1628,Sea Season, Wildday to Freezeday of Fertility Week, with the return to Clearwine taking until Clayday
Queen Leika’s Bard
Queen Leika’s Bodyguard (silent throughout)
Some less important people
A Duck Priest
A Duck Initiate
Many excited duckling
Two excited tailors
A dimply young woman
Some more guards, but not as many as advertised
And a new river
The group travelled along the trade road from Clearwine to Quackford, which took somewhat under a day. There, they were met by a crowd, mostly ducklings, gawping at Berra. Two went so far as to climb up onto her bison and she threatened them with chucking off. One stole jerky from her pouch. Xenofos pointed this out1Definitely not because he was watching her ride. He was watching the satchel., and the duckling said he was a famous Humakti warrior. As a punishment, Berra made him eat the rest of what he had stolen – it was the spicy jerky pouch. She then told him Humakti didn’t steal. The other ducks were gently chucked off the bison after Berra promised to let them have a portrait of her on her return. They did not believe she would necessarily be back, but she shooed them away.
Rajar surprised everyone by tearing off on a bison charge, though his lance wasn’t levelled. Ducklings scattered! The group just sighed and disentangled themselves and set off after him. Rajar was certain he had seen a Sky Bull, and he went that way at speed, to deal with whatever it was going towards, or to party with it; one or the other. Rounding a corner too fast to stop, he nearly hit two tailors moving their goods across the road. He decided to jump over them and the racks, but Vengeance had other ideas, and for a moment Rajar was airborne, before making an undignified belly-flop landing. By the time the others arrived, the tailors were measuring him for new clothes, which he felt he owed them. He told his friends that he had seen a Sky Bull, but it had flown off.
Varanis decided that it would be wise to send a messenger ahead, as they’d be travelling through Lismelder lands. Given the tensions between the Lismelder and the Colymar, and the rumours flying around about Praxians, she decided that it was best to send Xenofos along with a durulz escort to Good Weave. They were greeted by the clan with surprising enthusiasm and Xenofos arranged for them to send a messenger further along the route to pass word to the other clans.
Berra briefed people on how to cross borders of clans in Sartar without causing alarm, which was mostly to keep shields out of the way. Cattle raiders would come without shields to say that they were not coming in war. Rajar spontaneously volunteered to have his shield and lance on Calamity. Everyone else made the same sort of arrangement.
With Berra settled damply into the Engizi Temple for the night, Varanis assigned herself as guard, joined by Xenofos on his return. The Vingan asked Maalira to accompany Rajar on his evening escapades, to ensure that neither he nor Quackford came to any harm. Maalira did that, after making sure Berra had warm drinks. He was very well behaved.
In the morning, there were two ducks and a newtling sleeping in the pool around Berra. She was very stern about the floating feathers. Then most of the group – not the hung over part or the one looking at the architecture – overhead a hissed argument about whether Berra was now the mother of Salt and Teeth. She shouted at them until they stopped arguing and fled instead. Varanis dipped a finger into the water to check if her accidental creation of crocodiles was still happening. It was, but they fished out the single crocodile that was created and Berra flagged down a duck to take it out to the Creek. The river would at least start without them. They set off, with a priest, Greenfleck, and an assistant by the name of Arganast Goodstone.
When they arrived at the village of Good Weave, they were greeted by a young woman who brought a tray of bread, salt, and wine out to Varanis and invited her to visit. Varanis pointed out that they needed to be moving quickly. She promised to visit after their errand was completed. Maalira noticed that the young woman was dimpling in the thane’s general direction, but Varanis was oblivious.2Clearly a casual heart-breaker
As they passed through Goodweaver lands they saw the agriculture change. The green fields gave way to sheep. Berra pointed out that you could not grow cows there, and Xenofos noted that the animals were for wool, not meat. It made sense in the context of the name.
Later, they came to Loom, where they planned to spend the night. Forewarned of their visit, the village welcomed them. Varanis was given a room for the night and the traditional salt, bread, and wine offering. At the evening’s meal, someone asked Xenofos if he’d sing “the song” for them. Varanis quietly requested he sing or tell something about Rajar instead. The scholar opted to tell the saga of Rajar and the Eternal Battle. It was well done and enjoyed by all. Rajar found himself plied with lots of alcohol and surrounded by buxom beauties. That night, Berra slept at Heler’s shrine, a building with walls but no roof, with Xenofos sleeping just outside it. It is entirely possible that Varanis and Maalira were the only ones who slept soundly that night.
They made good time towards Hillhaven, but in the afternoon Berra became aware that someone was waiting up ahead with intent to kill. She counted two groups, each of five people hidden in nearby copses. As they came closer, cautiously, they were challenged, being told that archers were covering them. Varanis persuaded the man that they had meant to send a messenger, and that her herald had even managed to do so. He was unimpressed by her calling on Leika’s name, and a little happier that Kallyr was mentioned, but it was the obvious way in which everyone reacted to the messenger having not arrived that seemed to convince him. They were allowed passage.
With Greenfleck occasionally stopping to cast bones, they continued. About an hour after the non-ambush, Rajar noticed tracks converging on scrub, and Berra noticed a raven that was at the centre of a disturbed area. They found a body being pecked at by ravens; Maalira thought briefly that he was still breathing and rushed in to help, only to find out how impressively wrong she was. They noted the positions of the cuts – it seemed he had been cut down from behind and then his throat chopped across. He was dressed, Berra noted, as a Goodweaver. This was probably the messenger.
Varanis noted something dark in one of the wounds, but she cut herself trying to get it out. Berra pulled it out instead, and Xenofos identified it as obsidian. It was probably a sliver from the sword of a dragonewt. Berra and Rajar put the corpse to rest, and the group covered it with rocks.
At last, they came to the area Greenfleck was seeking. She indicated a dell up ahead, but as they made to ride in that direction, Berra once again warned them of an imminent attack. They considered their options, as Xenofos first cast Farsee on Berra and then on himself. Hiding in the copse of trees, there appeared to be a six-pack of dragonewts. Varanis decided to attempt negotiations, calling out to them and mentioning Kallyr. When that didn’t work, she tried referencing the newtling view of her as a water-bringer. They seemed to be in a stand-off, so finally she decided to try to ride closer. At last, she got a reply. It came in the form of a javelin hurled at great speed from a surprising distance. It stuck fast in the Vingan’s shield.
This was Rajar’s cue to attack. He charged forward on Vengeance, leaving Calamity behind. Meanwhile, Xenofos had positioned himself to be a human shield for Berra. Berra cast a shield on the bag. The javelins kept coming, even as Varanis struggled to remove the one in her shield.
Rajar took the brunt of the attack, having his right arm severed by a klanth. He managed to heal himself and keep Vengeance fighting. Maalira ran in to help him better. He threw Fear spells around while he could do little else, demoralising two of the enemy. However, Storm Bull obviously did not approve of him dropping his weapon (and his arm) because one of his Fear spells failed.
The Duck initiate, Arganast, battered the dragonewts with his sling, hurting one badly and killing another.
Berra took advantage of Xenofos’ proximity to hang the satchel on his saddle and called to him to keep it out of firing range, as she dismounted to run in. Though it was clear he’d rather not, he rode away from the conflict, taking up position with the Priest and then going further as even the Priest was still in danger range.
The fighting was brief, but brutal. Somehow, in the midst of it all, Maalira managed to reattach Rajar’s arm. Varanis made a flying dismount into conflict, engaging and killing one of the dragonewts. Berra efficiently took care of one, then wounded another who, to her amazement, finished himself off by cutting his own throat. This left only one, who was attacking Vengeance with a dagger. Varanis took out one of his legs and when he tried to repeat the self-sacrifice of his colleague, both she and Berra intervened. Before they could have a chance to take him prisoner, Rajar happened. Thwack.
With the danger dealt with, Greenfleck took care of the rituals needed to establish the spring head. Then, it was only a matter of Berra guiding the water back towards Quackford. The return journey was uneventful and the new tributary flowed into the Stream. In Quackford, ducklings flocked for victory portraits with the great Humakti duck, Berra. Rajar went to check on his clothing order. Varanis made a courtesy call on Good Weave, as promised. All was well.
“It’s generally frowned upon if you rearrange geography without asking it first” – Rajar
“Coracle would be very easy to get there.” – Berra
“We could just strap a coracle to Followed and it would be like you’re in a chilly bath.” – Varanis
“I was going to say I was handing out treats to the ducklings, but Rajar is being more dramatic.” – Varanis
“No duckling steals MY treats.” – Berra
“Back at the cluster of people, Berra just sighs, and watches Rajar disappear.” – Berra
“You want I set you up with a Morokanth?” – Duck, in Praxian, to Rajar
“I was just making a Bargain roll for myself. Which I’ve fumbled.” – Rajar
“This encounter will be really cheap.” – Berra helps in Praxian.
“To not look like a raider, Rajar…. um, Varanis, to not look like a raider, put a cover over your shield, if you don’t want to leave it here. It says you’re not bringing a shield.” – Berra
“I am NOT a sheep shagger!” – Varanis
“The Greydogs ARE sheep-shaggers.” – Berra
“They say it’s better than zombies.” – Berra
“The angry Air was guiding me.” – Rajar
“To a new suit of clothes?” – Berra
“Free of the responsibility, I can go to the pub!” – Rajar
( But you do anyhow ) o . Berra
“I’m just going to poke the water with my fingers. It should be fine. I haven’t made any crocodiles in ages.” – Varanis
“Roll your Beast, please.” – GM
“It should be fine, my beast is only 27 and I rolled… 2…” – Varanis
“I didn’t MEAN to…” – Varanis
“But you did, didn’t you, because you tried it?” – Maalira
“That would be Dead-pan humour.” – Berra Humakti
“So that one is Eril’s lackey.” – Elder
“No, really not. I’m just in his temple.” – Berra
“Sing the one about how he once drank for five and a half minutes.” – Berra
“Are you sure they won’t take that as a challenge?” – Xenofos
“I’m up for it.” – Rajar
“Do you need anything more to drink, Berra?” – Maalira
“I’m kind of full up right now to be honest. In fact, we’re going to have to stop again soon.” – Berra
“It’s all the running water.” – Berra
“She is chattering to the egg today.” – Berra
“Magic egg – I wouldn’t be surprised if it talked.” – Varanis
“You’re covered by fifty archers.” – Guard
*points at Truth Rune* – Berra
“Would you like to try that again?” – Berra
“And thinks we all have shields the same size.” – Berra
“It’s not the size that counts, it’s…” – Maalira
“It’s the size.” – Berra
“My shield is medium. I’d have thought Rajar had a large one!” – Varanis
“!!!” – Berra
“If she hits him with his own arm, she’s not really hitting him.” – Varanis
“That would not be violence; health education.” – Xenofos
“He’s hitting himself.” – Varanis
actually helps – Berra
“Ten points of damage to the head.” – Berra
“He doesn’t look happy about that. In fact, he drops.” – GM
“I’m a duck!” – Berra
“Dragonewt misses broad side of a bison?” – Varanis
“He’s failed to hit a stationary object the size of Berlin.” – GM
“I stole his glory by finally being sensible.” – Berra
“You feel the flooding warmth and hey, you’ve got an arm again!” – GM
“Excellent! Throw my shield at his head and draw my great axe!” – Rajar
“Fifteen!” – Varanis
“To the?” – GM
“Target!” – Varanis
- 1Definitely not because he was watching her ride. He was watching the satchel.
- 2Clearly a casual heart-breaker