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Summary 309: Seshna Gira Awakens (2022-11-06)

Giraine Summaries

From the ground, still feeling too heavy to stand without great and perhaps risky effort, you behold the chamber beyond the Luathan-protected door.

The large chamber here, underneath the entry chamber, has a gaping, cracked hole in its ceiling. Underneath that hole, and not hinted at by your map, is a huge iron spike embedded in the ground. It is surrounded by a circle of many copper pillars that are very old and carved with runes of Earth and Fertility, most with serpents winding around them. On the northeast side of the circle there is a large rectangular stone slab, bright and swirling purple, facing the entry doorway. The slab is very reminiscent of the walls of the Westgate in Luathela, and bears one giant rune of Rausa/Dusk. The northwest corner of the room has… melted down, like wax, revealing a smaller chamber. The southeast doorway is another scaled door, but purple in colour. Dried, withered, dead vegetation still grips to many surfaces, including ancient vines twisted around the pillars. Everything here wavers and hums with intense glowing violet energy. That hum, indeed, is an exotic tune that only is recognizable as Luathan song. Orsattus notes, perplexed, that the energy radiates in waves from the doorway to #21 and less strongly to #22, and concentrates on the spike, forming a dome from there that covers the circle of pillars. You inspect the two chambers from the outside, and the ring and slab, before acting further. You see hints of old frescoes on the wall depicting scenes of Seshna in the Underworld; autumn and winter, and cold scarcity on the surface. Figuring that Dawn/Fire might work against the slab, you try touching it with fire but it repels that, the magics there clearly being very strong.

You have to crawl/slither around, still stuck to the ground, everywhere you go, but you get used to it.

You go to the two rooms, one by one, that you rightly figure are magical conduits of Luathan song-energy, protecting the ring/dome. First the damaged room (#22), which turns out to have weaker magics. A row of more copper pillars is lined across this chamber between the door and the far wall, with that strong Luathan magic singing from them. There are wall-frescoes of Sesha's life (child, adult, older woman), half-hidden by the pillars and magic. As you try entering the room, the magics at the pillars blaze with a howling song that sweeps down at you. You succeed its power pushing you backwards.

The violet magics waft out around you like billowing clouds. Boamund, and later others, has an odd experience. You float outside yourself on their vapours for a timeless moment, looking inwards at your body as you ponder your life's story. You are but a mortal; your time left surely is short. Has your progress disappointed you? The magic is twisting your feelings, and you must draw on your confidence and self-knowledge not turn away disheartened; Boamund and later Fraud do so.

You see you can either truly touch the pillars or try to go through a gap between them. You try applying Boamund's fireblade to a pillar, after some struggles getting close enough. Nothing happens. You cross through with some difficulty. The Luathan magics hammer away at you, and you feel your spirit bruising within. Somewhere within, a soft voice mutters, “Hammer back.” Boamund at first suffers for a while, vainly struggling physically, then you get the idea to throw spells back at the magic (Boamund using Disrupt; Fraud's Darkstrike too in the first room) and this works after several castings. Then the magic fades, in one chamber then the next after doing the same thing, and the magic around the dome visibly weakens with each one.

Returning to the main chamber, there is a crackle of energy at the stone slab. The energy courses through the chamber. You feel held down even more strongly, and Fraud tries to boldly stand but is held firm. Through the Dusk rune, a bright but spectral purple face looms, turning toward you as it looms overhead with a grimace, speaking in the singsong voice of the Luathans while making your head spin with many languages inside your mind. “Mortals disturb the rest of immortals, but the Obsidian Mirror cannot be reached from here. Those expecting to be blessed by death here for breaking our song will instead find themselves forever strung between life and death. This is the fate Luathela was called to bring to the transgressors, and so we may bring it again. Petty mortals come in supplication. To what end? We care not. But we are compelled to take audience. Mayhaps it shall dispel the befoulment of Disorder they drag in with them, returning the Harmony of an Age.”

Fraud argues with it and it is most unimpressed at first, with its imperiously dour Luathan tone. But then he begins some breakthrough with stories of your exploits on the Boat Planet, and it acknowledges that you are not the weakest of mortals. You then reason, after a sighing comment from the essence about mortals' lack of craft or refinement, that the Luathans, as you recall from their city, are beings who appreciate the finer things despite their apparent cruelty (hatred of non-Luathans/mortals/something). They are artistic. So Fraud tries the Song of the Sky Ship and the essence listens with attention. It then watches. Orsattus tries to plead that he knows some craft (poisons, which he is unsure it would like anyway), but it tires of his “simpering” tone and dismisses him. Fraud tells a grand tale of your exploits (I forget the details here), most passionately voiced, and the essence nods with some respect.

“Enough ridiculous games. Rausa commanded that, as Seshna Likita asked, if a husband-protector from one of the Five Elements came, in suitable form and courtesy, they should be allowed within her sleeping chamber to speak. And so it shall be. No others may intrude. Who amongst you would fit that role, and of what Element do you claim pathetic ties to?” Fraud answers it is him, and Darkness is his element. “Very well. Proceed.” And the face returns to the slab (it was no living Luathan but some magic/essence of one), and the magics of the room calm around the slab, leaving a gap in the purplish aura of the circle.

Fraud passes inside the circle and sees the spike more clearly now, but also a new sight. An enormous serpent, green like a forest but with belly brown like soil, has its head buried in its coils, which tightly hug that spike. The serpent fills most of the circle but somehow you could not see it from outside. The spike is almost 3m in diameter and easily 8m high, reaching halfway to the vaulted, domed ceiling, to the top of the Luathan magical dome around the copper pillar circle. It is embedded deeply in the ground and cracks are visible around it, under the slumbering snake.

Fraud tries to awaken the serpent, speaking to her and touching her. He invokes his tie to the Darkness rune, and his rightful status as a new protector. And so on. She stirs slowly as this proceeds, sometimes hissing or mumbling or humming a tune like that of the Luathan song. She burps or farts. He is resolute, even as violet energies lash at him and wound him sometimes.

Then finally, she shifts her bulk and retracts her head sleepily from within her coils. The vegetation around the room springs back to vibrant green life. Her copper-tinted hair is in extravagant curls, she wears a silver diadem with sapphires, and her face is fair to behold. Seshna Gira's voice echoes through the chamber: “It is you. I have dreamt of you for an Age. Have you dealt with the old king yet? Did you bring his shells and his heart to him?” Fraud mentions the doll, whose glinting gem had gone dull, understanding now that it was his heart. When told of his destruction she shows many emotions, among them anger toward Fraud. But she moves on, saying that an Age has passed and so must the stewardship. [There were 2 options w/the old king: the violent one w/his destruction, and a peaceful one– if you'd explored a bit more before you headed up to him you'd have found the shells, or you might have retreated from confronting him and found them; perhaps with a hint from him if he was probed more deeply. The peaceful end would still have destroyed him, reunited with his heart and remembrance of the shells of the river Sarvon that he used to bring to Seshna Gira, and given some rather nice extra gifts from Seshna Gira in thanks]

The burden of Luathan magic vanishes. You all can stand again. Bog drowsily awakens near the entry door, astonished at the giant serpent.

Seshna Gira to Fraud, as the others stir: “Now we have a difficult task to do together. This spike pins my essence here, and it encourages sleep and holds back time with its song, leaving my land breaking. It must be removed. We will pull together. Muster whatever arts you have to aid in this.” She tightens her coils and heaves on the spike, hissing a loud, high-pitched song. Fraud figures that this is a special challenge requiring more than brute force alone, so he sings while pulling on the spike. The spike vibrates against their efforts, but slowly retracts, with Fraud doing an excellent job, and Seshna Gira pulls it to one side as it comes out, finally showing its full 16m length and clanging to rest on the ground, smashing through some pillars on the southwest corner of the circle, and glancing off the far wall of the chamber. The main Luathan magics vanish with a final thrum like plucking a harp. The spike screeches, slowly shrinking into an elongate piece of shining gold, about the size of a finger.

Finally the chamber can be fully seen in the copper glow of the pillars, which have their own magics that cast a comforting dim golden light. The walls, floors and ceiling have incredible, colourful frescoes of a Seshnelan paradise. Rolling green hills and verdant woods, a pristine stream, and other wilderness are populated by cavorting beasts, people and essences, with Seshna presiding over them all.

“Friends, if you are hurt, come to me and I will kiss your wounds away.” [an eerie reminder of Lamia to Fraud! He must remind himself who is the real Seshna Gira, and shudders at the notion of what might have happened above if he was weaker] She kisses those who need their bodies restored in any way, including reducing any desired Passion (1 only) by -20%. All but Boamund feel those Passions ebb; Orsattus grows in his appreciation of snakes, awed at his experience.

“Very well. We have much Time to catch up on.” [to Fraud] And first we must needs have privacy. [to others] Await my calling.“ The others leave. “What shall I call you, my new protector?” She says is happy to call him whatever he chooses; he decides on “Froalar”. She then has some 'quality time' in ecstacy with Froalar, for some hours, before proceeding. Afterwards, in some “pillow talk”, she asks about her temple now, and learns of the dead Chaotic serpent in her childrens' chamber. [to Fraud] “My old nursemaid is dead, poor Boaitta. She was good to my children. How Chaos seeped into my resting place I do not understand, but she is at rest now. And I am left with a first task. My first child; ours; will be my new nursemaid. Then I have many more children to bear with whatever lovers I choose.” Ohhhhh… Fraud now sees that this is an open relationship. How open?

Finally, and she takes her time getting around to this, she calls everyone back in-including the Pralori. “You all are heroes to Seshna Gira. So you may proclaim it to any who may listen. My sleep was too long, too full of taunting dreams, too painful for my body. I have returned now to awaken my land and its bounties. But for you, there are bounties, too. Choose a reward. If you have need of magic copper axes or copper armour befitting a hero, those can be drawn from my treasury for you. If you wish to gain magical spells or blessings, I can confer these upon you. My power is as bountiful as my gratitude. Merely ask now, and I will provide.”

There are lots of choices! Bountiful indeed. –Copper axes = Axe Trance blessing reusable as below; 6 AP/18 HP; Copper Armour = up to 6 AP but 1 initiative penalty less than normal, blessed to always fuel Heal spells (freely) used by the wearer. Various temple guards/creatures bring them. –Magics = Arouse Passion (+20%), Bless Champion, Heal Wound, Earthpower , Inviolable , Invigorate [restores all Fatigue of any kind], Speak with Herd Beasts, Speak with Snakes, Summon Gnome, Summon Guardian Serpent [basic spirit Intensity 3], Summon Snakedaughter (needs pile of earth), etc. Casting/invoking chance = [Use appropriate Passion] These can be reused if prayed for at a suitable Seshna holy place for a day.

Bog chooses a great axe; he will adopt this as a new weapon for chopping elves and such, not that Seshna intended this. Boamund chooses Heal Wound; Orsattus chooses the Guardian Serpent, and Fraud chooses Arouse Passion (correct?). She confers these powers with a lick of a forked tongue, or the serpent-priests bring the items. The Pralori make their choices.

At last, the temple trembles gently and dust hisses down from any cracks, but no structural damage results. First, the hole in the ceiling there closes, as if healing shut. The Luathan slab sinks into the ground. (#21-22 will return to their original usage as more minor ritual chambers later, you learn; the copper pillars were usurped by Luathan magics)

Second, Seshna Gira says to the Pralori, who have gone to their knees in reverence and awe with no words since coming here, “Rise, my heroes of Pralor. Without you, this Serpent Quest would remain unfinished. There are many more to be done in other lands that you might take part in.” And the Pralori say many words of thanks and solemn revery. Shen then turns to you, “My land bears many wounds of all kinds, which cry for treatment. Heroes such as you can aid it, and marshal more such aid.”

Then she explains to all that: (1) her temple will reopen and reactivate [everything now will be harmless from here on; but nothing may be taken], (2) but no one else is welcomed until she says so, (3) she feels the enemies here on her land, and first and foremost there are those that seek to become her king; she will not have this and Fraud must prove himself by leading efforts to drive them out; (4) once this is done, other benefits and quests may be available; (5) that golden piece of metal is a fragment of the Serpent Crown of Seshnela(!!!). Once all the pieces are reunited, Seshnela may be better reunited and Seshna Likita fully awakened, although it may be an Age or more before her land is truly restored like how it was; if ever. This is the sacrifice made to repel the Godlearners. Her hatred of them is clear, much as the other chamber made clear-Seshna (Likita; the vengeful whole of Seshna before the Shattering) called the gods to help bring the Luathans to Shatter her land, killing/putting her to sleep and destroying Old Seshnela to rid it of the Godlearners, who sought to take command of her powers through improper heroquesting. Anyway, Fraud asks what should be done of this fragment and she says he should decide, as new protector. He says it's best kept here, and she says it will so be defended.

The Pralori speak to you. Kurugatla Climbs-Green-Trees Antlerman says, “We give thanks to have witnessed such a momentous event. If we truly gave aid, it comes from love of our ancestors, kin to Seshna, and thus love of Seshna.” Mundatar Dragontongues: Laughs, smoke curling out his nostrils. “Yes. But we can give no more aid in this land, we are beckoned by these other Serpent Quests in other lands. We will work to stop those that would misuse the blessings of Seshna Likita. Sard'Sard's Far Leaping shall soon take us toward our next goal. We aim for no crown, but for health of the land and its life and spirits again.” Kurugatla: “Its Hooves Are Of Wonder has been given a gift of spirit-dreams, but chooses to give its insight to our new friends called the Friends of Granno. Our home is in Pralorela, not far from the Handra that you know. If you find yourselves there, sleep and dream of us. The spirits would take you to us, or us to you.” Mundatar Dragontongues: “Yes. And if they do, we would give aid again out of that friendship. We go now to seek our fortune and our quests. May Seshna Gira's land heal.” Sard'Sard: With a great grin, “May your fortunes wax and never wane.” You bid your farewells. And so the Pralori mount their beasts and leave, after awaiting above to turn over the snake-warrior to you as prisoner.

Seshna Gira says she is still weary and aching, but if there are questions she can answer before she has a little true rest, she will. Boamund asks what you should know She explains what the meadow (location #12) is about, as it is holy to her. The meadow is sacred to her, the Pralori and Pendali especially, and everyone should avoid it. But nearby, a holy Perindens tree grows there. You know not of such a tree but ask her. Some distance from the sacred meadow, in a simple field dotted with rocks and pools, is a most singular tree. A tree with succulent fruit and wide-spreading branches, the Perindens is powerfully magical. Once, Malkion was pursued by demons, and sheltered beneath the first of these trees. Ever since, it has carried on the duty of sheltering others. The trees are very, very rare and tend to be closely guarded secrets by those that know of them. The essence that lies within radiates the Justice of Malkion, such that creatures of evil may not approach. The very shadow of the tree strikes fear into the breasts of chaotic and Hell-spawned creatures “krjalki” [including Uz!], and drives them away. The living wood of the tree, and its fruit and leaves, are also proof against such creatures, for they cause terrible spiritual wounds to those that are impure. However, the dead wood has no magical properties, for the essence that imbues it is no longer present. Those with sufficient skill may know the secret of making special potions from parts of the Perindens, without losing their magical potency.

She grants her favour to go there and each person may fetch one fruit or leaf, but they must not linger or go into the sacred meadow near it. She intently glares at Bog, asking why he would go there, and he tries to say all is well but she frowns, warning him that a guardian is there and it would be “unkind” to him if he ventured too near.

And then she says it is time for you to leave her. So you do, and you take your prisoner, planning to bring her to Jett for interrogation.

Woo! That was rather epic. And fun for me to conceive, after a lot of buildup. Bog shined as an anti-Chaos warrior, Orsattus got amazing experiences with the snake-powers he'd long sought, Boamund kept everyone in line, and Fraud truly, in some strong sense, became a “new Froalar”. Where will that take him? Clearly he is charged to help lead the charge against the Rokari invaders. It would not be good if they managed to come back here in strength.


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