Even More Lost [Part 02]
A druid Hierarch addresses us: “Where the fuck did you come from?!” in Kea, which only Kamilata speaks well and Tûd and the Princess speak a little of.
“Er well, we had an accident with a demon and a rift”
“Oh I see”. The druid turns around to face the crowd “They’ve come to fight for the King!”
“Er… actually - “,
He turns back to us “Nam will take you to see the King”
“Er… king of who?”
“The Fir Domhain”
“Er, the feard’oven?”
“Sons of the Atlanteans”.
It is chilly and damp. We’re frozen.
Nam leads us to the King, gossiping on the way. Osdann is the king of a conquering army, about to attack a fort [the shadow tribe]. He is immune to weapons – even magic ones just pass through him. Thus he’s bit of a ruthless tyrant, able to throw off all attempts on his life. The protocol described to us by Fachdann (the priest who ‘summoned us’) backs up this tyranny approach – don’t look him in the eye, speak only when spoken to, kneel, etc. The princess bridles at some of this, but she is used to travelling to other courts. To the Ilin it’s just another protocol.
Osdann is pale, flabbily fat, bald, blotched, faintly scarred and jewelled. The druid presents us as his summoned warriors. Osdann summons ‘the filth’, a captive, Drombach who has turned traitor and has info on one of the shadow tribe’s chiefs, Fian mac Dubh (Finn the Black). We’re assigned, as his summoned warriors, to capture and/or kill Finn as he’s off in disguise to visit a witch.
We buy a cloak for semi-naked Torendra, but Thranduil refuses a pair of trousers.
Off we toddle to the hut, passing a Giant Badger. On a trail south we see man-sized footprints – must be Finn the Black. We emerge in a clearing, the witches hut behind a squat stone and a well. Between us are lots of skulls on spikes rotating slowly – probably scanning. We plan the usual plan – charge! But the princess comes up with a cunning plan to disable the alarms, and Thranduil plans to do some kind of longdoor. Kam and Tûd stand around at the back muttering about attitudes of new members and overcomplicating things.
However the princess’s dispel fails, and trying it again would use up the last of her power. So Thranduil longdoors over to the hut to eavesdrop. At which point we all realise that the only people who can speak Kea are still at the edge of the clearing… Thranduil memorises a few phrases and comes back with:
“The legend of the teeth of the moon sow, torn down many centuries ago by the 'beva' folk... …if Osdann is to be defeated, the circle must… …must restore the ancient temple of the moon… …Drunkards tales… …tomb of the songmakers… …emergen who was barred… …easy journey, peril the hearts finding… …only the mad the blessed or those who have drunk of anguiham may see it… …how may I find the… …set it down on bark… …the tribe of the shadows honours… ...dread things were written… …entrails of the black hen…”
So we think it’s time to have a chat with these guys. Kamilata walks up to the skulls and they all swivel around and start screaming. This hurts, especially the elves/magicians. We put our hands over our ears. Finn comes running out of the door towards Kamilata, who throws his sword down and cries "talk!" but to no avail; Finn cuts down with his sword, and shoulders into him. Kamilata deflects the blow with his ring, but Finn keeps going past him, down the path towards Tûd who is unfortunately standing between him and his fort at Brieddin. He gets double battered; a bolt from Forgileill smashes him to the floor just as Tûd, trying to shoot him in the leg, shot him through the heart. Oh and "stop or I shoot"
Finn the Stiff had a Silver torc, a vial of silver pearly stuff, leather jerkin, iron shortsword, bigsword, dagger and a bark scroll. Kamilata goes to talk to the witch but she’s disappeared [levitating out of the fireplace in the smoke]. In the hut, there are ’erbs, skulls, stuff written on bark and a feathered bird mask [Stew – if that's what I think it is now, didn't she use it to get out the chimney?]. There was also some silvery stuff matching the vial that Finn the Stiff had – probably anguiham? And 6 jars of healing paste, 4 small jars of extra-healing paste. Tûd uses healing paste on the remains of his ear which is a bit manky, but the rest of the pot soon goes off.
The weather worsens as we head back to Osdann. Not quite sure if we want to, but ho hum. We explain to him the events, and give him the bark scroll to read; We get a nice fat gold ring. Tûd thinks it’s lovely and shiny. Fach Dinner interprets as Osdann reads the scroll:
[+notes] “Domhain tomb of songmaker , edge of river”. Stones for circle, souls of Great Men. Harp for finding stones. Harp belonged to bard who is central stone.
The tent door is thrown back and a cry “the shadows are attacking!” is given. Osdann grabs his axe and leaves (as in exits, not grabs his axe and some planty bits). We gather outside not really keen on getting involved in either side. Osdann is enjoying himself and we can see his wounds closing up.
A war witch and her associates float in to attack Osdann. [Big cinematic special effects to do]. Osdann wins and his army drive out the shadowmen.
In the ruins of the battlefield he holds a victory feast, mainly consisting of a tasty prisoner…
We are charged with finding the sows teeth. We need to find Emergin’s tomb (where the harp might be), near Nern’s stone. We get a cart with 40 chickens, and a silver torc with a special design – representative of the king / badge of authority. Don’t lose it. Don’t fail.
We haggle a bit over the horses and sell off the chickens. An attempt to add value by setting up a KFC wasn’t the hit we planned, so we ate them anyway.
Eventually we’re off and the Ilin are galloping around showing off their horsey skills and shooting things, having been dismounted for far too long now. Katamaya spots someone trailing us, and the ilin’s antics give him time to catch up and give us a speech about serving through fear or serving through loyalty (“No we’re serving by accident” says Kamilata). On our return we should raise our right hands in greeting if we are Osdann’s men. Left hand if waiting, getting close to Osdann, to kill him. He tells us that Coan Sharptongue in the early days made a spear with a couple of druids, and when he drove it home the cheering was loud until everyone realised it wasn’t working, so it seems he’s not popular and a coup will get lots of support.
Arrive in village of Brechlin, one tavern (Macmillers ). Go and talk to the garrison, scummy lot. Sneak off to a barn in a farm, food (not much), sleep. Not much food as the army/garrison is locusting off it.
Dawn. No dreams for Tûd… since he got here.
Off to Nern’s stone. Fields of cows who didn’t tell us (because we don’t speak cow), that Nern’s stone is an old altar. We meet Farmer Jack yelling at us incomprehensibly and brandishing an old sword and yelling ‘feck arf ’. Quite a backwater – cows still about. The Nern stone is very old, carved faintly with some script; Tûd gets “Song”, Princess Forgileill gets “Warden” and “Dread”.
Kamilata hears faint elevator music, and he and Tûd follow it to a clearing in
an ash forest. Scattered about it are the remains of animals, presumably also
drawn by the music and unable to leave. They start digging. And stop digging.
In the centre, a rich conical structure appears with a door (now that’s a ‘ritual gateway’). Tûd leads them all in. The entrance hall is filled with carvings of bards playing instruments made out of bones and runes on walls. The music beguiles Tûd and he starts wandering aimlessly about. It takes some time for the others, following him, to realise this as they can only see the clearing. Kamilata drinks the other portion of anguilles (eels?) and now the party are following two people who’ve started seeing things in a perfectly ordinary clearing after drinking some strange drug stuff.
The next room has a few corpses; as they enter, a drum beats and the skeletons twitch and pull themselves up. Kamilata tells the others this and then also succumbs to the music, leaving the others unable to see the undead but still vulnerable. The Princess & Thranduil slap our daydreaming idiots back to consciousness, and after a couple of lunges Kamilata and Tûd abandon the fight and rush through with the others to a door on the far side.
There’s a room with a beautiful girl on the throne playing a harp, (and some stuff – Tûd registers it vaguely as somewhat shiny). She’s a bit ‘aaaaah ’ and asks us to sing. After a bit of conflab - the Princess says she feels a power-draining presence nearby – and finding an ordinary pretty girl in a tomb seems a bit weird - Kamilata offers to play the harp. She lends it to him, and with a one and a two and a one two three, we make like swastikas and peg it fast, out the door, dragging the others along behind us, going “What? Who? Where did that harp come from?”.
We may have the wrong harp. It’s not doing anything wonderful.
Rush back in, and the girl has gone thank goodness. The only exit from her room is foggy. One by one we step through magic creepy bizarre fog, and up a step. Tûd sees Little Tûd, who appears upset with how he’s turned out – penniless wanderer without even a wife. Kamilata sees himself old, claiming his life will go to ruin unless he turns back and his old ghost will save him from future tragedy. Princess Forgileill sees herself in an hour mortally wounded telling her to ‘go back! go back!’. Thrand sees Katamaya as an old woman, regretting never having met again and the lost opportunities.
Being stoic, we ignore all this. In fact Tûd mutters all the way up about how Ilins are supposed to be penniless and travel and be celibate…
At the top of the stairs we arrive on a plinth, stars above, mist all about. It’s all very lovely and twee; pillars stand about with silvery souls floating about, beautiful music playing, in the centre a sarcophagus with the harp standing above it, strings humming to the sounds. Bodies of men and beasts show that some have made it this far to become entranced. Kamilata’s eyes glaze over.
Tûd touches the harp and the strings fall quiet and Kamilata wakes up. And again: a one, a two, a one two three four and grab the harp and get tae feck, past the undead etc.
We now have two harps, a posh lovely one from the mysterious woman, and a plain serviceable magic one from the starry place. Tûd carves ‘magic harp’ in the magic one so we remember and we hide it in an old piano. No one will think of looking for it there.
All Kamilata or Tûd can play is parts of Eskimo Nell, so we hand it over to Princess Forgileill to get attuned to. She switches it on. It seems that by playing it before others sleep we will all dream of the circumstances that will lead to finding the stones.
We retire to a local farm and sleep to dream…
'Kamilata' (Mark) – human jalee engineer and pike-man. The ilins' source of common sense. One man shield wall. The profeshunal soljer.
'Tûd' (Martin) – human Ilin. Expert rider and archer but not fully recovered from his trials, and becoming a bit of a geeky scholar.
'Thranduil' (Chris) – monastery-raised (half elf?) Ilin. ‘Defender’ of the Assembly. Jack of all secret-squirrel like skills, certainly not master of any.
'Torendra' (Dee) – Muri castle cook and servant. Maker of Magic Muffins. Caster of First Stones.
'Forgileill' (Angela) – Princess, unlicensed? magician.