S02 — Session 28
1626, Storm Season, Stasis Week, Fireday to Freezeday (ish)
Venna and her company
A drunken Storm Bull
Another drunken Storm Bulls
Just a whole big pile of drunken Storm Bulls
A belligerent walktapus)
As before, the log will be accompanied by extracts of poetry from the private collection of Dr Tomm.
A leader among men
He walks behind her
Venlar III.9 (Frag), ‘Loss of the Self’, Trans Goldman
What Really Happened
The group met up with Venna as they travelled towards the Block. They told her about the Goddess of Teeth and Salt, and Rajar told her that Rushes to Battle’s shaman was dead. This pleased Venna. She told Rajar to visit the cave of teeth and find out more, and told Toras to visit the Zola Fel. She and Rajar talked a little about fighting the Lunars, and then they rode into camp at the Block, and split off to go camp with the White Bull Society.
Worship – everyone except Berra and Xenofos attended the holy ceremony of getting rat-arsed on kumiss. The fighting part of it found everyone else.
Valseena was being hit on, so she hung around Suuraki and asked him to pretend to be engaged to her. He agreed to challenge everyone who tried it on. This was close enough to what she wanted, and she agreed.
Berra, tiny and aggressive, was mistaken for an Ostrich Rider by a large man who tried to pat her on the head. She failed to bite him, and Rajar was nice about it and gave him kumiss and it was all good.
Over a cup of kumiss, Varanis boasted about how awesome Orlanth is and how he is the best of gods. A Storm Bull (one of many) took offense to her boasts and took a swing at her. Fortunately for her, he missed. She did not. She drove her fist into his belly, which had the unfortunate effect of leading him to puke on her.
Valseena got tipsy. Suuraki got protective. A very interested Storm Bull tried to take Valseena. Sword vs dagger axe seemed on the menu, but Berra had been looking out for trouble. She and Rajar appeared, both trying to look menacing and only managing it by outnumbering the man. The Storm Bull blustered. He challenged ‘you lot’ to single combat, which Berra stepped up into. She won, of course. Her blow incapcitated his arm and although he repaired himself, he backed down after Rajar tapped him on the back of the head with a big axe and said it was a good choice, and Berra offered him a continuation. Any time. Mate.
Then the wrestling happened. Oddly, Xenofos opted to sit this out, rather than demonstrate the superiority of Esrolian wrestling techniques. Varanis won her bout and received a proposition which she may or may not have taken up. Suuraki and his friend were booed out of the ring but they received free cabbages. Rajar performed a glorious body-slam on his opponent and Suuraki sang about it, earning Rajar the nickname, “The Block.” Like the Rock, but in prettier sparkly colours.
Valseena and Suuraki vanished for the night. They hung a thong on the door to the yurt. Sadly for Suuraki, his constitution failed him somewhere around dawn. Or maybe that was sad for Valseena….1STR roll was a critical, though.
Varanis, Rajar, and Xenofos sought out a sweat lodge in the morning. Berra stood guard. Someone tried to drug them but nobody really noticed, until they’d been in there for sometime. To be honest, they might well have been the ones who tried to drug them. There was dreamweed involved.
They packed up and headed for Sartar. On the way, Valseena’s bison became very ill from eating a bad plant. They made camp so that the bison could be helped, set watch, and in the wee hours, Rajar spotted something coming towards the camp. Whoever it was seemed to be in armour, and had a huge, ornate helmet on.
He woke people – the smart ones armoured up. The walktapus, for such it was, attacked and was attacked in return. Suuraki summoned a spirit of Law. Bits of the walktapus were removed by axe and sword and in retaliation, it let out a great gaseous green cloud. Berra and Varanis inhaled the gas and were in immediate trouble. The others were smarter and held their breath. After Berra staggered out of the cloud, gasping for breath and bubbling rather, Valseena jumped forward to begin healing her. There was a great smashing and bashing, and ultimately the walktapus collapsed in a pile of mush chaos, however the spirit that Suuraki had summoned continued to attack it. The spirit’s ongoing presence warned those wise enough to understand – chiefly Xenofos – that the walktapus was not completely defeated. After they attacked it with fire and sword and axe, they were unsure what to do, as it was still alive. Rajar would have to stay, but Suuraki volunteered to ride back to the block. Berra realised that her sword might attack it, if it were in its most holy state. She meditated (and cast True Sword) and her sword took on an unworldly glow. Holding her breath, just in case, she attacked the spirit of the walktapus and managed to kill it.
They travelled on for a few more days, until they reached Sartar, and Jaldonkill, passing by Dragonrise en route. At Jaldonkill, they met Irillo’s caravan.
On the road to Sartar (the IC chat)
After the fight with walktapus, on the ride to Jaldonkill, Xenofos is pretty quiet. Most of the time he rides at position of right pointman.
Berra stays mostly out in the front, professionally on guard.
Rajar takes his normal rear guard. Although Vengeance is fleeter of foot than Billy, a good charge distance is still a thing
Varanis, for her part, shifts from position to position, riding for a time with one person or another. When they stop for the night, she usually asks for the predawn watch, though she will take her turn at the darkest hours as needed.
Rajar suggests doubling up the guards. One person can miss something far too easily. The shifts will be longer, but it will be safer. The Storm Bull is somewhat alarmed at what might have happened if he had missed the approaching Chaos horror.
“Definitely,” Berra says to that, relieved. “We get less sleep for a week.”
“I think it wise. A longer shift also means it’s worth wearing armour for it. And who knows who might be waiting for us to return.” He glances at the Vingan.
“I wear armour on watch,” Berra points out. “Just because you don’t…” It is only her leather stuff. Sometimes.
“You never wear armour, your wearing polite dress for dinner clothes,” Rajar replies.
“I don’t have a layer of whale-fat like you have. I have to make do with what I got.”
Rajar shrugs. “In any case until we have Var…until we are all what passes for safe in Boldholm…”
“Probably a night in Jaldonkill. More of us can sleep then,” Berra suggests.
“Yes. Should we ward the room?” Rajar obviously considers stone huts and built up areas far more dangerous than the plains of Prax.
“Yeah, probably. Just for the one night, until we’re back and know what the situation is. Maybe Xenofos can set wardings, and Valseena.”
Varanis glances at Rajar. “You don’t have to pretend. I’m resigned to being under guard again, so long as we all acknowledge that I’m capable of doing some of the guarding.”
“Oh indeed. Perhaps they have forgotten you or some new scandal has occurred. Perhaps Kallyr will be dead and you will not have to worry her with might be’s about Argrath.” Rajar looks cheerful at the idea.
This earns him a scowl.
“What? It’s a dangerous job Khan. Many Enemies,” the big man says. “And then we could hunt down her killer and slay them which would be something to do.”
“Or we could hunt down Lunars instead,” the Vingan suggests.
Once they are in Sartar, Berra starts talking to people who are local, presumably asking them about the politics.
On the first day they are back in Sartar, Berra takes Xenofos off privately scouting for an hour or two as they advance. They don’t get lost, although when they get back she hurries off to the front of the line again.
“What news from the locals. Is the Prince dead again by any chance?” asks Rajar.
This earns him a furious glare from Varanis.
“It seems to be a habit for her after all.” Rajar grins. “I mean it would make your life so much simpler. Maybe you should look into that.”
“Rajar!” Varanis glares up at him with rising fury. “If you weren’t my friend, I’d strike you down for that.”
Rajar smiles dangerously. “Oh we can talk all you want. We shall find out if this Prince lives soon enough.”
“I wasn’t speaking of talking, Praxian,” she replies heatedly. “Suggest I betray Kallyr again and it won’t be words I use.”2Varanis: Rolled for fun. 6/95 on Honour. 33/77 on Air.
“Hmm. Did you not swear loyalty to Argrath as well?”
“Argrath is in Prax. Kallyr is of Sartar. I will give my sword to Argrath to fight Lunars. Fuck. I’ll give him my life to do so. But I. Will. Not. Betray. Kallyr.” She bites off each word, her face flushed with rage.
“Then I would think very carefully before you set the two on each other. For Kallyr would not survive the contest. Tell her she has a kinsman and let her rejoice. If you tell her she has an enemy then you make it so and the only people who win will be the Moon worshippers. Kallyr is many things. Brave. Powerful. But is she wise? Would you betray her by making her fight her friends?”
Berra, after taking a moment to run her hand down her face, and rub away any expression, says, “I don’t think she was saying she would,” in a voice a little louder than she normally uses.
“Oh but she did. She was going to warn Kallyr that Argrath wants her throne and set a new war into motion. Were you not Varanis?” The Storm Bull looks at her. “Perhaps I misunderstood your meaning”
“Probably.” Berra gives Varanis a warning look, and then gives Rajar a flat one.
Varanis misses Berra’s look entirely. “I had only intended to tell her that Argrath was of the line of Sartar and that I had heard an unsubstantiated rumour that he might want a return to Sartar, but that there was no fucking evidence for it.” She glares. “You made your point back in Prax and I listened to you then, friend.” The final word is spat out.
“Good. I like this place. It would be a shame if it burned”
“Rajar. Don’t show off your Praxian habits. I like this place too.” Berra gives him a cheery smile.
Tiwr adds, around a mouthful of grass, “Also too wet to burn,”
The air around the Vingan almost crackles with her fury. She looks like she is spoiling for a fight.
Berra moves her bison forwards a bit so that Varanis can see her, and puts out a hand for forestalling.
Varanis swears, then wheels her mount. The startled zebra, already made nervous by his rider’s anger, takes off into a gallop, charging up the road. She leans into it, rather than trying to stop him.
“Yeah…. not what she was trying to do,” Berra tells Rajar even as the hooves begin to clatter. “And not a good time to lean.”
Xenofos passes the bisons and follows Varanis.
“As long as she doesn’t start another war, she’ll be fine,” Rajar replies.
“She won’t. The Prince will already know, and courts know how to take that sort of briefing.”
“Stubborn as her Prince,” Rajar smiles admiringly. “Will the Prince? I’m not sure I trust the Prince to think things through. Now her Sword…”
“Yeah. If you’re telling me that Kallyr does all the thinking, I’m going to ask if you took up smoking dung to get high.” Berra looks off into the distance, where Varanis is going. “I need to follow her. But give her a hundred more heartbeats first.”
Rajar nods. “Had to be lanced before it festered into something nasty in the middle of the court. But it would be better to have a clever Khan. Ah well we fight with what we have.”
Berra starts counting as she watches Xenofos follow. “Or maybe him. Zebras are faster than bisons. But nah. She… I think she wouldn’t have. She doesn’t want to start a war.” The ‘I think’ sounds flat and final.
“It’s her Prince and her Country. I’ve tried to help them not be smashed. It’s her call now. We can fight the Lunars in the ashes as well as anywhere if it comes to pass. It would be a shame if the Prince dies to an ally though.”
“Yeah. I think you tried too hard.” Berra shrugs. “Right. Can you see to the other animals not burning down when I follow?”
“Oh I was gentle last time and she didn’t get it.”
“The wrestling? Or in Prax?”
“Maybe she did get it – she’s Esrolian. How would you tell?”
Rajar shrugs. “I had to be sure.”
Berra wrinkles her nose, accepting that even if she disagrees. “Well. Definitely should go after her now.” She even goes so far as to gather her reins this time.
Varanis races ahead for several minutes before slowing Zukko to a walk. In the distance, Xenofos can be seen to catch up to her. She dismounts and walks through a farmer’s field to climb a low hill. There’s a distant sound of a scream. Then the Vingan returns to the road and her mount.3I estimate that Zukko ran for about a mile. You can easily see a person a mile away in a relatively flat landscape like this one is. And you can hear a scream from about that far too, or so google says. Plus, I assume people will have continued riding at some pace or another, so they’ll have closed the distance anyway.
At that, Berra, already a little ahead, urges her bison into a slow trot. It’s faster than running, assuming it keeps it up the whole way, racing a hypothetical Berra on foot in full armour. It doesn’t take her long to reach the Esrolians and they ride together for a time. After a while Berra hauls in the reins on Followed, and lets the group catch up.
Varanis and Xenofos run point for the rest of the day. When they stop for food, she avoids Rajar and the other Praxians.
Berra puts herself on watch with Rajar that night. He conspicuously doesn’t trample the Esrolians to death in their sleep with Vengance.
“Look at thothe pecth” – GM
“peckth.” – Berra
“Much as I hate to say it, we’re looking to Rajar for guidance at this point.” – Varanis
“Feathered Rhinos?” – Berra
“That’s what I heard too.” – Varanis
“Tethered.” – Xenofos
“Although now I want to see feathered Rhino Queen.” – Xenofos
“No, I criticalled Air, so I’m going to do this. Badly, but I’m going to do it.” – Suuraki
“We celebrated her by killing her…” – Varanis
“In the wadi / the raging wadi / the croc god lurks tonight” – Dormal
“Anti-duck chorus. They cannot wing their way.” – Berra
“And we all have the teeth.” – Varanis
“Except maybe Xenofos who might opt not to wear his…” – Varanis
“Toras, after your observations…” – Venna
“Toras, after your –spying– observations…” – Varanis
“listen to song, pass fear dragons…” – Xenofos
“Xenofos! Good news! You’ve been seconded to the Dragon Investigation Force.” – Suuraki
“((Rolled Insight human, to see if I noticed Xenofos. Rolled 000. He’s obviously totally fine.))” – Varanis
“Hehehehhhhh.” – Berra
“((Positively relaxed.))” – Varanis
“((those glassy eyes speak of calm….))” – Xenofos
“Whatcherdoooooin’?” – GM
“Mostly hanging around and not talking much.” – Berra
“PAR-TAY” – Suuraki
“I’ve developed a taste for kumiss.” – Varanis
“Blockholm Syndrome.” – Berra
“Try Storm Bull tipping, Berra!” – Varanis
“Just like cow tipping, only different.” – Varanis
Berra looks sober. But she did just argue with a Storm Bull.
“Everybody knows that Orlanth is better.” – Varanis
“I’m not drunk.” – Xenofos
“Aaah, you’re the designated thinker.” – GM
“Rajar tried the nice way the first time…” – Varanis
“Backing up Varanis…” – Xenofos
“Then he casts fanaticism… but fails to intimidate.” – Varanis
“GM says we win!” – Berra
“You think you’re big men!” – Drunken Storm Bull
“I don’t.” – Berra
“I could take any of you.” – Storm Bull
“You’re on.” – Berra
“I’m a little drunk!” – Valseena
“No, that is Berra if she fails her CON roll.” – GM
“If I get kidnapped and forcibly married to some Storm Bull, I’m coming after you!” Valseena to Suuraki
“Well, we’re coming after you!” – Suuraki
“Is this classically correct, Xenofos?” – Berra watches failed wrestling rolls
“Nobody kidnaps you, you’ll be pleased to hear.” – GM
“And they say Romance is dead.” – Rajar
“Berra will hang around outside that.” – Berra
I am blessed with an acute lack of imagination.
“Berra, can you make a scan roll?” – GM
“I can fumble one.” – Berra
“Lightly scented steam room…” – GM
“Lightly scented, in Prax?” – Xenofos
“This could be the time I die nobly.” – Berra
“Target is 18. But first, did I hit it. Let’s do the did I hit it?” – Varanis
“Green hills of Esrolia…” – Xenofos
“Death in battle is a glorious thiiiiing!” Berra hasn’t got the memo about which song to sing. But she sounds happy.
“He does not…” – Xenofos
“Xenofos, we need to teach you some fighting magic.” – Varanis
“No, it would ruin him! He is perfect as he is.” – Berra
“More… fire?” – Berra
“I was looking forward to a glorious death there!” – Berra
“Oh sorry…” – Valseena
“Nah, it’s fine. I’ll have to go on.” – Berra
- 1STR roll was a critical, though.
- 2Varanis: Rolled for fun. 6/95 on Honour. 33/77 on Air.
- 3I estimate that Zukko ran for about a mile. You can easily see a person a mile away in a relatively flat landscape like this one is. And you can hear a scream from about that far too, or so google says. Plus, I assume people will have continued riding at some pace or another, so they’ll have closed the distance anyway.