Session Sixteen: The Worm's Body

Session Date: March 22, 2008

The Nolah Revived
(Morning, 28 Azura, TR 720)

The session began exactly where the last session had end. The temple founders as well as Duglan were in the ancient barrow surrounding the just-deceased corpse of H'flokgh'ka, the ophidian snake-man Elder Brood Ivashu. Duglan had just severed its head after it was defeated by Jaroud, Kalrun, and Bowdyn. Judyn had slipped behind it and climbed over its coils to grab the Orb of Souls. Maban was praying on the floor near the unconscious body of the Nolah.

Faced with the orb and body and unconscious Nolah, they now discussed what they wanted to do now. They all agreed that, following Maban's vision, they should take the orb to Araka Kalai -- and they also agreed that the Elder Brood's body was itself a holy artifact that they should take with them. They disagreed about what to do with the Nolah. Judyn felt that, as was their original plan in coming here, they should recruit the Nolah to help them. Maban was unsure of this, and Jaroud quietly held against this, but Kalrun and Bowdyn agreed with Judyn. She convinced Maban to translate, and Maban then took their advice in convincing the Nolah to work with them. She kept secret from the other founders that the Nolah wanted one of them to stay here and hunt for it. However, she convinced it to come with them and help them kill a person -- Analia's uncle -- if they then let it eat the whole body.

The founders also were not agreed on how to transport out the orb and body. Several felt they should try to slip it out quietly along the salt route. However, Duglan argued that they must use the body of H'flokgh'ka to rouse up the soldiers at Taztos. The others did not strongly object to this, and eventually agreed without argument to stay the night at Taztos and reveal the body. Kalrun worried that the orb would be discovered. Judyn suggested that they also load the cart up with the Brood's shit. Burying the orb in that would fit the story she had given. She reasoned that it was unlikely that anyone would want to probe the shit, especially with the body there, though its supposed holiness would justify their guarding the shit.

The Ambush
(Afternoon, 30 Azura, TR 720)

Taking the ox-drawn cart now loaded with body and shit back through the woods, they retraced their route towards Taztos. When they reached the pit trap they had set, they got a nasty surprise. As they reached it, they saw that it had been sprung, and there was blood inside. Just as they saw this, three arrows plunged into the side of the cart -- and a Tulwyn called out an ultimatum from the woods to surrender. Jaroud immediately charged to attack them firing his bow as he closed -- while Judyn grabbed up the head of the H'flokgh'ka and held it aloft to scream out a warning that Ilvir's vengeance would fall on any who attacked them. The others were too surprised to immediately react, although Maban made herself scarce, as did the Nolah.

The Tulwyn were taken aback both by Jaroud's charge and Judyn's warning. They might have backed off, but were prepared to defend themselves against attack. Seeing Jaroud rush off to take them on alone, Judyn ran to help him. His arrow wounded (?) one in the head, and then his charge with his axe wounded another in the chest through his hides (a retcon since the VA bonus of the axe had been forgotten). One of the Tulwyn ran off, while the other two raised spears to attack. Judyn charged enraged, and missed in a swing at one with the weighty severed head, and received a superficial stab wound in the leg. One was stunned by Jaroud's blow, while the other was momentarily frozen by a curse Judyn called out as she was wounded. With the other three arriving to help, the Tulwyn surrendered.

A Soul Returned
(Afternoon, 2 Halane (?), TR 720)

Speaking in broken Hârnic, they explained that their lead warrior had been killed in the pit trap. They had laid in wait by themselves near the trap to catch those responsible, to restore their honor and/or gain revenge. Jaroud was content to let them go, but Judyn demanded they leave the body of their slain warrior with them. She told them her name and spoke of Ilvir to them, and with few alternatives, they agreed to give her the body while she promised to treat the person with respect.

Maban treated the wound in Judyn's leg, which was bandaged and poulticed cleanly successfully.

Finding the fresh body of the warrior in the bushes shallowly buried, the group uncovered the top of the Orb of Souls in the hopes of bringing his soul into it. When nothing happened on its own, Judyn offered a prayer to Ilvir aided by Maban. She reproduced what Jaroud described he had seen H'flokgh'ka do -- gouging the corpse's eyes out with her fingers while she sucked on his dead lips with her own. Her prayer answered, Judyn felt a warm power move into her lungs, and then exhaled on the top of the orb -- sure that the soul had been transfered.

Return to Taztos
(Afternoon, 5 Halane (?), TR 720)

It takes them 2 or 3 more days to get the cart back to Taztos, but they go by without incident. As they come within sight of it, they can see that a new camp has been set up in the woods to the north of the fort that is buzzing with activity. A part of the arcanist Malaris comes to see them as they work the cart south.

The founders introduce themselves and their mission, and then reveal the body to him. He soon calls over Malaris, who is naturally intrigued -- saying that such a find would easily qualify one for a Satia-Mavari position, though none of the founders understood what he meant. They discuss potential plans to study and preserve the body. Earlier (as a retcon), Maban had prayed to Ilvir for the body to be preserved -- but her prayers were not met. Malaris theorized such, but in discussion it soon became clear that he would want the body in his possession to study it.

Not wanting to risk that or his finding further details, they left him abruptly with the flat offer that if he wanted to study the body, he would have to come to their camp and do so on their terms.

Converts at the Gate
(Afternoon, 6 Halane (?), TR 720)

Crossing the bridge to the gate of Taztos, the guards asked to search the cart. Pulling aside the tarp once again, the guards were taken aback -- and Duglan attempted a bold speech despite his inexperience with the skill. He claimed this as a sign of Ilvir's power and called upon the guards to convert. The others all spoke in support of him, and Kalrun called out with a booming voice for the guards to listen to him.

Impressed by his words and knowing of the rumors of the creature's horrible past, the guards were convinced and asked how they could worship Ilvir. The founders quickly told them that when their tour was over, they should come to Coranan and the temple there.

Dinner with the Commander
(Afternoon, 6 Halane (?), TR 720)

The body quickly became a sensation, with all sorts of folk from the camp wanting to see it. The group moved the body off the cart, and took the cart with the shit away to guard it.

Even the commander of the fort arrived, and he was suitably impressed. He remembered Duglan, and said he was amazed when the group reported his bravery in killing the creature. Judyn responded that he had found strength in Ilvir that he had not had before. The commander then invited them to dinner that night. Duglan declined and stayed back to guard the carriage and body.

At dinner, the commander clearly wanted their help to scare off the Rethemi Malaris. Though he did not put much faith in soldiers' superstitions, he was convinced that no good would come of the grave digging. He said that Malaris wanted to uncover some dark power within the Hill of the Dark Grove, that was covered with numerous barrows. The twisted black trees of the hill are said to ooze blood instead of sap, and the legend was that the trees were once men who raped a witch-woman of noble Jarin blood long ago; in vengeance, she turned them into twisted trees.

The founders were all united in decrying Malaris' plan, but they said that there was nothing that they could do about it. Jaroud went so far as to subtlely imply that the commander could induce or fake Tulwyn attacks on them. However, all of them said that they were in no position to act on it personally.

(End of Session)