Session Seventeen: The Return to Coranan

Session Date: April 6, 2008

Overview of the Trait Vote

This session followed the end of the "Elder Brood" adventure, and thus started with voting on new traits as 'awards' for the past seven sessions.

Two PCs were awarded new traits:

  • The Killer” (Dt. Grants +1D to positioning in R&C, and in Fight! a free tandem assess or acquire) was awarded to Jaroud.
  • I'm in Charge” (1 pt. character trait) for Judyn

Also the trait “Run from Battle” was voted away from the NPC Duglan.

[The group forgot to vote for MVP and Workhorse.]

Preserving the Worm's Body
(Partly Retconned, then 3-5 Halane TR 720)

[Play began with discussion about steps that the characters might have taken (prior to getting to Taztos) to have preserved the body of H'flogh'ka, such as removing the fast-rotting internal organs. It was agreed that they remove the organs earlier... and that the Nolah had feasted on some. However, they were also concerned with finding ways to preserve its body from rotting further before heading back to Coranan.]

After dining with Commander Stopez (see Session 16), Kalrun had a flash of inspiration. Given the likelihood that the soldiers at Taztos probably hunted to supplement their rations, and may have ocasionally encountered strange beasts, there might well be someone there at the fort capable of helping them preserve the body of the Elder Brood. Kalrun and the others asked around among and found out that the fort's gardener, a maimed legionnaire named Keleren of Devern, had some skill in taxidermy. [This was the result of a successful linked test of Soldier-Wise with Circles.]

The next morning, they met with Keleren who proved to be irrascible, insulting, and exceedingly foul-mouthed. Despite his overt verbal hostility, the group managed to talk with him. He said that his skills were not such that he could preserve the body of the slain monster perfectly for display, but that he could give it a rough 'treatment' that should halt further rot until they could get to Coranan. The Ilvirans agreed and paid him a modest fee (a few coins and agreement to pay for three whores from Moleryn to travel out and visit him). They also had to arrange for a supply of salt from the fort to be given to him, which cost some money in bribes and purchases. The missionaries agreed to this price.

He said it would probably take 3-4 days to give the corpse the 'rough preservation' he intended.

A Scholar Speaks of Labyrinths and the Other World
(4 Halane TR 720)

While the missionaries waited at Taztos for Keleren to complete his preserving process (they offered to help but were met only with viscious insults), the young Corani scholar Kedoran of Moris came to speak with them. He asked them if the would be willing to take a letter back to his wife back in Coranan, If they didn't want to find her directly, he said, they could leave it at the Guild of Arcane Lore or the Scroll & Quill, and it would find its way to her, eventually. The missionaries agreed to do so.

Kedoran also asked them a few questions about the place where they had found H'flogh'ka. He specifically wished to know whether it was a barrow or a cave, and, if a barrow, whether they had seen any strange markings on the walls or floor— resembling a labyrinth?

The missionaries lied to Kedoran, telling him that H'flogh'ka's lair was a cave, not barrow However, they did tell the truth about about not having seen any labynthine patterns on the walls or floor. He seemed a bit disappointed.

The missionaries, particularly Bodwyn and Judyn, who had read the Life of Ulam themselves (which referred to the Corani temple of Ilvir having had two 'labyrinths'), were struck by Kedoran's curiosity in the subject. At first, he said only that there was an account of a visit to Taztos in the 5th century, by a scholar named Sorenal, who found a a brrow whose walls and floor were all carved with labrynthine patterns.

With some prompting, however, Kedoran opened up a bit more to the group and shared some of his personal theories— namely, that for the early Jarin, passage through a labyrinth was a symbol of the journey from this world to the Otherworld, made by souls after death— or even by extraordinary individuals in life. He also related his belief that Taztos was a place where the boundaries between 'our world' and the Otherworld were very thin. If true, offered, this would explain why the Jarin choose Taztos as a burial site— and why people and objects sometimes just seemed to vanish mysteriously here. He suggested that it could also explain the presence of ghosts— spirits from the Otherworld who can find their way back to ours.

When asked by the missionaries whether labyrinths were just a 'symbol' of the journey to the Otherworld, or whethere they could be a means to actually make the journey, Kedoran hesitated and said, "That's one theory, certainly." He then took his leave of the missionaries.

The Caravan from the East / Enter Cobart
(5 Halane, TR 720)

Around mid-day, a large caravan from the east begin arriving at Taztos. It had dozens of carts, and hundreds of animals and men. The caravan was primarily comprised Thardic, Rethemi, and Kandayan merchants returning from their summer in Kaldor. They brought much news from the east.

There were a few a Kaldoric merchants traveling with the caravan as well: traders seeking to winter in Tharda, Rethem, or Kanday. One of those was Cobart of Denach, Judyn's cousin!

Judyn briefly invited her cousin to meet with her fellow missionaries. The two also had a long private conversation to catch up on family matters and business affairs.

The Return Journey
(6-13 Halane, TR 720)

The arrival of the caravan complicated the missionaries' plans. It would be strange for them to not seek to travel back to Coranan with the caravant. On the other hand, how could they possibly meet up with the Nolah Yehla-Sha-Bhemis and bring him back with them while traveling with a huge caravan?

The group decided to split up. Judyn, along with Duglan, would remain with the caravan and accompany it back to Coranan. They would be taking the ox-drawn cart carring the body of the Elder Brood (and the concealed Orb of Souls) with them.

The others (Jaroud, Bowdyn, Karlun, and Maban) would take the remaining horses and set off ahead of the caravan, so that they could meet up with Yehla-Sha-Bhemis and then travel to Coranan without the crowd of the caravan. They set out on the morning of the 6th of Halane. They met up with the Nolah not too far west of Taztos. It expressed only mild annoyance at having to wait so many days for them as it had found a 'nice damp hole in a hill to hide in'.

After crossing over the Mimea Hills on the 7th and passing the Teb Marshes on the morning of the 8th, the group began to move into more civilized territory, as hamlets— and then whole villages became frequent. They realized that traveling with the Nolah would become difficulty in these areas.

The group decided to split up yet again. Bowdyn and Kalrun would continue along the main road by horse, but Jaroud and Maban (along with the Nolah) would split off from them. These three would travel, by foot, in ways to avoid being seen. They traveled offroad for much of the way back to Moleryn, snuck over the Teb Bridge at night, and then carefully made their way by moonlight to the Kamile Woods. They gradually made their way through the Kamile Woods to the outskirts of the village of Selim, just west of Kuseme. Then, again by night, they snuck into Kuseme and made their way to Judyn's home. They arrive in the late night/early morning of 13 Halane. Almost miraculously, they were not seen by any during this multi-day trip— not even in Kuseme. [This was the result of a successful series of linked tests : Woods-Wise, Orientation, and Stealthy].

Upon arrival at Judyn's Kuseme house, the group met with Bowdyn and Kalrun, who had returned two days before (on the 11th) who had, by arrangement, been staying there in case there were any issues handling the Nolah. Olrau was also there for the same reasons. (Olrau had a number of bruises on his face and hands, and he seemed to be limping slightly and experiencing pain in one arm. He put off questions about his injuries, however, saying he would discuss them later.) Judyn had not yet arrived, but that was expected— it would probably take the caravan another 1-2 days to roll into Kuseme.

Settling the Nolah
(Morning, 13 Halane, TR 720)

The first order of business was Yaela-Sha-Bhemis.

Against Gwelen's protestations, Olrau and the others persuaded her to let them 'temporarily' keep the Nolah in the basement. The Nolah was politely escorted down there.... and a whole pig carcass (purchased by Maban) put in the cellar with it.

Heavy objects were piled on top of the trapdoor leading into the basement and the servants were ordered not to go into the basement. Although care had been taken to keep them from seeing the Nolah, and although no-one had told them what was being kept in the basement, they clearly were unnerved.

News and Rumors: War, a Summons, Mugging, and More
(Morning, 13 Halane, TR 720)

The Nolah 'safely' installed in the cellar of Judn's Kuseme house, Bowdyn, Kalrun, Maban, and Jaroud relayed to Olrau and Gwelen all that had transpired on their journey. In return, Olrau and Gwelen brought them up to date on news and rumors of events that had transpired since their departure on the 16 Azura, nearly a month before. This took place at Judyn's house in Kuseme.

The most recent news in Coranan— that everyone was talking about— was that the long-expected civil war in Rethem was finally beginning. Apparently, the rebellious Earl of Tormau had launched an unexpected autumn attack on the castle of Ithiko, seat of the Earl of Ithiko, and King Chafin's strongest supporter. The stories of what exactly had occurred were not clear. Some reported that Tormau was beseiging Ithiko, others that he had already taken it and razed it, a few that he had only sent in a few dozen soldiers to burn crops. Some claimed that it was not the Earl of Tormau who had attacked at all, but rather Orbaalese raiders. Whatever the matter, the most common assessment was that the King Chafin would be compelled to respond with a campaign against Tormau in the spring.

Olrau took the lead in relating many events of interest to the group's religious mission— and its commitments to others:

  • Carig of Gundar, the Agrikan Ulankh from Shiran with whom they had previously had dealings, had returned to Coranan a tenday ago. A few days after Carig's return, he brought the missionaries a “summons” to appear before the Viriahn (high priest) of the Coranan temple of the Octagonal Pit. Olrau explained to him that the rest of the group was on a pilgrimmage, but at Carig's insistence, Olrau went to meet with the Viriahn alone. (Gwelen did not come.) The meeting was, Olrau indicated, merely an exchange of formalities (and a display of wealth and power by the Octagonal Pit) that was intended to be a prelude to further negotations about having the group involved in assisting in the procurement and care of Ivashu for the arena. Olrau insisted that he would need to consult with the rest of the ruling council, upon their return, before any negotiations could be begun. He re-assured the Viriahn that upon the rest of the group's return, they would be ready to begin discussions.
  • Analia of Erm, priestess of the Eight Demons, had sought Olrau out twice since the rest of the group had left on their quest. She was quite annoyed that so many of the founders had departed the city, just days after agreeing assassinate her uncle, especially without telling her. She was concerned that the group was reneging on their deal. (Olrau indicated that she did not say it aloud, but he felt that she was also fearful that the rest of the grouphad gone to alert her uncle of her plans for him.) Olrau promised Analia that the promises made would be fulfilled and pledged to her that if the group should not return to fulfill their agreement, he would permit her to take whatever revenge she deemed suitable upon him. This, he related, appeared to conent her.
  • Laranz of Khonary, now head of his household (if not clan Khonary) had received a lengthy visit from his cousin, the Senator Whithas of Khonary. During the visit of Senator Whithas, Laranz was busy meeting with members of other greatclans and attending functions at the Halean temple, in support of its seven-day Banquest of Delight Festival (lasting from 1-7 Halane). A key concern of the Khonary clan was apparently to publicly re-affirm their devotion to the goddess Halea in light of the recent rumors that they are Ilvirans. Senator Whithas departed just a few days later, and almost immediately after his departure, Laranz had sought to contact Bowdyn and the others, asking them to dine at his house.
  • The head priest of the temple of the Seafarer Ibenis, Gwydion of Morric, had come to Coranan to meet them them about matters pertaining to their both their temples— and the group's mission in Coranan. Olrau did not elaborate on the specifics, saying that he thought they were matters best left for Gwydion to himself explain. He was staying at Judyn's house in the city.

Olrau also related two items of more personal concern to Bowdyn and Jaroud. He told Bowdyn that Hillay had gone to Shiran with a group of other Halean guildswoman, to celebrate the Banquet of Delight Festival there. Before leaving, she had asked Olrau for a loan of money, so that she could make the trip in an appropriate manner— and he had done so. Bowdyn was angry to hear about his wife borrowing money from Olrau. Olrau tried to reassure him that it was better that he lend the money, “else she would have gone to unscrupulous usurers, who would charge unreasonable interest and use force to ensure timely repayment." Bowdyn retorted that that would have been better— as that might teach Hillay a lesson.

To Jaroud, Olrau recounted the unhappy news that Tiny had stolen the recently-born pups that he was breeding to be guard dogs. Jaroud was furious— but not entirely surprised— to hear this news. Though tempted to storm off immediately to confront Tiny, he was persuaded by the others to wait a bit, so that they could join him and provide 'backup' if needed.

Finally, under repeated prodding from the others, Olrau explained his injuries. He had been mugged by two thugs in the western part of the Coranan. While the group was gone, he had made it his habit to give speeches and solicit alms in the mercantile district and on the wharf in the eastern part of the city, and then to go into the western half, and distribute those almos to needy people there, while preaching to them. Apparently, his pattern of doing so had been noticed by someone and, just under a tenday or so ago, he was attacked by two thugs, who beat him and stole his money while he was preaching in the Agrikan district. The group sought more information from him about this: Did he see his assailants, Did they say anything to him? He insistedthat the matter really was nothing to get concerned about: he was bruised, but not badly andonly a few dozen coins were stolen. “It was Ilvir's will that this occur, to teach me greater caution.”

Arrangements for Meetings
(Late Morning / Early Afternoon, 13 Halane, TR 720)

This news having been shared, the group agreed that they should wish to meet with both Gwydion and Laranz as soon as possible. Olrau indicated that he would go back to Coranan to find Gwydion and that he would bring him to Judyn's house in Kuseme to meet. (He felt that it was best if the rest of the group stay there in case the Nolah should cause trouble.)

Before he left, he also took down a message that Kalrun wished to send Analia, to let her know they were back and to re-assure her that they were prepared to honor their agreement to assassinate her uncle. Kalrun's message was, “The serpent inches closer to its prey.
Soon it will be ready to strike” Olrau said that he would see it delivered the Eight Demons temple.

Olrau also wrote a message to Laranz, indicating that the whole group of misionaries had returned (save for Judyn, who was delayed with a caravan), and that they were eager to meet with him at his earliest pleasure. He agreed to see this delivered to the Laranz as well.

Olrau then departed to find Gwydion and deliver the two other messages. In the meantime, the group sat down to a huge meal that was prepared by Judyn's and Gwelen's servants— a true feast, especially after a month of eating on the road. Jaroud fretted about his dogs— and wanting to find Tiny— but mustered great patience, inspired by promises of Kalrun and Bowdyn, that they all would go find Tiny later that afternoon to get the dogs back.

Gwydion's Proposal
(Early Afternoon, 13 Halane, TR 720)

In the early afternon, Olrau returned to Judyn's Kuseme house with Gwydion, chief priest of the Seafarer Ibenis temple. (Gwydion had, apparently, been touring Coranan's streets with Mykel as his guide.) Olrau also reported that he had spoke with Laranz of Khonary and that the young Master Mason was eager to receive the entire group of missionaries for dinner that evening, just after sunset.

Those present (Bowdyn, Jaroud, Maban, Olrau, and Kalrun) greeted Gwydion in a friendly manner. He returned the courtesy and then praised the missionaries for the hospitality (he had been staying at Judyn's city house since his arrival, courtesy of Olrau).

He then began to praise them for their shrewdness and wisdom. He explained that, ever since his temple had agreed to stop aiding the Agrikans of the Octagonal Pit, the Octagonal Pit priests have offered consecutively higher and higher amounts of money for their services. He commend the founders for having the foresight and the prudence to recognize that withholding their services would make the Agrikans realize just how valuable the aid provided by the Seafarer Ibenis temple was.

Kalrun and Maban seemed displeased with the general direction of Gwydion's praise. They gathered from his words that he perceived the act of ceasing Ivashu-trafficking simply as a negotiation tactic to get more money from the Agrikans. However, as it was clear, that Gwydion had other things we wished to say, they bit their tongues and let him continue.

Gwydioin went on to say that this was an idea that neither he nor any of the priests at his temple would have ever come up with on their own. "It shows," he explained, "that there is much to gain from our cooperation. New ideas— and new blood: that is what we need at the Seafarer Ibenis" He went on to add that having Kara stay at his temple for the past two months has already resulted in many improvements to the temple: priests actually look to their books as something valuable, some are even reading them! Discussions of theology are taking place among the priests— and at dinner. Also, there is a spirit to try and keep the temple cleaner, nicer, and better maintained. "There is," he went on, "a new spirit of diligence, devotion, and intellectual and physical energy that has been brought about by young Kara's ongoing presence at the temple."

"For that reason," he aded, "I should like Kara to stay on at our temple permanently…"

At this point, Kalrun interrupted Gwydion with an authoritative and commanding, "No!"

Gwydion nodded politely in response to Kalrun's interruption and explained, "I understand that you would not wish to lose her assistance with your temple plans here. I was not proposing that she stay with us, and that we give nothing in return— I would arrange for one of our priests to come here and assist you in her place." It appeared that Kalrun was again going to object, but Gwyidon continued before he could to do so.

"But it is not only for the mutual benefit of both our temples that I make this request. For it is something that would be very important to me personally. For in the past two months, I have come to realize that the presence of Kara is a joy to me personally. That is why I wish for her to stay in Shiran: not only that so she may be a priestess at our temple and continue to improve it— but I also wish for her to become my wife!"

For several seconds, silience reigned in the room: none of the missionaries (save perhaps Olrau) had been expecting such a suggestion. The missionaries present— most notably Kalrun and Maban— were appalled at Gwydion's suggestion, not merely because of his much greater age (he was in his late 30s, Kara only 14), but also because he seemed comfortable with the idea of trafficking in Ivashu: something that morally outraged them. Loud objections flew— and a few pointed questions, such as whether he had taken advantage of his trust in Kara or had perhaps already seduced her.

Gwydion reassured the founders that the had taken no inappropriate liberties with Kara— and that she was in fact, unaware of his feelings for her, let alone his desire for marriage. He would not presume to speak to her on such a matter without Kalrun's blessing— and the blessing of the others in their order. His words relieved the most immediate concerns of the missionaries that he had taken advantage of Kara, but their were still great objections to the plan.

A lengthy discussion broke out,taking much of the afternoon, primarily between Kalrun and Gwydion. It ranged back-and-forth on many subjects, not only on his desire to wed Kara, but also on the relationships between his temple and their mission. [This was handled as a Duel of Wits with the following stakes: If Gwydion won the DoW, the missionaries present would agree to give their blessing to his marriage proposal to Kara. If Kalrun won the Duel, Gwydion would swear an oath that he would take orders from Kalrun and the other missionaries, essentially making his temple a 'client' temple of theirs. The Duel of Wits was won by Kalrun but with subsantial compromises/concessions— as Kalrun had lost approximately half of his Body of Argument. Gwydion and Kalrun both spent significant Artha throughout the duel..

By the time the afternoon grew late, it had become clear to Gwydion that he was not going to persuade Kalrun or the other missionaries to give their blessing to his marriage proposal— at least not now. However, he felt that the best way to show them we was someone who they could trust— and who would be a fit husband for Kara— was to agree to their request that he and his temple become 'clients' (or 'vassals') of theirs. So he indeed swore a sacred oath that he would follow their guidance and obey them in the direction of his temple. In return, Kalrun and the missionaris missionaries agreed that Kara could remain at the Seafarer Ibenis temple "for the time being" (but not as his wife, and certainly not as a mistress!) and that they would reconsider his marriage proposal at the following year's Arraksin festival, based on how well he had upheld his oath and on what kind of man a year's time shewed him to be. [This was the agreed-upon compromise.]

Death of a Lia-Kavair Boss
(Evening, 13 Halane, TR 720)

Following the long discussion with Gwydion, Gwelen arranged for another meal to be served to the missionaries, as it was getting towards supper-time. Jaroud excused himself from the meal, saying that he had his own business to attend to in Coranan. Bowdyn and Kalrun, remembering their promise to Jaroud, also declined dinner and instead accompanied Jaroud, who clearly could wait no longer to find out about Tiny's 'confiscation' of his dogs. Maban and Olrau, remained behind at Judyn's Kuseme house. Before leaving, Jaroud and Bodwyn suited up in their armor, as they expected violence. Kalrun also donned his Red Guard cloak.

The three men (Jaroud, Kalrun, and Bowdyn) first went to visit Jaroud's house, where they spoke with Mykel. Mykel confirmed the story that Olrau had reported: a tenday before, some of Tiny's men came by and gathered up the young pups that Jaroud had been raising to be guard dogs. Mykel even confessed to helping them do so, though he insisted that he would have been beaten severely had he not done so. Jaroud praised Mykel for his honesty— and reassured him that he had not expected him to stand up to Tiny. He then told Mykel to watch his house, while he and his companions went off to find the gang leader.

Based on their knowledge of Tiny's habits, they found him in a private back room at the Glaive and Sickle Inn, in the midst of eating a large dinner prepared for him by the innkeeper. [This was the result of a successful Circles roll.] They entered the common rool of the inn, barged through the kitchen (against the protestations of the surprised innkeeper and kitchen staff) and entered Tiny's private room. The innkeeper shouted out to warn Tiny that people were coming.

Tiny was there dining, accompanied by three men, presuably thugs under his command. Although he appeared to be surprised by Jaroud's sudden appearance (with two armed friends), he greated him him politely and invited the man to join him for dinner. He reminded Jaroud of the arrangement they had made earlier on (i.e. that Tiny would give Jaroud some dogs for breeding, with the costs to be paid back later) and declared that he had taken the pups as re-payment.

Jaroud refused to accept Tiny's explanation and recounted a litany of complaints about how Tiny had been treating him— not enough dogfights, not enough clients, poor-quality beaten-up dogs given to him for breeding, etc. Jaroud insisted that the dogs he was now breeding were not part of any arrangement he had with Tiny, and that Tiny had no right to 'steal' them. Tiny laughed at this and told Jaroud, "You were gone— I needed repayment. And you weren't there to offer me an alternative. If you can't be present to look after what happens to your property, you have no grounds for complaining about it."

"But," Tiny continued, "if these newborn dogs mean so much to you, then perhaps we can reach an other arrangement. Send out your two men [i.e. Kalrun and Bowdyn] and I'll send out mine and we can settle this between us." Jaroud refused to send Kalrun and Bowdyn away.

Tiny appeared momentarily frustrated, but quickly resumed his contented, greasy-lipped smirk and said, "Very well, it's just a little thing. One of my men has a problem. He's got a daughter that he can't seem to marry. She's not much to look at— or talk to. Not that she's simple, mind you—there's just not too much up front or up top. She can cook and clean decently. Perhaps you can help me out with that."

Jaroud quickly rejected Tiny's suggestion, insisting that he was still in mourning from the death of his prior wife. Tiny suggested that the girl did not need to be married to him in particular. "Perhaps one of your other Ilviran friends? Perhaps one of these fellows?" he offered, nodding to Kalrun and Bowdyn. "And, if she's really not fit in the wifely duties department, well...she'd never notice if you had a mistress or two on the side. Or if she were to meet with an accident or die in childbirth in a years time... "

Jaroud again rejected any consideration of marriage to this woman— either by himself or any of his fellow Ilvirans. He became quite angry and demanded that Tiny give back the pups immediately: "We have an arrangement, but let's get this straight— you don't steal from me!" Tiny stood up angrily and commandingly, and his three thugs took steps forward as well. "I steal from everyone," he said in a loud voice, with a mixture of pride and anger.

The situation quickly deteriorated. Whether it was Tiny's thugs who first rushed forward to attack, or whether it was Jaroud, Kalrun or Bowdyn who first drew a weapon, no-one may ever know. But the result was that a viscious melee broke out in the back room. The fight did not last long, as Tiny and his men were unarmored and minimally armed— against Jaroud's axe and Kalrun's and Bowdyn's swords, there was little they could do, especially given the impressive armor of Jaroud and Kalrun.

After a few quick exchanges, Tiny was injured severely by Jaroud, who delivered a severe blow to the man's skull with his axe, chopping off a sizable portion of his scalp and exposing the bone beneath. Tiny fell to the floor, unconscious, with blood rushing everywhere.. Meanwhile, his flunkies, having delivered some severe kicks to Bowdyn and knocked him to the floor, sought to flee the room. Jaroud and Kalrun blocked the door, though [failure on the thugs' withdraw positioning attempts], but Jaroud shouted to them that they could go, but that his dogs were to be brought to his house immediately. They agreed and left quickly, casting only a quick glance back at Tiny.

There was a brief discusssion among the three men (Bowdyn wasn't too injured to get up on his own) as to what to do to Tiny, who was still lying on the floor, untended, with blood pouring out. Kalrun decided that, if he lived, Tiny would be a greater threat as he would seek vengeance. So we walked over to him, drew his shortsword, and plunged it into the bloated chest of Tiny, ending the crime lord's life.

The innkeeper returned with four or five guards (two-of-his own men-at arms, and a few armed men from the common room who he apparently trusted) and ordered Jaroud, Kalrun, and Bowdyn to get out— now. They did so— through the back door at his suggestion. His voice mixed with outrage and fear, he told them they were never welcome back in his inn again.

The three missionaries left and returned to Jaroud's shop, where they cleaned themselves up. Not long after, two Lia-Kavair thugs (younger fellows— not the same ones who had been with Tiny) brought Jaroud's pups back. They all appeared to be in decent condition, and not having been maltreated. Realizing that his house may not be a safe place to stay for long, Jaroud quickly packed up his most valued possessions [details of what those included still to be detemined-- his dogs? what else?] and took them to Judyn's house in eastern Coranan.

He also sent Mykel to go meet with Tiny's 'other friends' (i.e. other Lia-Kavair members) and to let them know that they were willing to pay weregild to the Lia-Kavair in exchange for having slain Tiny, and to prevent the further escalation of violence.

Dinner and Conversation with Laranz
(Late Evening / Night, 13 Halane, TR 720)

After cleaning themselves up further at Judyn's Coranan house, Jaroud, Kalrun, and Bowdyn went to the home and shop of Laranz of Khonary for dinner, as planned. There, they met Olrau, who had arrived a bit early. (Actually, they were late.) Maban and Gwelen were not present— Olrau reported that they had both stayed at Judyn's Kuseme house to help make sure that the Nolah did not cause problems. There were no other guests present.

Laranz greeted the newcomers warmly, especialy Bowdyn. He said saying he had missed their company in the past month. He was liittle aware of their month-long trip, but explained that he had been occupied with family- and political- matters. His uncle (technically his cousin, but called an uncle), Senator Withas had been staying with him in the city to help pave the way towards his appointment to the Inspector of Public Works office left vacant by his father's death. He also had many dinners and other arrangements to go to in connection with the Senator's attempt to find a suitable wife for him. Also, he explained that it had been essential for him to actively attend Halean services and participate in a prominent way in the recent Baqnuet of Delight festival in order to counter rumors that his father had not actually been a Halean, but an Ilviran.

As they ate and conversed, Laranz relayed what he charactered as "excellent news". He had persuaded his "uncle" and clanhead, Senator Whithas of Khonary, that he could indeed keep Bowdyn on as an assistant and that he could continue to associate with the missionaries. (He had previously told Bowdyn that he wished to minimize his connection with the missionaries while the Senator was staying with him.) Laranz had also reported that he had persuaded Senator Whithas that, in principle, it would be fine for Clan Khonary to work on the construction of an Ilviran temple at some point in the future. He told the missionaries, however, that given the recent death of his father and the need to concern himself with other matters, and that it would take quite some time before any such work could actually begin. But, at least he now had his Uncle's blessing to work on it now. The missionaries politely expressed relief at the idea that the Senator had no objection to Laranz's associating with them or to him, in priniciple, building the temple for them— but they were clearly frustrated by Laranz's wishy-washiness.

After drinking quite a bit of wine, Laranz also conveyed some news concerning his father's death. Apparently, dispute the best efforts of their family's spies and informants, his "uncle" had been unable to ascertain which of the other Thardic greatclans was behind the assassination. They were continuing to ask questions along that line, but his uncle was apparently seeking to consider other possible options, such as that the assassination of his father might have been done for religious reasons. His father had been killed on the most holy major Agrikan holiday (the Feast of Balefire - 8 Agrazhar). His uncle seemed to think that there might have been other signs that the body was killed for religious reasons— something about the wounds or the weapons found with it.

Then, somewhat awkwardly, Laranz related that his uncle had asked the question of whether "these Ilvirans from Kaldor might be behind it". (Senator Whithas had, apparently, been quite aware that Punat was not at all welcoming of Olrau's missionariries into the city.) Laranz said that he had told his uncle that this was not possible, but… he confessed to the missionaries, that his uncle's question had raised some doubts in his own mind, doubts that he was embarassed to put into words, but which he felt he needed to ask. The young master mason reminded Bowdyn that he had gone to see him on the 9th of Agrazhar, only to be told by Hillay that Bowdyn was 'out hunting' with Jaroud. Laranz also reminded Bowdyn of how strangely he had reacted when, on the 9th, Laranz had relayed to him the news that his father was willing to meet with the missionaries at one of the family estates. (This was before news of the assassination had reached Laranz.)

Laranz insisted that he wasn't accusing Bowdyn or the other missionaries of anything— and that he felt sure in his heart that they had nothing to do with his father's death. "But," he apologized with sincerity in his voice, "my uncle has introduced these doubts into my head and I can't get them out!

[At this point, a decision was made to treat this conversation and what followed as a Duel of Wits between Bowdyn and Laranz. Bowdyn's player, clearly frustrated by both Laranz's wishy-washiness in the face of his uncle and his ongoing secretiveness about his faith— proposed the following stake: "If I win this duel, Laranz will publically proclaim his and his family's Ilviranism and will no longer hide his faith." In turn, the GM proposed the stake: "If Laranz wins, Bowdyn will tell him everything he knows about his father's death, including his own involvement in it." The Duel was played out, and due to a combination of Laranz's "Weak-Willed trait, and good scripting/rolling by Bowdyn's player— and terrible rolling by Laranz, it was a complete victory for Bowdyn. No points lost from Body of Argument!]

After lengthy discussion between Bowdyn and Laranz through the remainder of the meal, with the other missionaries (including Olrau) chiming in, Bowdyn persuaded Laranz that the best antidote to doubt was faith, and that he could never overcome his doubts for so long as he continued to lie to himself and his fellow citizens about his faith. [Note to players; if you recall any particularly good points made in the DOW, please let me know and I'll add them.] Laranz, taking another hearty drink of wine, stood up and proclaimed that Bowdyn was right! He would immediately get up and go to the Halean temple and tell all attending the midnight service that he was not a Halean, but an Ilviran! The missionaries agreed to accompany him to the temple.

Despite the pleadings of Laranz's servant, the ex-slave Stevis, the group left to go to the Halean temple.


Laranz' Renunciation and Olrau's Boast
(Just After Midnight, 14 Halane, TR 720)

Laranz, accompanied by Jaroud, Kalrun, Bowdyn, and Olrau arrived at the Halean temple, while the attendees (a few dozen only) were still milling about, chatting with each other, drinking wine from a passed golden goblet, while music played, and a rich, rose-scented incense burned. Formal services had not yet begun.

The Haleans appeared a bit surprised to see the group of four men appear, but as they knew Laranz to be a member of their Church, they were admitted to the temple. Once inside, Laranz clapped his hands loudly, attracting attention to himself, and causing the flautist and drummer to halt their playing.

He spoke in a voice that was loud, and though it was clear that he had been drinking, his speech was not slurred: "I have an announcement to make! Many of you, I know, have heard the rumors that my father was not a true Halean at heart, dispute his long years of support of this church. Some of you have even heard rumors that I myself am not. Well, I wish to end the rumor-mongering, once and for all. The rumors are true! My father was an Ilviran. I am an Ilviran. All in the Khonary clan have been Ilvirans for generations! We have kept that a secret— but I will keep it no longer! I will not hide what I am or who I am— I am proud of my family and our faith, and I will not pretend to be something I'm not any longer. I renounce my membership in this church!"

This immediately led to great outburst of conversation and cries among the worshippers and clergy there. A handsome young priestess in a diaphanous gown of white, pink, and gold rushed over to Laranz's side and told him, "Master Khonary, you've been drinking— and I think you may have been drugged. You don't know what you're saying. Please come come with me to a more private place so that we can get you calmed down and back to yourself." She grabbed Laranz's arm and tried to lead him away, but he pulled his arm away from her and insisted, "No! I will not go with you, but with my friends here." He gestured towards Olrau and the other missionaries. They are fellow Ilvirans and my place is with them— not with you." He then clasped Bowdyn firmly arond the shoulder in a gesture of solidarity.

As a pair of Solithori (Halean temple guards) came forward to see if there trouble requiring their assistance, Bowdyn recognized the priestess as the same one who had been counseling his wife then they first arrived in Coranan. He then threw the following jibe: "I may have to drag my wife from your temple by force, but I don't have to drag my friends." He then started to walk off with Laranz.

As he did, one of the worshippers cried out (apparently to Laranz), "Go back to Kaldor with those foreign troublemakers!" Kalrun turned towards the crowd and the assembled laity and announced. "Ilvir has returned to this city— and will be staying. We will not be going anywhere."

Olrau then jumped in, raising his left hand orator-style, and told the Haleans: "Yes, Ilvir has come to stay— and this is only the least of the ways in which he shall make his presence known. In two days time, we shall bring into the city the body of a slain god— an immortal being who dwelt here long before men We have slain this creature and will be bringing its body to adorn our temple and bless it. The city also shall be blessed by its presence: we shall parade its remains three times around the walls of Coranan and three times around its streets, so that all may see the power of Ilvir and know that he has returned to Tharda for good!"

Leaving a stunned group of Haleans behind, the five Ilvirans left the temple (with the two Solithori following to make sure they left) and went back to Laranz's house.

(End of Session)