Exodus

Session 35: The Holliest of Mountain Beasts

Khut’s feeling…
Khut-feels-5.JPG

CARDS
Chinua & Dust
Human Relationship Series: Truth vs. Exageration
Ganbaatar

The battle with the Old Empire was won…
We are on the move…heading north…a week has passed…
There is a strange sense of waiting from the tribe…
The earth seems to move and shift underfoot…
When we wake there appear to be hills where there were none previously…
The land becomes more lush as we go north…
For the first time in ages we are not starving…
Our scouts have run into merchants, travelers, and things…
Strange people who travel up and down the rivers on floating platforms…
Strange, strange, boats that can go UP-RIVER
The people keep their distance from us…call the land the Hronrad…
We piece together some maps
The woods to the east are crawling with “Nihil Blight”…

We start with a scene of utter chaos and panic…
We are clearly under attack…there are sounds of gunpowder explosions…
Our staunch, clear-headed veterans, panic and go to ground…
Rattled by the whole ghost-town and one-in-seven dying thing…
Clearly ready to shoot at anything that pokes its head up…
Ganbaatar goes berserk and the Holy Mountain Beasts start stampeding…
Khut sends a shrieker arrow right past a HMB’s nose…
Turning the herd…a little…
Khadagan wheels his beast and rides full-bore at the unseen foes…
There is a cheer from the troops…followed by a loud banging sound…
Cresting the ridge he sees the long line of a river snaking away…
Vadim tries to invoke friendship in Littlefoot…
And almost gets himself stomped…Littlefoot is hardcore panicked…
Ellen-Dear raises a cloud of fog in front of the beasts…
They shy from the East (for the scary sound)…
The West from the shrieker arrow…
The North from the fog…
Turning them due south back into the camp…
Iron-Dear, Ithunn, and Sorq dive out of the way…
Iron-Deer recognizes the weird gunshot sound as ice cracking on the river…
Breaks Like Wind calls up a giant light-show…
A huge golem of ice heaves itself up out of the center of camp…
Hands like slabs, face blank as a slate, gouts of steam…
It bows…in time with the cracking of the ice…
Breaks bellows: “The spirits of this land greet Drowned River”
Ado leaps for Littlefoots reins…misses…spooks them…
And the Holy Mountain Beasts run hell-for-leather to the north…
Through the wall of mist…and they are gone…
Towards the “Blight”…
Ganbaatar starts floating around in the air inexplicably…
…probably Sorq’s doing…

Breaks, Khut, Ithunn, Ado, and Sorq go running after the loose HMBs at full throttle…
Khut tracks them in short order to…the edge of a blighted forest…SUPLIES!
Barren pines…no fire, no borers, good soil…twisted from the inside…
Obligatorily creepy…
With a giant jagged hole in the forest where the HMBs entered…
Vadim, Khadagan, Ellen, and Iron-Deer catch up on some herdbeasts…
Ithunn reminds us that the HMB’s feel safe in the forest…graze there as babies…
Ellen-Dear points out that the forest is clearly nec-romanticized…
No spirits involved…some creepy elven magecraft nonsense…
Khut pulls his second-most-prized-possession and head in…
We all head in…it’s foggy…obligatorily creepy you might say…
Vadim points out some things that are indistinguishable from normal plants…
But clearly are not…
So we get jumped, at five to one odds…they die…
There is some fire…and Iron-Dead turns into a bear…
Khadagan checks out the plants to see if they can be home-grown…
We find a body in the rubble, a centaur, swathed in Empty Circle finery…
Tattoos cover its skin…prison tattoo style (charcoal in a wound)…
a steppefolk death prayer…
yaghuth anagram for amnesia…
old empire sigil of the portal to Hades…
Sorq burns the warbler symbol for death into his skin as an addition…
Iron-Dear says he was clearly collecting…
and thus must be a member of the Nihil Sept…
Ellen-Dear says the tattoos match the death-magic infusing the wood…
possibly a self-sacrifice…
Not gaunt, well-fed when he died, came in from the north-east…
Vadim finds some loot in his pack:
* 1,100 old-imperial copper pieces
* 7,000 yaghuthan silver pieces of exchange
* 2,700 gaav-shaharan rose nobles
* Skull-carved mug (250gp)
* Opal Statuette of a Yaghuth w/ defaced trunk (250gp)
* Glass birdcage of warbler manufacture (250gp)
* Steppefolk fur tapestry (250gp)
* Wool rug of Naiman-tribe manufacture (250gp)
* Old empire Jade ring set w/ small gems (250gp)
* Empty Circle Cloth of Gold Sacrificial Robe (250gp)
* Tattoo (Scroll of Cloudkill)
* Potion of Fire Giant Strength
* Elixer of Health
* Potion of Superior Healing

We get back on the trail of the Mountain Beasts…
The ground becomes uneven as we head north…
Ravines…once stands of mountain laurel…
Snow covered with a thin layer of blackened leaves and needles…
Iron-Dear notices a heat-shimmer in the distance…
a well hidden campfire or kiln…no smoke, but plenty of heat…
Dead-north, Khut sees that something else has taken up pursuit of the HMBs…
Enormouse five-toed hoof-tracks, with signs of vestigial claws…
Scoring marks on the trees, like tusks…pointed the wrong way…
We head after the HMBs at full speed…
Khut runs up a tree and ninja-runs through the tree-tops…
He hits a branch, its wet and slippery, and falls into Ithunn’s arms…
Except its not a branch…its a bone…twenty-feet long…
Like a massive, massive femir…
From an animal that would have to be at least two-hundred feet long…

We hear the high-pitched rage-scream from Littlefoot and Thumper…
We start to feel sick…like a low vibration felt in the bones…
And then there is a full hunting pack of beasts…
Like tapirs with tusks and claws…about nine feet long…
Two already hanging from Littlefoot’s flank…
AND there are thirty or fourty Holy Mountain Beasts in the valley…
AND Holy Mountain Beast bones as far as we can see…
Both a breeding ground and a hunting ground…
Khut plants an arrow in one…it twists insanely fast…but still gets hit…
and two giant ones (4x the size of the others) turn and charge…
and eighteen or so little ones trying to bring down the HMBs…
Breaks Like Wind screams, berating the frost spirits into caring for once…
Creating a dome of mirror-like ice covering all the baby HMBs…
One of the big ones charges Khadagan and catches him in its mouth…
It swings its tail at Sorq…Ado jumps on for a very distracting ride…
The little ones bring down one very old Holy Mountain Beast…
Ithunn looks at the HMB go down…and becomes sooooo happy…because MEAT!
She punts a small one into the air…and Littlefoot sends it flying…
Then lands on it and crushes it with a double-footed axe-kick…
Khut sends another arrow flying and knocks the second one off Littlefoot…
Khadagan, in the big ones jaws, stands up, pries its jaw open and holds it…
Vadim runs in with a wave of cackles…and they climb all over it…
Ellen-Dear rolls out his bedroll, dumping a small army of microbots…
Shaped like little figurines of the party…
And the big ol’ spear-tusk is aggressively dead…
Sorq walks into the middle of the smaller ones and calls in the pixies…
Ado steps into the middle of the the elderly HMBs and drops a Beacon of Hope…
Iron-Dear knifes the living daylights out of the second big one…
Then Breaks sprays some grease right under its feet…
And it skids out, slides down the hill, and falls prone…
It tries to stand, but Ellen-Dear just laughs and it falls down again…
Then Vadim dominates it…
The little beasts pile over the HMBs, bringing down five…
But only kill one thanks to Ado’s beacon…
Ithunn and Khut wade in together, finishing off one and stabbing a second…
Khadagan follows and tears the lungs out of the second…
Sorq runs up a downed beast and blows a pack of them off of it…
Ado drops some healing and the four wounded HMBs stand up…
AND they stand with much shaking of the ground…
The cackles and microbots pull down two more…
Ellen-Dear shoves one into the elevator with a Banish…
Breaks drops a fireball into a curve of the hill…
scorching several of the spear-tusks…killing one…
The remaining spear-tusks bring down four more and two dying…
The ground heaves…Khut goes sliding down the hill, and lands in Ithunn’s arms…
Littlewing gives them a lift…
and, from above, they see a REAL Mountain Beast…an ancient one…
The size of a ridgeline…slow…covered with moss…
Like its been sleeping for decades (and we call it Morva)
Ithunn drops on them and kills two with a couple swift blows…
Khut drops an arrow, skewering one…
pinning it to a tree…
over the fire from the fireball…
and shakes some aromatic leaves from the tree…
And the lovely aroma of cooking meat wafts through the air…
Khadagan tears into another…and Sorq finishes it off with the flames…
And Ellen-Dear cooks the last one with a fire blast…
Ado heals the two downed Holy Mountain Beasts, bringing them back up…
Vadim makes friendly with the dominated giant one…
And Iron-Dear gets all cuddly with the weird elephant-tiger-thing…
Ellen lets the last one out of the elevator…
Khut and Ithunn disappear behind a tree for a half-hour…
And come back with an unconcious spear-tusk…
“We were only beating it unconcious, honest…”

That fight ends…then a house-sized head swings down…
There is a giant blast from the nose…sounding like a volcano…
With a sound reminiscent of a mother HMB defending her calf…
The oldest Holy Mountain Beast ever…and its male…
Because apparently they don’t die of old age…
and they keep growing perpetually…

We move the camp to the valley of HMB bones…
Ithunn takes the Amazons out to go collect the massive, massive amounts of
dead Holy Mountain Beast and spear-tusk meat…
While Ithunn is thus distracted, Khut climbs up the spire…
Climbs up a floating tentacle horror…
Seeks out the Achillobator chief…
And has a long talk with him to ask for Ithunn’s hand…
Khadagan seeks out Hundreds and Ruven to make him some fancy chitin armor…
Hundreds goes white-eyed and does some very careful stitching…
Weaving strange, undulating sigils into the weft of the harness…
Sorq rounds up the would-be mage-cadets and some old steppefolk midwife teachers…
Tough, scary, old biddies start beating the children into shape…
Ado joins the Yaghuth in their meditations…
They keep hearing a ringing gong and feeling the flicker of candlelight…
Vadim scales the Holiest of Mountain Beasts…and starts collecting semen…
Invoking both Dust and Drowned River…violence and fertility in action…
He brings along Fletcher, Kitty, and Chinua…
And our females are now pregnant with Morva’s brood…
Dust and Drowned River tell us in no uncertain terms that the world has changed..
There is only fire where once there was light…
Ormazhd Bay’s light is flickering…
Odqan Talaqan’s fire is burning out…
Breaks chats with the Gray Lady and convinces her to be headmistress of the school…
Ellen-Dear meets the Yaghuth and asks them to help Iron-Dear go deep and remember…

As Khut comes out of his hut in the morning, there is a sliver of bone…
Like a knife, but no difference between blade and haft…
No signs of work…just worn into shape, like millenia of moving water…
And it cuts effortlessly through anything…

Khadagan wakes up choking to find Hundred’s hand on the side of her face…
Her eyes still trance-white, but burning red…
The suit is nearly complete, with runes covering the entire surface…
The breastplate reinforced with bronze-like ribs…
The chitin nearly alive, shifting and moving…

Then the scouts let us know that a massive Nihil-Sept army comes in from the east…



And the author said, “This is good, this thing I have done.” And he went for lunch and a drink. And it was good!

- From the ramblings of Khut

View
Session 34: Volatility and Drugs

Khut’s feeling…
Like he can and will take on the world…
but he doesn’t know why…
Khut-feels-3.JPG

CARDS
Hulugu
Human Relations Series #11: Accepting and Respecting Authority
The Cusp
The Old Empire

We are “Raiding” (totally not fleeing) north…
High season moves on, but the weather gets steadily colder…
The cold reduces the number of apparent snakes…
The Yaghuth fish out the most overt of Phaanin infiltrators…
Our troops condition is steadily improving…
But the caravan is becoming steadily more grim…
As the Apple Tree continues to feed off of our hope…
We breed up the slithers, store the eggs, eat the rest…
Go looking for some alternative mounts…
Semek’s wife comes reporting that the Empty Circle is closing to the east…
And a large number of Steppefolk are riding with them…
Seems like Forktongue sold us out (Shock!)…
Regardless, we need to get to the city and drop the ants…

Khut leads a recon party to the city…
Classic former-Thabannite…now amalgam…
There are flickering strange-blue lights in the city…
A fair number of people (not bugs) camped out…
We reach the edge of the city…but find no people…
no resistance…but goosebumps…wiggins…
Iron-dear has a strange sense of being watched…
Something spooky is going on…SPOOOOOOOOKY!
At about the time that Ado says “I think this is a bad idea…”
We find ourselves surrounded by hooded Phanin…
With a bunch of tall, lanky, flaming-eyes Old Imperials…
A dusty blizzard blows up…
“We have been sent to bring you…”
Vadim: “We’re sending our most volatile to talk with you
and they will be on drugs…”
Khadagan: “Why would you tip our hand?!?”
Vadim: “That’s our hand? Volatility and drugs?”
Everyone: “Yes…”

We transition…the phaanin’s skin rotting away…
We are in the middle of a populous city…
Lots of people encamped…tents…pennants flying…
Clearly Old Empire…of Shan Yu’s faction…
Squee: “Who’s Shanyu?”
Khadagan: “Someone we used to know…”
The undead Phaanin conduct us towards one of the largest buildings…
With each step we shift further into the Fade…
We enter an enormous mosque-like building…
All roundde and covered with Thaabanite artwork…
Big ‘ol Imperial thrones with a man and woman seated…
Vadim plays crazy and offers a wooden bowl of tapioca…
Shanyu greets us…
Apparently his consort wants to chat…
Or him to chat…she lays a hand on his arm…
Ado prepares a feast (illusory and scent-heavy)…
Shanyu refuses to break bread with us…
Since we might soon be at drawn blades…
"You come with the Empty Circle on your heels,
we’re greatful for the ones you left burried
in the salt flats…"
Ooooh…he has shiny red teeth…
Squee appears in his lap and starts beard-braiding…
Khadagan: “She’s a ‘Beard Lemur’…”
“Ah! The rare beard-lemur…”
Ellen-Dear waxes diplomatic…“We call it a Squee”
“Ah! Thank you for the Squee, it’s a noble gift”
Sorq approaches the consort: “Great Lady will you dine with me?”
Ladies only dinner ramps up in a side room…
Food is laid out…gray, green, gangrenous…
And dust-soaked water that leaves hands glistening black…
Sorq: “What may I call you?”
“I am now merely The Consort…”
Oh shit, it’s Ma’chek…
“The faded have no names…”
“May my sister join us?”
Iron-dear steps out of the shadows…
Khadagan: “This is my sister, she likes to watch…”
Sorq is crazy, we’re all in her head…
Khadagan: “So do I just leap out of your ear or something?”
Sorq: “Everywhere I go Squee’s in my head…
I go to the Fade, she’s there, to the Verge, she’s there”
DM: “You found an Empire of Darkness and she’s there in your
lap braiding your beard, believe me, people empathize…”
Ma’chek wants some amusement, some revenge…
Some pregnant pauses…some menace…
She unveils…her face is featureless, black, cracked ash…
Meanwhile we sit and chat with Shanyu…
Squee asks Shanyu about the cloaked woman…
“What’s a ‘Consort’?”
“Ah, the Squee talks”
Ithunn: “It’s the most intelligent of it’s kind”
He is not subtle in poiting out that his Consort is plotting…
With the assumption that we’ll all join him…
One way or another…eventually…
Also…he breaths…water vapor in the cold air…
Ado: “This is not you…” and he lays out some stories of Shanyu…
“You’re not tied to a consort, you owe her nothing…”
Ado tries to coax Shanyu into paying a visit to the spire…
We trade safe conduct in the city…
In exchange for letting him into the Spire…
AND the Consort…and his generals…
The Ladies’ Tea ends and Ma’check leaves…
There is a restlessness in the room as we head out…
Undead snakes lying in torpor begin to ripple…
Draw up their shrouds…their eyes ignite…
Palpable tension between the Consort and Shanyu…
Which is clearly, entirely an act…
We are conducted out of the city by old empire knights…

The gates of the city swing open and sand is blown out of the empty city…
We call a council of war…and invite a Yaghuth who Remembers…
“Remembers Forgetfulness” being the man in charge…
We need them to stand vigil while we head into the spire…
Watch out for what happens when we drop the ants…
Make sure everyone living thrives here…
Calm tensions…keep minds together in the face of the maelstrom…
We ask Hundreds to spy on Shanyu and Machek…
She goes into a shamanic frenzy…then goes still…
Machek cajoles Shanyu on his bad acting skills…
Hundreds plays out one half of a conversation…
Then grabs Khadagan…and passes out…
The caravan, spire and all, rolls into the city…
We set up camp, all 45,000 of us, Semek running in overtime…
Hoargrim is grumpy at us being “sitting ducks”…
We call to the tree and set down the ants…
There is a sound like splitting wood after an ice storm…
AND the ants come…take one look at the city…
AND Sorq feels the overwhelming urge to burrow…
The Red Emissary asks about the city…
Refers to it as one they ate the roots of long ago…
They go DEEP…all 100,000 of them!
Will not approach the surface unless Sorq says its safe…
After the ants submerge a pale-face, white-haired woman appears…
Bowed, breathing heavily, edges indistinct…
Grass and flowers spreading out from where she stands…
Vadim tries to hook her up with Ellen-Dear…
AND Ellen-Dear turns her down…
Vadim: “You’re always welcome in my tent…”
She gives Vadim the hottest kiss ever…

We take them with us and head for the spire…
Remembers Forgetfulness comes and complains about the fade-infected city…
Yaghuth priests sit, facing outwards, every 30 yards around the camp…
We toke up…We head in…with the Consort and Shanyu…
And the generals presumably hanging out outside to jump while we’re gone…

We enter the pillared hall…the brazier still burning with incense…
As Shanyu follows we all fade…the air grows cold…
the world bending with pools of darkness beneath their feet…
They seem more real…less shadowed…
A well-dressed couple in full regalia…
Khut listens to the whispers…there is a twisting in the air…
Things writhing…the fire in the brazier ignites…
A hallway directly ahead open where it was caved in before…
Our old winged friend from the fade squats on the throne…
Ado calls on the sense of the Lord of Light…glowing from inside…
Something here is terribly wrong…the light is changed…
Iron-Dear absconds with wingy-boys sword…

Khut pulls his bow…time stops…the arrow flies…and burries in Sorq’s back…
The Guardian shoots squee…the blow bringing out her sinful inner nature…
One eye flaming red…one burning green…it’s CHRISTMAS SQUEE!
And she sows…Confusion…
Ado drops some protection from wiggins on Khut…because yeah…
Sorq calls forth an army of pixies…which tear apart Shanyu and the Consort…
Khadagan lets loose a couple handfuls of lifeline spores…
They cling to the corpses of what had been Shanyu and Ma’chek…
Barruk beats on Ma’check’s body…smashing it to pieces…
Ellen-Dear animates and awakens the spire…
The skeletal arms embedded in the walls reach out for the Guardian…
Iron-Dear tries to have a chat with the walls…asking about her own past…
A skull says “the seed of memory lies farther within”…
The guardian starts pounding on Khadagan…with limited efficacy…
Then Ithunn jumps and punches him into a boney-armed wall…
Khut puts an arrow in the Guardian…and it Explodes into holy flames…
A burning crown expanding out around it…
or starts to…except Ellen-Dear shuts it down…
Some healing happens…then a wave of wolves climb all over it…and eat him…

Squee examines the bodies of the fallen…
Identifying them clearly as not Ma’chek and Shanyu…
By his fake-red teeth…
Khut looks up…the elves are gone…
He starts tracking…and, head-down, bumps strait into Ellen-Dear…
We debate what to do…until Khadagan tosses some purple lotus in the brazier..
Weird shit happens…we press deeper…
Pink light streams through windows we didn’t know were there…
Vadim rolls into the room, invulnerable on a wave of wolves…
There is a forest dipped in gold…
Pale-skinned beings with white hair and feather wings…
Khut stands very still and waits to have a psychotic episode…
Iron-Dear starts hugging everything: “I love you guys!”
Vadim: “Do you breed?”
Things rapidly go south…
Their voices like gongs: “You are not of the seed”
“You have to save your people…”
“Perhaps your prayers would be answered…”
“We will reveal the truth…”
“We will return the lord of lords to his rightful throne…”
There is a Lorax? … We are in THE very strange place…
Everything smells like rotting wood…
The forest disintegrate as the light bathes it…
The trees rotting and twist, metal replacing their bark…
Vadim prays to the Lord of Lords…trying to steal his cattle…
or rather…all the souls he put in this nice spire…
The angels turn to close the door…and get a little angry…
Or a LOT
And its on…sort of…at least Ellen-Dear is kindof sober…
Ellen-Dear banishes Vadim…shoving him back into the real-world…
The Angels slam the doors shut, then hurl them back open…
“Begone from this place!”
Sorq: “I look forward to seeing your master…”
We leave…fast…

Vadim and his wolves appear in the middle of an all-out war…
Man-to-man, blood everywhere…lots of bad guys have us surrounded…
A twelve-foot-tall Githyanki knight leads the press…
Bodies litter the ground…mostly ours…
Which start to stand and join the salt zombies…
The dead numbering five thousand…
Yaghuth hold the line, walking steadily forward…
Chanting OM through their trunks…
Bursting into white flame as the zombies overrun them…
The old empire encircle the city…we form ranks around the spire…

Khut stands very very still, waiting to have a psychotic episode…
Ithunn grabs Khut to haul him out of the spire…
He lunges for her, slips, and bangs his head on the stairs…
Sorq sees that we are proper-fucked…but at least not mind-fucked…
The undead phaanin clearly chowing down on our forces souls…
Khadagan drops to his knees and starts praying…HARD CORE
“To the one who exists at the root of all things,
the one who unites the fade, to the verge, to the cusp,
to the one fathered all things,
who sustains spirit and stone, leaf and bone,
I entreat thee now, make thineself known
come forth, sword of flame
come forth, crown of light
a nation of seekers are lost
a multitude of wanders search
without your truth,
they will fall under the blades of their foes
Come now, o nameless one,
Let your flame roar
Let your light shine
Let my people see you and be saved
Let your people see their savior and give thanks
let them give praise to you
and carry your name to the edges of the earth”
He feels hands on each shoulder…and its not Iron-Dear hugging him…
On the one hand the rich scent of apples…
On the other, the crackling of molten metal…
And he reaches out to the burning light of Tsaluth…
He externalizes the rage…
A heavy tred strikes the stair beside him…
An enormous creature…eighteen feet tall…burning, spreading wings…
Iron-Dear: “Hug!”
We feel sick…

And battle is joined as the doors of the spire open and dark angels pour out…
Vadim’s wolves charge into the fray to save the Gray Lady’s scholars…
Then a massive burning crown drops, surrounding the spire…
Barruk charges the Dark Knight who leads the Imperial troops…
Slamming into him with the full smiting force of his enmity…
branding him…“My enemies need to learn to despair!”
AND Squee turns him Pink…and his buddies…
Iron-Dear appears behind knight-boy and hugs him…with vigor…and knives…
Then Ellen-Dear sends in a bolt of lightning from the side…
Sorq calls down a storm of ice…which sublimates in the heat…
Steam rolling across the battlefield…
Death-Knight-boy retaliates with some Hellfire…blowing away Squee…
And our losses raise to 8000…
Khut stands…wipes the blood off the back of his head…
Runs up to the top of the spire…“Hey asshole! Up here!”
And drops three arrows into the knight…blasting him to kingdom come…

Of course…there are still hordes of salt zombies and knights…
Ado drops an endless volley of flaming arrows on their heads…
Sorq follows it with FEAR…and a whole phalanx runs screaming…
Khut calls for his wife…
who has a divine-off with Ma’chek…and reports that she’s in the Deep Fade…
Khut tosses out death spores…Vadim plant-growths them…
And salt zombies turn into plant food…

To be continued…



And the author said, “This is good, this thing I have done.” And he went for lunch and a drink. And it was good!

- From the ramblings of Khut

View
Session 33: Everyone Bumps Semek's Wife
One way or another...

Khut’s feeling…
Khut-feels-5.JPG

CARDS
Semek’s Wife
Oblivion Sept
Horgrim
Giggles

We are locked in Thaabanite territory…
The road goes west towards “Snake Mountain”…
To the east is the Kraken…
We’re running out of food…
Snakes are massing along the ridges…
Hoargrim comes complaining…
Squee starts piping up a swarm of lickens…
The nohai start eating like crazy…
A runner breaks in to the conversation…
Semek’s wife found an amazing kill but needs help…
Squee’s eyes light up with a waft of apples…
And a voice says “my stomach is bursting”…
In a sound like creaking tree branches…
Khut hands Squee, Vadim, Sorq, and Breaks some weed…
While he and the rest head out hunting…

Out in the wastes, we find Nohai surrounding…
Some horn-beast-like creatures with heavy forequarters…
Nohai run around hooting…
Giggles egging them on…
Semek’s wife and the malik cavalry push them off…
Khut walks into the middle of them and says “Mine”…
Ithunn glares…
To Ithunn, “I mean ours…”
Khut and Giggles man up for a challenge…
Khut rips Giggle’s throat out with his teeth…
Ithunn steps up and similarly drops Kitty…
Everyone else starts trying to do non-Nohai diplomacy…
Barruk drives sparky into the riot…
Bellowing for people to disperse…
Ado drops a Compulsion and tells everyone to go home…
And the Nohai leave…
Hooch and Fletcher dragging off Giggles and Kitty

Meanwhile in drug-land…they chat with a tree…
“There is a cracking in my roots…”
“Something afflicting all the spirits…”
“Something has been birthed in the verge…”
“Something that does not belong there…”
“A potentiality that was only possible before…”
“All I can see is a burning crown…”
“A circle of gold on fire like the sun…”
“There are two separate problems…”
“My roots are cracking because of the change…”
“And I need to put down my burden…”
“My roots don’t hold here any more…”
“I must set them down before my roots break free…”
“Or I need power…”
“I thrive off of Hope…”
We suggest turning north…
There is a Thaabanite ruin…possibly amalgan inhabited…
We have no maps that way…
And its marching into Russia in winter…
Literally…
And full of gods and demons according to legend…
Southwest would be into the badlands…
Back into northern Gavshahar…

As they drop out of drug-land…
They see roots spreading throughout the encampment…
We feel a pull…drawing life from the caravan…
We haul back the massive “Shoulderbeast”…
And hand it over to Hulagu to start butchering…
Collecting the bones to boil into broth…
And Vadim starts handing out Goodberries…
To feed up a large hunting party…
Squee and Khut notice Semek’s wife dosing the meat…
Hulagu suddenly turns and attacks Sorqutani…
Swinging at her with a poison-coated cleaver…
His hands seemingly moving independently…
Nohai start howling in pain…
It looks like the entire hunting party is jacked…
And poisoning the food…
Khut punches Semek’s Wife in the face…
Barruk drops darkness on the brain-jacked Malik…
Semek’s (angry) wife stabs Khut…
Khut – “I’ve got Semek’s Wife handled…”
Ithunn – “Who’s being handled?!”
Khut – “No actual handling is going on…”
Squee geas’s Hulagu…and tells him to stand down…
CHARM OFF!
An angry Malik charges her…and misses…
One horn on either side…
And she starts painting the horns pink…
Ithunn leaps in and bitch-slaps Semek’s Wife…
Then kicks her twice…sweeps her off her feet…
Khut stands back to watch…
“I dreamt of this…”
Ado Purifies the food…
and steps between Hulagu and Sorq…
A Malik charges him…
Ado grabs a horn and fakes his death…
Another Malik charges Squee and gores her…HARD
Sorq pulls out her giant spear-like wand…
AND…cone of fear…
in the direction of everyone who’s being an idiot…
Semek’s wife and a Malik start running
around like they are on fire…
Hulagu wails on Sorqutani…and bursts into flames…
AND Sorqutani blows up into a giant fireball…
Nuking everyone…EVERYONE
Vadim grabs her as she falls over…
“Sorq, do that again!”
A pack of cackles appears and piles onto Hulagu…
AND another pack drops a Malik…
Wow that’s a lot of cackles…
Barruk gives a demonstration of proper goring technique…
Slamming into the Malik on Squee and tossing him…
Squee geas’s another Malik…
“Don’t hit anyone and let me paint your horns…pink…”
He responds by beating her unconcious…
Khadagan comes hurtling in…
Lands on the wolf-pinned Hulagu…and starts clawing…
Three Malik charge Khut…who sidesteps and keeps staring…
Because…there is a catfight over there…seriously…
They block his view…
Two of them a promptly fall to the ground…
Sorq paralyzes Hulagu and a pair of Malik…
The cackles tear Hulahu up…and another Malik…
Vadim whistles for them to stop…
just before they rip out Hulagu’s throat…
Barruk vanishes out from between a pile of Malik…
Reappears in a pack of Nohai…
starts curing poisons left and right…
and purifies the rest of the food…
Barruk: “I’m fluent in Nohai now…”
Khadagan: “I picked up a little Nohai tongue in
the last year, but I can’t speak it at all…”
Khadagan drops another Malik…
Leaving four still standing…and two paralyzed…
Three of whom charge Khad…he laughs…
Semek’s Wife ganks Ithunn with a poisned knife…
Then gets kicked to the curb in response…
Khut stares happily…
And caves a Malik’s face in with an elbow…
Ado aggressively bane’s the remaining Malik…
And Sorqutani lights them up…
And the cackles come back and pile on them…
Taking one more down…
Then Sparky comes rampaging in…trampling another…
Khadagan, Khut, and Ithunn join in the beatings…
and there was one…
That gets killed and torn up by the cackles…

Ado challenges Fletcher to a race to the Yaghuth…
Cheats…wins…and comes back with some Yaghuth priests…
Sorq, Ado, and Barruk purify and cook all the meat…
and we drop a whole lot of healing on the Nohai…

Khut notices Ithunn stalking him around the camp…
“Are you following me?”…book comes up…upside down…
Khut runs off…fishes a bone out of the pot…
Cuts off a sliver…hollows out the marrow…
And drops it in Ithunn’s lap…
some weird kind of beast-bone promise ring…
probably should have let her have the marrow…
At least Drowned River is pleased…
Vadim: “Everyone needs to be bumping Semek’s Wife…”
Khut: “I am NOT bumping Semek’s Wife…”
DM: Bursts out laughing for five minutes…

Ado takes Hoargrim to go meet the Yaghuth…
And starts teaching Hoargrim mindfulness meditation…
ONLY Ado could pull this off…
Yaghuth would not go anywhere near the battlefield…
Hoargrim sees them as useless pacifists…
Yaghuth might serve as a possession-warning-system…
The best idea Hoargrim has heard in all morning…
Barruk sits down to chat with the general…
Discussing our recent set-backs and the need to improve morale…
Suggesting a tour of the units to meet the troops…
Time for Hoargrim to go shake babies and kiss hands…
Teaching Hoargrim the politics of leading troops…
Squee gives him a serious beard-braiding…
Like Marie Antoinette’s hair…but a beard…
Sorq starts pushing him on the idea of a magic-wielding unit…
Time for Breaks, Rust, and the Gray Lady to start teaching…
Start finding those with talent…make a mage academy…
Weavers, maggot-folk, crazy warblers, would-be shamans…

Vadim hauls Semek’s Wife and the malik north…
Then wakes them up with Goodberries…
Starts suggesting that they need to scout to the North…
The snakes paralyze you with a gaze…
Only the elders can subsume your will…
Regardless of desire, you’re not in control of your body…
They have massed armies in the hills…
Mountain Slithers…sand devils…snakes…
Vadim suggests taking Yaguth priests with each scouting party…
Then Vadim takes point on the first hunting/scouting trip…
Lays some protection from wiggins on Semek’s Wife…
Amazons and Yaghuth form jack-detection squads incoming scouts…
We get intel on Thaabanite patrols…
Mostly client races…fewer and fewer Phanin…
Largely avoiding the Amalgam ruins to the north…

Khadagan goes in to Hundreds of Dust…asks her to bless his chitin armor…



And the author said, “This is good, this thing I have done.” And he went for lunch and a drink. And it was good!

- From the ramblings of Khut

View
Session 32: UNLEASH THE KRAKEN!

Khut is feeling…
Khut-feels-2.JPG

CARDS:
Ganbaatar
Brotherhood of Evil: Orbghuz Forktongue joins the Empty Circle

We are back at camp, having pissed off both snakes and bugs…
Our army is badly wounded and in the middle of a raging war…
We form a council of war with Ganbaatar, Hundreds, and Hoargrim…
Ganbaatar is retraining Malik to ride slithers…
Casualties in the last battle are shockingly low…
For the ass-whupping we took…
We’ve got 500 visitor sand-devils…
Of questionable (or non-existent) loyalty…
We sacrificed a bunch of deathworm eggs…
To create a bumper-crop of baby warblers…
Thebanites (snakes) are to the west…
Something is ringing the desert like a drum…
Sorq apparently got fed royal-jelly and is spouting flies…
As the new black super-node (a.k.a. queen)…
The black ants are friendly(ish) but scared…
We need to smuggle the eggs past the snakes…
Khad throws some herbs on the fire to talk to the Gardener…
The yurt is overgrown with flowers and vines…
Blue smoke flowing up to the cieling…
Squee chases a whisp around the room…
The bees are hibernating, not a good time to be abroad…
Ado asks if the gardener could hide blacks in the fade…
Vadim suggests we dive into the fade and sneak past…
There are some concerns about the scale…
Gardener says he can hold “rot them” and hold them…
So they can “sprout in a new place”…
But will need “Her help”…
ADO: “What if we call she who shall not be named?”
Vadim: “Ivy?”
ADO: “SHE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED!”
Sorq suggests calling a meeting of accord with S’t’t’t’t’t…
And then pulling them into the Fade for a chat…
Ado goes to chat with the head weaver, Ruven…
Who is wrapping twine in and around…
Like a five-dimensional Rubic’s cube…
Sorq: “Ruven’s Cube”…
Ado: “What would make this interesting?”
Khad: “Because being high and watching a guy weave
a five-dimensional basket isn’t interesting enough”
Ado casts Plant Growth…
And gets picked up the head by an apple-smelling woman…
She says she can help…
We get ready to go…
Ellen-Dear drops a triple-fabricate for the caravan’s craftsmen…
Makes a pile of new saddles and fittings for the cavalry…
And wheels and struts for the wagons…
Arandyr heads west to scout the Thebanites…
They are camped out on bluffs to the west…entrenched…
Massive snake-muscled behemoths pounding on the sand…
Trying to summon some death worms…
She comes back dragging one of those drum-hammers…
Khut runs out looking for a way to flank the snakes to the north…
He runs full speed, sneakily, without rhythm…
And that hill starts to unwind…A giant tentacle…
sliding, sliding, sliding…beneath the sand…
Clearly the Thebanites are where they are to attract the thing…
Khut decides the best move is to shoot it…
MEANWHILE
Sorq gives some regurgitated-ant-food to the minotaur cavalry…
Ado takes Ganbaatar out for a hunting trip to exercise the slithers…
They return empty-handed…
Squee gives them a little performance to boost their spirits…
Vadim and Khadagan cobble together some uber-drugs…
With the plan of tempting the snakes to jack our crazy minds…
(grants +3 bonus on checks to resist getting jacked by snakes)
(and makes the smoker bat-shit crazy)
And Khadagan raises some fungus zombies to reinforce our infantary…
Sorqutani walks out into the desert, spreads her arms wide…
The smell of lavender and apples wafts on the breeze…
The bees pour out of their hives…
Settling on her like black and gold armor…
In the distance, a farm-girl leans on a picket fence…
The sand erupts…ants swarming up a black-barked apple tree…
And strait into the Verge…
AND Sorq feels a sudden burning flash of cinnamon…
and her fingers burst into blue-white flames…
Khut shoots the worm…a mile long worm…and whistles for Littlewing…
“Exeunt pursued by sand kraken!”

We hit the road…moving fast on refitted wagons and beasts…
Altan humming happily amid bags and bags of looted treasure…
Khut comes flying in, the worlds biggest duststorm on his tail…
A massive thunderhead building…
Ado asks the Gray Lady if we can open the spire and let out the dead…
“They’ll need bodies…”
They can have ours when they fall…
Rust comes to Khadagan for black lotus on Gray Lady’s behalf…

The Caravan heads for the center of the Thebanite army…
Sand-devel cavalry on slithers…giant burly snakes with hammers…
Hoargrim sends our sand-devils out ahead to warn them that “its coming”…
Vadim shouts with the voice of the storm…
And throws down seven chunks of gold for the white-tent snakes…
“Take these if you wish to contact us in the future…”

WE CHARGE…and Vadim lights up a six-foot bong…
The cavalry are hit from behind by mind-controlled members of the caravan…
So the nohai scouts chow down on the traitors…
Their seven Phanin take over our cavalry’s inds…
We toke up and charge them…

Khut, still in the air, picks out S’t’t’t’t’t and shoots him in the head…
They start dancing, snaking and weaving through the sand…
S’t’t’t’t’t’s wounds start healing at an insanely rapid pace…
Sorq unleashes some fire…
Ado fires a warbler arrow into the air…which turns into a volley…
And death rains down en masse…
S’t’t’t’t yells “END IT” and our own cavalry charge us…
Vadim calls some lightning down on S’t’t’t’t’s head…
Suddenly Ado and Sorq are terrified…
AND Arandyr decides to kill Ado…
AND Squee decides it would be fun to drive Khadagan insane…
Khut: “I’m high and I’m angry! Come get some!”
And he leaps headlong off a Holy Mountain Beast’s nose…
And slaughters two of the priests wholesale…
Then Squee drops a pink tiara OF MADNESS on Khadagan…
Ellen-Dear rolls out four tiny metal figurines…
Which stand up, animate, and charge…
So do the bodies of the two dead priests…
And the beatings commence…
Arandyr misty-steps up and shiv’s Ado…
Right between the arm-pit, and he dies…unconvincingly…
She misses him again and again…
and finally believe’s he’s dead…
A second shot from Khut hits S’t’t’t’t right between the eyes…
Sorq steps up aaaand…PIXIES!
“I don’t super-charge, I make things bigger and longer…”
Ado locks down two of the remaining ones with a Hypnotic Pattern…
The gnawing pixies tear their attention away…
Vadim drops a lightning bolt on their heads…
Then stomps one down with his HMB
Khadagan stands staring at the pretty colors…
Squee pokes him, fixes the tiara, and says “Kill something”…
AND he leaps on Ellen-Dear…to surprisingly little effect…
Arandyr sees Ado up and moving and starts stabbing some more…
Khad drops another one with an arrow in the eye…leaving one…
Sorq unleashes some more fire at the remaining one…
And a stray bolt of lightning from the storm finishes him off…

With the Phanin dead, our cavalry, in disarray, turn and rejoin us…
The Gray Lady and Rust do their thing…
The spire opens…
Golden light pours down from the sky…
Things stand up across the battlefield…
Golden marks on their foreheads, wings on their backs…
Their weapons shedding glowing light…
Accompanied by completely alien music…
(Western choral music)…
Meanwhile tentacles come slithering around the battlefield…
The warbler archers rain death on their cavalry…
And the spire opens again…and the glowing army grows…
Their infantry charges our cavalry, gets cut off by the shroom-zombies…
THEN The Kraken catches up to the fight…

The glowing armies of the spire turn and charge the Kraken…
They fly towards the kraken, reveling, screaming ancient cries…
Khut swings up onto littlewing’s back and divebombs it with a lance…
And gets backhanded and sent flying…
Littlewing (intelligent creature that she is) bugs out…
Our cavalry break through the lines and run for the mountains…
The Thaabanite slingers mow down our infantry as they follow…
Lightning begins to fall among the troops…
Vadim raises a wall of wind to cut off their archers…
Hoargrim and his stack break through and flee to higher ground…
The warblers mow down the Thaabanite cavalry…
The spire breaks through and their slingers run as well…
Their infantry smack down the warblers, then run…

The glowing angelic horde holds our back…



And the author said, “This is good, this thing I have done.” And he went for lunch and a drink. And it was good!

- From the ramblings of Khut

View
Session 30: Up Through the Dirt

Khut is feeling… Khut-feels-4.JPG

We are apparently underground…
We have met another amalgam of species
That do not recognize our sentience…
Because they have no singular consciousness
We killed the black queen…
The red queen is trying to talk to us…
And driving Khut mad…
The Skullcap lets Khut understand…
But its much bigger than he is…
Pheremonal in nature…massive in scope…
Like talking to the north wind…
So…CRAZY TIME!
Some of us went deeper…
Where there are borer worms…
That poop gems…

We’re in some kind of temple…belonging to the snake-folk…
With snake architecture…Contemplative in theme…
A “place of watching”…
A long corridor…ending in a zen rock-garden…
Not raked, but coiled…
Dead critters little the room…
Hulks, xorn, fishers, piercers…
Vadim reaches out to an interlocutor…
Asking how they make a new queen?
A gossamer-winged thing comes up the corridor…
Like an enormous red ant…
Centauroid in pose…
Vadim makes it an offering of honey…
Khut thinks stinky thoughts and tries to make contact…
Communication comes inimages, flashes of emotion…
Much more rich emotional channel than mammals…
Vadim tries hard to convey friendly thoughts…
Ado minor-images our life story…
It responds by stinging him in the hip…
There is an odd lump on his leg…
And now they can talk freely…
From the hip…
Negotiations are complicated…to say the least…
A lot of time is spent comparing vocabulary…
We try to warn it about the OE and the EC…
OE they refer to as “old one in the desert”…
They lack numbers to survive the encounter…
Snake-folk they call the mind-killer…
We try to figure out how to take them with us…
They need “things I use to awaken my parts”
Of course, we’ve got snakes with us…
Which is a problem…
In order to leave, we need to round up its memories
The black ones…because it lost the queen…
The black queen tunnels have gone wild…
a.k.a get royal jelly from black hive…
It gives us free passage “without amalgam”…
But we may wish to “hold firmly”…

We head for the borer holes towards the black hive…
The tunnel network is extensive…three dimensional…
All manner of Amalgam species flow in and out…
Except, of course, for the big, bad warriors…
The emissary leads us in and towards the Red nurseries…
To show us the sort of thing we’ll be looking for…
Which are, of course, very heavily defended…
Some mantises barf up some stew…
Khut chows down…of course…
Khadagan and Barruk start to lose their grip…
A strange anxiety in their guts…
A need to draw their weapons and protect…

We break off baby-meal-time and head for the black side…
The pheremones in the black hive are a chaotic babble…
We head up, get some fresh air, then dive in a sinkhole…
Lose sand clogs the sinkhole…Khut starts burrowing…
We land in the dark, in a “left-handed” hive…
We head left…and find enormous numbers of dead bugs…
A free-for-all after the queen died…
Fairly thoroughly eaten…
We gather up some chitin…
slap together some make-shift shields…
We head for the nurseries…
and we “hear” a mad gibbering of pheremones…
Khut goes stealthy in picks his way ahead…
Into a large chamber, part of a buried building
AND there are a ton of black warriors…
They stampede past Khut…
Towards the rest of the party…
Khut fires a squeeler arrow in warning…
Everyone hides…
They go right past us…

Khut says…oops…this way…
We double back…and then are suddenly burred…
As the ceiling collapses…
We try to dig out…bugs drop on us…
Khut stabs one with a knife…IT EXPLODES!
Khadagan stabs one in the pants…
Sorqutani unleashes the PIXIES!
Vadim turns them pink…
Ithunn splatters another one all over the walls…
Squee makes with a stinking cloud…
Which WRECKS scent-based creatures…
Khut digs out and shoots a pink one…splattering it…
Barruk hurls one into a wall…
And sets off a thumper…
They are coming…
Khadagan tears one’s legs off and beats it to death…
Sorqutani cooks one inside its carapace…
Vadim sloshes some stuff on the floor and lights it…
Cutting off our retreat with a wall of fire…
Ithunn spin-kicks one through the wall nuking it…
They come on strong…and get kicked through the wall…
And we walk away from the explosions…

We head for the nursery…the tunnel dipping down…
There are an enormous number of excited bugs down there…
Moving in and out aggressively with eggs in tow…
Squee drops some stinking clouds…we drop ropes…
Khut, Khad, and Vadim rappel down to snag some jelly…
Vadim spies the jelly…which they are hauling out…
They scoop it up and store it in neck-sacks…
The stench happens…3 out of 5 couriers run for it…
2 spew up the thick white jelly…
Khut and Khadagan swing in and turn blender on the couriers
Squee slides down the rope and starts scooping jelly…
Vadim dominates a courier and it starts gathering jelly
Ado paints it green to indicate not to shoot it…
Sorqutani conjures some flaming, burning weasels…
and starts herding bugs…
Khut drops one with an volley of arrows…
and rushes and scoops jelly wildly…
Two charge in and start chomping on Khut and Khad…
AND they turn pink, thanks to Squee…
AND Khad bisects one…
Khut decapitates the other…
The other drones mass to stampede…
BUT Sorq drops a fireball on them…
They DIE…burning ant pieces go flying…
We grab the jelly and run…
AS A SWARM OF SOLDIER ANTS COME POURING IN…

AND we start carving the giant pile of dead bugs up for meat!

And the author said, “This is good, this thing I have done.” And he went for lunch and a drink. And it was good!

- From the ramblings of Khut

View
Session 27: It's MY sword...

We crest a ridge to see the ruins of an ancient city
Myan-inspired architecture, adrift in sand and salt
Khut rides at the head, leaading the caravan
Squee is playing with her gibbering mouther with a ball of yarn…
Vadim, and company, continue wrangling bees…
Rust tries, ineffectively, to get Ithunn to show him her tusks…
Elondyr tries to study…but gets distracted by the voices…
A dark-robed procession, dressed in the style of the sand-devils…
Mounted on giant slithers pass ahead of us…
Moving sedately…
Khut raises a hand to halt the caravan…
Khut, Vadim, and Arondyr sneak down to check them out…
30 in the process, 7 black-robed figures, 23 white…
Disparate, many different things, bound by culture…
Reminiscent of snake-like assassins from so long ago…
Common scaly theme…
Clearly a symbol-rich people…
Flowing snake-like script written on weapons…
Cursed blades bearing runes of…
eye-severing,
leg-cutting,
carapace breaking
Elondyr, Rust, Ado, and Squee go down to meet them…
Rust recalls an ancient civilization…
And fire and a tentacled destroyer…
Sorqutani crests the hill with the standard…
Team stealth is in, among them, ready…
AND Arondyr starts mooching weapons…
“Who’s sword did you steal?”
“It’s MY sword…”
She takes a snake-runed scimitar…
Vadim heads in among the female slithers…
AND steals some eggs…
goes shoulder-deep in a vent…
and has a single fertilized slither egg…
Elondyr orders Hundreds to rally the troops…
‘just in case’…
Squee and company ride up and make contact…
They step forward in equal number to our parley party…
A snake dude uncurls to his full 11-ft. height…
And very deliberately and elaborately veils his eyes…
The others follow suit wait stand silently…
Squee mimics them, donning a pink veil…
The head-snake lowers his head to greet her…
Squee proceeds to tell him her life story…
They ask her to convey their respects to her queen…
“We have not seen a messenger from her in some time”
“What brings an agent of destruction to our desert”
Ado asks for his name…which is a tongue roll…
Ithunn asks after Yaghuth…
They claim to have seen such traveling to the west…
Called, readied, armed for battle…
Ithunn seems concerned about them being armed…
Apparently they have a problem with an infestation…
The sands are infected…by old allies that are no longer…
“We are broken, but they are faded”…
They destroyed the city an age ago…
Nothing can be built there…
Tremors in the sand dry crawling…
They are there to watch the city…
Make sure it does not approach their enclaves…
Rust starts telepathicaly broadcasting images of our recent history…
Ithunn takes meditative pose and shares…
the destruction of the Remembrance of Yaghuth…
Rusts contact with his mind narrowly avoids madness…
“If you can possibly call a Void Sept warlock sane”
It feels “the patience one feels after one has bitten”
Apparently they are telling the truth…mostly…
Cities swallowed from below…no foundations possible…
Towers wrapped in tentacles and pulled beneath the surface…
Insects swarming from beneath the sands…
Cathedrals humming, buzzing with infestation…
Nothing built on the sands stands…
Civilizations lost and sunken beneath the salt sands…
Clearly NOT trying to think about enormous enclaves…
Somewhere warm, where reptiles can move faster…
Cities, sentinels, armies, herds, slaughterhouses…
But none on the sands…never again on the sands…
Recently there were large number of Yaghuth going west…
Ado promises that we WILL pass through the city…
And clear it…and asks if they would be willing to aid us…
They agree that they will “help” in an inspecific way…
They are charmers, slavers, take over your mind…
Hence the veiling of the eyes…
Ado asks the names of what spirits they know…
They seem confused…
Their spirits are silent, and patient, and old…
Squee: “Perhaps they should make younger ones”
Squee mixes some pigments to make nail-polish and sets to work…
And Squee begins painting the nails of a snake abomination…
In the middle of a salt desert…
It waits…and watches…and has no reaction…
Ithunn and Rust make mental contact…
He is hollow, empty…truly an acolyte of the Void Sept…
The Yaghuth rage sits just on the other side of the Void…
The emptiness serves to keep the rage at bay…
Helps him to “remembering”…
She recognizes HER Yaghuth in the images of the travelers.
The snakes meeting the Yaghuth on the road…
The Yaghuth drive forward, passively…
Droning a song…a Yaghuth warsong…
They remain Yaghuth…
The sound of Yaghuth marching to WAR
Clearly not the only caravan…
All moving the same direction…
With the same purpose…

WE rally the army and head for the city…
Vadim fills his yurt with saltpeter and explosives…
Pulled by scrub warbeasts…
Khut and team-stealth go up the side of an old, leaning tower…
Everything made of strange black granite…
The city seems uninhabited…
THEN the ground bursts…and a death worm comes up…
Smashing the tip of the tower and sending us flying…
Khut fires an arrow down its gullet…then goes down himself…
Hangs on a tooth…and whistles for Littlewing…
Ithunn goes nuts! It ate Khut!
Ithunn leaps off the tower and dives strait at it…
AND goes strait down the hatch…
AND starts giving it major indigestion…
Littlewing dives and tears its lungs out…
Causing it to projectile vomit Khut and Ithunn…
They go flying, Khut lands, with Ithunn on top of him…
Coughs up blood…and wakes up…
Elondyr blasts the thing with lightning…which it eats…
Electricity crackles around its teeth…
AND it breaths back…
sending lightning arcing back at the party…
Sorqutani launches a flaming sphere down its throat…
Iron-dear dives in with her shiny new scimitar of carapace cracking…
And it just cannot get through…
Ado leaps and glides right into Khut…
giving him an extra dose of heroism..
Barruk charges in on Sparky…
hits the worm with a thunderous golf-swing…
heaving the worm up out of the hole…and again…
Rust sends forth an imperative to “Remember your Rage”
AND a hasted and blessed Khadagan leaps on the writhing worm…
starting at the top and clawing all the way to the bottom…
A swarm of Ankheg burst from the ground…
AND get torn limp from limb by the party…

Meanwhile, our army is having a bad, bad day…
The cavalry run into a swarm of borers…
The Malik champions respond by dropping explosives down the holes…
Then they hit a big hole and disappear…
The Nohai scouts step in to clean up the mess…
Because borers are delicious…
A swarm of ankhegs then attack the cavalry down below…
Sorq, Squee, and Vadim dive in after them…
Beating back a small horde of Ankhegs…
Ado manages to fight them to a stand-still then the Hive Queen comes out…
We’re in a massive underground cavern, our infantry forcing them back…
Khut lets fly an arrow, punching through her shield wings…
Barruk rushes in and beats her silly with his flaming hammer…
The Hive Queen rushes Khadagan, clawing and stinging like crazy…
He retaliates with great fury…
his rusted claws leaving massive smears as they tear in…
Ithunn comes through the ceiling riding the corpse of a beetle
and punches the queen in the teeth…
AND an arrow from Khut takes her between the eyes…
The rest of the bugs keep coming…
Ankhegs swarm in again and murder the snake-folk…
Then tear through both the infantry and cavalry…
Forcing the cavalry to withdraw from the field..
Then the Ankhegs are sucked into the spire and destroyed
The warblers rain death on the hive mystics…
Rust turns himself into a small thunderbird…
unleashing lightning against the flyers…
Khut whistles for Littlewing to join him…
Between two thunderbirds, the flying swarm is wiped out…
Vadim conjures hallucinatory terrain, drawing the borers into a trap…
Where the archers can rein death down…
Then Clouds of Fog and Walls of Fire divide the field…
And Hoargrim marches in side-by-side with Khadagan…
and finishes the borers off…
Squee leaps into the center of the warblers, healing them…
And Hoargrim stands his ground against the last Ankheg swarm…
And the last Ankheg is torn in two by Khadagan…

AND we start carving the giant pile of dead bugs up for meat!

And the author said, “This is good, this thing I have done.” And he went for lunch and a drink. And it was good!

- From the ramblings of Khut

View
Session 26: Happy Anniversary Hundreds
Hello, would you like to help me burn people?

CARDS:
Deja Vu: Semek
Zhuan Zhu — old empire plenipetentiary who we had tea with
Hundred of Dust

Khut comes riding back from leading the Void Sept on a merry chase…
With a void-sept Yaghuth in tow…
To find everyone else camped out mid-battle…
In a freak blizzard…
Some spirits from the verge inform us that there
is war in the verge, and the queen of the moon
is under attack…by three of her generals…
Apparently we have a forge-spirit named Cinderella…
with a mechanical teddy-bear…

Everyone seems a little put off by the mouth-sewn Yaghuth…
He brings word that the VOid Sept have fully thwaked Ahura Mazhda
And talks in riddlish…telepathically…nonsense…
Lots of talk of blood and “Oblivion” to come…
Some new septs involved…
East is Nihil, West is Lief…

We are standing around a forge…the world shifts…
From Verge to Fade…do not pass Present…do not collect $200
There are voices…weird things…sewn together from the deep fade…
And old-empire soldiers: a knight, a scholar…
There is a forge, licking with fire…surrounded by mud and snow…
Breaks like Wind conjures a wall of fire around us…
then Squee turns the knight bright pink…
We all start bleeding out of our eyes, nose, under the nails…
The knight flickers and thwaks the yaghuth with a sword…
Then gets his ass thrown back through the wall of fire…
Khadagan vaults wall and starts slashing away at the scholar…
Ithunn looks at the knight on the wrong side of the wall…
Looks at Khut…Khut whistles…
She leaps into the air…
then she and Littlewing tear the knight to shreds…
AND Khut drops the scholar with an arrow through the eye…
Some little guy that Khut doesn’t know puts two arrows in the fleshy orb..
And then his bones start warping and poking out of his body…
Apparently he made it mad…
Its friends also get mad…whispring horrible things in Khut’s mind…
Vadim, Breaks, and Ellen-Dear bring the lightning…
Except the fleshy things seem to be healing…and getting bigger…
Khadagan jams some cancerous spores into one of them…
It dies, flowers, and spews an abundance of spores…
Which Khadagan collects…yeah…
Sorq brings the PIXIES!
Then the Yaghuth hauls out a big sword…which rusts…and burns…
And its clear that he remembers…and that he knows the gods…
AND does an un-Godly amount of damage…
yet it lives…
Squee casts dissonant whispers…
and has a nice little chat…
with the crazy, gibbering mound of flesh…
and makes it her FRIEND
AND Ado banishes the big one…tentacles surround him, embrace him…
Vadim calls for Thumper and Littlefoot to haul the forge…
Putting it directly underneath of where the thing will reappear…
The fleshy blob drops into the forge…
AND Cinderella the forge spirit breaks free…and looks angry…
BUT it’s friends with Sorqutani…of course…
Sorq: “Hello, would you like to help me burn people?”
They ascend to the Verge…then Squee dumps them into the Cusp…
Where our troops are dug into the snow facing the old empire..
AND there is a wall of fire in front of them…
AND Squee drops a shatter-mortar in teh middle…
And things do not look well for the Old Empire zombies…
Ado invokes Ormazd Bay to oversee the forging of the pact…
AND Cinderella becomes Squee and Sorq’s special friend…
AND Ormazd passes a warning…
“It has already started, in HIM there is no darkness at all”
But, of course, the forge spirit is in the wrong world now…
Leaving us with the giant fleshy orb to kill…
Khut nails it with his bow and drives it through the wall of fire…
Ellen-Dear blows parts of its away with a barrage of force bolts…
Iron-Dear misty steps onto its head and starts stabbing…
The little Forest Troll fires a barrage of arrows through the Verge…
into the Fade with a flash of blinding light…
Then the fleshy ball tries to banish Ado into the Deep Fade…but fails…
And Khadagan tears at it…
The Yaguth polymorphs the fleshy-blob into an…APPLE TREE (oh shit)…
Then Breaks polymorphs into a bee and collects the pollen…
[28 doses of fleshy-blob apple tree pollen)
THEN the tree twists, animates and starts beating on Ado…
The bombardment from Ellen-Dear continues…
Meanwhile, in the Verge, Ithunn spin-kicks Ormazd Bay…
punting him through the fire…and kicking Ado’s crest off…
in the Cusp, the sky lights up from horizon to horizon…
Sorqutani’s pixies love that it turns out…
A zombie explodes…lighting up another…and another…and another…
Iron-Dear blasts the tree with a ray of frost…and freezes it to the roots…
AND, back in the Verge, there is a dead blackened tree…
AND we’re all there…

Meanwhile back at the war…
An Old Empire timelord shows up, backed by imperial dragoons with grapeshot
But our Malik cavalry get the drop on them and crush their infantry…
Then the Spire is hauled onto the field by Thumper and Littlefoot…
And the Malik cavalry crush the Timelord…
AND seeing the Spire…they flee…
Skyscraper-sized tentacles burst up from the salt flats…
Hauling their bodies down into the depths…
AND some Old Empire lizard riders turn and join our ranks…

Dawn happens for real finally…
Ado leads us off to find a cash of food that the Zhuan Zhu left for us…
But something else found it first…and bred in it…and its swarming…
BIG bugs…big, delicious-looking bugs…
The ground breaks in big chunks…breaking the party in two as well…
And the giant bugs pile on…
Sorq, Ellen, Iron, Ado, and Khut find themselves facing five…
Sorq leads off with a Fireball…
Ado plays dead…and they nose all over him, but can’t decide…
So they don’t bite him…then he rails one with some sacred flame…
Then Ellen-Dear leaps in and blows them off with a Thunderwave…
AND Sorq’a pixies show up…
AND Arandyr knifes and finishes off one…
They spew acid all over us…it kindof hurt…a little…
Sorq and Ellen retaliate with fire, making them quite toasty…
AND Iron-dear guts another one…
They spew more acid…and knock out Ado…
Khut skewers one with an arrow…
AND Ellen-Dear caremalizes them with a Thunderwave…
From the other side of the world, the Yaghuth informs us they have EGGS!
And he brings one of them back as a pet…
Khut leads out the Nohai, gathers the bones from the battle, and makes broth…
[ -1d4 on a single enemy mass combat check from fear of our cannibalism ]
Ellen-Dear has a vision…
Heads to Semek at the forge…
And tells him that he is going to make a Masterpiece…
A gorgon head-dress for Hundreds of Dust as a mark of prestige…
Which acts as a CRYSTAL BALL
Khut: “Happy aniversary honey!”
Sorqutani goes up to the Gray Lady and “heals” her…and wakes her up…
Khut brings her some “broth” and brandy…
Iron-Dear and Hundreds of Dust gather up the Blades of Earth Nohai…
And go out scouting to show Hundreds leadership capabilities…
And Iron-Dear plays secret police and ganks the disobedient…
Forestroll gives Semek a whole slither as a present…
Semek seems pretty interested in the bones and the chitin..
Vadim casts “Locate Queen Bee”…
“Tut-tut it looks like rain”
BIG bees show up…chasing Breaks…looking for the pollen…
Khut asks his wife to use her anniversary present to find Ma’chek…
Hundreds informs us that Ma’check is behind much of our current problems…
Ma’check and Gormak have “sided with the dark ones”…
They are deeply faded…
The Yaghuth, hereafter named “Rust”, starts proselytizing around the camp…
Telepathically projecting his ideas of creation’s need for a Creator…
He sews the seeds of doubt (and wrath) in Ellen-Dear’s mind…
Cinderella seems to really like what he’s preaching…
AND takes up residence in Rust’s sword…
Breaks Like Wind starts trying to get Rust involved in village life…
…trying hard to get him laid by some cowgirl…
And…something else enters the tribe…belief in something else…
And our tribe grows by 5%…
AND Breaks Like Wind is infected with the “Spirit of Life”
[ All breeding-related actions have a +1 bonus ]

The battlefield is empty…and snows begin to melt…we are in the salt-flats…
To the northwest we see the towers of a city where one should not be…
To the west, beyond the the ruined city, is a volcano…
To the northeast is The Hive…and there there are bees…
We decide to take the Spire to the volcano…via the ruined city…
The caravan at least…
Vadim and Khadagan lead a raiding part to go collect some bees…
The Yaghuth and the Gray Lady try to talk us out of going any further west…
Khut takes lead of the caravan…
and convinces the Yaguth that they heading due north…
while leading them towards the city…
The Gray Lady seems genuinely fearful of what might be in the Volcano…
And refers to the city as the “Cursed City”…
Khut, Ado, Iron-Dear, and Sorq out-vote them and we turn the caravan NW…

View
The Splintered Reed

It was the pungent scent of burning herbs that Khadagan noticed first. Normally, he might be able to identify exactly what ingredients comprised such a concoction, but his thoughts were slippery and ephemeral, refusing to coalesce in a useful manner. He opened his eyes and found himself laying on his side in a yert not his own.

The barbarian was not in his own clothing, but instead wore a simple linen tunic that was clearly made for a smaller figure. His gear did not appear to be in the structure, which made him uncomfortable. Khadagan had gotten so used to wearing his claws and the Sabreclaw skin that he felt naked with out them.

Kill them bear-handed

Where was he? Judging by the lack of obscure and occultish knick-knacks, it didn’t appear to be his wife’s residence. Uh oh. Had he done something indiscreet? Worse, had he gotten caught? That didn’t seem right, but then again, Khadagan was no stranger to mind-altering substances. It was not outside the realm of possibility to try something that lead to poor decision-making.

What would Hundred say if she found him here like this? Not like he could tell, he thought wryly, though he was sure it would sound angry – like everything else she said in the guttural, growling tongue of the Nohai.

Khadagan started to sit up, only to find that his hands and feet had been bound – the former behind his body – with manacles of … wood? The barbarian flexed his muscles only to discover that the restraints were surprisingly strong. Ironwood. His ironwood … ? As far as he knew, his were the only specimens of the unusual plant, one of the prizes from his encounter with the golden khan.

Make them pay

Questions flooded the hermits groggy skull. Had he been taken prisoner? Khadagan tried to still his mind and experience his surroundings on a deeper, more intangible level. He was no shaman (though it never stopped him from trying to engage the spirits), but this didn’t feel like hostile place. It certainly didn’t look like the enemy encampment they had found themselves in after their journey into the deep fade, riding stolen bodies as easily as Khut and Vadim would ride a stolen mount … Vadim. A sudden thought bloomed amid the slowly dissipating fog in his mind.

Betrayal!

The barbarian pulled his knees in close to his chest and eased his wrists over his ankles. In the dim light of the small brazier next to him, he inspected the unusual restraints. The wood had not been worked – there were no cuts or scratches, seems or pins. This wood had been shaped.

Kill him

As if in answer to his question, the skins hanging across the opening of the yert were pulled back and several figures entered: Hundred of Dust stalked in, her glittering eyes inscrutable. She was followed by Vadim and Sorqutani – their presence eliciting a quiet sigh of relief. Finally Ithun took up position by the opening; the tusks she carried held in a stance she’d once described as ‘relaxed ready.’ Voices outside told him that Barruk, Adu and the twins were flanking the other side of the entrance. Were they standing there to keep people out of the yert … or to keep him in it?

Lure them in, tear out their throats

“Khadagan?” Vadim asked, he voice carefully even, “How do you feel?” Sorq began to translate for Hundred, though the barbarian knew there was another reason or two she was included in this conversation.

“Why am I bound?” Khadagan asked, “Am I a prisoner?”

“No! No, uh … that’s for protection.”

“Whose?”

“Everyone’s. Mine. Yours … The caravan’s.”

Smell the fear, the weakness

“What are you talking about? Why would I hurt the caravan?”

Vadim crouched down so that he was level with the large barbarian, but stayed carefully out of reach. “Khad, what’s the last thing you remember?”

“I …


Khadagan grunted as he pushed through the snow drift, clearing the road once more for the wagons. The last thing he had anticipated as the caravan marched north into the salt flats was a blizzard. It never occurred to him that the cooling weather was the coming low season – they had been so preoccupied with the their flight-turned-military campaign, first into the West, now to the North. And now winter was here and they were fighting to keep the garden and – by extension – themselves, alive.

Blight had wiped out a promising crop of oca despite the nearly four score gardeners they’d added to their number. Morale was in short supply and the barbarian sensed some animosity towards the new arrivals, despite their contributions to the garden’s upkeep. Some people would rather starve than eat something from the soil.

Let them, he thought in a moment of bitterness.

Khadagan stretched and looked out across the empty white void of the salt flats. After being attacked by the sand devils, he couldn’t shake the feeling of being watched. Though, to be honest, lately it felt as though there were just as much scrutiny coming from within the caravan – possibly within the party – as without.

Khadagan turned and began to walk back along the line of dirt-bearing wagons. He passed the wagon on which was perched the glass-walled structure that they hoped would help keep them alive during the cold weather by protecting the edible plants from blight as well as allow some of his more fragile specimens to survive the cold. It was a marriage of artifice and nature that, in his mind, proved that the spirits could coexist in a mutually beneficial state.

A little further down the line, he came across a couple of the new Malik farmers having a discussion in front of a wagon. They were speaking in their local dialect, though the barbarian guessed from their gesturing that they were talking about the wagons’ slow progress through the powdery snow.

The wheels were sunk further into the snow than the other wagons. Looking at the payload, Khadagan saw that this particular wagon was carrying the precious few – and relatively heavy – ironwood trees. Interspersed between them were from Firestarter Bushes. It made sense to keep them together on the same wagon, since ironwood would not burn.
Khadagan looked back to the Malik just in time to see one of them attempt to light a small torch by the forward wheels. Even in the low season, a single spark was enough to set the bushes – and wagon – alight. While the ironwood might not burn, the caravan couldn’t afford to loose even a single wagon.

“No!” Khadagan cried out as he rushed forward, reaching for the flint.

Startled, the Malik began to stand and turn towards the incoming barbarian, one of his horns caught him across the cheek.

Red fog.

An eyeless face.

Darkness.


Khadagan’s large shoulders slumped. “Is … is he okay?”

Vadim shook his head, “You butchered him – were completely covered in his blood. Squee’s off cleaning your gear now. We buried what little was left according to their traditions,” Hundred stiffled a growl when Sorqutani translated this last part.

“Did anyone else get hurt? How did it end?”

Vadim sighed, “The other Malik tried to pull you off, one of them hit you with a hoe and caused you to turn on them. That’s when the kids arrived.”

Khadagan’s eyes opened wide in horror, “Oh no. Are they … ?”

“The young one, I forget her name, she called up the Gardner. It held you down until we arrived and, uh, calmed you down.”

The barbarian put his face in his hands.

“So … the Malik are pretty much terrified of you now, and the kids are … upset. Adu’s been trying to smooth things over, but this isn’t going away overnight. It’s probably best to keep you separated for a while.”

“What about you? What do you think?” Khadagan looked up, first at Vadim, then Sorqutani and Hundred. “She was right, you know,” he continued before they could respond, “The green woman? I thought she was talking about the spirits of life and artifice, but that’s not what she was talking about.”

Puzzled looks were his reply.

“I seek to foster life, to grow and sustain it. The plants, sure, but our people, as well. Ever since the deep fade, though, there’s something else. Inside. I hear it. Feel it.”

“What?”

Khadagan shook his head, “You’ll think I’m crazy.”

“I already think you’re crazy.”

“What’s the one thing that can’t reconcile with life? That ends growth – ends potential?”

“Death.” Sorqutani replied. Khadagan looked past Vadim at the sorceress.

One of her eyes was completely black.
247933.jpg

View
Session 25; How to make friends and influence people.....

Aaaaaa hunting we will go ahunting we will go, Semek’s wife steps up and gets boosted by the party like nobodies business.
Speaking of no bodies, we save 38 malik townsfolk from certain zombification by a very disturbing old empire patriarch. After being beaten, banished, reappearing, beaten and banished again, he just gives up and stays gone, likely to return and kick our butts at a later date.
Speaking of dates, we seem to have just had the best tea party ever thrown. A group of 7 emissaries from the old empire inquire as to our intentions. It would seem the tea leaves of the divining tea sorq and aran made for them actually gave him more info than even our words could. We seem to have made friends out of certain annihilation.
Speaking of annihilation, boy those purple worms get big, lighting, fire, claws, and mocking go round and round, worm turns from purple to pink and a whoopin commences, till squee gets eaten. But Khadagan saves the day in a maddened rage like I’ve never seen and squee is pulled out covered in goop. Off in the distance we all seem to hear dinner bells… and find eggs… Muahahhhahahhhahahahah

View
Planting Seeds

Wood creaked as a handful of empty wagons were pulled into position behind the others. Khadagan inspected the empty beds, the pungent odor of Stinkcrow and Bull Nettle wafting up in his nostrils. The gaps had been filled with the fibrous, sticky paste as he had instructed; a few hours out in the sun and they would be ready.

The barbarian turned away to clear his nose and found himself staring across the expanse of their caravan – if such a word could still be used to describe the mass of people that now travelled with them. A city’s worth of refugees, freed slaves, and adopted men-at-arms surrounded his rolling garden. Many of those people, he knew, were looking to that garden for their next meal.

Making his way to the central part of this smaller, internal caravan, Khadagan inspected the dirt-filled beds containing the sourgrass, oca, and goodberry bushes. He couldn’t grow enough food fast enough to keep everyone fed. Everyone who wasn’t strictly carnivorous, he amended. He sighed heavily and looked at the two wagons that carried his most treasured specimens – would he have to give them up only to produce more food?

_ It’s not fair._

Khadagan wasn’t sure where the thought came from, but … it was right, wasn’t it? A handful of them were out there risking their lives – no giving – their lives and these vagrants, these …

_ … parasites …_

Yes, parasites, were expecting a handout on top of it all? Like a swarm of locusts, only they traveled with the swarm, and added to it every chance they got. So many mouths to feed. The problem wasn’t his garden, it wasn’t his ability to grow food, it was them, out there.

_ Fix it, make less to feed._

Something felt off, he wasn’t really thinking this was he?

_ So easy_ … the sensation of drawing a blade across a throat. The smell of blood …

“No!” Khadagan hissed, “Stop it.” He shook his head, as if the darkness within could be so easily cast out.

“We was just lookin’. Honest.” The hermit’s eyes snapped open to find a scrawny young man standing before him, flanked by a couple of girls.

“I … what?”

Kill!

It suddenly took a great deal of effort to stand perfectly still.

“My sister, Cirinia,” the boy indicated an equally scrawny girl to his left, “she likes your flowers.”

“The glowing ones,” Cirinia whispered, looking down.

“I like the purple ones,” said the other girl, “They’re the prettiest.”

“That’s Maa,” said the boy, rolling his eyes, “She’s always followin’ us around.”

“Am not, Jelme! I came by myself to see the colors. You just happened to be here.”

Khadagan felt the stirring within him subside, “Those?” He nodded to the lotuses, “They are pretty. And dangerous. Be careful around them.”

“How could a flower be dangerous?” said the boy – Jelme.

“You’d be surprised.” said the barbarian. “This one,” he pointed at a green lotus, “can paralyze. The purple one makes you sick.”

“What about the black one?” said Maa.

“That one kills,” whispered Cirinia.

“That’s right,” said Khadagan, “How’d you know that?”

Cirinia shrugged and looked at her feet, “Just seemed like it.”

“If those can kill, why raise any of the others?” asked Jelme, “Use ‘em on the beast men that run us off.”

“Eventually,” sighed Khadagan, “But right now, there are more important things to grow.”

“Like what?” said Maa.

“Like food.” said Cirinia.

“Well, sure, but food ain’t pretty.” was Maa’s reply.

“Pretty and important rarely ride together.” said Khadagan, weighing an idea. And for once it didn’t have to do with killing. “Have you seen the Gardner?”

“Uh, ain’t you the gardner?” asked Jelme.

Khadagan snorted. “Yes, but I meant the spirit that helps me tend this garden.”

“We heard about a rock monster that pops up from time to time, but we ain’t seen it.”

“Would you like to?”

“Uh, is it dangerous?” asked Jelme.

The barbarian rubbed the stubble on his large jaw, “I guess he could be, if someone tried to hurt our garden.” He looked at the kids.

“Oh, we wouldn’t do that. We love it here! It makes forget about being away from home.” said Maa.

“Okay, give me a moment.”

Khadagan closed his eyes and tried to still his mind. It was getting harder to contact the spirits ever since their trip into the deep fade. Something had descended upon him there in the deepest darkness and bored into his spirit. The last time he had spoken to the Gardner – the sentient embodiment of rock and soil that helped his garden produce far beyond what it might normally be capable of producing – it had been unexpectedly difficult to make contact. Not like it had been before. He briefly regretted not chewing on some yokeleaf first, just in case he needed a boost.

The hermit visualized his mind extending down, around the shadow in his heart, and down from the soles of his feet into the ground, seeking that spark of nature and life that made things grow. Slowly, distantly, he felt a reply – like the waking of a far off giant. A soft vibration become a moderate (albeit localize) tremor as an empty patch of ground between the wagons speared upwards and settled into the vague approximation of Steppefolk.

The kids gasped, caught somewhere between fear and delight, drawing the Gardener’s attention. Despite lacking any discernible facial features, Khadagan could almost feel the look of puzzlement as the spirit turned towards him. “This is Maa, Jelme, and Cirinia,” he said, indicating each in turn, “They were admiring your handiwork.”

The gardner turned back towards the trio.

“Oh, we love your flowers!” said Maa.

“Um, thanks for the food.” said Jelme.

Cirinia, who had hidden behind her brother initially, appeared to be enthralled with the entity looming over them. She took a hesitant step forward, then another, and raised a small hand. The Gardner regarded this curiously, then extended an appendage of rock and dirt. Green tendrils sprouted from the end, curling in like pliant fingers – all but one, which extended towards the youngest child. They touched.

Khadagan found himself holding his breath. Most of the party had encountered the spirits at some point since their long journey began, but this was the first time he’d witnessed an interaction like this.

Then, like a sprout breaking up through the soil, an idea presented itself.

“Would you kids be interested in helping us with the garden?” he looked at the Gardner, whose massive moss covered shoulders appeared to shrug in reply.

“Really?” Nervous excitement was written on their faces.

“I could teach you what you need to know, and you can take care of things when I’m away. The Gardner can help, too.” he turned to Cirinia, “It looks like you’ve got a … feeling for this.”

“Even the lotuses?” asked Jelme.

“Let’s start with food and ironwood, we’ll work up to the more delicate plants as you learn more.”

“When can we start?” asked Maa.

“Right now.”

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.