Chapter 08: The Fellowship and the Trials of the Macqul Taxat

Advances

Carabas advance … “Who’s the Tough Guy Now, Tough Guy?”

Ursula advance … a new general, introduced at the tail end of the last session as the Hooded Individual, who was speaking at the edge of a broken fountain in the City of Chains Crossing, randomly muttering provocative, personal things to people. Siblus, the Whisperer.
Bond: He is obsessed with Ursula.
Also … a bond, an irrefutable truth, with the People of Chains Cross, who cast her out in a time of weakness. Can Command Lore.
Goal: To destroy the community of Chains Crossing.

Wynn advance … Grace +1

Virens … Blood to 3.

Ann advance … Speak to Animals & Monsters (from Rowan).

Rowan advance … future sight / scrying

[Deal with a Horrible Plan: “When you are made aware of a horrible plan, pick where you want to intervene in it. If you halt its execution, succeed on any one move as if you rolled 7-9. If you wait and deal with the collateral, succeed on any one move as if you rolled a 10” (Bill)]

Downtime

Ann downtime … acquire a creature from the Lowlands. Not quite megafauna. A dire hedgehog?

No, a giant fennic fox.

That is soooo cute! Big and startling, but not scary.

Note: two of them.

There needs to be two Fennic foxes - they are social and mate for life

Vojse - dutch diminutive of fox

Zerda - Persian name for fennic - Compare Persian زرد‎ (zard, “yellow”) and the dialectal suffix و‎ (-ow, -aw) that creates nouns from adjectives.


Note: Animal spirits of the Orcs … not servants, but fellow spirits, doing their own thing, growing to their own destiny.

Refugees of Red Valley gathered … interaction between Shaman and Rowan … Corruptors people had a prejudice against the People, which had infected other races … so Ohir had nothing specific against the People, but corrupted by Ursula’s people, so we were hated, as with all others … Ohir … Toskans …

Rowan … there’s a great threat to the world back, Ursula Tenebrios [a generic bogey-man name!]. [Which is why people don’t take him seriously.] (Horrible things are happening, with power, and the culprit who is the Great Satan, is also Bigfoot, which is why nobody believes in it.) (Or the Tooth Fairy.)

We all have Ursula Tenebrios stories … though the stories may not be real, they are still true.

Virens went on a hunt with Sakura. Came back with the meat.

Carabas downtime …
songs of heroes, in an secretive and isolated race … not isolated, but they don’t stay long near other peoples. Insular.
Their response … younglings have curiosity, caution, about him. More taunting …
The older, more serious ones, give a look not often seen, a quiet …
(Ann: look on him with … pity? Sadness with what they see?)
There’s a middle group that engages, who are willing to talk. They tell histories … very bland and factual and “begats” and … annoyed by …
One of the older ones steps in … he wants the Fire Stories. Come back tonight.
“Evening drinking songs! Of course!”
And … in the evening … some stories, familiar, hero fight villain, saves this person, defeats beast, etc. Familiar forms.
And then that elder again speaks: a story of the first bird that mastered flight (and everyone settles in to listen). Hard to tell if it’s a bird, or one of the People of the Air, a noble, the first one of the race …? This one wished to not just fly/glide, but wanted to go further, higher, never touch the ground, only rest on the highest peaks to see the truth of the world. This inspired other winged creatures to soar the skies, rather than hop between trees.
Which drew the attention of the Accursed, the Corruptors People. Who envied this, and jealously despised their ability to see things normally beyond view. Attempted many times to achieve the same thing, but failed to fly, but were able to able to use destruction and corruption on those birds what did not rise the highest.
So that at last, the greatest of birds came down to the highest peak and called down to demand they stop, and they would not unless he gave up his power, so he made a wager with them, he would allow them to hunt him for a year and a day, to take his power if they killed or captured them, else they would be forever enfeebled against creatures of the air.
They had faith in their ability to destroy, and for a year the King of Birds flew without landing, drinking from clouds, eating of seeds that flew or berries of branches that others birds brought tup to him.
On the last day, they closed in on him and he flew so high they could not reach him, and became the first to rise above the bounds of this world, and became the freest of all the creatures of the air above the sky, and a constellation of the sky above.
(Which is not quite the same constellation as the Catlings see, which is, part of the stars of the Taunting Prey bird that flutters away with a broken wing to draw hunters from their nest).
He did not defeat them, because he left the world … so if they ever find him, they can slay him and take his power.

And so it begins (to finish)

… a good night, a fine story, fine camaraderie … brought to a halt when several scouts come rushing in, calling out in their own tongue.

The chieftain, she motions us to follow her … which means we’re brought in with guards around us. The Shaman comes, too.
Others are going up to nests … Redvalley folk are ushered to caves.

“Out of respect for what you did for those of Redvalley, but an Orcish [patrol/warband/company] approach, armed, and as to take charge, and why do you do this, Virens?”

V: Redvalley refugees need not be your trouble.
C: [cuts off a shriek] [cocked head] Do you deem us incapable, or reluctant?
V: Your choice, but story of Redvalley must go to the world. You will be left safe in your camp.
C: Fair exchange to care for these people, and you to act as our fist. What do we do, then, to repay you if not to care for these people?
V: If I thought you were incapable. would not have stopped here. But … the story must be told. If you speak from strength to the orcs, they will listen.

Shaman: (to mediate? but seems up in arms) (yanks out three feathers, violently, the back to calm) Natural for those of the world to see their own people as the most familiar way to accomplish things. Wolves call to wolves, not to creatures of the trees. But we are not wolves, we are not simple creatures. The implication is that something would not be done well enough for these people. We are trusting you with everything of the People fo the Air. The very future of our tribe was destroyed. The only ways forward are movement, and vengeance, for the power and life was taking from us. And we gave it to you, and claimed lives for lives. That is what one must do to be above those creatures. But then you ask for … help. We do not ask you to avenge the death of my son, and then to hire mercenaries, just in case. That is unfair to say, but I am agree, and choose words that are not fair. (Walks away stiff to the back of the cave.)

Sekura: (Glances at other senior people) (steps forward, but stands there, silent, for some reason)

[We are there. The innkeeper and wife. The honor guard. The Chieftain and Shaman. Seniors of tribe. Maybe 20?]

(Carabas would probably be a bit ticked off on the People’s behalf. And Rowan would be, “Priorities, people!”)

[Bill: “Dropping this here in case anyone’s curious, but I don’t want to delay Ann’s thing: Virens saying “fight me” gets the central question out of the way: are the People strong enough to deal with this on their own? If THEY win (Virens’ preferred outcome), they get to tell the orcs “one of us bested your champion” and the orcs would absolutely respect that. If they aren’t strong enough to beat Virens one on one, well, now they know.”]
[Carabas: (sighs) Chest-thumping orcs. Now those are stories I know well.]
[Virens: (adjusts necktie) Orcs don’t get no respect!]

Ann: (steps forward) I am suire no disrespect was intended. (Speak Softly. Bonds with Virens. Sense with Hope --> 7
]
Q1: What do they want, and how can we help them get it? [They really want this to work, they want the townsfolk to fulfill their honor] (From their PoV, we are acting as their vengeance, but the more they have sacrificed, the more they guarantee our success.)

Q2: [Active listening, so that Virens will understand this is about honor, which he totally respects, and so that both he and the Bird Folk understand that we’re all trying to be respectful to each other.] [But any issue with the Orcs taking their tale and letting them bring it to more people? Or is that inappropriate?] No, it’s not inappropriate. (Sekura, and an orc that had to be brought back to health, several years back. And that orc regaled her with stories of their bravery, and she told him, I wish there were more orcs around. But has since realized she might have invited them to bring them into the Toskan Empire, and that continues to prey on her.)

Q3: What would they have us do next?
They are the right heroes to seek your vengeance, you are the right people to care for these people – your support for them is very apparent (engaging innkeepers, Bernard and Jane).
For a moment, the Chief seems as though she would turn and answer, but does not. (Sekura reacts, but, honorably, cannot. But … )

S: The People must remains the One People. We have a duty and honor to care for those who came to us. We must retain that. We respect the honor of the Orcs, who will protect those that they feel need protection, but that duty has been taken on by others, and this spaces belongs to us, and those who have been taken in as part of the tribe. Those not of the tribe should not come into the place. But our story shoudl go out, and the world should remember we will help the younger tribes, the story fo the First Flyer, and that the Corruptor remembers and envies that. The story should go out. And you … (steels self) You will take us to your people, and we will entertain their visit at the edges of their camp, and you will tell them the story, so they take it back to their people. And they will leave, and you will leave, as allies of the One People.

A: (one side-eyed scout, studiously unreadable, as if kinda thinking that’s a crap speech, but nobody is going to actually tell her that.) So, unless you think we still need to fight.

In the Camp of the Orcs

Three guys, but the camp is formally set up for enemy territory. Rocky outcrop atop a hill. Virens accompanies …
S: To be honest, I just don’t want … you’re the only person who can tell them what they need to know while avoiding a ritual blood-letting.
V: Among Orcs, bloodshed is blood shared.
Orcs raise eyebrows … though Wynn and Rowan draw attention.
Any word to send back? Just that we’re doing our duty.

The Journey to Chains Crossing

CC lies in a mountain range. Mountain passes. Challenges. Next time!

Fellowship Stuff

Redvalley:
N Allies of My People. Group in CC that would be our friends?
N Bountiful Harvest
Y Halfling Hospitality --> Everyone gets an added gear.

Carabas: Purse of foreign coins (Precious, 2 uses)

People of the Air:
? Pleasures of a Nomadic Life. Community within an hour’s walk.
? Lost Histories. Each player learns a single, close secret, when the time is right.
? Elven Hospitality. 2 javelin throwers come with you (2 members get a bond with one)

(We’ll think on that one.)

End of Session

Save a people? N
Strike a blow agains the overlord? N
World and its people? Y

Refresh the Gear (which helps Virens, only)

Virens: Bond with Sekura. “Blood shed is blood shared”
Ann: Bonds for Sekura and Fennic

Want to see something with Wynn and a Bird Kid … why don’t they like you?

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The more I think about it, the more I like this one. We talked awhile back about liking “community” in the game, and I like the idea it’s not just the Nine Walkers vs. Mordor, but a lot of people getting together to expose and shut down someone whose tactics are divisiveness and corruption.

Assorted comments on the interactions here:

  • While we didn’t hear Ann talking bad about Tosk, clearly the bad part of the orcs’ reputation was on display, and the way other cultures mistrust them was in full view. I was happy with that.
  • Virens did what I wanted him to do: explain the situation, tell the truth, not interfere in some other culture’s internal business, but simply give them a choice. That the choice offended them is something he wouldn’t have realized but that Ann salvaged, which is good.
  • I was glad to see that the dilemma about Tosk wasn’t just a vague fear, but that it had a face (Sekura). I’d like to encourage future conflicts we have to similarly be embodied by one or more NPCs at the heart of them.
  • The orcs came, heard the story, and went. Good. That’s what they ought to have done (as I’ve described them). The elders may not feel great about how it all went down, but hopefully their immediate fears have been satisfied.

So overall it went (I think) very well. There was a misunderstanding, it got solved by people who understood each other and trusted each other, and now we can get on our way. Ann didn’t come off as condescending or patronizing toward Virens or orcs in general, just stepped in and said “let’s talk about this a different way”. It’s pretty much what I was hoping for from the scene.

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