Interlude: In Sickness And In Health

I01 — In Sickness And In Health

1626, Earth Season

Earth Season, 1626

Played over two sessions. Dagran’s Ford is in the Green Fish Malani lands, while Stone Cup is a Blue Tree Clan village.

Dramatis Personae

And introducing Rurik, a noble who is late

Varkill, Inpira and Gricka, three warriors, were sent to check on the village of Dagran’s Ford, which had been due to have a tension-easing feast with Stone Cup, a village over the border into Colymar lands. They arrived to smell smoke of pyres, and burning. They all entirely failed to notice the lack of people out at harvest, but did question one person who was, who said it was all a bad business and they should talk to the chief.

They went towards the village – a youthful gate guard let them in and sent for his younger brother to take them to the headman. The younger brother talked about how when he was big he would go kill the Colymar, an ambition with which Varkill agreed. They were greeted at his house by a young women, Kara, who was headman Garasang’s sister. She was obviously exhausted, to the point where Gricka the young Orlanthi warrior tried to sit her down and help her, but as soon as Kara got the weight off her feet, there was a groaning from one of the sleeping alcoves and she had to run to deal with it. Gricka heated up some water to help wash people, and found that the water and food were both only about a day stale – the illness had come on quickly. Even Inpira ‘the Axe’ was helping out. Varkill was naturally of the opinion it was all the fault of the Colymar.

Henka, wife of the slightly ill Brotip, got in the way a bit. Garasang kept on trying to get up, and rather irritated Varkill by using his sword as a crutch, but Kara removed it so at least there was no incident. Garasang was insistent they go to the village of Stone Cup and punish them for the poisoning.

Meanwhile, there were two slightly late arrivals to the game. These were Nikolai, a philosopher of Fire and Girly Screaming, and Tathia, a healer from Whitewall sent up by Jaldis to the Blue Tree village of the Colymar, and travelling through Malani lands to get there. After consideration, Tathia used magic to save the life of Brea, wife of Garasang, who was in the worst condition. Brea, still weak, was no longer in danger of death. The group discussed the facts, deciding that it was probably something that had been eaten or drunk at the feast, but that it was not necessarily a deliberate poisoning. Tathia being able to say it was definitely a disease was helpful there.

The adventurers went off to Stone Cup, where there was an immediate ambush! Cows in the road hid a couple of people hiding in a ditch – they sprang to attack as the adventurers got close. There were two; a man with a pitchfork and a woman wielding a pair of trousers. Varkill shield-barged the woman to the ground, while Inpira cut down the man with a pitchfork, managing not to kill him, but damaging him badly.

Tathia saw to the poor lady with the trousers, who said she just wanted to go home. Nikolai settled down in the road to perform a Reconstruction, getting hauled into a hallucination of fire under his skin and fear. He remembered purple-gold flashes in his vision and a terrible hangover, but could not remember what he had eaten or drunk. The others walked on into the village, where they stopped at the first house that had little smoke in its thatch, and knocked on the door. A small child opened it – her father was ill, and she asked for help. They managed to get Tathia and her charge into the house, so they could both be looked after, although the charge, Pollia, kept complaining she wanted to go home.

Nikolai caught up, and with Varkill went towards the biggest roundhouse. On the way they were suddenly attacked by a woman with a kitchen knife, who ran screaming from her house. Varkill went for the shield barge, knocking the woman out and possibly killing her; Nikolai made sure of it by cutting her throat, which Gricka saw happening. The three of them went on towards the roundhouse, where they were greeted by a very young woman, Voskar… Varkill made sure of his hospitality before stepping over the threshold of an enemy. Inside, there was the smell of fresh corpses and the place was obviously worse off than Dagran’s Ford.

Outside, Tathia and Inpira started to walk Pollia home. Her house was across the main market area of the village, and as they went, the pigs that were lying there got up. Some fled, but several attacked.

Even inside the roundhouse the screams and shouting and oinking could be heard. Everyone piled out, with Gricka being smart enough to close the door behind her. Inpira had been downed by a pig, and Tathia had been wounded but had run in to heal the Babeester Gor. Everyone piled into battle in their own unique fashion – Nikolai called on the power of conflagration and set fire to a pig. Being a long-haired wooly pig, it ran away screaming and on fire.

Rurik, Noble of the Malani Green Fish Clan, came down the road to find bloodstains, unmilked cattle, and then a flaming pig. He killed the poor animal and walked forwards into the chaos that was the pitched pig battle of Stone Cup. Upon triumphing he revealed who he was to less than happy responses from those who knew him, and sent the Humakti warrior to get his horse and close the gate, if the chap didn’t mind. The chap did mind, and furthermore Rurik broke a fingernail in closing the gate.

Tathia managed to go find other people to help, including Talda, whose husband Hent was missing. Talda had plenty of herbal teas and tisanes to drink, which the village healer had given her, denying her other drinks. This meant that she would not be drinking unpurified water from the well, which Tathia had noted had an oily smell to the water. She went to talk to Talda’s neighbour, who was exhausted with an ill husband and mother-in-law, leaving that house just as action around the well got interesting.

Examination of the well with a torch showed a dark shape at the bottom of it. Rurik used the Flight spell to lift it out, and it turned out to be a body. Nikolai showed a suspicious understanding of bruising, examining the hands and fingernails, and finding bruises on the knuckles. Varkill asked exactly where he had been about two days ago, when the body was fresh. At about that point, a strange purple cloud began to surround Inpira; a disease spirit was attacking her. The others rallied around to fight it. Varkill refused to cast True Sword on someone else’s sword, when Rurik asked for it.

Gricka walked around the village, checking with Rune Magic whether there were disease spirits; there were plenty, and they were in people who were ill. She went off to find the healer. Others checked on Offir the farmer and found he had bruises on him too, indicating that he had been fighting, and might have killed Hent. He died before he could be questioned, upsetting Tathia.

People broke the news to Talda that she was a widow, for her husband had been dead two days.. There was a lot of sobbing. Meanwhile Nikolai had been investigating Talda’s teas, and thought he could make something to strengthen people against the sickness. He was wrong, and what he made was some horrible tea, but this did give Tathia the idea and she was more competent. Together they cooked up something that would help.

The healer, Erlestara, was obviously shaky and senile, but trying to do her best. They talked a little with her about the illness, although she was not really up to answering questions.

At the odd howling of an alynx, the group went off to investigate, leaving the tea cooking up. They found the alynx shivering on a granary, and by the foot of another was a dead rat. They opened this one, and inside was a huge purple-gold spirit. It attacked Inpira, and they all fought it, with Varkill ridding himself of his torch by throwing it into the granary, a thing he had been itching to do for some time. After they had defeated it, they had to pull the sick out of the chieftain’s longhouse, and Varkill made very sure of victory by burning the rest of the Colymar Clan’s grain…

A little later, when the ill were safely out of the way, a child who had seen Nikolai slitting a woman’s throat accused him of it. Varkill volunteered that he had been the one to strike her first, and Nikolai’s killing might have been for mercy, and told the boy and Voskar to bring a complaint to Saronil of the Malani, where it would be heard. The group was offered hospitality despite all the problems, as it was dark. The next morning, Tathia walked the fields looking for evidence of disease, but found none. With some of the harvest not yet in, it seemed Stone Cup might have some food, but not enough for the year’s needs.

Session Quotes