S02 — Session 21
1626, Dark Season, Death Week, Wildday Eve
Storm Khan Venna
Argrath the Inebriated
A selection of newtlings
Erhehta the bone-rattling shaman and his incontinent assistant
As before, the log will be accompanied by extracts of poetry from the private collection of Dr Tomm.
Of kinfolk far away
The green hem of her dress
touches the grass we walk on
Venlar III.9 (Frag), ‘Loss of the Self’, Trans Goldman
What Really Happened
Having waited some time in Pavis, Nala determined that it was once again time to seek out King Argrath. She rode to the war camp to ask for an audience and was directed to see Storm Khan Venna again. After cooling her heels for a time, at last Nala was given an audience with the formidable woman. Nala explained that she needed to see Argrath and had news for him of events in Sartar. She also indicated that she had brought beer for the great king. At last, Venna relented and took Nala to see Argrath, saying she might get lucky.
When Venna pulled aside the flap to the royal yurt, Nala was met with a hot fug of hazia and dreamroot smoke and the sight of many bodies in various states of undress all entwined together. In the tangle of limbs, on a throne made of naked people, was Argrath. He deigned to speak briefly to the unicorn rider and in those few moments, it became obvious that he wasn’t fully himself, but the underlying personality was there. When she mentioned Starbrow, he became enraged, calling the Sartarite Prince a usurper and claiming that she’d stolen his Sartar. When Nala tried to tell him about the Flame, he dismissed it as trickery and declared that he would punish those who had aided Starbrow in the deceit. At this point, Nala opted not to disclose too many more details, offering the king the cask of beer that she’d brought as a gift. He accepted, but decided that Venna should interrogate the unicorn rider. His rather lewd suggestion was followed by some foolish man slapping Nala on the backside. This was met with a sudden and possibly fatal reply by Venna and her throwing axe, and the two women paid their respects to Agrath and stepped back into the fresh air.
Outside, Venna picked Nala up by her armour, or rather she tried to but an armour strap snapped.1An unexpected but pleasing result from the Fumble Chart. Venna lifted Nala from the ground by her padding instead and proceeded to make it very clear that she expected Nala’s complete discretion. Argrath was not himself and had not been since he had quested some time ago. There was hope that he could be helped in the coming Sacred Time. Venna advised Nala to go stay with her friends, who were with the Straw Weaver Bisons. Nala said she wanted to go to the Paps, find a shaman, and worship at her mother’s altar. Venna talked about the unfriendly winter that was coming in, and the difficulty of getting that far. She also added that finding a shaman would be possibly in the Straw Weaver bisons – they had a pretty sound one. Nala took the hint, sadly, with the hope that her mother would forgive her.
Suuraki, meanwhile, had travelled back from his Temple and was given a message at the Temple of Zola Fel, by the newtlings. The rest of the party had left for the plains to seek out Rajar’s clan after being summoned thence. They left word for Nala and Suuraki, in case the two Praxians wanted to follow, including an invitation to hospitality. When Suuraki asked why the newtlings had been so interested in the party, they mentioned that Nala had brought them Huljeem. They gave him a message to pass along, asking for more of the lizard god to be brought back to the brave lizards. Not entirely familiar with the newtling’s manner of speech, Suuraki interpreted this request to be that they bring back more of the lizard god and more brave lizards. He decided to find Nala so that they could meet with the rest of the party in the plains and he could share this odd message.
Thus, Suuraki was able to see Nala go into the great yurt, and come back out of it a while later, to be lifted up by a Storm Khan and threatened. He then delivered the message about the Straw Bisons, and they set off together, traipsing across Prax until they encountered the trail of the entire herd.
At the Straw Weaver Bisons’ camp, Berra was off by herself being Humakt, after Varanis, caught up in worship, became Orlanth and had Eurmal steal Death from her.[2VS 188 Stealing death Berra had spent her time being Humakt, collecting bits of Death.
Varanis asked Rajar for help to find Erhehta’s yurt, so she could ask for help to connect to Orlanth. The Stormbull guided her to a small structure where they encountered a strange young woman who was not Grandfather Erhehta, but called Varanis a liar for suggesting she was. The assistant shaman demanded Varanis say what was happening, wilfully making the conversation difficult, but did manage to point out that Varanis needed to bring gifts, which fortunately Varanis had. When the woman suggested that Orlanth needed to humble himself before approaching the shaman, Varanis looked to Rajar for guidance. He enthusiastically kicked her legs out from under her so that she ended up kneeling in the snow.
The Vingan knelt and watched as the young woman circled her, peeing in the snow as she went. Then the woman spat out a bunch of chewed herbs, which she crumbled into Varanis’ hair. Rajar held the flap of the tent open and the shaman’s assistant encouraged Varanis to enter by kicking her in the backside, so that she toppled forward, sliding her in over the snow and pee. Varanis crawled into the cramped space to make room for Rajar and as soon as the outer door was closed, she went through the next door.
The inner chamber turned out to be a sweat lodge. It was dark, lit only by glowing rocks at the heart of it.3Cue an expression of impressed alarm from sauna enthusiast. The air was heavy with steam. Varanis, wrapped in layers of wool, immediately began peeling them off as she overheated. Varanis greeted Grandfather Erhehta, stating that she’d come to ask for aid. Rajar, having swiftly stripped off his metal armour, then helpfully added more water to the rocks from a nearby bucket of herbs and water.4Fumbled Herb Lore. Thought it was a fine idea… As the scent of the herbs filled the chamber and Erhehta began to speak, Varanis and Rajar were swept into an immense hall, perched on top of Kero Fin. For a reason they could not quite understand, each had a silvery chain connected to their ankles, leading to the outside.
Umath greeted his sons and praised them. He encouraged Urox to sniff the air and the Stormbull immediately became aware of the scent of wrongness. Umath exhorted Urox to gather his warriors so that they could seek out the source of this foul wrong and vanquish it. The mighty Stormbull, trailed by his younger brother, set forth.
Rajar came back to himself as a bucket of water was dumped on his face. Varanis took slightly longer to return and was thus doused and dragged mostly naked into the snow. The shaman’s apprentice tossed her clothing in her general direction and the two were left. Rajar could still smell Chaos in the air and the two dressed quickly and ran to gather their friends and their gear. This put Varanis in wet clothing, but it did not matter, as for some reason the storm was not hostile to her. Knowing that her sword was Death, Varanis borrowed an axe from Rajar, so she would have a weapon and not have to draw the Rapier.
Berra had gathered death and performed a Worship ceremony she hoped would send her to Varanis, so that she could recover Death with a magical rather than physical fight. In her isolation and prayer, she heard the call of her god and answered it. Gathering Followed the bison and her gear, she set out into the snow, alone but with everything she needed for survival. She did not realise for some time that she was not going to where Varanis was, as planned.
Suuraki, Nala, Tiwr, and Zinat had set out to find the Straw Weaver Bison Clan a couple of weeks past. As the snow began to fall, they found themselves nearing a small encampment. Deciding to stop for directions, they were greeted by a man who invited them in, though his offer was not quite correct for Praxian hospitality.5“It’s cold out there and you could do with a bite.” They accepted, only moderately wary at first. Something Nala couldn’t quite put her finger on bothered her, and before any of them could eat the food they were offered, she dashed it from their hands/paws. She and Suuraki dashed outside to check on Tiwr and immediately became aware of a possible raiding party bearing down on the camp.
Rajar, who was still in tune with Urox, guided the party, following the scent of Chaos. As they rode, Varanis noticed that their mounts were shifting, sometimes becoming entirely white. As she was the only one who observed this, the others thought she was likely imagining it. Up ahead they spotted a small encampment of yurts. Rajar/Urox identified it as the source of the foul scent he followed. Xenofos, who had been studying Praxian architecture and encampments since their arrival, noticed the distinct lack of animals in the camp. There might have been time to discuss a plan of attack, but…. Instead Rajar/Urox charged towards the camp on mighty Billy! They were, of course, followed by the others. Varanis/Orlanth was thrown off Yelm’s animal but flew to land and continued the charge on foot.6Failed ride roll, followed by a successful jump led to an unintentional flying dismount from her war zebra.
Nala, recognising Rajar bearing down on them, cast a slow spell, targeting the Uroxi and trusting his mount to fall over. Surprisingly, Billy stayed on all four legs and came crashing through the walls of one of the yurts, immediately becoming entangled in the fabric of the wall. At this point, Berra/Humakt arrived, rather surprising ‘Humakt’ until he found that his brothers were present, and there was a fight on. Crossing the boundaries of the yurt, both Rajar and Berra were injured by wardings.
Rajar went straight through two walls of the yurt, ending up in an enclosure in the middle, where someone instantly went for him with a heavy mace. Berra found herself in a target-rich environment with several adults and several children. She pulled up a shield and defended herself until she could get a Sword Trance cast.
Those outside could see that Rajar was fighting someone, and therefore they joined in. Rajar was hurt by the time they arrived. Xenofos threw a javelin which hit Rajar’s enemy, but stuck into his arm, failing to draw blood. Tiwr charged and Nala stayed on adequately while waving her lance. Tiwr’s horn took off the arm of Rajar’s opponent, which should have ended the fight, but entirely failed to. Suuraki and Nala held back, uncertain of their status as guests under hospitality until Suuraki cast Find Enemy on Nala, at which point they charged. Suuraki managed to hit the ogre, but again, failed to damage him much. In the flurry of blows in that area, Tiwr was downed by a spell, and Nala manged to keep calm enough to warn people that Maran Gor was about to arrive. This did very little, as everyone kept fighting even as the earth split beneath them. The ogre who had fallen in ignored another huge wound Suuraki had inflicted, to pick up his own arm and heal it. Suuraki (who dived in after him rather than try to roll away from the fissure) attacked without regard for defense, slashing the Ogre’s leg and arm and taking a severe leg wound in return. Suuraki then healed himself and managed to cleave the Ogre’s mace in two. Tiring of this the ogre poleaxed Suuraki by magic (Madness). Adding insult to injury, he picked up the high llama’s dagger-axe to replace the mace Suuraki had just broken as Rajar, having cast Impede Chaos, also jumped into the fissure. Nala, looking in the spirit world for something to fight so as to help Tiwr, could see nothing beyond his spirit, which looked wrong.
Varanis got into the yurt where Berra was fighting, just as the Humakti began to fight in her own godly style. Injured by the warding and unable to trust her axe skills, Varanis cast Lightning, and Orlanth was with her. The lightning bolt hit one of the mace-wielding men in the tent, dropping him to the ground, though he was not dead yet. Xenofos chucked another javelin, this time dropping one of the bigger targets in the yurt, before drawing his rapier and charging on his zebra through the yurt. (The bastard he was aiming at must have ducked.) On the other side of the yurt he and zebra were surprised to find a wide crack on Earth and cleared it with a nice jump of the spirited zebra. Another enemy came at Varanis, damaging her axe. After a failure, she managed to blast the same foe a second time, killing him.7Lightning cast in three successive rounds, a critical, a failure, and a critical. At this point, the children swarmed her and one of them dragged her to the ground. However, Berra had finished with her opponent, despite her sword not wanting to bite properly, and struck at the small enemies. Varanis got free, mostly by her own efforts. Able to hear the shouts of Rajar outside, as he could not kill his foe, and with an axe that was doing her no good, she drew Death and went to give it to Urox, Leaping down as Orlanth.
After rapidly dismounting his zebra, who failed to understand why crossing that fissure again would be a good idea, Xenofos got into the yurt where Berra was fighting in time to see her killing what looked like a child, and to take the last one prisoner. Berra then executed it in his arms.
In the pit, Varanis/Orlanth handed Death to Urox, where upon he used it to finally bring an end to the ogre he faced, cutting off its head and trying to get out with a weapon and a trophy. Humakt suggested the return of Death so that Urox could climb out of the pit, and so it could be looked after properly. Urox gave Death to Humakt, and as Berra accepted the rapier, she drew the power from it and back into her own sword. Then she gave Varanis her rapier back.
After ensuring that all of the ogres were dead, the party burned the encampment and began their trek back to the Straw Weaver Bison Clan. The return journey had a few issues of its own, but as far as anyone knows, they returned to safety relatively unharmed.
“Mental note: Don’t let Nala play with balls.” – GM
“Your balls are crystal?” – Nala
“So, let’s go back…” – GM
“Back to when?” – Varanis
“Back to when he was in control of the campaign.” – Berra
“What, the first session?” – GM and everyone else
“Did they say where?” – Suuraki
“Out in the Big Dry.” – Newtling
“Big Dry… Right.” – Suuraki
“Pshaw! That’s what you get for letting others play!” – GM
“That’s one you GMd.” – Berra
“Pshaw, ptui.” – GM
“I keep records for bitter, petty … uh, for good record-keeping. Which is important.” – Berra
“High as a Llama.” – Berra
“Argrath may or may not have his clothes on. Hard to tell through the naked people.” – Berra
“So… What can I do you for?” – Argrath
“Maybe good I didn’t get to meet him this time around….” – Varanis
“((somewhere in Nochet Dormal sneezes ahtcholdjooso))” – Suuraki
“She is a usurper!” – Argrath
“She has no claim on Pavis.” – Nala
“She has STOLEN my SARTAR!” – Argrath
“Venna will interrogate you. That will be fun for you both.” Argrath to Nala
“Venna just asked me to go there.” – Nala
“Yes, I heard.” – Suuraki
“I MIGHT a little bit have killed him. Might.” – Berra
“Berra! You killed him?!” – Varanis
“It would be entirely correct mythically. Maybe a bit hard to explain otherwise.” – Xenofos
“Does Orlanth WANT help?” – Rajar
“Yes?” – Varanis
“Then Orlanth will have to suck it up.” – Rajar
“I could do with a little more help here.” – Varanis
“Rajar goes round behind her and kicks her in the back of the knees.” – Rajar
“Rajar has the air of a man memorising the scene for later songs.” – Rajar
“Now, given what’s happened when Rajar has stupidly let Varanis out of his sight lately, he’s going in. Because you leave them alone for one night… One night…” – Rajar
“You’ve walked into a sauna…. glow of rocks…” – GM
“!!!!!” – Finnish player
“We do understand weather. This is bloody climate!” – Xenofos
“Varanis is deciding not to get back on the zebra, while she works out what has Xenofos and Rajar’s attention.” – Varanis
“What he offered you was coming in and… being bitten.” – GM
“So not hospitality?” – Suuraki
“It’s a question of taste.” – Xenofos
“THROUGH the first of the yurts into the centre?” – Berra
“Yup!” – Rajar
“The good news is, you are not currently wrapped in a former yurt. Billy, on the other hand…” – GM
“Yeah, well, I’m used to this…” – Rajar laconically
“OK, but just because a storm bull charged in and started laying about himself with a double-headed axe, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.” – Suuraki
“How long did I walk through the snow?” – Berra
“All time and no time.” – GM
“Yes, but I’m asking because I need to know how many magic points I got back.” – Berra
“Rajar came through two walls of a yurt, jumped off Billy, and hit the nearest person.” – GM
“I haven’t yet, but I’m working on it.” – Rajar
“Are you throwing a javelin into melee?” – Suuraki
“Of course!” – Xenofos
“Good lad.” – Suuraki
“You can read my mind.” – Varanis
“I can.” – Berra
“And you should be blushing.” – Berra
“The target is an adult carrying a weapon.” – Varanis
“Not me please!” – Berra
“It would solve a lot of problems…” – Xenofos
“You need to wheel, no?” – Nala
“How does that work?” – Suuraki
“Charge” – Xenofos
“On the Zebra.” – Xenofos
“Berra, I assume you’re commiting violence?” – GM
<<happy nod>> “And this time I have a better Strike Rank!” – Berra
“The iron is biting. But not HARD.” – Berra
“Why do you have an iron sword?” – Nala
“Because I am SPECIAL.” – Berra
“Also, over-promoted.” – Berra
“I was reading up on why african megafauna didn’t get tamed.” – Suuraki
“Turns out zebra are chaotic neutral killer clown horses.” – Suuraki
“You do not take any damage going down, and he hits you on the way – GM, to Rajar” – Nala
“Cast find enemies… Truth is failing me.” – Xenofos (failed to cast Find enemies.)
“One hit to abdomen doing 12, on SR4. One hit to right leg on a different one, doing 9, on SR8. One hit directly to Xenofos’ heart as he comes in…” – Berra
“When it’s my turn, I’m going to smack one with the axe then. Preferably the one who just had me pinned.” – Varanis
<<dribble>> – Suuraki
“You want death, I can get you death. Cheap.” – Suuraki
“You don’t want a cheap death.” – Nala
“Cut his goddamn head off with Death!” – Rajar
“The bad dude that is.” – Rajar
“Given the things were grappling, I’m still going to try to make two attacks.” – Berra
“Do the laws of honour hold, given it’s a chaos beast?” – Berra
“No.” – GM
“I kill it.” – Berra
“What? It was a kid!?” – Xenofos
“Oh wait! Is Suuraki in the hole?” – Varanis
“Yes.” – Suuraki
- 1An unexpected but pleasing result from the Fumble Chart.
- 3Cue an expression of impressed alarm from sauna enthusiast.
- 4Fumbled Herb Lore. Thought it was a fine idea…
- 5“It’s cold out there and you could do with a bite.”
- 6Failed ride roll, followed by a successful jump led to an unintentional flying dismount from her war zebra.
- 7Lightning cast in three successive rounds, a critical, a failure, and a critical.