1628, Fire Season, Harmony Week
A sleeping Luminous Stallion King
And some city guards who accepted alcohol from Berra
The beginning of Fire Season found Xenofos at the Library, in Boldhome. He was seeking information about the nature of Hero Cults, but could not find the answers he sought amongst the scrolls. After a time, the High Priest approached to ask what he was researching. After his explanation, she suggested that he was overcomplicating things and that Hero Cults were just about the worship of the hero and perhaps there were better ways for him to spend his time.
Nala worked with Galri and Minster to define what the Goddess of Teeth and Salt required; essentially it was the same sort of altar as Nala’s mother required, and the same form of worship; sacrifices and followers as any god had.
As a thank you for the use of Elmal’s spear when GoTaS had swallowed her up, Varanis offered a week of service to the Temple of Elmal in Boldhome. She was mostly given the task of beating gold into leaf, to repair the temple statue, and standing guard at the gate, lest wild animals come – they didn’t. Berra came and glowered a bit with her, as company.
One day, while most of the party were gathered at the house, a messenger came to invite them all to meet with the King.1D’Val was at the top of the stairs, and told Berra to talk to him afterwards. They left promptly and other than a bit of fuss at the top of the stairs with regards to whether or not Tiwr was welcome inside, they were able to see Kallyr swiftly. The Luminous Stallion King was artfully napping, while Lords Eril and Tennebris attended Kallyr. After a bit of discussion, Kallyr suggested that it would be really useful for Varanis and the rest of the party to head across the Glowline and gather intel on the Crimson Bat, and that Varanis had at least one asset there2.Mirava She made it clear that this was not an order and that she would prefer them to return alive. Varanis asked Kallyr to look after her child, if it became necessary.
On the way back down the stairs, Berra talked to D’Val, who shared fish jerky with her, despite her not having done anything to provoke him. He told her that Eril didn’t want her dead – so he thought that the group could do what they had been sent to do. They talked about scouting and going overland as opposed to using the roads. They agreed it would probably have to be a merchant rather than a trickster who helped them, as Berra was very bad at getting along with lies, and Xenofos even worse. D’Val left her at the door of the house, and she went in to let them know what he had said. He advised her to keep her feather hidden, in case she was asked about the Duck Hunt, as she would not lie. She tried it, got less than a sentence into not having it, and gave it to him to hold.
Varanis asked Xenofos to check the market for Irillo or word of him. He asked around after his cousin and found a merchant willing to sell him information. For reasons of his own, Xenofos paid twice the asking price, much to the merchant’s consternation. He was informed that Irillo had been in Whitewall recently (or Wilmskirk?) and would likely arrive in Boldhome shortly.
Berra encouraged the city guards to keep watch for the Esrolian merchant through the liberal sharing of alcohol and money. They very happily agreed and indeed became so happy about it that Eril eventually sent word to chastise the little Humakti for interfering with the effectiveness of the guard. Berra went to the Temple to deal with the fact she had got the guards drunk, and after a sleepless night and a long day, was permitted to apologise to Lord Eril.
While Varanis was off to commune with Sartar, Berra was being Humakti, and Xenofos was at the library, the Praxians took advantage of their alone time to have a conversation about Argrath, his extra spirits and the possibility of Chaos. Nala was particularly concerned about the Lunar aspects of those spirits. They discussed the Lunars as opposed to Chaos, and whether Argrath imprisoning Lunar spirits made him Chaotic. They also planned how to make people disappear, and that they should take an altar of Salt and Teeth with them.
After a few days, Irillo finally arrived. Varanis sent Xenofos to the market again, to inform their cousin that she required his presence. He came by that evening, bearing a gift and message from Grandmother Saiciae. The situation was explained to him (much to his growing horror) and ultimately, he agreed to help. Berra asked if she would be paid, as being Humakt on a quest was different to being a caravan guard, and Irillo threw her a bolg, which she accepted.
Irillo also nudged Varanis to open the missive she’d been determined to ignore. It contained an extravagant silk dress, very Ernaldan and Esrolian and far too regal from Varanis’ perspective and a copper headdress.3Honestly, she still likes silks and fancy clothes and it’s been a while. But this comes from her Grandmother AND is meant to be a political statement and no. Varanis isn’t thrilled about that. After both Varanis and Xenofos failed to read the accompanying letter, Irillo did. Varanis enjoyed it even less than the gift.4Varanis’ thoughts on the letter: “I am the child’s parent, not her mother. I am most certainly not a matron. And I will NOT be manipulated by that woman!!!!”
Dear Varanis, my darling grandchild, I hear so many happy tales of your triumphs in Sartar, and rejoice in you bringing the name of Saiciae to ever-greater renown. Word has reached my ear that you are Sartar’s heir, and I feel that given your motherhood and your new place in the proper position for a Saiciae matron, you deserve better clothing than you will be able to achieve up amongst the Sartarites. Please feel free to get this adjusted slightly if the fit is not quite perfect. I know that motherhood can change one’s shape a little. Pray give my regards on behalf of both the house and of course our own queen to the queen who reigns in Sartar.Aranda Saiciae to Varanis
Nala offered up her ability to see far away, and to be able to search. However, clouds would probably get in the way if she was high enough.
Eventually, it was agreed that they’d travel to Jonstown and then to Tarsh. En route, Irillo, Nala, and Valseena would collect some horses from Blue Tree to give as a gift from Kallyr to Koraki. Varanis made arrangements with Tennebris for supplies, nondescript armour, and anything else the party would need. They set out as soon as possible once everything was ready, after letting Maalira know where they were going, so that she and Rajar could find them when the Storm Bull was recovered sufficiently from his current bout of worship.
The trip to Jonstown was uneventful. In the city, Xenofos visited the Library to continue his attempts at research. Varanis loomed guard-like over Irillo in the market, where he made brisk trade. And they passed the day and night in hopes that Rajar and Maalira would catch up.
Xenofos brought back enough information that they had some idea of what the Bat was looking for – slave camps or penal colonies. Berra was able to describe some of those, at least in theory, as things that Nala could look for each evening.
“… I hate you.” – Berra
“Whyyyyyyyyyy?” – GM
“Because you are a horrid troll.” – Berra
“Wait, that is why I LIKE you.” – Berra
“I preventatively fled.” – Varanis
“So, plus thirty to your Library Use…” – GM
“If only they would write this in any civilised language!” – Xenofos
“To save confusion, could we call her Argrath?” – Suuraki
“I think it’s for you to tell her what she needs.” – Head Sage of the Boldhome Library to Xenofos. About Berra.
“Berra will receive a slight prod…from a horn…” – GM
“And she’s not used to that.” – Nala
“‘prod in the backside’, he said…” – Berra
“Oh, I thought I forgot about the condor. But no, Nala has no condor. Phew.” – Nala
“I’ll speak to you later.” – D’Val, meeting people at the Palace.
“We have heard what you have said to our councillors in regards to the source of this message. Whilst we accept that he may be lying, there is a danger here we cannot ignore. We know frighteningly little of what occurs on the other side of the glowline. Whilst we are reluctant to send our heir into this danger, it may be a small band can achieve what I cannot, and find out the truth of the matter, but we will not command it.” – Kallyr
“Berra works very hard at not blurting out, ‘I volunteer.'” – Berra
“I do not expect you to defeat the bat alone. Find out if it is coming as best as you can, and return with the information.” – Kallyr
“I hesitate to mention it of course, but I’m told you do have a source in the other camp….” – Kallyr
“Uhhhh….” – Varanis
“I HOPE she’s reliable, but she did marry a Lunar bastard…” – Varanis
“I’ve done caravans before…”-Berra
“…” – Nala
“You could find a trickster. Or you can find a Merchant.” – D’Val
“I’m hoping that he’ll be in the city because he makes these little sounds…” – Berra
“I REALLY want to feed Onjur to Salid.” – Berra
“OK, that I’d be willing to do.” – Varanis
“I want to turn Onjur into a herd man, and eat him.” – Nala
“Since my intrigue is terrible, I’ll augment with Harmony… and then promptly fail my intrigue.” – Xenofos
“Aaah, you’re wanting to buy information…” – Merchant
“… Buy information, what a novel concept.” – Xenofos
“Did he fumble bargain????” – Varanis
“I think he ignored bargain.” – Berra
“You are an atrocious trader.” – Merchant
“Sir, what have I done to offend you, that you would call me a trader?” – Xenofos
“Berra has a pile of weapons and hard tack, and is pondering different spears.” – Berra
“I wish Rajar was in on this conversation.” – Varanis
“Would it be any more sensible?” – Valseena
“It would be even more amusing.” – Varanis
“See Nala. See Nala revert to Prax. REVERT, NALA, REVERT!” – Nala
“Erhehta never makes ANY sense!” – Nala
“Yes. He is a great shaman.” – Suuraki
“I made Ernalda. … I should rephrase that.” – Nala
“The sacrifice of humans is generally a Chaotic act.” – GM
“Ma did it!” – Nala
“War gods sometimes perform sacrifice of prisoners, although under special circumstances.” – Berra
“Humans is one thing. Lunars is another.” – Nala
“Irillo nevers bribes us.” – Gate Guard
“That bastard. Have another coin on me.” – Berra
“To whichever scribe reads this: please convey this in these precise words. Dagger of Humakt, perhaps on our next meeting you might explain why an entire guard room of gate guards are currently drunk. It displeases me.” – Eril
“I’ve never been told off by a letter before. Wow.” – Berra
“Berra’s looking very tired, and determined.” – Berra
“And isn’t even around to see Xenofos tell Irillo.” – Berra
“You could have accompanied him.” – Varanis
“She’s busy, almost as if Eril’s a petty vindictive bastard.” – Berra
“Berra explains to Valseena and Suuraki that Grandmother is a woman-khan by stealth.” – Berra
“And is good at it, and Berra hates that place.” – Berra
“Bats are tiny, and not red, and not made of people-eating Chaos.” – Suuraki
“Xenofos has changed his helmet crest. Green feathers have been changed to pink horsehair…” – Xenofos
“And Berra’s feather is missing.” – Berra
“Berra yawns and accompanies Varanis.” – Berra
“Yes, hold a service, so Kalis can go to bed.” – Nala
“She can do that while holding a service.” – Berra
“So, the Prrrologue.” – Suuraki
“I sense old British comedy.” – Xenofos
“Fire season is pretty Aprillish.” – Nala
“Okay. That word. That word right there. THat’s why I HATE sans serif.” – Nala
“While Irillo is in the market, trading, Varanis will lurk, all guard-like.” – Varanis
“I humbly remind the party that Nala, riding a unicorn, in full armour, melded seemlessly into Nochet. It’s still one of the absolute worst experiences of her life.” – Nala
“Later, Berra tells Nala, ‘Less of the being seen.'” – Berra
“More of the not announcing who we are.” – Berra