Session Thirteen: Many Meetings

Session Date: February 17, 2008

Much of this session was in various meetings within Coranan. As a side note, there are eight founders of the Coranan temple. The six primary priests are Olrau, Bowdyn, Jaroud, Judyn, Kalrun, and Maban. In addition, there are the young Kara (Kalrun's ward) and the elder Gwelen (Judyn's mother). Most meetings are of the six active priests, though the eight will sometimes meet on formal occaisions. Bowdyn's wife Hillay is an owner of the temple at Olrau's request, but has never been included in church meetings. There are formal meetings of all founders every tenday, and informal meetings daily in the mornings. Both are currently at Judyn's house.

Founder's Meeting
(10 Azura, TR 720)

One morning, there was a general meeting of the founders to discuss their next steps. There was some consensus that they needed to work on their public image to attract more converts. Judyn suggested that before long, they would be involved in politics one way or the other. She suggested that they should choose a faction to align with and make a public show of support. They discussed politics some, noting the known different factions. Judyn knew that some factions had close ties to other churches, especially the Halean church. However, she did not know which were unaligned (a failed beginner's luck roll on Politics-wise).

Kalrun objected to the others on this, suggesting that involving ourselves in politics could cause additional trouble that other churches did not have to deal with. However, Maban and Bowdyn did not object to the idea. They also discussed other actions they could do to improve the church's public image.

Analia Visits
(10 Azura, TR 720)

Their morning meeting was then interrupted by a knock on Judyn's door. This turned out to be the Agrikan priestess Analia, wearing (? her formal garb ?) with a small ceremonial mace. She was accompanied by a man of her fighting order, the Cohorts of Gashang. Judyn offered him food, keeping him out of the meeting.

Analia spoke rather formally but frankly, saying that she had learned from a fellow Agrikan priest that the Coranan Ilvirans had somehow interfered with the Order of the Octagonal Pit. She wished to know what was going on, and offered information from her side in return.

The Ilvirans described their distaste for the use of Ivashu in the games, and Analia said that she felt similarly -- that the games should glorify human martial prowess in honorable combat rather than mere spectacle. They described their visit to Shiran. Judyn then asked what they could do for her, since it seemed to be in their mutual advantage to help each other.

To answer, Analia asked that they swear to secrecy about what she was about to ask. Judyn brought out some holy earth from Araka-Kalai to swear on, while Analia took out a silver cup that she dripped her own blood into. With everyone sworn to secrecy, Analia said that she desired the death of her uncle Drayas, currently the head of her clan -- which was a an old patrician Thardic clan that was once part of the old imperial nobility (though not one of the current great clans). With him out of the way, she would become clan leader.

The Ilvirans were not surprised by this, but were hesitant. They asked about where he was and how well he was defended— and Analia described his home in the hills in Ostenor Disctrict, far to the north of Coranan province, where he would have perhaps 5-6 (?) men-at-arms. When travelling, though, he might only have one or two depending on when and where he was going. The Ilvirans wished to discuss this among themselves, though reassured her that they would keep the secret. Judyn went with Analia back to her soldier companion, but then suggested that she stay a short while and enjoy her hospitality -- saying that she suspected they might have an answer for her soon.

Maban's Divination
(10 Azura, TR 720)

While Judyn was escorting Analia downstairs, Maban pulled out her bag of bones. She asked the bones to tell her Analia's fate. She cast them on Judyn's table and the pattern of the bones was very strange. In staring at them to interpret their meaning, they bones formed into strange shapes, which became a series of realistic images in Maban's mind, as if in a dream or vision.

First, she saw Analia and a blond girl training with weapons. It was clear that Analia was teaching the girl how to fight. Maban assumed that the girl was Analia's daughter.

Second, she saw Analia in a dark room, in which a naked man was tied with his arms and legs to four separate posts. HIs body was covered with blood, whip marks, and fine cuts. Analia was standing over him, holding a cruel-looking whip and a small knife.

Third, she saw Analia, in her formal ecclesiastical garb attending a ceremony— a wedding. Kara was the bride— although who the groom was could not be seen.

Finally, she saw Analia, looking older, standing in a large tent with a bald man, wearing a burnished bronze breastplate, looking over a series of maps. She saw Analia leave the tent and look over a military camp filled with soldiers. Numerous banners and pennants were visible— with lions and swans and bears and foxes— but the one that caught her eye decited a severed claw (a symbol of Ilvir) from which eight drops of blood were falling (a symbol of the V'hir).

Maban related her divination to her fellows.

Cranor Also Visits
(10 Azura, TR 720)

While they were speaking with Analia, a servant came in to say that another visitor had come. This was a lower-class man, Cranor, who had come to visit Maban. Judyn went out to greet him, taking care that he did not see Analia or her companion. She then went and brought Maban to talk with him in a downstairs room, instructing her servant to listen in "in case there was any trouble".

Cranor spoke to Maban about striking violently against the Agrikan Order of the Octagonal Pit. His plan was to convince the Umbathri still staying in the city to attack the Agrikans, and he wanted her help. She responded that she didn't want to attack anyone -- she just wanted to free the Ivashu. When he tried to argue it with her, she became upset and left. Cranor then left before the others were finished talking with Analia.

Another Assassination?
(10 Azura, TR 720)

The group then discussed killing Analia's uncle Drayas and how they might accomplish it. Most were in favor of the plan, though they were concerned of what they should ask in return. They would have preferred a specific favor to request as payment. However, unable to come up with one, they agreed to simply have her agree that she would owe them an important favor.

They invited her back in a friendly manner, and said they would agree to kill the man -- but that it would be understood that she would owe them an important favor. She agreed to this.

Analia then left and they discussed how they might accomplish this. It was suggested that they could send Jaroud and Bowdyn as before, but Kalrun's alternate suggestion was to find an Ivashu whom they could convince of the task. Judyn preferred the latter, noting that whatever they did, it should appear quite different from the death of Punat of Khonary -- lest people link the two.

Maban then prayed on what Ivashu they should seek out -- with the two key ones being the one recently escaped from Shiran, and the one that their convert Duglan had encountered in a cave to the southwest near Taztos. Maban's prayer for guidance gave a clear signal pointing to Taztos, and they agreed to go there to seek out the plan. Knowing that it ate human flesh -- with Maban confirming that it should be human -- Judyn suggested that they should bring it a body to eat. However, over the next few days, they found no means to get such a body (a failed Circles roll for Judyn).

Kara returns from Shiran
(12 Azura, TR 720)

Several days after the meeting with Analia, Kara arrived at Judyn's house, having returned from Shiran. She brought with her a copy of the Life of the Blessed Ulam, a chronicle of the life of a 6th century Ilviran mendicant who traveled extensively thrughout the Corani Empire and spent significant time at theold Corani Ilviran temple. She also brought a letter from Gwydion, written in Old Jarinese using the Likase letters. They read it first, finding:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Ilvir:

It was so good that Ilvir led you to visit us. Knowing that we have brethren so near to whom we can turn for counsel and aid is of great comfort. We hope that such meetings will be more frequent.

On the matter we discussed while you were here, there have been changes - as, of course, there are in all things in the world - and even more so for those who will one day go back to the Brooder's caverns.

Those to whom we are no longer providing our aid are, of course, displeased. This is no surprise. What is most surprising is that they have let us know that they find our services so valuable, that they are willing to pay a much higher price than they had been doing so before.

As you know, our need for money to keep up and repair our temple is great. It has been very difficult to keep refusing their generous offers. Under my guidance, we have continued to do so, but this decision is not popular, either without our temple or within.

My role as chief priest has never before been in jeopardy, but there are hints my time here may come to an end if we continue to pursue our present path, and I do not doubt that my successor would revert to older practices.

Any assistance you can give that would help assure my fellow priests that our path is the right one, and one which we can maintain, would be most appreciated.

With gratitude and honor,

Gwydion of Morric

They then read aloud the entire Life of Blessed Ulam, which was written in an older dialect of Western Hârnic. After the group had read it allowed, Judn looked at the text trying to read between the lines for clues as to its origin, or for references to things not stated directly,but she made a mess of it (no successes on her Reading roll, though she learned from the attempt). Over the next few days they would decipher more of it.

(Brief description of the Life of Ulam) [GM Will add a link to the text.]

Kara also related some other bits of gossip from Shiran. She indicated that Cranor, the priest who had visited Judyn's just three days before and left in a huff, had visited the Shirani temple of the Seafarer Ibenis just several days before as well. She also indicated that she thought he was 'creepy'.

Kara also related that Gwydion had a “girlfriend” who was a Halean priestess. Apparently, he used some of the money the group had given his temple to buy jewelry for her. Kara also related that she had heard some things about Analia of Erm from Gwydion's girlfriend. Analia was “not not a very nice person” according to Kara's account of the priestess' words. During the schism of The Eight Demons (Analia's current order) from its parent order (Herpa the Mace), Analia has been at the Shiran temple, where she played the role of an inqusitor, rooting out, killing, and torturing many of her own fellow priests and priestesses who were purported to oppose the founding of the new order.

Kalrn suggested to Kara that she not pay any heed to “things said by Halean priestesses".

Meeting with the Octagonal Pit
(13 Azura TR 720)

Later, they went to a meeting arranged by Analia with Carig of Gundar, an Ulankh from the Shiran temple of the Octagonal Pit, This was conducted at a private house -- neutral ground arranged by Analia, apparently also used for confidential meetings between different Agrikan orders.

Analia had described the priest as fat and lazy, and he seemed to match he description. He spoke respectfully, but said that he knew they were responsible for the Ilvirans in Shiran ceasing their help. He described them as better organized and funded than the temple in Shiran -- and he wanted to know how much it would cost to get their help.

Judyn took the lead in responding, saying that they were not interested in money. However, they would be amenable to compromise based on how the Ivashu were treated. She emphasized that the Ivashu were holy creatures of Ilvir, and also of Agrik based on the eight demons. She suggested that rather than money, they might cooperate if the conditions of the Ivashu were improved. They would be treated as well as the human gladiators, both behind the scenes and in the arena. If victorious, they should go back to recover and fight another day. He was clearly not expecting such demands, but was rather expecting to simplys strike a cash pargan.

The Ilvirans went aside to briefly discuss their reservations about the compromise in private. Maban naturally had objections, saying that the Ivashu should be released if they win, and possible they should only fight willingly. However, Judyn pointed out that accepting this compromise did not prevent them from doing other actions covertly. She also noted that the plan would give them access to the arena, which could be very useful for the future. Their part would be to help tend the Ivashu in the arena, and convince the Shiran Ilvirans to help as well. Since they privately knew from Gwydion's that he could not maintain his position, this was barely a concession.

Returning to discuss it, they overheard Analia telling the other priest violently to keep his hands to himself. They then made clear their position, and he agreed to take the proposal to his superiors. Judyn pointed out that this would be less costly to them, and that improved conditions for the Ivashu could easily prove profitable to them -- such as the revenue from repeated performances.

Judyn then asked him in addition if, as part of the arena, he would have access to bodies or condemned criminals. He agreed, and she said that she would be interested in buying one such. He was surprised, and she explained that such would be needed for acquiring Ivashu. He then nodded, and agreed to make arrangements for such a purchase.

Postscript: Cranor's Message
(13 Azura TR 720)

After the meeting with Carig, the missionaries returned to their respective dwellings. Judyn, upon returning home, found a message had been delivered for her. Written in modern Jarinese, using Likase letterings, it said, "If you do not attack our enemies, but strike bargains with them instead, then you are our enemy too!" There was no signature or seal— only a blacked out circle of ink. However, Judyn— and the others, once the message was relayed to them— voiced the opinion that it must be from Cranor.

(End of Session)