support Kallyr as Prince of Sartar.” – Varanis
“And if they argue that is their business.” – Rajar Chaoskiller
“But she should know if he plans to invade.” – Varanis
“Does he?” – Rajar Chaoskiller
“Do you know that?” – Rajar Chaoskiller
“It sort of sounded like that’s what Toras meant… I’m not sure…” Now she looks confused.
“Did Lord White Bull take you aside and tell you his plans?” – Rajar Chaoskiller

“You know he wouldn’t see us. We tried to see him in Pavis.” – Varanis
“So you are just passing on gossip?” – Rajar Chaoskiller
“Varanis looks thoughtful. And tipsy. “That’s not how I see it. Just a warning to be wary.”” – Varanis
“Oh indeed who knows what plans the Khans have and who they may betray” – Rajar Chaoskiller
“Or aid.” – Rajar Chaoskiller
“As long as we fight Lunars and Chaos” – Rajar Chaoskiller

“rolls of note: 01 Scan – spies, Babs. 99 – Move quietly – loudly and tipsily points out Babs to everyone else.” – Varanis

“Shhh… We’re hunting bad guys!” – Rajar

“Rawr!!!!! Must save woman in distr….” – Varanis
“ouch” – Varanis

“With no reason whatsover Xenofos shudders, pours and downs a bowl of kumiss in the camp.” – Xenofos- Varkill

“Out on the way out of Tourney Altar, Berra looks to the horizon. “How much trouble do you think my friends are in?”” – Berra

“High Priestess of Ernalda: “I think an explanation might be in order…”” – Varanis

“I think a little explanation might be in order, don’t you?” – Ernaldan High Priestess
“Yes! go ahead.” – Rajar

“Apparently I’m getting killed by Babeester Gori today. Well, I walked around with Rajar, I knew the risks.” – Suuraki

“I did worship but did not inhale?” – Xenofos- Varkill
“Don’t censer me, man!” – Berra

“Seemed like a good idea at the time…” – Varanis

“Tell me, have you lost your head?” – High Priestess
“Every Babeester Gor perks up.” – Berra

“She’s glowing with the goddess’s power, Valseena.” – Berra

“One more place we have been kicked out of…” – Xenofos- Varkill
“Guessing it’s a long list.” – Valseena
“We have not actively been thrown out of anywhere much, but we HAVE had to leave several major centres of commerce. For example, Sartar.” – Berra

“Good news, foreign friend! We have been sent on a quest!” – Suuraki
“We?” – Xenofos

“CLANG!” – Berra
“Look round to see which one of the townspeople have fallen off their zebra.” – Rajar

“Water him.” – Berra
“You don’t have to plant him first.” – Berra

“I’ll unbuckle his armour, etc. Strip away his gear. He already stripped away his own dignity.” – Varanis

  • 1
    Garin gives ‘Within’, citing a capture state.
  • 2
    The Sage Llewun notes that it is the ploughman who should be skillful, and wonders why this requires the touch of a woman.
  • 3
    Xenofos put his sword dangerously close to Valseena, and had Rajar eyeballing him.
  • 4
    ”That’s RUDE…. Do you have a brother who’s a Wind Lord?”
  • 5
    ”You didn’t expect that, did you, Sable?”
  • 6
    Berra and Toras both get Special ride rolls. The Sables fail theirs, leading to a saga-worthy escape of heavy cavalry from light cavalry over the course of a day.