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Summary 302: Four Saviour contestants, Five Contests: 1-3 (2022-08-13)

Giraine Summaries


Finally, after years of buildup in game-time and real-time, we begin to see who the Sharde clan's Saviour might be and what that means! And seriously, it could become any of the four contestants; this is all open-ended (although 1 of them has an uphill struggle).

Shrett headed off to the Sottogh after some preparations. You had to hurry to get ready, then go to the location in the Big Gunge you'd been invited to.

You proceed to the Sharde ritual ground with no trouble. The clan ritual ground is a muddy patch of swamp with a few drystone huts, a central firepit near a scummy pond, and a large, crude wooden cage [either for human sacrifices, goats, or other things?]. A larger camp has formed around the circumference of the grounds. It seems that much of the clan is here, although their numbers have always been hard to judge.

The attendees are: 3 Sharde elders you know, Sharde war leaders Jzhurte and Murbb, Sesgallah the mud hag, then as welcome outsiders: Cjaek, Apatune, Micaela, Baelulam, and Vowka. Plenty of wolf-toads and a huge horned toad are watching. Other clans are not welcome, nor is Narak's group. Friends of Granno uniquely invited, with the Cjed group.

Contestants for Saviour: Boamund vs. Aym Alamyn + Verker + surprise clueless magisaur competitor “Wilgris”. Already you are aware of politics. Cjaek favours Aym as Unsighted One saviour. What this Unsighted One means has never been clear; is it Apatune or Vowka instead? All have impaired or differently abled vision/darkness affinities. Apatune has long cited Boamund as a contender. The Sharde elders seem to have some preference…

Micaela comes to your band and asks what has become of Shrett; you explain, and she is calmed. She seems still happy with the Cjed, Apatune and Baelulam, but what influence are they having on her?

Cjaek conspicuously avoids all of you.

Apatune sidles up to Boamund, seeing him coming her way (no one else notices; Bog and Fraud are chatting to others), and whispers, “I send help from Deep Mother and Quick Sister.” From her robe's voluminous sleeve, she produces a glass vial of ugly greyish-pinkish gelatinous material and holds it forward. “This recipe helped me many times once I came to Giraine. Consume these jellied frog brains and they will bless you until the next dawn. The wisdom of the Giranois will be with you for that time.” She smiles; Boamund talks to her more, about bigger plans, which she isn't so sure about but wants to help, then she slinks away.

The ritual beginning of contests begins shortly thereafter, late afternoon. Shesh explains the myth: “In the Paradise Time, when time was unbroken, we were unrivalled masters of our lands and waters. The hills and fields were green and lush, full of goats and good hunting, and the rivers held many frogs to speak to. The ways of the Old Gods and of Malkion's teachings were in harmony. There was peace among the clans. But the Dark Time came, when Elders no longer could agree on how to share that limitless bounty, and there was a schism between the ways of the Old Gods and that of Malkion. Much bloodfeuding resulted, and enemies of all clans began to sneak in and make everything worse for all of us. We learned how to get rid of them by many means, but this time of suffering became the Hell Time. There was some stalemate for many centuries, but the wicked wizards came and pushed us into the hinterlands. Then the Shattering happened as Earth and Sea gods smashed everything because it was all evil. Granno emerged from amongst us as the Saviour to all; the first Saviour in Time; and saved us at the cost of Himself. We know that story and His ways. I know some of His secrets.”

“We live in the Seeking Time, when we try to regain His secrets and bring back paradise with the Old Gods, pushing out the last of the latest wave of wicked wizards to wash across our world. Now, for five days those who are strong in the ways of the Sharde clan will compete for the favour of our ancestors to become the Sharde Saviour. We continued the tradition of choosing Saviours to aid each clan, usually from within the clan but sometimes we have taken on outsiders, and in these Hero Wars we are cautioned to adapt to the changing world with the aid of outsiders, which all of you are. The spirits of the dead watch. Granno presides with his aspects, but also the unbroken line of the Sharde clan is here with us Elders, judging everyone present. They bring with them the ghost of the dead land goddess, and the eyes of Deep Mother watch from Hell. So behave yourselves, everyone.”

“The contestants will face off in five competitions: in the Paradise Time they will do the test called “Get Your Goat.” In the Dark Time they will do the test of “Bloodfeud Warleader”, and in the Hell Time “Kill Them Quietly”. In the Shattering they will show how to “Stop the Wizards”. And they will show that they can help save us in the Seeking Time through the most important test, “Talk to the Toads”. We Elders will judge these contests. We can add numbers so we will, in private. Three points for first place in a contest, two for second place, one for third place, and nothing but shame for fourth place. Double that for the final contest. We Elders will tally the points on the fifth day. The winner will be Saviour of the Sharde clan and the ancestors will gift them with magical blessings. All others will depart Sharde lands and should seek penance for their pridefulness. But first, before we begin the contests, we Elders will choose our own favourite. Then, today we begin.”

Elders confer than send children to wreath the favourite, a surprised Verker who kneels down in respect to receive it, in garlands of lichens and swamp-orchids. He feels good but does he deserve this, he wonders?

Day 1 Waterday : Paradise Time. The contest begins. Shoor: “The Get Your Goat contest is simple. There is a small herd of goats in a walled enclosure atop a hill on the northern edge of the Big Gunge, that way. Get there as quickly as you can, cross the wall and grab a goat and bring it back here. This is a race. May Deep Mother speed you forth across the swamps.” It is on!

First you must cross the swamps and apply your skills to navigate them- Wilgris speeds across using a Float spell, Verker too zooms ahead atop a giant monstrous toad he conjures from the swamp (and recalls shortcuts), and Aym uses Haste to quicken him. Boamund runs along with his Versatility spell. He lags.

Next you must find the enclosure, tracking the goats and then spying the hill with the walls. Boamund notices it from afar, so he gains ground.

You reach the wall and must cross it; Verker leaps easily with his toad, Boamund scrambles nimbly and Aym and Wilgris make it without trouble but not as quickly.

Now you have to grab a goat and wrestle control of it. Verker uses his toad's tongue to great effect. Boamund has an easy time, and the others again do their best.

You hurry, to return, racing similar as before, but with added pressure, so there are harder obstacles. Wilgris and Boamund go fastest, followed by Verker and then Aym.

The race winner clearly is Verker, though; he was speediest overall. Very close behind, Boamund, then Wilgris; and Aym a distant fourth, to his outrage and shock. He is visibly pissed off. The Elders don't show any reaction to the return; and the crowd disperses.

Evening comes. You talk with Wilgriss about the River Gods. The Sharde vanish into swamps; word is that this is a holy night (Waterday-Sea Season!). Before he leaves, Jzhurte comes to Boamund and gives a formal, stiff, but still respectful congratulations on his performance.

As there are few of you left, Apatune approaches Fraud, draws him aside and says “We have long sought the same thing, Fraud Shaven, although neither of us knew it at first. We now seek the many children of Hykim and Mikyh, dragon-spawn of the Cosmic Dragon, to bring their help to great mother Seshna Gira. I have seen in the mists something like what I feel you have too. In a sealed cave there is another cave like a womb, or a tomb, or both. There, a great metal thing rises from the ground. I do not understand it except that I am given visions of that tool being wrested from the earth, and the ground shuddering, and I feel pleasure from this. My training tells me that new old ways will then be open for many, such as those that quest with respect and humility.” She adds later that she wonders if this cave is in Good Toad Food, the questing place of Giranois “Granno's Reckoning of Friends and Enemies” quest and a place where Arkat met the Old Gods, bringing aid from Halikiv (e.g. trolls! Bog!). Fraud has a major epiphany! The beasts and dragons are one, and so with Seshna/Froalar, and so him, and Giraine, and everything! Even the Night Dragon, one of the only signs of draconic power in the West! The Mraloti have returned somewhat (Narak), the Pralori are not far off and still very strong, the Pendali once were here but driven west by Arkat et al., and now there are rumours of other stirrings of beasts… and Arkat is the way to work with them via heroquesting! He is also linked to the Old Gods, and the Saints all were Arkati in some way. And the Arkati are now opposing Seshnela/King Guilmarn in the West, so the stage is set for an epic conflict! With all this, he later thinks of the Waertagi, who have brought back their sea-dragon Dragonships-these are almost True Dragons, each with the power of a large city. At their peak, Jamar said there were 50, but fewer made it down Magasta's Pool, surely some destroyed washed ashore, and no one knows how many are back-and how many of them now Hellships with the Vadeli. But there is draconic power here, too, at least. You all see Fraud talking with great interest and surprise but so far (Colin can say otherwise), he hasn't told you just what he learned.

Day 2 Clayday : Dark Time. Shoor announces: “The beginning of the Bloodfeuds was a sad time of Disorder amongst us, but it also prepared us for the strife to come, giving us the knowledge of dealing Death, so it was also a glad time. We value both edges of this knife. In the “Bloodfeud Warleader” test today, the contestants must show their prowess as leader and warrior. But we Sharde have abandoned the bloodfeuding way, for now. The test imitates the bloodfeud. But not a drop of blood may be shed. Otherwise you can win how you want to win. You will each be given three Sharde clansmen to lead, and begin at four corners inside the Big Gunge. There is a toad skull, over there (point to a 2 metre long branch stuck in the mud, which was not there earlier, with a large toad skull hung upon it; in the centre of the ritual ground). Whichever Saviour brings the skull to the Elders here wins, but we will also judge the conduct of the others. Go, inspired to cunning ways by the fire of Loidar.”

3 Sharde clansmen lead you into the swamps; you are about 1km apart. You strategise to organize them; but Verker lacks confidence and is confused, delaying him despite his best efforts to catch up later. Aym rushes ahead again with a group-Haste, and Boamund sneaks in on one side of the ground, unnoticed, as Wilgris uses his Movement rune powers to surge in on a tide of swampwater with his band and rush for the skull. But Aym is there and conjures a terrible cloud of blinding Darkness that surrounds Wilgriss, even his summoned Undine, and takes him out of the race. Facing off with Boamund, he dispels the smaller undine conjured and orders his men very effectively to ignore Boamund's deceptive claims that it's the wrong skull, so one of his clansmen grabs the skull and hurries to the Elders, presenting it. The Elders simply watch, again without reaction, as Boamund goes into the Darkness and leads Wilgriss out; and then Verker returns. So who won overall? You're not sure, but not Verker.

That evening, Sesgallah the Mud Hag forms (gangly neck with ill-formed head) by your band and speaks; burbling, gargling voice: “Oh my lovelies, sweet lost men of land and sea, foes of Yomil, slayers of demon Vadeli, new Friends of Granno, Sesgallah offers counsel with you. The tower of the necromancer rises near, and its fell power grows, in grim allegiance with Yomil and Umbrodriith. But there is aid Sesgallah can offer. Mud is my province and mud has been corrupted around this tower. When it is time to knock that tower down, come to this ground and my mud will bless you. For Sesgallah is a mud hag, great in power as wyter to the Sharde. You have aided to bring back my sister Tusynta, and the sleep of the Kivis fire-bear wyter of the Huru has ended, which will bring their burning rage to our fight against evil. And soon the Saviours will lead the Exalted People to victory .” You thank her. She looks Bog up and down and notes that she's not tasted a trollkin for some time; would he give some blood to her? He says Zorak Zoran would not allow that out of combat, so she turns away in disgruntlement, then sinks into the mud.

Day 3 Windday : Hell Time. Shilde speaks, in a croaking whisper: “A Saviour must be able to dispatch our foes. You will demonstrate this skill today. We have found some foes for you. Undead from the Maggotweald have been rounded up and lured to a barren area safely distant from our clan. Sharde scouts will lead you there. You each must then approach and cut down one of them, as quietly as you can. There is true danger in this contest, we will say that much. The winner downs the most vile horror. Beware, and may Tanosh guide your weapons.”

This is not a race. You go together, led by the same 12 clansmen as in the prior contest, a couple of hours west thru Big Gunge. You come to an area of brambles, cold fog buzzing with biting insects, and foetid muddy ground. You're told to stay together until they reach the undead, and directed where to proceed; the clansmen wait here.

Aym has Damage Resistance cast and Wilgris has a tough hide so they ignore the biting insects, and Boamund and Verker persist through them.

You spot the undead in a clearing in the foggy bramble, and pick foes: they turned out to be 1 ghoul Horali, 1 zombie cave troll, 1 zombie construct thing, 1 and Zistorite skeletal sorcerer. All but Wilgris approach stealthily by various means but even the magisaur gains surprise by leaping into combat. Verker uses his bow silently against the sorcerer, playing cat-and-mouse after extinguishing its fire-wand with a Law-blessed arrow, and finally he rushes in with spear, knocks it down and crushes its head; Aym haste-runs in with his magic knife and wounds the construct then eventually gets the killing blow; Wilgris has some trouble with the durable cave troll, which regenerates slowly, but he trips it with his kick attack then bashes its head in. Boamund is first to have victory, freezing the ghoul-soldier's chest solid and destroying it. He sets to burning all bodies as they fall, but you each gain trophies to bring back to show your victories.

You return to the scouts, again pass the biting insects, then are back at the ritual ground, where the Elders are stone-faced as to who has won, but you say brief words of what you despatched (they were not impressed by orations etc.; that normally is not the Giranois way, to do Big Talk). Then evening falls.

We begin there next time! Friday.

This scenario is inspired by the Sun County “Garhound Contest”, but only slightly so. In that, there were great characters like Sticklebrixx the Storm Bull (shock to the stuffy Yelmalions!), comic relief but also with some surprise skills (my players laughed about him for years after this; it somewhat inspired me with Wilgris), but also a hidden ogre contestant. I thought about a chaotic ogre-type thing here but it didn't make sense for them to deceive the Sharde in such a momentous event.


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