1628, Fire Season, Movement Week?
Rondrik, High Innkeeper of White Grape
Dorasa, High Priestess of Lhankor Mhy
Eril, High Sword of Humakt
Tennebris, Chief Priest of Orlanth
Hofrar Targson, Chief of Greyrock
Carasai the Red
Having stopped in Jonstown to help out at the hospital, Maalira made her way to Boldhome a little after the others, thus missing out on the reward given at court. On reaching Sartar’s capital, she reported to the hospital there and set to work as she usually did. Some days later, the Praxian healer was interrupted by one of Lord Tennebris’ administrators, seeking to learn whether she wanted herds or hides as a reward for her service in the HeroQuest. Maalira decided to seek the advice of her friends and returned to the house.
At the house, Varanis said that the decision would need to be Maalira’s but explained what the others had chosen. Valseena would be receiving herds, Suuraki a favour, and the rest lands in an area as yet to be determined. Maalira decided to accept the land, as she wasn’t sure when she’d next return to Prax, and asked that it be put next to Varanis’, leaving it undefined whether this was in the Blue Tree or not.
It was about this time that Dormal arrived in town. He had stopped in Dunstop and was en route to Nochet, but decided to come by way of Boldhome. He went first to the White Grape, where he charmed1bribed Rondrik into giving him a bit of information about Varanis and the others. He also managed to overhear a number of songs, which he interpreted as songs that praised Varanis at Kallyr’s expense.2Having, to one GM’s recollection here, fumbled Intrigue or Sing… When he made an appearance at the house the next day, he mentioned this, saying that she should deal with the matter. Varanis asked her friends what they knew. Maalira had heard some of the songs and felt they were ‘not too bad’, although that might have been because of her wish to help helpfully. Berra was able to report that Eril was sarcastic, but smirking – he did not think it was a problem.
Xenofos was called on by his High Priestess, and had a rather confusing conversation in which they were both terrible with people. She revealed that the Humakti Temple was giving up all claims to the Rune of Truth he had brought back, and that it would be given to him by his little Humakti friend, who would be doing it of her own free will. He would then be able to witness it being handed over. Xenofos was worried that as Eurmal had held it, it might be tainted. Dorasa replied that it could not be altered, only misused. He said he had another matter to add, and Dorasa noted that in this temple of all places, he could put it in writing.
Berra tried to talk with Valseena, who went to get Suuraki. By the time they returned Berra was in meditation – Valseena walked off, and Berra talked to Suuraki instead after she finally emerged from her peaceful trance. She warned him that they were in the Hero Wars and that Valseena’s question of whether they could walk away had a deeper part to it – they were likely bound together by the great forces of Glorantha. Suuraki went away to tell Valseena that – she was exceedingly depressed by the whole matter, and hugged him a lot.
Berra then went to her Temple, and ritually became Humakt, finding Truth and deciding that as it was the property of Lhankor Mhy she should take it to him. Xenofos checked that she was offering it freely, and she said that she had decided to. He took it to his Temple. Dorasa said they would take it to an honourable one. Xenofos questioned whether she meant Lord Eril. Dorasa asked whether he wanted her to pass that on, and after a moment’s thought he said that he was sure she would do as appropriate. They went to the Death Temple. There, Lord Eril was dancing alone, a sword dance of Humakt the Air God. His bladework was perfect, but there was a moment when he nearly turned an ankle on a rock that moved, making a good recovery, and turning the interruption into a natural stopping place. Even Dorasa noticed that he looked thunderous, but Xenofos said he had never seen Eril not under stress and so could not tell the difference.
A few days later, Valseena’s herds arrived and she and Suuraki went to investigate. The animals were a bison/cattle hybrid that would not easily thrive in Prax, but could be taken there if necessary. They decided to ask Varanis whether she had lands where the cattle could be grazed and protected.3There may have also been a conversation about whether or not they needed to feud with the Vingan. Varanis didn’t want to offer them space in Blue Tree, as they are all currently exiled from Colymar lands and thought that her hides in Esrolia might not be suitable. She decided that they really needed to know where their new Sartarite hides would be and that meant talking to Tennebris.
En masse, they climbed to the Air Temple and the Chief Priest kept them waiting for only a half hour. Varanis explained why she needed to know more about their lands and he told them they were in Sambari lands, by the hill of salt. There had been a particular request from the Death Temple to be allowed a watch-tower on them. As the wording included, “A watch-tower! – oooh, and can I have some soldiers?” it was understood not to be from Lord Eril.
Tennebris noticed Dormal’s presence and asked if the Eurmali required a reward, and indeed if he was Varanis’ bound Eurmali. Dormal demurred but offered to take messages south. Tennebris told him that grandmother might wish to know that the message Dormal was not taking was to the Balmyr.4One of the tribes of Wilmskirk Then he suggested that they would not be missed should they spend a season holidaying in their new lands, though he also stressed that they were not being kicked out of town.
It took a few days to get organised. Berra wanted to draw out her time with Yehna and the children, and there were other minor matters to see to. Xenofos took a request for something to his temple, not revealing what was in the letter.
The journey to the village of Greyrock Cave was uneventful, although Berra warned Maalira in particular of how poor the place was, so that the White Lady knew what to look out for. She mentioned the blotches and the magic.. They were welcomed by Chief Hofrar Targson and fed well, despite the obvious food shortage. Valseena took her platter and joined people with whom she could talk music, while Maalira went to play with the children, thus both of them were able to share their food without causing anyone to lose face.
Maalira also gave the smallest people some of her sweetened lozenges with nutritious herbs and seeds. Valseena’s songs ensured that she would always be welcome in Greyrock and Maalira developed a fierce following amongst the clan’s youngest members. Berra’s rendition of marching songs with the buzz-flute went down very well with the toddlers and very badly with their mothers, but Valseena was able to gather them all and usher them away. Hofrar let Varanis know that Minstar had his own opinions over who should have the land.
Suuraki slipped away early the next morning to go hunting. While out, he noticed tracks that told him a story of wolves, probably Telmori, in the woods. The humans on patrol were probably not aware of them. Indeed, the chief had mentioned thinking they had left, to Varanis. He also noticed that there had been horses visiting – this village had none worth the name – and that the game was very sparse.
He successfully took down a wild cow and made it back to the village only a short time after the others had left for the village of Greyrock Fall, about half a day away.5They’d delayed their departure to wait for him, Varanis using the excuse that she wanted to learn from the chief as he went about his daily activities. But, she also didn’t want to stay late enough that they might feel obligated to feed the party again. He caught up easily, the long legs of his high llama giving him an advantage.
At Greyrock Fall, Carasai the Red was still leading his people. He welcomed the party and told them about the hides that had been marked out, and that Minstar was up at the cave.
They went out to look over the hides and grazing lands. Berra was very excited about her soon-to-be watch tower and once the party decided to visit Minstar, she took off to climb the rocks to get a better look, going up the rock spur she had, down a saddle, and up towards the cave by a harder route. Varanis gamely went the long way with the non-climbers. They found Berra surveying from above and reunited once more, they made their way to the Cave of Salt and Teeth.
A somewhat worn Minstar greeted them at the front of his cave. He had nearly filled in the entrance with mud, leaving only a gap small enough for him to sit in, and wide enough to wriggle through. Minstar said that the Ancestors wished everyone who got the hides to have a great deal of fertility, and that they had many, many opinions between them.
He invited them into the cave where Valseena had a vision. She saw herself as a stunningly beautiful bison cow near a riverbank, with giant walls in the distance. In her vision, the Goddess of Teeth and Salt emerged from the water to consume her. When she woke, she clung to Suuraki for comfort, and relayed her vision. Minstar reassured her that this was a good vision, for he had asked the Ancestors to send it.
He spoke of some concerns about having a predatory goddess who would need appeasing dwelling so closely to the ancestors and his people. Suuraki took this as an opportunity to suggest Minstar come to Prax to meet with his clan’s shaman. The young shaman protested that he could not leave his ancestors and they discussed alternatives for a time. Minstar noted that he was really new to all this and not good at spirit travel. Suuraki suggested he find a thing that could bring another Shaman to his hearth, and Minstar said he thought he could do that.
Eventually, they settled in for an evening around the fire, with food and drink and the company of the Ancestors, who all came out to talk things over. Minstar brought the sacred herbs out to let the cave clear a bit, explaining that he didn’t like to burn them out here because the wildlife started having visions. The Ancestors asked if Valseena had enjoyed her vision, but she could not get them to explain it, as they were too busy one-upping each other. Minstar had a suggestion, which was to get them to compete with each other to be helpful. Valseena said that she bet none of them could really help her, and there was uproar and shouting and a lot of useful information. They identified the Big Rubble as being built around somewhere that the Goddess of Salt and Teeth had loved, and said that there might be information in the New Pavis library, and that the River Priests certainly knew more than they had told.
Amongst the Ancestors, the Praxians noticed that several people looked distinctly animal nomadish, rather than Sartarite. Maalira saw someone she was sure was Harjeen Raiser of Banners, a Flower Bison dead 200 years. She asked his story; he said he had raided, that people still remembered him, and that some bastard troll had dug him up half a year back, which was how he had ended up here, as Minstar had taken him in. She asked for advice and he gave her some, mostly about how to survive in Prax, but also mentioning that peace did not always work, but war did not always work either, and the only way to lead a charge was from the front, and the only way to <put a charge off to one side, I forgot the word>[deflect?] was to lead it. She should learn the things that they loved, and get ahead. And graro root would make her burp.
Minstar crawled away to get some rest, and the Ancestors went back to their cave, where they held a sing-song all night. Varanis pointed that out to Valseena who went to trade songs with them.
“Damn advancement this is not the time to throw 01s.” – Xenofos
“Unexpected surprise…” – Varanis
“Not a joy?” – Xenofos
“Currently we have not been asked to leave town…” – Varanis
“Dormal winches the shoe up into position to drop it later.” – GM
“‘Your little Humakti friend…’ I wonder if Berra would object to any of those words!” – Varanis
“This, of all places, is a temple where it is appropriate for you to put it in writing?” – High Priest of Lhankor Mhy, dismissing Xenofos.
“Some from column A, some from column Murder.” – GM
High Priest of LM says something about taking the Truth rune to someone honourable.
“I thought you were taking it to the Humakti temple.” – Xenofos
“+20 on Insight (Wife).” – Xenofos
“… which was needed by Suuraki.” – Xenofos
“Yeah, but that was before the outlawry.” – Dormal and Xenofos discussing Colymar trying to kill the group.
“what was the exact message [to the Balmyr]?” – Dormal
“That if you were taking a message it would be to them.” – GM
“fail herd, pass ride bison…” – Xenofos
“fail architecture. pass scan a cute nose.” – Xenofos
“Can you sing us one where we don’t get raided. (do not mention the occupation, failed rebellions and internal strife.)” – Xenofos
“Joy. Dormal will have to chase us into the Big Rubble.” – GM/Berra
“Go via trolltown, Dormal. Easiest route.” – GM/Berra
- 2Having, to one GM’s recollection here, fumbled Intrigue or Sing…
- 3There may have also been a conversation about whether or not they needed to feud with the Vingan.
- 4One of the tribes of Wilmskirk
- 5They’d delayed their departure to wait for him, Varanis using the excuse that she wanted to learn from the chief as he went about his daily activities. But, she also didn’t want to stay late enough that they might feel obligated to feed the party again.