1628, Sea Season, Fertility Week, Clayday to Windsday
High Sword Eril
Valseena and Suuraki, in Clearwine, had been looking after the baby. While trying to work out why they were, Suuraki had reached the conclusion that they had stolen it, and were protecting it from the parents or avengers.
The others rode back to Clearwine – as they neared, newtlings tried to cuddle Followed’s butt, clustering behind Berra – Varanis pointed this out to her. She was cheerful at them. They went to the White Grape to clean up.
Xenofos called everyone together so he could admit to Varanis about having been wrong. He had something to say to Berra too, but she hugged him and said sorry and the words got lost.1He did get to say he had let his sadness talk with anger and said things he regretted, but the rest of the speech was hugged to silence. They then set off to the palace, where they were once more given the more classy nobility entrance.
Torograi was playing music, a comic song of a duck Humakti in a drinking contest, whose win, and subsequent leakage, created a new river. Torograi changed a Tarshite tasting it to an Esrolian, on the fly, as the group arrived.
They reported in to Leika, who informed the group that she had sent surveyors to Blue Tree.
Leika asked Varanis to take a message to the Starbrow, saying that Argrath was a Colymar, of ‘the blood’ and she was waiting for a sign as to who Orlanth favoured. Varanis stood by the words that Kallyr was King of Sartar, and they batted back and forth over what had happened. Leika said Kallyr had needed help lighting the flame. Varanis said she had needed help getting out of the underworld. Leika said that Kallyr was the tyrant; Berra stepped forward, looking anguished, and pointed out to a faltering Varanis that Kallyr had been holding the flame there. Varanis pointed this out and added that if Leika had stuck around when she attempted to cremate Kallyr, she’d have witnessed the lighting of the Flame.
They got exiled from Colymar lands for a year.2Playing Orlanthi chicken with a ruler tends to go poorly for the other person and anyone associated with them.
As they left, still under Leika’s protection, the Queen gave an arm-ring to Berra, who considered for a moment, and then put it on her sword-arm. The group packed, and Suuraki and Valseena were finally informed about the parentage of the baby. Berra considered going to visit her sister, but Varanis talked her out of it. Nevertheless, the Humakti looked very affected by the exile.
Along the King’s Road, they came upon a bridge that appeared to be out. On the other side of the river stood Devolin, who offered to help them cross. Berra strung her bow as she greeted him, but he was just out of bow-shot. Varanis asked permission to cast a spell on Berra and when it was granted, cast Leap. It truly is amazing how quickly that duck can move. Before Berra could reach him, he was gone. She enlisted the Praxians to help track him and Suuraki was able to pick up his trail from his camp to the bridge, but not where he went when he fled. Looking at how pitiful his camp was, the party almost felt sorry for him. It seems that Devolin was not a particularly successful bandit. He had some smoked fish cooking, and a moth-eaten blanket. Berra asked Valseena to fix it for her. Possibly in case the duck got spotted again.
In Boldhome, Berra went straight to her Temple to report to Eril, who naturally kept her waiting. The others returned to their house.
Back at the house, a servant gave Varanis a letter. She passed it to Xenofos who broke the seal only to find another sealed document inside. He observed that while the first one was unremarkably Sartarite, the second was clearly Lunar. The seal depicted Jar-eel. The text was written in good Esrolian and contained words from Onjur, warning that the Bat was being mobilised again. While Onjur admitted that he was her enemy, he claimed to believe that the use of the Bat was dishonourable and not in the Empire’s best interests.
My dearest foe. I had the honour to meet you and on those occasions to be temporarily bested by you. Despite this, I think we both acted with the best possible intentions and behaviours to our respective causes. It therefore pains me to say that steps may be taken which I feel are at root dishonourable; namely the Bat has finished its duties in the Heartlands and may soon descend once more upon Dragon Pass. I do not believe this to be in the best interests of the Empire, still less of yourselves, and trust that this information and your tendency to cause irritating friction to the best-laid plans, may act in the Emperor’s best interests for once. Yours, with the Sword of Death, Onjur-eel.Letter from Onjur
Varanis decided that it was crucial to get word to Tennebris, but wanted Berra present as someone who had faced Onjur more often than most. (She’d have sent for Rajar too, but the Storm Bull Temple is so far away!) Suuraki made his way to the Humakti Temple and after dealing with the odd humour of the guards, found Berra and D’Val meditating on a flaming sword.3No, not sitting on it. Really now. Just staring at it and thinking death-ducky thoughts. D’Val shifts his balance ever so slightly at the interruption, which drew Berra from her meditation. Once certain Suuraki was not a threat, D’Val permits Berra conversation. After finding out she was being summoned, with his permission she left with Suuraki.
On the way out, Suuraki saw the pretty obvious Shaman’s hut – the blacksmith’s hovel. He showed politeness to any spirits that might be there, and hurried on; Berra revealed that it was indeed a shaman there, but not one who would be likely to notice him.
Xenofos read the letter and Berra agreed that it was a thing that Onjur would do, and said that if he had meant it as a trick, they would not have suspected him. She explained to the Praxians, Maalira in particular, who Onjur was. The others remembered being on his trail near to Alda Chur. Berra explained how he would raid and pretend to be Praxian. Xenofos noted that he could not currently be certain the letter had been sent by Onjur, but could cast that spell once he had prayed. Maalira and Valseena looked over their supplies and considered which magics might be useful for people afflicted by the Crimson Bat.
The Storm Voice was at his temple and welcomed them in with his usual enthusiasm.4Which is to say, none. They quickly explained the letter and when Xenofos went to read it aloud, Tennebris took it for himself. When the priest was done, Xenofos pointed out once more that he was unable to verify its authenticity at the moment. Regardless, Tennebris demanded to know why Varanis was maintaining correspondence with a Lunar of Onjur’s lineage. She immediately stated that he was her enemy and this was the only letter she’d ever received from him. Tennebris decreed that they should go see King Kallyr right away and moved to do so, when Varanis interrupted to fill him in on how well their visit to Clearwine had gone.5If he had any hair left that hadn’t already turned grey, that meeting probably finished the job. He paused long enough to copy the letter, giving the original back to Xenofos for safe keeping, and asking that he look into its history when blessed once more by Lhankor Mhy.
The trip up the stairs was easy for at least some of the group6Varanis and Xenofos specialled CON. Berra, Suuraki, and Maalira failed it. and while one of the guards attempted to make jokes about their stamina, the Storm Voice simply brushed past him and into the palace. He used the same approach to entering Kallyr’s personal chambers, where he was greeted by an indignant King. Rapidly, he explained why he’d come to her privately. As he was doing so, Berra and Maalira could hear faint snores from the couch. It was someone with blond hair. Tennebris explained their urgency and need for privacy, then handed the letter to Kallyr. She pointed out that it was in Esrolian and handed it to the Esrolian Noble… who handed it to her scribe. Once more, Xenofos read it, making a decent ad hoc translation to Heortling as he went on.
Enraged, Kallyr threw a glass scent-bottle against a wall and the sound of it shattering startled her bed-companion awake. He gleamed in the sunshine and said some things no one really paid any attention to, before Kallyr pointed out that he still looked tired and invited Maalira to help him with that. The healer took a couple of tries7including one where Berra asked him to do the White Lady a favour – and let the magic work this time… which he did. Astounding even her., but successfully returned the Grazelander to his nap.
Xenofos noted yet again, perhaps tiredly, that he could not be sure that it was Onjur who had written. Kallyr ordered Tennebris to send for the Chief Librarian, but Tennebris talked her out of it, saying that Xenofos already knew the secret.
Kallyr was very angry at the thought of having to owe something to the bastard who had tried to kill her, and took up her sword, destroying some historically important carvings on her great bed. However, she did not immediately storm off to try to kill him in person, which was probably a win.
Maalira was invited to stay in the royal bedchamber to enjoy a meal and watch over her sleeping charge. The others enjoyed a simple meal in some privacy. There was good food without extravagance and no Colymar bard trying to embarrass Berra, though the sound of the River Duck saga drifted in their general direction at one point. After that, the group returned home.
“Is everyone going to Clearwine? Or are you splitting the party?” – GM, mockingly
“Well, if you’re offering…” – Suuraki
“Relaxed and mellow… and bickering.” – Varanis
“Have you already become a Sage? You’re being amazingly cryptic.” – Varanis to Xenofos
“Drinking contests for the Praxians are just, like, Thursday.” – Maalira
“Tell the Starbrow that Argrath is a Colymar. Tell her he does have the blood, but I am waiting for a sign as to who Orlanth favours.” – Leika
“Just out of interest, are lemons available in Dragon Pass?” – GM
“Yes.” – answer
“So, you’ve all got an idea of what Leika’s currently sucking on.” – GM
“My Summary Execution Sense is tingling.” – Suuraki
“Berra stops talking about the Sambari and makes sure of translation for the Praxians.” – Berra
“Possibly because they should know why they are going to die.” – Berra
“Insight Own Species at 30.” – GM
“Special.” – Berra
“99.” – Maalira hopefully
“You’ve heard about Vingans. It’s a thing.” – GM
“I would point out, your Majesty, that while I have met Grandfather, I have not been introduced to the Black Spear at all…” – Varanis
“How. Remiss. Of. Me.” – Leika
“The Black Spear moves on its own. I guess it’s bad at steering.” – Berra
“Is this where she challenges for the Khanship?” – Suuraki
“Watch it. The big one Moo-plain talks.” – Berra
“You may be an arrogant upstart, full of themselves… sorry, you may be an Orlanthi…” – GM
“It’s a constant surprise to me that the group noun for Orlanthi is a Kingdom, and not an argument.” – GM
“Sartar was a miracle worker.” – Berra
“It’s hardly an argument. It’s more a full and frank exchange of views. Or occasionally a limited police action.” – Suuraki
“I think now might be a good time to stub your toe and suddenly need urgent healing.” – Suuraki
“Fascinating trackless wastes they have over here.” – Suuraki
“So, they are doing that is called a spear-waving contest now.” – Berra
“After you leave my lands, I do not wish to see you in them for a year.” – Leika
“Oh… and Leika just banned us from here.” – Berra
“So we’ll tell you exactly where not to come back to.” – Berra
“I thought we’d stolen the child, hence guarding it.” – Suuraki
“Believe me, it’s impossible in this case to wing him.” – Berra, of Devolin
“My dearest foe. I had the honour to meet you and on those occasions to be temporarily bested by you. Despite this, I think we both acted with the best possible intentions and behavious to our respective causes. It therefore pains me to say that steps may be taken which I feel are at root dishonourable; namely the Bat has finished its duties in the Heartlands and may soon descend once more upon Dragon Pass. I do not believe this to be in the best interests of the Empire, still less of yourselves, and trust that this information and your tendency to cause irritating friction to the best-laid plans, may act in the Emperor’s best interests for once. Yours, with the Sword of Death, Onjur-eel.”
“Well, that was a beautifully composed letter. Shall I tell you what it said?” – Xenofos
“Bags not telling Berra.” – Maalira
“Ere, you can’t leave that lyin’ there.” – Guard
“I will look puzzled because the joke probably doesn’t translate.” – Suuraki
“It’s a straight lyin’?” – Berra
“Three eyes are better than one.” – Berra goes to meet her Sword Lord
Berra explains all of the bits of the city to Maalira as they pass.
“I’ve been chucked out of there. Rajar’s been chucked out of all of that block.” – Berra
“I’m going to ask just once, and this is a Storm Voice asking…” – Tennebris
“If the question is what the fuck, we don’t know either.” – Berra
“…how long have you been in correspondence with a senior member of the eel-ariash?” – Tennebris
“So, we make our way, in various stages, up the steps.” – Suuraki, trying to get back on plot
“Why are we with him?” – Varanis
“Ablative armour.” – Berra
“Ablative messengers.” – Suuraki
“I got distracted. What are we rolling?” – Maalira
“Listen.” – Suuraki
“…” – Maalira
“It’s in ESROLIAN.” – Kallyr
“What, can’t read either?” – Valseena
“Get the Head Librarian up here.” – Kallyr
“As the Esrolians say, two can keep a secret perfectly well, with one proviso.” – Tennebris
“Hmmmm- The Stallion king’s or Kallyr’s perfume? Will we ever know?” – Xenofos
“I don’t know if that worked… but was that the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen? Today?” – Berra
“She’s starting to add her own engravings.” – GM
“Not that many notches, you can’t have…” – Berra
Varanis quietly mutters to Berra, “I thought I was the one who riles up Royalty.”
“I don’t want to be obligated by a gift.” – Kallyr
“You could give him a clean death.” – Suuraki
“Or better, you can send him a gift and thanks.” – Berra
“So, mushrooms aren’t vegetables because the bastards regrow no matter how often you try to kill them.” – Berra
“I know what Berra will do… do I know what Berra will do? Yes, I do.” – Berra
“Oh?” – GM
“Yeah, I rolled What Would Eril Do?” – Berra