S02 — Session 20
1626, Dark Season
Season, Week, Day
Dark Season, Wildday of Disorder Week to Waterday of Death Week
Ehrehta the bone-rattling shaman
The log can be summarised with a single extract from The Spurious Rajar.
When beast men smell so
Strongly of chaos you have
A sting-kin problem
What Really Happened
Davama had been sent by her mother to find the heroic Storm Bull, Rajar. Her mother had plans to marry him to Mabana, Davama’s unweddable little sister. Word was that Rajar in the City of Stone Tents – Pavis. When she got there the city was not on fire, so she headed to the bison part of Argrath’s army, to be told he was not there.
Rajar had been left in the Temple of Zola Fel, when Varanis went to get her armour. He decided to accompany Xenofos to the library.
Davama found her way to the Storm Bull Temple, where she waited until a brawl was over, and looked for people to heal. Amazingly, nobody was dead or even seriously hurt. A Storm Bull by the name of Toshi said that Rajar as sleeping at the Temple of Zola Fel, and issued a challenge by telling the women to tell Rajar he was a lightweight. She passed on the message, but Rajar was sensible, for all he bristled a lot.
Varanis and Berra were told at the Temple of Orlanth that Wildday was not a good day for divination. They headed back to the Zola Fel Temple and on the way ran into Rajar and Xenofos with Davama. At first they were unsure if Davama was really a bison rider – she was tiny. They all tagged along, as Davama had something to say to Rajar and Rajar wanted to check it with others, or else wanted to be sure Varanis was not in the open.
At the library, with Varanis safely inside solid walls, Davama broached the subject of marrying her sister, Mabana. She offered him the hospitality of the clan for the coming cold season. Rajar said he might visit. If his friends brought gifts to the Khan, they might even be welcome. Berra definitely did not accuse all of the Storm Khans of having irregular marriages, no matter how Davama heard it. The phrase was ‘heavily armed bastards’.
Rajar dragged them off to buy appropriate gifts, filling Varanis in on the etiquette, and leaving Xenofos in the library looking for any leads on a sickness that Jaldis had asked the Chief Priest in Nochet about, and the Goddess of Teeth and Salt. He got a resident scribe to help.
The Goddess of Teeth and Salt was scattered all over Prax when Storm Bull threw pieces of her body everywhere. Not all were accounted for. Xenofos was able to read a map showing a holy place beloved of a crocodile goddess in the Zola Fel. Xenofos wrote up a report that night to be sent in the seasonal despatches back to the library in Nochet, for a small fee, which became even smaller when the scribe spotted Rajar looming.
Xenofos and Rajar spent the night at the library, Xenofos writing his report and Rajar guarding him and escorting him back to the temple. The rest spent the night in the Zola Fel temple and set off the next day for Rajar’s clan. Davama stayed with them, in Rajar’s room. The place was full of newtlings and ducks.
Rajar warned of coming rain and the danger of wadis, and he and Davama ensured the non-Praxians’ animals were fit to travel and everyone has enough food and water. Davama helped the stupid westerners with their mounts. She is oddly disgusted that Berra has a bison, but as Rajar explained, Berra liked them better than horses, with Davama had to agree showed good taste.
They were not followed out into the desert, although there were eyes on them as they left. There was a little gentle rain, and Xenofos did a little gentle complaining. They arrived at Rajar’s clan, which was the size of a small army; half a square mile of people and a square mile of bison herd. It was now cooler in the day, and getting colder at night.
Khan Gallaf Hairhide was showing off, with his yurt on a platform showing off he could afford wood. Rajar briefed his friends on the giving of gifts and greeted Khan Hairhide in a manly way. Everyone said pretty words, and the Khan announced a feast the next evening to welcome them. Earth Lady Jala, the Khan’s great-wife, agreed with Davama about needing to do something about Rajar – Davama meant an introduction to Mabana in the evening’s feast, but Jala decided to show off Rajar’s strength and give him a task to do that needed doing.
During the feast, Varanis sang one of the songs of Rajar’s deeds. Rajar explained that Varanis was also a member of the White Bull Society and had enemies and needed to be protected from them. The Khan took him aside for a quiet word. He gave Rajar the chance to do him a favour, as suggested by Jala. They had a shaman who needed to go on a holy journey and sending hotheads from the clan would be awkward. There was some more gift-giving, and the Khan gave Rajar the nod to tell him to tell his friends. The Esrolians needed to be kicked awake a bit.
Rajar explained the Khan had a job for him to do and was up to them if they want to accompany him. Everyone volunteered, the warriors rather faster than the scribe and the healer. The next day it turned out there was someone smaller than Berra in the tribe; their Shaman. He was small and wizened and wearing bones that rattled piercingly.
They set off into desert with the shaman. The weather was unpleasant; they suffered from the heat and the cold. The shaman, Erhehta, had a very annoying snore, and spirits whispered to him at night. During the day, he kept stopping to bow to rocks and dance around them. The river they reached en route was not much of a river, but they had to cross. Amazingly, Billy made it across, but Followed did not. One bison and both Zebras needed the ministrations of Davama.
They walked into the hills close to the path of the river. Varanis and Berra spotted a lot of scattered bones, but it was definitely not an ambush site. They turned out to be goat bones, anyhow. Rajar knew enough about butchery and bones to determine they had been gnawed on, and not killed in a ritual way using knives. A little bit of chipped off flint in a shoulder blade looked like a chipped off bit of a flint spear. In answer to Davama asking, Erhehta said the spirits of the goats were not killed right.
Soon, they spotted an old settlement there, with broken-down walls and the remains of a stockade. Varanis spotted movements, but nothing should have been living there. As soon as they got past a village marker, Erhehta said the spirits were screaming. The remains of the bridge they wanted to cross were hanging down on the other side of a ravine.
Xenofos found tracks in the dirt, probably of whoever had cut the bridge away. He could make little sense of them. Varanis climbed down into the ravine. Berra yelled a warning to Varanis; something was emerging from the ruins of the village. They looked a little like centaurs, but they had too many legs to be centaurs. Everyone readied their weapons. Varanis cast shield, and tied her rope to the end of the bridge to drag it back.
Berra managed to take a leg off one of the beasts – a scorpion man – with a well placed arrow, but it did little to slow the thing. Varanis started to desperately try to climb out of the ravine. Berra shouted another warning and started shooting into the ravine where three scampering, quadrupedal scorpion-things were closing in on Varanis. Berra put an arrow through the thorax of the one in the lead.
Davama stepped away from the edge and backed away, as did Erhehta. Rajar cast Protect on himself and Billy. Xen threw a javelin and hit one of the bipedal horrors, but it bounced off armour that seemed to be part of it. Berra hit a second one in the thorax, but it was not a deep wound. Varanis gave up on trying to out-climb them and stood to fight, casting Fireblade.
Rajar tobogganed down the slope. Berra climbed most of the way and jumped down the last bit, trusting to her reflexes and a shield spell. Xen tried to join them but could not find a safe way down. Combat was joined, and Davama summoned an Earth Elemental to help. The smaller scorpionlets were killed about the time Xenofos reached the bottom of the ravine, using Rajar’s route. The earth elemental, commanded by Davama, went to hold one of the scorpion men still.
Both scorpion men attacked Xenofos, and everyone had a turn. Varanis killed one and Rajar the other. The earth elemental pulled down the last, wounded scorpionlet with Berra’s arrow in it.
They took all afternoon to fix the bridge, safely. They advanced across it once it was repaired. Erhehta said the path was off to the right, and looked left at the village and then at Rajar.
Rajar, despite not feeling very Stormbully, sensed Chaos and he got the yucky feeling down his back. They decided to explore the village. Berra sensed for assassins and used her eyes, confirming nothing meant them direct harm but there were probably enemies in the caves.
Rajar led the way up the thin path with Varanis next. Davama brought up the rear. They went to the largest cave entrance first, and saw something at ankle height inside the door – a rope. Rajar hooked it with his axe,stood back, and pulled. A crude stake trap thunked down where he would have been if he’d walked through and hit it with his ankle.
Inside was a large room with a way further in to the right. Xenofos understood the architecture, and was able to tell the others how deep this place was likely to be, and that there was probably only one more room. Nobody was interested in how the notches above the door would be used to hang hides or woven curtains, despite how willing he was to explain.
Berra said her senses told her two things in the next room meant them harm. They tooled up magically. From the other room there was muttering like something else was magically tooling up in there as well.
Inside were two chitin-armoured scorpion men and a huge lady scorpion with far too many legs. The floor was covered with tiny crunchy chitinous skeletons, all wet and glistening, as was the egg mass the Queen was in.
The Queen screamed, deafening Varanis and Davama temporarily. Combat broke out, with Xenofos and Varamis going for the Queen, and Davama getting in a sling shot at the huge mass. The Queen heaved herself out of the way of Xenofos’s waving rapier, revealing that she could move, but this did not help her much as Varanis hit her in the chest with a Fireblade, and she fried. Alas, the egg mass began to hatch at that point. Little hatchlings came out looking for food, and found people.
The queen collapsed in a pool of blood and ichor. Davama threw an axe, which cut into her thorax. More half-formed scorpion babies spilled out and began to swarm our heroes. Xenofos tried to kill them while keeping his eyes closed as they crawled up his body. His plan failed. Varanis continued to use her flaming sword against the creatures and the delicious/revolting smell of roasting scorpion filled the air. Davama waved her torch at the five scorpion babies that were skittering towards her.
Rajar used his axe to remove a leg off the guard he was fighting. Berra caught a sting on her vambrace, deflecting it in spite of the four little babies that were climbing up her legs. Finally, she drove her iron sword through the thing’s thorax. It split apart.
Xenofos stabbed at the horrors chewing on his armour. He cut one apart. Varanis tried to remove more of her own, but the little monsters were clinging on tightly. As she twisted and turned, one lost its grip, falling off. She stomped furiously on it and then yelled. Its sibling had bitten through her armour and into the flesh of her knee.
Rajar cast Fanaticism and then crushed the scorpion man’s arm with his axe. Desperately, the scorpion tried to sting the Storm Bull, but the stinger got caught in something and in the next instant, Rajar decapitated the thing. Covered in little scorpions, the big man did the only sensible thing. He dropped to the ground and rolled, crushing them.
Xenofos managed at last to remove his cling-ons.
The party stared about them at the room full of scorpion bodies and egg casings. They decided that burning it all was the only solution.
Ehrehta took them all to the sacred pool, where he covered himself in the mud, then slathered the mud on the wounds or scrapes the others had, healing them. Finally, he dropped a bone piercing in the sacred pool and ate a stone. This meant that he was ready to go get that bastard that put a curse on him.
The heroes were feasted on their return. The Khan suggested Berra needed to learn better trade talk.
++++ Notable Moments and Quotes
> “96/less” – Rajar
“Heh.” – GM
“Loads of unsteady bisons. Now I am scared.” – Xenofos
“The Domino Bison Clan is feared.” – Rajar
“Great warrior. I seek Rajar.” – Davama
“Rajar the River-fucker? He’s at the Temple of Zola Fel.” – Toshi
“Tell Rajar from me, ‘Toshi says he’s a lightweight.'” – Toshi the Storm Bull
“Agile Bison. Not sturdy like Billy.” – Rajar
“Toshi says you’re a lightweight.” – Davama
“The beard bristles a bit.” – Rajar
“The shaman has kept Suuraki with him, maybe to read some entrails.” – GM
“Hopefully not Suuraki’s?” – Varanis
“Xenofos – no matter how much you stare at them, the documents are still in Praxian.” – GM
“Correction. They are in Old Pavic, which is an entirely different language. And which doesn’t help me either.” – Xenofos
“It was-” – Varanis
“Rajar’s not even bothering to listen.” – Rajar
“Are they expecting Rajar to reproduce?” – Varanis
“You are a strong Storm Bull!” – Davama
“Yes!” – Rajar
“And virile!” – Davama
“Rajar’s shoulders drop a little bit.” – Rajar
“Not so much look for safety as surround ourselves with heavily armed bastards.” – Berra
<<wince>> – Davama
“What did you just fumble?” – GM
“Trade talk.” – Davama
“ALL OF OUR STORM KHANS ARE MARRIED TO EARTH PRIESTESSES.” – Davama
“Good?” – Berra
“None of the Clan is irregularly conceived!” – Davama
“Um, Xenofos, what does irregularly conceived mean?” – Berra
“Rajar, how do you say ‘heavily armed bastards’ in Praxian?” – Berra
“Oh… family!” – Rajar
“Xenofos, what are you looking into, other than the abyss of your soul?” – GM
“There’s a small fee for processing, but nothing more.” – GM
“2L and… <<sees Storm Bull>> 1L.” – Accountant
<<abandons plot so Davama can job Xenofos>> – GM
“Bison Hide mumus are night wear.” – Rajar
“Bison Hide mumus are nightmares….” – Varanis
“Fabulous nightmares.” – Xenofos
“And the bison poop fires.” – Rajar
“MmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmMMMMMmmmmmm smells like home.” – Rajar
“Um…. 97.” – Varanis
“Fail.” – Xenofos
“So, the Esrolians are drunk. It seems they went for the lumpy bison milk drink, which is a lot stronger.” – GM
“Timing: we have now reached Plot.” – GM
“DEX x 5 for your mounts please.” – GM
“12/15 OMG Billy :heart_eyes:” – Rajar
“So, I fumbled my peaceful cut. It was dragons.” – Varanis
“Scan Rolls please.” – GM
“This helmet of mine is great!!!!” – Rajar
“If they are already coming down before I can climb out, going to change plans. Fireblade and rapier.” – Varanis
“Make a great funeral song for me.” – Varanis
“Never google gravid scorpions.” – Co-GM
“Google them!” – GM
“”Bury me in cold, cold earth…. what in the name of Earth are those horrors… ” failed sing” – Xenofos
“Nope on scan.” – Rajar
“Fail scan.” – Varanis
“Fail scan.” – Davama
“Fail scan.” – Xenofos
“Berra! Berra! Berra!” – Varanis
“failed sing while running in…” – Xenofos
“Cold, cold earth… Ernalda, no…” – Xenofos
“Stomp them all.” – Varanis
“Nuke, nuke, nuke….” – Xenofos
“I don’t own enough d6 for my damage. :stuck_out_tongue:” – Varanis
“D4+2 please for scorpion babies.” – GM
“You enjoy describing them far too much.” – Varanis
“Even I am getting squicked out.” – Co-GM
“Berra gets 4 little horrific children.” – GM
“I have 5.” – Davama
“You are feasted again.” – GM
“Rather than feasted UPON” – Co-GM
“I feel I should apologise for the squirmy scorpion baby swarm.” – Co-GM
“I think there should have been more babies per person.” – Varanis