1628, Fire Season, Stasis Week (ish)
High Priestess of Maran Gor
In the temple of Maran Gor, Varanis and Xenofos were fed different meals. Hers was pulses and beef, while his was chicken and walnuts. (There was probably something cultic about this.) Xenofos also visited the mules and found them well cared for. It was also hinted to him he would not be taking them out for a ride.
Elsewhere, Berra received word from Eril that she should go in search of the missing Esrolians. She was able to find Maalira and Irillo and persuade them to come with her, leaving a message for the others. Irillo left his caravan with Salid and brought out the armour he rarely wore. He did, however, pack a small pouch of saffron so that he would have something to trade. On their way back, they had a discussion with Endars’ cavalry about their journey, in which he pointed out that they hadn’t managed to lure any Lunars into following them and Berra mentioned that she was missing a couple of people who might have been taken captive. She asked if he fancied bringing his Grazelanders to the Temple to help dig out some entrenched Lunars, but he said he’d need to ask his queen.
Varanis and Xenofos discussed her plan to fly them both out of the temple. The scholar convinced his cousin that it would be unwise to go traipsing off into unfamiliar wilds without mounts or supplies. They agreed instead that it would be useful to try to learn what was planned for them and to see what freedoms they had. They asked to speak to an initiate and Varanis asked about walking in the fresh air. The woman said she’d need to consult with a priestess and before long, they were escorted deep into the depths of the temple. There they were introduced to someone who was clearly the High Priestess.
The Priestess referred to Varanis as the pawn of Saiciae, Kallyr, Argrath, and now Onjur. She also indicated that Varanis was a prisoner of the latter. When the Vingan asked about being allowed out for Air and Movement, it was suggested that flight would be dishonourable. The Priestess communicated with her goddess and the Divination revealed where the corpse of the last mask of the emperor resided in Hell. There was also a threat made about not disappointing her (but I’m uncertain if that came from the priestess or the goddess). She offered Varanis the opportunity to inhale the gases from the chasm below her, but the Vingan refused on the grounds that she would need to be Orlanth. Xenofos, however, took her up on the offer and went on a very bad trip.
Irillo, Maalira, and Berra found their way to the temple with little difficulty. They were met by a young girl who guided them, asking if they were there to meet with the thane and the scholar. She couldn’t or wouldn’t answer their questions, but was willing to take the trio to meet the others.
The reunion got off to a loud start, with Berra losing her temper quickly and calling Varanis a coward, when the Vingan revealed she intended to do the HeroQuest. This led to Varanis responding with predictable rage. What could have escalated into a spectacular argument was quelled when they became distracted by strange harp music and Xenofos’ absence. They followed his footsteps down the hall and discovered him standing in a doorway, staring within at the harpist. She was a woman of great beauty and a compelling presence. Her fingers danced over the harp and her twin scimitars rested on the bed behind her. Jar-eel greeted them, saying that they knew her grand-nephew.
Berra argued with her and the Razoress offered a duel if the Humakti wished it. Varanis swore and left with a “hell no!” while Maalira coaxed Xenofos from the room. Berra hung back a moment to be sure that Xenofos was gone, and asked Jar-eel to do her the service of fucking off – Jar-eel played several variatios of that on the harp. Varanis gathered the bags she had packed for herself and Xenofos and was ready to go the moment the others caught up. Xenofos tried to pick the tune Jar-Eel had been playing earlier -and failed. Others told him to stop and pack his kithara, before Varanis stormed down a hall, determined to find them a path out of the temple.
“So anyhow, GM, you have procrastinated enough.” – Berra
“I have not begun to procrastinate.” – GM
begins to procrastinate – GM
“Pass the Augment… And still fail the Scan.” – Xenofos
“Your mouth would probably be useful. Losing all your mules would not…” – Berra to Irillo
“Given who must have captured her I will not be representative of Humakt. He’s gonna have to work for every bit of it.” Berra.
“I’d like us all to take an Oath not to do this quest, so that we can’t be forced into it – we can tell them we’ll die if they make us.” – Berra
staring – everyone else
“Do you know what a lawyer, no a lawspeaker is?” – Irillo
“Hopefully I’ll be coming out of that with a straight sword. Or else I’m taking a fall for the team.” Berra
“”You don’t happen to want to take on at least a hundred dug-in Yanafil Tarnils warriors around a large Maran Gor temple, would you?” – Berra” – Berra
“… I’d have to ask the Queen.” – Grazelander
“… tempting.” – Berra
“You COULD carry Xenofos like a stork with a baby, and extend your single spell.” – Berra
“In the bedsheets.” – Berra
“Honestly, maybe we should just have sent one of us back. Irillo’s the best talker. I’m the fightiest when it comes to falling in with plans I hate. Maalira’s a White Lady. I mean, we could stop short of the Temple.” – Berra
“Or even just sent ahead to tell what we’ve got on us, so they don’t try anything.” – Berra
“Berra is obviously nervous, far more so than before a battle.” – Berra
“It’s possible we can just ride out. Maybe we can just ride out, and we shouldn’t limit ourselves to thinking we’ll all be prisoners. It’s just an option.” – Berra
“Ride to the Temple. Ask if she’s there. Maybe but probably not use magic to see if he’s lying, but he doesn’t lie, but we might not speak to him. Get her, ride out.” Berra
“Wouldn’t it be better to go back to where we parted ways and try to follow her trail?” – Maalira
“If the Grazelanders can’t find her, then no. And it’s been days.” – Berra
“True, I had forgotten that the Grazelanders had been trying.” – Maalira
Berra shrugs. She must have fretted over that. Of course.
Maalira eyes the landscape. “Who else is out there?”
“The Empire, Fazzur’s people, Onjur’s people, and all the local factions. The Grazelanders are probably following but I haven’t been looking back much to be honest.” – Berra
“Anyone unconnected? Could they have fallen into something unrelated to all of this?” – Maalira
“Maybe, but that’s probably not the problem. But if she’s not there we try to go back. Along our route, because that’s where the Grazelanders are, because I need to tell my Lord I lost Varanis. It’s… not much likely.” – Berra
“Irillo stakes his horse ready to to do a rapid relocation.” – GM
“And since we are not in Nochet it will probably not be lifted onto bricks.” – Xenofos
“The Humakti is definitely nervous, but spends a moment or two calming herself down, and then bows to the child.” – Berra
Maalira whispers to Berra, “Maybe we don’t argue with the person who knows where Ranie is…”