Monday, June 25, 2012

Blundering into Permia

After our intrepid heroes rested & recovered from their wounds & trials of the battle on the river, they had to choose which direction to go. North along the river, south along the river or eastward into the forests were their choices. They ended up heading downstream, north, along the eastern riverbank. During the night they all fell asleep on their watches until morning. They woke to find the last of their horses were gone. (It's become a bit of running joke as they kept losing horses in previous adventures. It's not my fault if they forget the basics.)

Eventually they wound up in a small & devastated village during the horse fair. Traders were there selling horses. First they send the skald, Skolmr (Kevin), into the village to impress them & gather information. He begins a beautiful speech & soon realizes he doesn't understand them & they don't understand him. With the aid of the Sami, Perun (John), they are able to understand the dialect of these distant Nenet relatives of the Sami. The villages story is a harsh one: They are frequently raided from Permia who take villagers as slaves, steal half or more of their crops, and visit all sorts of dire curses upon the village. They agree to help guide the party to a road that leads straight to the capital of Kuupoloh and offer them hospitality. There the two remaining squires follow Mar back to the Baltic Seacoast: the squires to wait upon the return of the party & Mar to join the Kievan expedition as their blacksmith where he shall win great fame & fortune & study Late Roman armor making techniques. The remaining party is even are gifted with two horses: one a bright black mare with a lively step from an attractive young woman & an old swayback dun from a poor old grandmother. Arvarodd (Nate) asks for Tyr's (Larry) advice as to who should get the black & who should get the dun. Tyr advises put Siv (Karen) upon the swayback dun & the maid (who is now also Skolmr's fiance) upon the lively black horse. Arvarodd says "Hah" and immediately does the reverse of Tyr's advice, so now Siv is upon the black.

They have not traveled far up the road to Kuupoloh when trouble comes a courting. First Tyr is tempted to once again offend the Gods, leaving a brief opening in their magical protection. Immediately Skolmr spots the house on chicken legs heading toward them. A swift small cloud proceeds this horror. Arvarodd turns to face this on-rushing danger when the horses go wild. Tyr manages to grab hold of the panicking dun which turns into Siv's white charger as its magical disguise fades away. The black turns into an evil metal beast that glues Siv to it's back & races off up the road. Quick thinking & mighty magics by Skolmr stops the beast by charming it with his powerful music. Perun further slows it by convincing a small spirit elemental to aid him by causing the beast to sink into the earth. Arvarodd races to catch up & leaps onto the beast & finds himself glued. His mighty arms struggle to crush the animal but still he fails to overwhelm the beast. The clever cloud sets itself upon Skolmr, smothering him & stinging him with lightning causing his spells to fail. The beast breaks free and starts running at blinding speeds towards Kuupoloh. Meanwhile Perun rescues Skolmr with a beautiful flying tackle, but each in turn are beaten into unconsciousness by walking house. Tyr rescues the maid & the white horse but is also knocked senseless as his wife, Gerd fights a valiant & heroic, but futile defense of her husband.

Tyr wakes to find himself alone save for his battered & unconscious wife. He heals her and decides after taking counsel with her to head back toward the trading post on the Baltic seacoast where they had left their ship. Luck is with him for their he barters for an abandoned longship & begins the arduous task of repairing it as Gerd recovers.He takes the quires under his protection as well & trains them & a local boy in the art of shipbuilding to earn his keep.

Perun & Skolmr begin a long trip north east along the road to Kuupoloh haunted by a the occasional appearance of a hideous black flying creature. Meanwhile Arvarodd & Siv are flown to the dark & fell capital of Permia. As the beast descends Arvarodd manages a truly heroic feat of strength & breaks the flying beast which crashes into the courtyard amidst 50 or more hostile troops. Bravely Arvarodd tells his beloved Siv to run & save herself and raise their son to be a hero. She escapes through a door & he seals it behind her by impaling it shot with the magic sword & breaking it off.  He faces the oncoming enemy & fells 8 of them before he loses an arm. Still he fights on & cleaves another two before at last he falls with a great blow to the head. A despondent Siv wanders the corridors until at last she stumbles into a maid's quarters. She is offered food, drink, & safety but as she realizes she has been drugged she sees the false "maid" change into a dark & sinister queen.

She awakes to realize that she is chained to a wall of a dank foul dungeon cell. Laughing evilly the dark queen of Permia says she has taken her unborn baby from Siv's womb & sacrificed it to the dark God of Destruction. The queen demands information from her & Siv valiantly refuses to answer. After the queen leaves she grieves for her baby ripped from her womb, for the gallant Arvarodd, & her fate. Slight comfort comes to her when a slave woman who is told by the queen to end Siv & keep her well enough to answer questions whispers to her that the Queen was tricked & the babies (yes there was a boy & a girl) were secreted from the fortress & taken far away for they both bore the mark of the one who shall finally destroy the evil Queen. Siv's torture continues day after day until at last moved by pity the slavegirl give Siv a potion that feigns death. Skolmr & Perun have at last approached the city & begun scouting it out. As they do they see Siv's "body" tossed over the ramparts into a boggy mass grave. They rescue her & through incredibly healing luck & the Perun's shamanic skill they summon her soul back into her body & heal her. Realizing that a broken bit of the magic sword is stuck to her ragged clothing they return to the grave pit & search until they find Arvarodd's body. Siv jumps on his body & says that she is his Valkyrie & that she has not given him permission to leave this world yet. That as well as Perun's shamanic skill is able to recover Arvarodd's Spirit back into his body leaving him alive but still mangled. But Odhinn is not done with Arvarodd yet. a strange tingling is affecting where his missing limbs should be........

------- Notice -----
There will be a bit longer pause than usual as I will be off attending the Tall Trees Mountainman Rondezvous in the Syskiyou mountains.

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