S02 — Session 26
1626, Storm Season, Harmony Week
En route to the Paps
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 Xenofos 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]. We now also encounter Suraakissaga.
“Ah, gentlemen and ladies. Welcome to our new e-learning version. I trust the technology is cooperating? I must apologise for our enforced hiatus. I am sure you have been kept entertained by our guest lecturers.
Now, we have a lot of ground to cover, and some important questions to answer.
We know that in late Bronze Age Glorantha a new folk belief arose in a crocodile God akin to Sobek. We shall see in later lectures how that belief developed, and the wider repercussions of it, but in this lecture we will have a look at the folding of this event into representatives of the mythic saga culture of the time. We see similar accumulation of myths, of course, in the King Arthur or Robin Hood cycles. So, let us begin with our heroes, newly reunited with Mellia, riding forth towards the Paps. And starting with one of our occasional extracts from the Vareena fragments.”
When White Lady waited
Wide waters washed away Vareena
Fell Zola fought frightening, Forced famed Far-Rider under
A separate fragment states:
Peacebringer’s pride, on sun-parched plains made
Swift sacrifice to ancient goddess, saliferous and sharp.
Rage of waters returned to Wakboth’s ruined waste.
“The stylistic difference suggest these fragments were composed by distinct authors, once again raising the question of whether or not they refer to the same individual. Well, what does this mean? Well, we find something similar in the Sonnets to Varanis. The similarities are more than coincidental I feel. Some suggest that the Varanis cycle has absorbed the preceding Vareena documents. This is possible. I would argue, from a linguistic point of view, that these are merely different cultures reporting of the same event. Not all my colleagues agree. Perhaps you might address this in your essays this week? Now, let us consider the clearly Sartarite influenced Suraakissaga.”
Sartars sweet swimming princelet
Spear-axe as save staff
“A Question? What? Oh I’m not even going to dignify that by calling it an interesting question! It’s Sartarite influenced because of the alliterative form within a Praxian 5/7/5 syllable count structure. Perhaps see me afterwards, and we can aim your tutorials a little? Right. Where was I. Yes. The story. We can see that a Princeling of the House of Sartar fell into a river and was saved by a Praxian. Whereas in Varæna we see the Zola Fel attempting to drown the protagonist. Varæna is, of course, a known Sartarite Princeling at this stage. So, that is one link, but then, if we look at the Sonnets to Varanis…”
Then Dread Teeth and Brine draws Varanis down
Within her coils and fangs the great thane drowns
But ne’er befall this fate for such a one
And then her sturdy house guards to her run
The Llama rider warlike casts his spear
And with a blow that weaker folks would fear
He plucks the great Thane from the salty flood
And saves the moment with his own hearts blood
What Really Happened
Having met with Mellia and Venlar and their caravan, the party agreed to act as caravan guards, whilst some of the existing guards ran messages to Nochet and Sartar.1Varanis sent a bundle of letters to House Saiciae. Venlar sent one to his father.
It was raining heavily as the party rode ahead, scouting the way. Coming to a large wadi, Valseena and Suuraki crossed first. As Toras, Rajar, Xenofos2failed Survival, and Varanis3fumbled Survival, Ride; failed Swim; passed (con×5)² followed, they were hit by a flash flood. Berra was left on the opposite bank, watching in surprise as the water swept Varanis away and knocked Rajar from his mount. Tiny, Toras’ Rhino didn’t notice, and kept plodding. Mighty Rajar pulled himself and his bison to the banks of the wadi, shedding water like a giant shaggy beast. Xenofos struggled to hold onto this zebra and for a moment, it looked like he might be successful, but the animal floundered in the muddy waters and the scholar was forced to swim4failed str×5 by mount, passed Swim.
The Vingan was nowhere in sight, but swift Suuraki chased the flowing water5specialled Survival & Ride until he spotted her struggling against the current6Torrent, probably: Traditionally a raging one. Reaching out with his dagger axe, the High Llama rider hooked Varanis and dragged her to shore. Xenofos made his own way there, swimming competently and confidently.
Berra spotted the body of Stripey, Xenofos’ former mount and stripped it of gear. After some shouting back and forth through the storm, Berra made for the caravan to give warning. The Praxians attempted to round up Varanis’ zebra, Zukko, who was having none of it until Toras and Tiny informed him that he had no choice. Valseena healed the battered zebra and started a fire to thaw out the sodden Esrolians and Rajar, after giving Varanis her second best clothing to change into.
As they waited for the waters to recede and the caravan to appear, Suuraki noticed a small green face peering at them from the edge of the wadi. The Praxian greeted the newtling as one of the Children of the Mud, recognizing him from their time in New Pavis. The newtling greeted Suuraki as a saint and asked him if the Heroes would bring back more pieces of The Big Brother and return the waters to these lands, giving them to the newtlings. Suuraki said he had not brought the waters but that his foreign companions had and that he would relay TBS7’Two Blue Scales’. Even though he is an amphibian.’ request to them.
While they talked Valseena remembered something of her elders’ teachings 8fumbled Lore (Homeland) – Wakboth the Devil had drawn up the waters from the blessèd gardens and meadows of Fertile Prax and spat out a few droplets contaminated by Chaos which then formed themselves into walking, swimming, hissing mockeries of Man: The Newtlings. Valseena urgently whispered to Suuraki that these… things… were tainted by Chaos. He reassured her that they (and this one in particular) served in the Zola Fel temple and could not be creatures of Chaos.
Rajar heard the word Chaos through the noise of the storm and leapt to his feat, drawing the air into his lungs and testing it with Urox’s gift – and sensed Chaos! 9fumbled Sense Chaos. He began stalking the camp seeking the source of the abomination. Toras, less finely attuned to Storm Bull’s gift 10did NOT fumble Sense Chaos remained sitting by the fire.
A few moments later as Two Blue Scales petitioned Varanis to bring back the water. It said a few things that made Varanis a little uncomfortable.11Rajar passed Sense Chaos and decided that wherever the Chaos was, it was not here anymore,12Until the GM made her and Rajar roll on Air and then they realised that of course, it was all true and they’d brought the water to Prax. Before the newtling left, Varanis agreed to petition the gods to bring more water to Prax. She gave him a small ring as a gift.
Some time passed and the water began to recede. Berra and the caravan arrived, with Suuraki and Valseena coming to greet them, intending to butcher poor Stripey. As the three drew near to the zebra’s corpse, they were ambushed by a scaly green animal that had beaten them to it.
Suuraki tried to drive the beast away as it attacked, sinking its dagger-like teeth into his leg. The High Llama rider fought with only his dagger, desperately trying to save himself. Valseena did her best to keep him from dying as he fought. Berra roared into the fight, attacking with both swords and severely injuring the animal’s rear legs. The noise rapidly drew others. The rhino rider’s lance missed the creature, which seemed to hug the mud. Varanis threw herself into the fight, drawing blood from the already enraged beast. It was Rajar who struck the killing blow, stealing the death from Berra in the process13Fortunately she failed Air as he talked about how he had killed it.. When Valseena had him healed enough, Suuraki gave the beast the peaceful cut, to ensure its spirit would pass on, as was right and necessary.
Two animals were butchered that night and the caravan and its guards ate well. The heroes ate of the crocodile’s heart and meat and were sent visions. Valseena slept soundly, whilst Varanis and Xenofos dreamt of warm waters, baking sun, and a green-skinned, sometimes animal14Crocodile?-headed, Goddess accompanied by a Blue-skinned man 15Orlanth Amphibious?. For Varanis, it was a dream of peace, but for Xenofos it was a draconic nightmare. Berra and Suuraki heard the words of the goddess ring in their hearts (“You have freed me. My blessings are with you.”) and it is said that they became stronger thereafter.
Varanis later turned the monster’s teeth and claws into necklaces so that they would all remember the day the first crocodile returned to Prax, except for other bits which were claimed by other people. The skin itself was taken off for them by someone in the caravan.
The party pushed onwards to the Paps, arriving two short days later. Rajar kept himself entertained by sharing kumiss with the dragon-shocked scholar riding Followed Berra walked alongside Xenofos, doing her best to cheer him up. As they at last approached the Paps, a unicorn rider stopped them. After some brief greetings, warnings, and instructions, they were permitted to enter that holiest of places, though Berra was discouraged from staying long.
Berra and Toras resupplied and made for the Tourney Altar, where the others would join them in a week or so.
Xenofos found his way to the Temple of Uleria where he perhaps sought solace.
Valseena joined the worship at the Temple of the Great Herd Mother, while her brother-in-law served as guardsman of the party’s odd little herd of riding beasts.
Suuraki had a long visit with a shaman at the Waha Temple, during which time the shaman had a conversation with someone Suuraki couldn’t see. Suuraki overheard a spirit whispering about “The White Bull is not who he appears to be…” while the shaman was in a trance. The shaman instructed him not to bother anyone else at the temple but told him he had done well, and that there were many new spirits about, and that he should find out what the foreigners16spit intended to do.
Varanis paid a visit to the Temple of Orlanth, where the Storm Voice informed her that he had been expecting her17 Thane of Blue Tree, Thane from Saiciae, who will be… well, the Future is yet to come.Over the course of the week that followed, she initiated into the Cult of Orlanth18Vinga Rex, accepting her responsibilities to the gods and gaining the Mastery rune on her forehead19Anung un Esh….
“HIGH HOLY DAY!” – Berra
“It’s either that or slaughter all my friends to make a temple of death.” – Berra
“Eneeey meeny miny…” – Rajar
“Um, so, first roll of the night?” – Varanis
“Excellent. There’s plot for the evening.” – GM
“My zebra fails.” – Xenofos
“Glub, glub. I’m having a deja vu experience.” – Varanis
“Farewell Varanis.” – Xenofos
“We will sing great songs for you.” – Valseena
“Alas, your zebra is overturned.” – GM
“Varanis, please make a swim roll.” – GM
“I’m… just going to check the fumble chart.” – Varanis
“Historically drowning kills a lot of RQ players.” – Rajar
“Just saying.” – Rajar
“Rainbow mounds drowning kills 85% of new players to rq2 or 3.” – Rajar
“There was a survey.” – Rajar
“There’s always Divine Intervention.” – Rajar
“Berra passes Ride.” – Berra
“I’m going to do terrible things to these dice.” – Varanis
“I’m also grabbing for the rope.” – Berra
“Which I hope I have some of.” – Berra
“Suuraki might save my ass for a second time….” – Varanis
“You see two people flailing in the water…” – GM
“Well, I don’t have a harpoon…” – Suuraki
“Not even a yurt in sight.” – Xenofos
“Tonight we eat!” – Rajar
“Well, Berra eats.” – Suuraki
“Berra strips off the stuff from the zebra and then checks (by standing on Followed) if there is any trouble coming.” – Berra
“It’s a newtling…” – GM
“Where are my javelins? where are my javelins?” – Xenofos
“That town is den of evil decadence.” – Xenofos
“And they have a REALLY bad footnoting system.” – Berra
“Toras is sniffing and is still lounging next to the fire.” – GM
“It’s not my fault his senses are not as keen as mine!” – Rajar
“Berra is more Intimidating than Rajar.” – Berra
“Also, has a cute nose.” – Berra
“You can have my second best tunic and leggings.” – Valseena
“It may smell a bit of bison.” – Valseena
“Shed excess rhino poncho, follow Varanis.” – Xenofos
“Dodge is… aw, it isn’t even coming after me!” – Berra
“Tug of RAWR!” – Berra
“Good news, Suuraki does not get into water; bad news, his leg…” – Xenofos
“This thing is Esrolian-” – Varanis
“I think this is Praxian now.” – Berra
“We’ve reintroduced a apex predator to the Zola Fel. Go us.” – Rajar
“Varanis is eating whatever is being put in front of her.” – Varanis
“Berra obviously wants a lump of the heart.” – Berra
“The irony of this is just how much the Troll we killed to get this far would have given to eat that heart.” – Berra
“Drazn’k is SCREAMING with rage right now.” – Berra
“Will I wake up when X starts screaming?” – Varanis
“will I ?” – Valseena
“Movement be with you!” salute with an iron sword of Death – Berra
“”Aren’t you a little short for an alligator?” – Suuraki
“… Bite Me.” – Berra
“Obviously spending all my attention on this handsome hunk of librarian.” – Berra
“Your god allows you to feel at peace.” – GM
“I wonder what he’s got planned for me now.” – Berra
“Berra even shares her food with Xenofos, and it’s not Death Lizard.” – Berra
“And there’s stuff you can eat in the river. It tries to eat you back, but that’s only fair!” – Suuraki
“Rajar has been handing you kumiss for days!” – Varanis
“Yeah, Kumis. It’s easy to remain temperate when it’s kumiss.” – Xenofos
“I’ll even take Xenofos if he wants to come ba… oh never mind.” – Berra
^^^ “Temple of Uleria.” – Xenofos
“Go on.” – Shaman
“I met recently with a group of-” – Suuraki
“Not you!” – Shaman who is alone with Suuraki
- 1Varanis sent a bundle of letters to House Saiciae. Venlar sent one to his father.
- 2failed Survival
- 3fumbled Survival, Ride; failed Swim; passed (con×5)²
- 4failed str×5 by mount, passed Swim
- 5specialled Survival & Ride
- 6Torrent, probably: Traditionally a raging one
- 7’Two Blue Scales’. Even though he is an amphibian.
- 8fumbled Lore (Homeland)
- 9fumbled Sense Chaos
- 10did NOT fumble Sense Chaos
- 11Rajar passed Sense Chaos and decided that wherever the Chaos was, it was not here anymore
- 12Until the GM made her and Rajar roll on Air and then they realised that of course, it was all true and they’d brought the water to Prax.
- 13Fortunately she failed Air as he talked about how he had killed it.
- 15Orlanth Amphibious?
- 17Thane of Blue Tree, Thane from Saiciae, who will be… well, the Future is yet to come.
- 19Anung un Esh…