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[Actual Play] Six Seasons of Sartar SoloQuest


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Well. Since RuneQuest have become my new indulgence, I found myself in the precarious situation of *not* being the GameMaster for the Monday Night game, as I was in the campaign before, where we played Pendragon. So... I ended up digging up my Mythic Gamemaster Emulator along with the new RQG books, and sat out on a Solo Campaign, which, surprising to me, is not a unknown concept for RuneQuest, hence the name SoloQuest.
That Google Doc is now around 150 pages long, so I've now decided to share it all with you wonderful folks.
Yes. I am a man with far too much time on my hands, and a drive to learn myself new stuff; which ended up giving birth to the story of Angian and Senela, a pair of characters created to experience the immensly fun work of @Andrew Logan Montgomery, Six Seasons of Sartar. I'll also be mixing in a few things from the unfortunately defunct "Valley of Plenty", hoping that it can provide some good backstory for the characters and how they grew up with friends.
I'll try to refrain from retelling his work, but invariably, there's going to be some places where there's going to be some major spoilers, and fortunately, RPGs are a cooperative media in nature, so everything will be different to you folks.

I won't be trying to explain all of my thought process and how the Mythic GME works indetail, there are other places one can go to find that, and I'll be modifiying it as I go along, as it was also a way to learn myself to play SoloRPGs.
Also, I will probably get a lot of things wrong. This is the beauty of a media where I don't pay editors.
Furthermore, I ended up using the expanded family history from Jonstown Compendium to flesh out the lineage of the main characters as well as the QAD for NPC stats. The characters was mostly made with random rolling and the amazing Rune Die that is in the Dice Set. 

I'll be writing my own comments in blue.


The Saga of Angian and Senela

Who are we?

Angian Son of Orl
Will be trained as a heavy cavalryman of the Haraborn Clan of the Colymar Tribe. 
Born on Windsday, Fertility Week in Earth Season - The Feast of Ernalda.

My name is Angian, oldest son of Orl Swordsson, a mighty weaponthane to the King of Sartar, who fought many battles in the King’s personal band. He died fighting the Tusk Raiders when I was a young boy, and I was raised in the household of my uncle Gordangar, chieftain of the Haraborn.

Angian is a strapping lad, having always been tall for his age.
He comes from a long line of warriors, with his great-grandfather Angian the Fell-Handed, who served both King Sarotar and King Umathkar; a veteran of both the Invasion of Tarsh and the Trollkiller Wars, the rescuer of Princess Minara, a deed that earned him and his kin the enmity of the Mostali, but in the end, Angian the Fell-handed was murdered by the treacherous Malani tribe.
His grandfather Kenstrel, was a member of the Royal Guard, who was at Prince Tarkalor’s side even in the worst of times. Kenstrel died gloriously at Grizzly Peak where he saved both his King and Queen.
Angian’s father, Orl never met his own father, but was raised on the legends. Orl came of age in the days before the Lunar Invasion, and served with great glory during the Battle of Boldhome, earning him great renown as a man of honor. In the years that followed, Orl rode as a mercenary, wintering at home only to ride out again in spring alongside his sisters in their own warband.
However, one fateful autumn, Orl was returned on his shield by the aunts, as he had fallen in combat against the loathsome Tusk Riders of the Ivory Plinth. 
As his father had done before him, Angian also grew up with his father’s legend, a legacy that was nurtured by his ambitious mother, Urios the Weaveress, who seemed to resent being left behind as a widow by her adventurous husband, forcing her to be considering her options for the future while she still has four children to care for.

Alright folks, this is Angian. He'll be our Warrior for this game.
I ended up making him the nephew of Gordangar to make it possible for me to be connected to the leadership of the clan, especially with how some of the dice seemed to love Angian's ancestors. Lot's of Reputation and an Honor score that was maxed out. However, it DID come with the disadvantage that the unofficial motto of the family seems to be "Live Fast - Die Young".
His stats are well above average, as I cannot seem to roll shitty for characters in RQG.
As for his runes? He's AIR, EARTH, FERTILITY and MOVEMENT. Not amazing for a Warrior, but it'll do.
Passion-wise? High-as-Hell Honor, a Passion for the Kingdom of Sartar and a Loyality to the Feathered Horse Queen as well as the King of Sartar.


Senela, Daughter of Nala
Trained as a Entertainer to the Haraborn Clan of the Colymar Tribe
Born on Waterday, Movement Week of the Earth Season - The Days of Uleria.

I am Senela, Daughter of Nala the Outlaw and Berik.
My mother was a brave woman who fought against the tyranny of the Lunar yoke. Just like her, I know the way of the harp and have a voice that pleases both the ancestors and the Spirits.
Furthermore, I come from a lineage of scholars, and my grandmother has taught me from childhood to have complete mastery of our Heortling tongue and the finest of penmanship.
And while my mother was chased away by the oppressors, my father has made me aware that I have a destiny to fulfill as he’s quite aware that the future for the Haraborn is not gonna be easy.

Senela is a beautiful girl, with a great mane of black curls draped across her shoulders.
Everyone notices her, and she is quick-witted and physically hale. She is the oldest daughter of a long line of scholars, dating back to their ancestors in Esrolia. It marks her as a bit of a foreigner, being only four generations removed from an emigrant, but no one pays it much head. 
Her great-grandmother was a handmaiden of the Esrolian Princess Arkilla who came to Sartar, and that same handmaiden ended up marrying a Colymar warrior. Said warrior died in a skirmish against the Malani, but the family was now members of the Enjossi Clan. 
Years later Senela's grandmother, Veressa, served in Boldhome as a scribe, navigating court politics as well as the rising Lunar threat. 
Prior to the Battle of Grizzly Peaks, Veressa fled from the city, up into the mountains, and there she found a life for herself among the nearby Haraborn Clan.
There, Veressa wed a man who already had sons, and within a year, this half-Esrolian woman had given birth to a healthy baby girl, who was named Nala
Nala and her siblings grew up as the juniors of Riddle Watch's children, and while Nala was taught to succeed her mother’s scholarly skills and sharp intellect, Nala was always more of a girl who desired adventures, and she rode alongside Chieftain Gordangar as his Battle Herald during the invasion of Sartar, and has been a trusted companion in wartime ever since.
Like her mother, Senela’s skills with the harp are quite notable, but it is her voice that has caused people to take note of her and her future. 
Nala never really settled, but she married a man after the Boldhome Campaign, his name was Berik, a gentle soul from the Enhyli Clan. However the rebellious Nala could not stay still, especially after the infamous raids of the Tusk Riders cost the life of several of her friends, due to the overlords indifference.
As Starbrow’s Rebellion broke out, Nala joined up, leaving behind her family to fight for Sartar’s freedom.
Yet, all she got out of it was a sentence as an outlaw, after which she ended up on the side of the Durulz during the Duck Hunt and subsequently fled to her ancestral land in Esrolia.
Senela has grown up half of her life without her mother.

And to give us a glimpse into the social part of Glorantha, here we have our Entertainer. Senela was not as lucky with her Family History, but the life of her mother is, to say the least, eventful. The family has an impressive amount of literacy, and to tell the truth, they're also blessed by Ernalda, fortifying their Earth Rune.
We'll be starting the game some time before the rebellion, so Nala will be around in the first couple of scenes in the game.

Statswise, I'll be sharing character sheets at a point, but at this point, I can say that Nala is hardy youngster, but sharp as a needle with an INT 18 and a CHA 17.
Senela is the niece of Borkar the Goldentongue, the Issaries Trader of the Haraborn, also making her the greatniece of Jodi White-Hart, the Lhankorite Lawspeaker. Her uncle Jaran is also the scribe of the village, giving Senela some quite nice connections in the local clan.
Passionwise? She hates the Malani for their treachery that killed both her great-grandfather and her grandfather, she fears the Trolls for their darkness and will come to Hate the Lunar Empire when her mother is exiled.


Now that we've gotten ourselves a pair of MC's (and twice the amount of scenes for this story - thank you KFF, you smarty pants - Author's Note) it's time to start setting things up.
The way that Mythic works is that we state the Expected Scene, and figures out if there's going to be any twists on that. With prewritten games, it's more timeconsuming to do that.

But, without further ado...

Childhood - Fire Season of 1612 - Age 8

Act I - Scene 1 - Senela
Chaos Factor: 3 - Low
Expected Scene: Wake-Up and Leave
Set-Up Roll: As Expected.

In the quiet solace of the Quivin Mountains, the Clan of the Haraborn had settled generations ago, now isolated from the troubles of the world around them.
And, as befits a couple of children, they paid little heed to the ongoings of the world around them. After all, when you’re eight years old, it’s hard to imagine anything else than the immediate now.

For Senela, the day began as her mother was singing for the rise of in the central hall of Riddle Watch, the old family farmstead at the foot of the hills. The young girl crawled from her bunk in the children’s room and ran across the courtyard, into the main building of the farmstead where she saw her mother Nala remove the loaves of bread from the pan.
Her grandmother, the stoic and script-wise Veressa, gave her granddaughter one of her rare smiles, as the summer day just seemed to lighten the mood. Her father, Berek, poured her a cup of salted tea and then ruffled her hair, something that Senela did not mind at all.
Sene, my little terror; since you’ve been helping out your mother for the past few days You’re coming with me to market day today,” her father said.
Senela just nodded as she wolfed down the bread that her mother gave her; her mother just gave her a bit of side-eye and smirk, while her father looked dismayed at her.
You know, you’re still supposed to taste the food, otherwise you’ll be hard-pressed to remember it when you’re hungry and can’t have food.
 Just look at your cousin Melos, he can keep himself from eating in one breath.

Melos, being the son of Uncle Jenros, was always a pleaser. It always amazed Senela how he could be so good to handle the adults; Senela knew that he was just as big of a troublemaker as she was.
I found this to be a good place to bring in an NPC.
Melos is one of the pre-defined NPCs - The group of friends that our Main Characters hang around with.

It’s Melos, Hara, Ula and Darestan. Melos was rolled up to be from Riddle Watch, making him a part of the same lineage as Senela. Thus, it’s her cousin.
Melos is Deceptive, Thoughtful, Mutable and has the Illusion Rune;
Melos’ father had the traits of Proud and Self-centred; fittingly, his son Melos is just a pleaser.

However? Is Senela gonna react to this? We can try to see if her Harmony outweighs her Movement.
75 Harmony vs 75 Movement: r83vsr53 - Movement wins.

Yes,” Senela began to agree with her father, but quickly changed her mind “but Melos is also eating slowly because he’s trying to avoid lifting sacks onto the cart with uncle Jenros and you. But, I can lift instead of him!
Senela brushed the crumbs away from her chins, and stood up.
Her father sighed, and Senela knew that her grandmother was probably staring daggers at Berik, but she did not care. She ran out to help with the sacks, and then, it was off to adventure at the market!

Scene End.
Chaos Factor Remains at 3.
NPCs Introduced: Nala, Berik, Uncle Jenros, Grandmother Veressa, Cousin Melos.
Threads: None.



Act I - Scene 2 - Angian
Chaos Factor: 3 - Low
Expected Scene: Wake-Up and meet with friends
Set-Up Roll: Altered - Alright, Angian slept in - Mom would be displeased.

Wake up, you lazy boy” was the first thing that Angian heard that morning.
For a short second, he remembered that he had dreamt about Orlanth, the King of the Gods up among the clouds and how he had been flying among the Cloud Sheeps. That all disappeared as if it was dew in the sun, as his lovely mother, the fair Urios, seemed to be almost furiously prodding him.
This is the third time I’ve been calling on you! You’re supposed to be dressed by now,” she berated him as she almost dragged him out of his blankets.”

Meet Angian’s mother - Urios. Her runes are Disorder, Earth, Truth and Beast. So, she’s Self-Centered, Sensual, Physical and Inquisitive.

After being dressed and rubbing out the sleep from his eyes, Angian went into the hall and sat down by one of the tables where his mother and his aunts had prepared food for everyone. Buckwheat pancakes, jugs of mare’s milk and fresh bread with butter.

Besides him was the other children of the Chieftain’s household; his younger brothers, Kos and Yanalan as well as his younger sisters, Essa and Sena, adding onto that the three daughters of the Chieftain, Derinna, Hara and Ulanina. It was a small horde of kids, and in a smaller household, Urios would have been fighting an uphill battle in vain to control this little horde.

But, here, the watchful gaze of Chieftain Gordangar as well as his wife, the proud Velora and even more imposing, the dreaded and embittered presence of grandmother Korra Longfingers; all that meant having a small army of children was quite manageable.
Sometimes, Angian was seated next to his uncle by his mother, as all of the women hoped that Gordangar could teach the oldest boy of the household a thing or two about life, which often ended up with Gordangar trying and Angian never really understanding what his uncle was talking about.

It wasn’t long before the kids were allowed to run out to play, as Market Day was about to begin. While Gordangar had to receive Issaries’ Godtalker in the city megaron, Angian was free to run outside alongside a small group of children that he knew quite well.
There was his cousin Hara, the middle daughter of the Chieftain, who was their unofficial leader, always making sure that everyone got along and was a friend to all of them. Second, Angian was the strong boy that was tasked with lifting things and making sure that other kids did not bully them.
Ulannina was Hara’s younger sister, and she was the one of the friends who always made things happen, Ula always had ideas for games and schemes to entertain them all.
Then, there was Darestan, a son of one of the Thanes. Darestan had the best eyes for details and could spot trouble from a mile away. He could be mean, but he was often also friendly enough. Some said that he had Trollblood in him, but Angian doubted that could be true; Darestan was just insecure.

As the four of them ran outside towards the market, they could see the Riddle Watch cart, and with that, the final members of their little band had arrived in town.
Senela was the smart one. She knew how to read and had many stories and ideas, but most of all, she was Hara’s best friend. With her, came Melos, her cousin. Melos was a bit of a scrawny kid, and Angian did not like how well he lied, but Senela wanted to have him around.

Scene End.
Chaos Factor goes to 4.
NPCs Introduced: Uncle Gordangar, Mother Urios, Aunt Velora, all of the siblings, Ula, Hara, Darestan, Grandmother Korra Longfinger.

Threads: None.


Act I - Scene 3 - Angian & Senela 
Chaos Factor: 4 - Low
Expected Scene: Go with friends to play games
Set-Up Roll: As expected.

They wandered around for a half hour and realized that there was nothing to do that same day. Everyone were too busy with the Talking God that it seemed like the rest of the village was even more boring than usual. But, also as per usual, Ula had found something for them to do. This time however, it was just throwing rocks at an old, half-rotten hitching post.
Angian shrugged, but it seemed like Senela was not having it.
Ula. This is not a good game. It’s barely a game."  
Well. Senela is not really the kind of person who likes throwing things.
Then, First Actual Skill Roll!
Roll 63 vs Orate 40 - Failure…

Ula shrugged, “Well, I say it’s a game, and you’re just not interested because you know you’ll lose.
She looked to her sister, “Hara, we’re going right? Tell me we’re going to play my game.

Hara is Harmony primary. She’s going to be taking the most diplomatic approach

Hara, ever the diplomat, sent Senela a glance and just smiled at her sister.
Of course we’re doing that. Just, remember that most people haven’t had the chance to try it yet.
Soon, at the old paddock, Ula explained her game, that everyone were sure that she just invented.
The object of the game was to stand on the opposite side of the old paddock, some fifteen or twenty feet from the stick, and then hit the stick with a thrown stone. 

The stone had to hit the ground on it’s way before hitting the stick. Then, whoever hits the stick the most times before everyone becomes too bored with the game would win..

Well. Time to do some DEXx3 Rolls
Angian [15+10 = Throw Rock 51 - 88 77 13 34 35 76]
Ula [15+5 = Throw Rock 45 - 31 94 69 65 11 62]
Senela [15+15 = Throw Rock 30 - 32 07 46 89 58 76]
Hara [15+0 = Throw Rock 15 - 41 69 04 05 96 97]
Darestan [15+5 = Throw Rock 20 - 55 67 14 25 29 87]
Melos  [15+0 = Throw Rock 15 -  00 ]


The game began, and at first, it seemed like everything was great, but the first thing Melos did was to throw away his rock; sending it flying into the grass which forced him to go look for it.
Angian howled in joy when his rock actually hit and for a while it seemed like he’d win, right until Hara decided to step up, placing more than one shot right in on the post.
However, on her final shot, Hara missed completely, instead hitting poor Melos on the arm just as he returned, causing the game to end and Melos to howl in agony.
3 pts of DMG to Melos’s right arm. OW!

This caused several adults coming down to take a look at the children and what they were up to.
Among those was Nala, the ever-smiling entertainer of the hall as well as Senela’s mother.
As usual, Nala came down to makes sure all of them were patched up after having done something stupid.
Of course, Nala always scolded them, but not too much this time, after all, there was a wound to look at.
Placing Melos next to her, Nala began to sing a small song to the wound, and the rock began to move out of the wound, gradually mending flesh back together. Senela just looked at her mother in awe, but also knew that this magic had been given to her mother by the Black Stag, the protective spirit of the Haraborn Clan.
Why did you do that mother?” Senela asked. “Isn’t it wasteful to use magic like that? Father says that you have to learn lessons when you get hurt.
We take care of our family, blossom.” Nala just smiled, “and all of this clan is in truth our family. We stick together, and we sing for each other.
Nala reached out to her daughter, the two of them sharing a long gaze.
Besides, just because the wound is now closed, it does not mean that Melos will forget that lesson anytime soon. Don’t walk around places where they’re throwing stones towards.

Nala smiled at the small band of her daughter’s friends that had kept themselves at a respectful distance, and just laughed a bit.
Go with your friends, Sene. Maybe sing them a song about how painful a flying rock can be.
Senela, struggling to remember such a song just nodded, and darted off with her friends.

Scene End.
Chaos Factor stays the same.
NPCs Introduced: Uncle Gordangar, Mother Urios, Aunt Velora, all of the siblings, Ula, Hara, Darestan, Grandmother Korra Longfinger.

Threads: None.



Alright. It's late, but I got PLENTY more to go. Just you wait, in my current text, this little critters are adults and ready to mess things up. We're not even started on the Six Seasons of Sartar yet!

Till next time!




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Søren A. Hjorth
- Freelancer Writer, Cultural Distributer, Font of Less Than Useless Knowledge

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Due to the Childhood part being the first parts I did, I had somes notes written for their hide-n-seek game, but I ended up refraining from actually writing it up. A bit of a hole there, but, I think it works fine.

Act I - Scene 4 - Angian & Senela - "Battle of the Bloody Peak"

Chaos Factor: 4 - Normal
Expected Scene: Go Out and Play Thane of the Bloody Peak as per "Valley of Plenty"
Set-Up Roll: As Expected.

After the band was done eating their lunch, Ula had enough of the hide-and-seek game they had been playing so far.
Friends, we're the Thanes of the Bloody Peak, we should go back there and do our duty” she boldly proclaimed, trying to mimic her father's proud intonation; The "Bloody Peak" being a pile of red earth left from the building of the defense ditches, where they had staked a claim as being the Thanes. Whoever was the actual Thane was a bit fuzzy, but was often settled with a bit of careful boasting.
Everyone agreed and went on their way, passing out beyond the ditches towards the peak. However, when they arrived, it seemed like they had been ousted as claimants of the peak, as a bunch of kids roughly their own age stood and had made a small fortified position of leaf and branches, proclaiming they’d fight anyone who tried to claim the Peak from them.
And even worse, these boys seemed to have a hell of a mouth on them as they proceeded insult all of them. Mudeaters, Halfwits and even Moonsingers!

The first clod of dirt was hurdled towards the group, not hitting a lot, and Senela just looked distraught at her friends. “What should we do?
Ula clamored “We should charge them!” Senela did not really agree and sought Hara’s eyes. “We could try to play with them,” Senela suggested. “But, they did say a lot of mean things. Perhaps we can find someone to help us?

Hara shook her head. The leader of the invaders up there was Ofin, son of one of the hunters, and everyone knew that Ofin wanted to show everybody that he was the best at everything. They'd have to push the other kids away if they wanted their Peak back. Angian, being the son of a warrior, stepped forward and looked dead serious.
This was war. And in war, they needed a plan.
[ Time for a Battle Roll 40%r23 = Success ]
"No time for getting more people here. Ofin and his friends won't stop shaming us if we do. We need to take one of the old carts that the grown-ups aren't using anymore, and then we can use it as a tortoise-shell," Angian said. He seemed confident, and Hara just nodded, and even Darestan, who always was a bit contrary nodded eagerly. It was a grand plan! 
They dragged up one of the old carts used for moving the earth, and began their advance!
    I ended up using the Resistance Table for this, setting the "Get up and shove the opponents out"
    Whoever fails gets muddy as the children's free-for-all brawl goes wild!
    So, it was Resistance 13 vs STR
  - Angian: STR 12 = vs45 roll 40 = Success!
  - Ula: STR 10 vs 35 roll 11 = Success!
  - Senela:STR 12 vs45 roll 63 = Failure!
  - Hara: STR 10 vs35 roll 62 = Failure!
  - Darstan: STR 11 vs40 roll 73 = Failure!
  - Melos: STR 10 vs30 roll 20 = Success!
So. 50/50 Split between Success and Failure.

With Angian and Ula leading the way, the kids ascended up the hill hidden behind their cart, through a wall of wooden “swords'' and dirt-clots before rushing forward and pushing the invaders down the “Peak” and their own curses and ridicule aimed at the Pretenders, much to Hara’s chagrin as she tried to make them all become friends afterwards.
Senela got mud all over her face as a big boy from Vale Gate shoved her into the mud, and Darestan got a black eye from Ofin's stick hitting him.
Even Ula managed to get a few scraps in on the opponents, but kept weeping due to the sand in her eyes. It was a hard won fight, but they had won.

Or, had they?

From behind them, a group of older kids rushed up, one of them mounted on a small pony. Angain cursed to himself as he saw his elder cousin Derinna, Hara and Ula's older sister, charged up the peak. Alongside her, she had brought her Companions, all of them kids around 10 to 11 years of age. And those older kids *wanted* the Peak for themselves. It did not take long for the older kids to drive the Band down from the Bloody Peak, thus causing them to lose it for the second time today.

From her new domain, Derinna's scathing voice taunted them as stupid babies, unfit for ruling even a pile of earth. Her cronies chanted along with her mocking. 

Angian looked distraught, having finally been told off by someone who is better than him. Senela patted him on the back, and said "There’s no reason to feel bad. Superior forces happen from time to time. That's why defeats happen."
However, Hara looked at the two of them and shook her head. The Cheiftain's daughter began to speak, loudly enough for even their defeated former opponents could  hear it as well; "Defeated? No, I shall not be defeated, not today. Just because my sister has a pony does not mean she understands how to use it. If we stand together, ALL of us, there’s victory ahead. Friends, I say go and get all those reinforcements you can muster! Derinna will not win today!"

Senela and Angian stood up, their desire to fight reignited, and rushed into town, seeking more people for their coming battle.

Orate Rolls to assembled Reinforcements. Hara has Augmented their skills.
- Angian Orate 15+20r56 = Failure - He only manages to recruit a few 6-year olds.
- Senela Orate 40+20r50 = SUCCESS! - Senela manages to get Ofin to join up.

Not even an hour later, the foot of the Bloody Peak had almost thirty kids assembled, most of them younger than the Band, eager for a chance to win over the older kids. Even Ofin and his friends had joined up. And as Hara sounded her warcry, the battle commenced, to be fought with brittle sticks and clots of mud.

BATTLE ROLLS (Modified to gives Bruises instead of HP DMG):
- Senela rolls her Battle 15 roll 77 = fail - she get two big bruises on both her legs!
- Angian rolls his Battle 45 roll 33 = success!
If they managed to win, I'd set them up with an encounter of sorts.

It was a sort of chaos that would cause any aspiring parent to think twice about procreating. Scratches, hairpulling, sticks and mud. All of them valid weapons, and the older kids might have the advantage, but there was just so many brats around them. Senela tried her best, but she never did like fighting, and ended up 
Angian found himself facing off against an older girl with long blonde hair, Verinith Heartache as the older boys called her as she kept on breaking hearts; Angian was not going to deny she made him nervous when she looked at him at any other time, but this was war. With a cry, Angian lunged at her with his stick, ready to show her that he was the better warrior! 

First "Combat" Angian has a SR5 vs Verinith's SR8
“Sword” 60 vs roll57 - Defense Parry 16 with stick-sword - 3 DMG in Left Arm - 1 DMG to Stick
“Sword” 40 roll92 - Defense Parry 60 vs 10 Special Success vs Fail
Special DMG = 4+1d3 = 4+3 = 7 DMG to Stick = Broken Stick

Location: Chest!

Two or three strikes happened before Angian managed to catch Verinith's "sword" with his own. And when that happened, he broke right through her parry, destroyed her stick and smacked Verinith right on the collarbone. The older girl stumbled back, and fell on her arse, glaring daggers at the kid in front of her.
"I yell, you brat" Verinith almost spat at Angian.

Behind them, Derinna was fending off attackers left and right, her pony very uneasy with the flocking children around it; however, when Ula managed to climb onto the pony, it sat down in protest. Derinna leapt of her mount, and tried to ward away her kid sister, but it was to no avail, as Darestan placed his stick in front of Derinna's feet and she toppled over, with Ula still on her back.
"Do you yeld, sister?!" the younger sister cried out.
"It's *yield*´, and yes, I yield, you little monster!" Derinna hissed back at Ula.
"Good! I want a ransom!" Ula replied.
"A Ransom! Something you pay me to get your freedom!"
Around them, the battle was subsiding.
"What in Ernalda's name would a brat like you want as a ransom!? You can't even count!"
"I'll take... your pony's weight in frogs!" she looked at Derinna with glee; Ula knew her sister hated frogs.
Derinna was about to cry, but reminded herself that she was in front of everyone else and just nodded.

After that, the motley army of kids cried out in victory, and Derinna and her Companions took flight, Derinna brought her pony along and seemed to be close to weeping. All in all, this was a good day, and Senela sat down with Hara as the Band and their allies was gathered around.
Senela looked to all of them.
[Senela Orate 40r14 = Success]
"Friends," she began "we've gotten our victory. A good one, that will keep the older kids from messing with Bloody Peak. But we still need to have a Thane. And I say, our leader is the most fitting for it. Hara should be our Thane, because without her, we'd have gone home and had a boring afternoon."
Everyone around her started to agree, and the voices of two dozens of kids chanted out of Thane Hara of Bloody Peak. She got a dusty old hat and a wooden sword as her regalia, and everyone were about to sing the Thane-song, when everyone heard the sound of bronze-bells inside town.
It was dinnertime, and all thoughts of Thanes and battles vanished in an instant as everyone began to rush back to their halls for a well-earned plate of dinner. After all, most of them had black eyes and scrapes that had worked up an appertite.

Scene 4 End
Chaos Factor stays the same.
NPC's Introduced: Derinna, Verinith, Ofin



Act I - Scene 5 - Angian & Senela - "Tattle-Tale"

Chaos Factor: 4 - Normal
Expected Scene: "Valley of Plenty" has a scene in the main hall where Derinna tells on the Band.
Set-Up Roll: As Expected.

Usually, when I am in doubt of anything, I consult the Mythic Oracle Charts. 
Question: Are all of the Band happy at the outcome of this?
- Likely
Answer: Yes.
Q: The adventure wants Is Senela getting into the main hall because her mother is the Clan Skald?
- Very Likely
A: Yes, but... I guess Nala is not pleased with how her child looks!]

Senela was elated that everything had gone according to play. As they were walking through the city, it was clear that the other kids respected their Band now. It was a great feeling, and even Darestan felt like he was getting respected. When they arrived at the grand hall of the cheiftain, Senela looked at half of the band heading inside, Darestan joined his father at the house of the weaponthanes while Melos darted over to the tent from Riddle Watch.
She was just about to do the same when her mother tapped her on her shoulder.
"Sene..." Nala said, but did a double-talk when she saw the state of her child "Senela. What have you been doing?"
Senela looked at herself and all of the dirt and scrapes on her.
"I..." she was trying to find the right words. Her mother hated stupid violence.
Time to roll a Fast-Talk? Uh oh. 10r35 = Failure.]
"We... fell down a well?" she tried and her mother just looked at her, clearly unimpressed.
"Don't you dare lie to me young lady." Nala took her daughter's hand and lead her inside the hall, where people were already eating.
With a damp rag, Senela was washed off by her mother, and then told to eat while Nala began to play. While Senela was sitting there, Hara ended up sitting nearby and the two girls just ate and told jokes to each other.

Unfortunately, the peace of dinnertime was about to be broken when Velora, Cheiftess of the Haraborn was talking with her oldest daughter in what seemed to be a hushed, if angry conversation. Angian, who was fully engrossed in his plate of lamb and lentils, did not notice anything in spite of him sitting quite close to the conversation, but Senela on the other hand heard everything, even in spite of her mother's music.
Hara and Ula were being blamed for Derinna's torn coat, due to the battle outside. 
[ Listen Checks:
   Angian: 45r67 = Failure
 Senela: 35r01 = CRITICAL!

Then, Derinna began to tell on the entire battle outside. It was now clear that Derinna was tattling, even bending the truth a bit, and Senela would have none of it.
She took Hara by the hand, and walked to address the cheiftess and the lying Derinna.
[Q: Can they get over there in time? - 50/50 - A: Yes]
It seemed that Chieftess Velora was about to make a decision, just when Senela and Hara showed up.
"Mother," Hara said "please allow us to tell you what really happened outside. Derinna is trying to say something is truth when it is not!"
Velora, not one to pass swift judgement gave a slight nod, which was not pleasing to Derinna as she seemed to be fuming.
Senela, sure that she could show how well-spoken her mother had taught her to be, began to tell the story, even starting her story with a poem that she knew so well, one that also was about a battle by a peak.
[Orate Roll
- Augment with Speak Heortling - Success!
- Orate 40+20=60r00 - FUMBLE - Errrrrrrh....]

But, the thing is with poetry as with a lot of other artwork. The value and the reception, is depending the on the person listening to it. And Senela did not even manage to finish the poem of "The Red Day of Grizzly Peak" before the Chieftess stood up and shouted at the Skald to come and fetch her insolent little whelp.
Nala's tune came to an halt, and she rushed to grab the stunned Senela, and pulled her away from the anger of the Cheiftess, leaving a stunned Hara alone with a angry mother and a vindictive sister.

That's when Angian noticed what was going on. The following conversation ended up as a bickering match between his cousins, and he just contented himself by remaining in his seat, as he had been told by his elders. He hated having to side against family, even along with his own family.

Outside in the summer night, Nala berated her daughter.
What did you say to her! What sort of bard do you aspire to be when you just have to open your mouth once to make one of the nobles howl in rage at you!
Senela, almost crying, repeated the line, some words she had heard in a poem. Unfortunately, that very poem had been used to mock Velorina’s ancestors for their lack of commitment to the cause before the great Battle of Grizzly Peak.
Nala just embraced her daughter, and laughed a bit as Senela clung onto her mother, understanding that she made a mistake.
Your ears are too long and your tongue is far too wise for its own good. I blame your father, little one. He's just like you, saying things without understanding the context

Back in the hall, Angian had avoided the feuding parts of his family for a while, when his uncle called for silence in his hall.
"Family. It seems like my children have been feuding like children do, but desires to have their strife settled by their chieftain. So, now that we adults had the chance to have a drink of wine, I'll indulge them in settling this score.
Gorgandar looked at his aggrieved daughters, and waved them forward. Derinna stood forward, speaking almost like an adult and told what happened.
All of it was sort of true, from certain skewed point of view, and Angian really did not know how to contradict it. Then, Hara had her turn to speak, and it seemed like she wished to refute the events, but looked at Angian instead and asked him to speak.
The assembled hall was quiet, and amused by the drama among the children, and Angian found himself shoved up by his own mother, who glared at him expectantly.
With heavy steps, Angian stood before his uncle, and told him of what he had experienced, and he really did not want to disappoint his uncle.
[Orate 15 to Properly Recount the Events.
- Impassioning Loyalty Chieftain - 60r07 = Special
- Orate 15+30 45r32 = Success!]

Gordangar just smiled after Angian stopped his recounting.
I have a decision to make. When you are a child, you live in a world among children. And in that world, being a tattletale is unbecoming. Derinna, for this, you will be barred from riding on your pony for the next three days, and you will pay the ransom in full.
As for the rascals? You are older than all of them, Derinna, and one day, you will find that these children will stand beside you in strife and joy. They’ll need more chores, but I will not punish them any further.

That night, all learned a valuable lesson. Derinna was infuriated, but what else was new? They went home the next morning, and returned to their normal lives, in the isolated Valley of the Haraborn

This was one of the most precious memories of childhood that those involved would carry with them for many, many years to come.

But, their saga, that was just beginning.

Scene 5 End
Chaos Factor stays the same.
NPC's Introduced: None! I seem to have settled on a crew of NPCs for now.



Alrighty. That brings me out of the parts that I lifted from "Valley of Plenty" - Amazing stuff, but the rest of the Childhood part in that is an adventure dealing with Praxians and some other stuff, a bit unsuited for the isolated Haraborn Clan. First, I'll use the Interlude stuff from that publication to pass the time until they're getting ready for their adulthood ceremonies. Also, it will be the place where I place in the remaining Family Story for Senela. 


Interlude: What Happened in the Years of 1612 and 1616

  • 1612 [Age 9]: In the Darkness Season of 1612, Angian lost a newborn brother to a wicked illness spirit. Poor little Orlath never stood a chance against the fever. His mother, Urios, wept for days. In the days before Sacred Time, Senela developed a friendly rivalry with Anelia Sun-kissed over who could make the finest puppets. Anelia was the daughter of a pair of immigrants that settled with the Haraborn.
  • 1613 [Age 10]:  The Year of Starbrow's Rebellion.
    In the Sea Season of 1613, Angian "fell in love" with Senela but was forced to put it aside by his mother who tells him about how the Clan works, as he could never marry her. In the Earth Season of 1613, Senela’s mother Nala was named as an Outlaw by the Royal House of Sartar. Senela was also given a favor by Derinna after rescuing her from a “fling” with a boy from out of town.
  • 1614 [Age 11]: Senela was told by traders that her mother fought to save the Ducks during the Duck Hunt, and fled to Esrolia. For that, she was branded as an Exile as well. During Storm Season, Angian was tasked to help one of the Shamans of the White Hart and was given a charm for his troubles. Many of the older women said that Senela was sure to break many hearts in the future, as she was growing into having quite the comely face. [+1 POW - +1 CHA]
  • 1615 [Age 12]: During the Fire Season, Angian and Senela earned the respect of the Chieftain, as they served as his cupbearers during a meeting with the other clanleaders of the Colymar Tribe. [+3 Intrigue, +3 Sing]
  • 1616 [Age 13]: That year, Angian spent most of it in the mountains hunting alongside Erinna Copperaxe, the Babeester Gorite Champion of the Clan, and Senela began to blossom even more. In fact, she was now becoming a woman, and in the Sea Season of 1616, that is where we shall continue our tale.


Well. That was nice. I'll be back soon to tell you all about the events of a Female Adulthood Initiation as it happened for young Senela.
Here's hoping this is entertaining to read.

Edited by KungFuFenris
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Søren A. Hjorth
- Freelancer Writer, Cultural Distributer, Font of Less Than Useless Knowledge

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Alrighty. Time for The Riddle. I gotta say, this was a bit more railroady, due to the nature of the chapter, but it's good readin'
It has a lot of things that might seem a bit squeemish, so... okay, it contains talks of biology, pregnancy, sex. The whole shebang. I didn't detail the saucy bits, but it is mentioned.

Also. THIS is the first time I am running a HeroQuest of sorts. And, hell, I need to do more of it.
The Author did an excellent job. Normally, I would kinda hesitate to not have any sort of deviation and Expected Scene Checks, but I cannot really find a way to run this without keeping it to the text.
If this is too much shared of the secret sauce, I'll be happy to edit things out and I will try to remove as much as I can on a mechanics level.


The Riddle - Sea Season of 1616 

Something was wrong. This spring, everything tasted wrong to Senela, and she could not stand to either stay inside or stay outside. Everything felt wrong to wear, wrong on her frame. And even worse, there were the voices.
Senela had hoping to earn her grandmother’s advice; but all grandmother did was chide her for trying to escape her duties.
And one night, she had the blood. And she cried, while her grandmother seemed to almost chase away both boys and men.
That night, grandmother Veressa came with some bitter tea, and told her to drink, and then, everything felt like a dream. And it did not seem strange when veiled women came and led her away into the night.

Then, she woke up.  
Standing in the cold of night, in front of the mouth of a cave, Senela finally realized where she was. This place was called The Riddle, a place where she had never dared to think of going into, as this cave was where Babester Gor stood guard, holy to the Goddess; a place where all her life Senela had been warned of certain death if she enters.
This… this is not…” she tried to think, as she tried to move away in a panic, as the many women tried to hold her in place.
Then, a pair of old hands grabbed ahold of her face. A pair of blind eyes looked at her. This was Morganeth, the old Priestess of Ernalda. The tea had made her hazy, but Senela complied, in spite of the cold that made her shiver.
We must journey in, Senela Nala’s Daughter.
She just tried to wrestle herself free, trying to get away from the cave.
And all Morganeth said was. “Not in there,” and then placed her nail to Senela’s belly. “In here.
With those words, she turned around and walked into the mouth of the cave.
Finally mustering up the courage, Senela stood up and just allowed herself to be stripped naked and washed. More of that tea was poured down her gullet, allowing the heat from the drugs to chase away the cold. A crown of flowers was placed on her head, and around her, the veiled women spread herbal smoke from clay censers. 
And one by one, they pointed towards the entrance the Priestess had descended into.

And with nothing but a vague sense of reality, Senela entered.

In this darkness, Senela slowly began to remember the legends of this place. A dark labyrinth as old as the oldest gods. Here, no fire would shine and here all of the women would be buried. It was horror to think of it, as she was now herself well on her way to become a dead woman. Every sound and scrap was immeasurably strong.
What could be down here?! Trolls like those dark things that had always haunted her nightmares? Would she just die down here?!
Then, something grapped her, then another thing. The pitch black skin of a troll was trying to drag her into an unknown fate. She shrieked and panicked, running through darkened and damp passages with nothing to guide her.

[Yeah, Senela has a Fear of Trolls Passion.
Roll Fear Passion to overcome Fear 
- roll 29 vs Fear 60 
- Success 
- She does not overcome Fear 

And then, she saw the light. It was here that Senela found Morganeth. In the middle of a large spiral, the Riddle was lit up by Morganeth’s fire. As she approached, the old priestess waved her closer and just hugged her, and in spite of the surreal feeling, that warmth seemed real.
You have nothing to fear here. In you, there are five souls stirring. Each of them must be awakened. Without the gifts of these souls, you will never be a woman.
What you saw in that tunnel was only as real as you make it. You can be so much more if you allow yourself to be beyond fear. But, each step is important.
Soon, the Elements will come to you in form of young gods. Lovers. Partners. Sons. Brothers. You may conquer each by knowing what he needs. It is in knowing that your power lies. - Remember your stories, you walk in the footsteps of the Goddess. Do as her, and you will come across safely

Morganeth, old and blind, just pointed behind herself, where the tunnel continued.
“Go, little one. Go with the Goddess.”
Down there, in the winding tunnel, Senela saw a pale emerald glow illuminate the walls. She moved forward, with not a little hesitation in her step.

[Rolling POWx5 [70] for finding her nerve: roll10 - she finds a bit more courage]

Then, the world was green. Grass was everywhere, birds sang and wind tastes of flowers and spring. Senela exited into a world where the sky itself was green. Everything was more vibrant and colorful, and before Senela laid the village that she knew so well. Her home. She walked the streets she knew so well, and met her aunts, sisters and her grandmothers. Even her own mother, Nala, walked forward and embraced her with joy.
There you are, Sene.”
But, mother? How are you here?” 
Everyone is here, blossom. In one way or another.” 

[Scan30+20=50roll41 - There are no men here ]

But, the men are not? Where are they?” Senela asked.
They are not supposed to be here. No, Sene, come and eat. Sing for us. We have so much to catch up on
For what seemed to be hours, perhaps even days, it was peace. Eternal safety, singing with her mother, playing dolls with her sisters, drinking sweet green water and always having the sweet taste of honey on her. Everything was perfect.
She could stay here forever. Every bite was deep and intoxicating.
After what seemed to be forever, a breeze caressed her skin and it made her feel warm on the inside in a way she had not felt before. 
Something began to stir within and she stood up with a jolt, not knowing what to do with herself. Every bite she took just added to the tingling inside of her. Something had to be done, but she knew not what.
Then. Water began covering her feet. A small stream from the nearby hills had begun to cover her toes and feet, the cool feeling alleviating it all in just a second. Without even thinking twice, Senela set off to follow it.
After what seemed like seconds and years, Senela found the sea, having left her greenhome behind her without thinking. Across the sea was a mighty peak, a mountain unlike any other, and she knew she had to go there. But how?

Gata Rides the Ocean

And as she saw the stream meet the ocean, foam of the sea began to rush up, taking the shape of a nude, oh-so-handsome man. Blue-green skin glistening and his sea-green hair and beard braided with seashells and seaweed.
He looked at her “O Woman of the Earth, where are you going? Because you've come to the end of your realm and the edge of mine.
And Senela just stood quietly. “My name is Senela, and I wish to cross that ocean… if it is your domain, would you consider taking me there?
The man’s face lit up with some emotion that Senela could not truly place “Woman of the Earth, I can carry you across the waves. I could carry you for the rest of my life and never get tired of it. But what will you give me in exchange for my toil?
And that’s when Senela understood. He wanted something from her. 
Just like when Gata, the Old Earth Goddess, wanted to cross the sea. She just whispered. “You are Zaramaka the Ocean, are you not?” and the man nodded lustly in reply as he had moved closer to her, yet never touching, his breath so close Senela could feel it.
[I as a Player was unsure if Senela would actually come to that conclusion. 
But, Earth Rune 80. Roll vs Earth Rune 80% for Sensuality 
- 80roll53 = Success 
Was this not what Ernalda would have done?” she asked herself.
She placed one hand on the heaving chest of her admirer and felt something inside was stirring in response. “I will give you what you desire, Zaramaka.” she had to push those words over her lips.
Yes, Gata's Daughter, it is you I seek. Beautiful Lady, come into my arms and lie with me. Lie with me, love me, and I'll fill your breasts with milk, your womb with life-giving waters, and you'll have the secrets of renewal and rebirth in the tides of your blood.
And then, he kissed her. A kiss Senela answered in full with greed. They made love, and from their love was born rivers and lakes.
[Yeah. From here it's a fade to black. In the original document, there's a spicy passage written here, but I just realized that this ain't the time and place for Goddess-on-Ocean Erotica]

After their passionate lovemaking, she rolled around, kissed her lover once more, before travelling across the waves on his back.
Her sexual soul had been awakened.
[Erh. Right. That got a bit weird. It's almost impossible to describe Women Mysteries and not delve into matters of sexuality.
- Rolling Water Rune
- Water 60roll54
Check earned in Water Rune


Ernalda Spills Her Blood

They arrived at the foot of the mountain, with little to say to each other, and as soon as she sat foot on the cliffs, Zaramaka turned into the ocean that he was, once again.
Senela never hesitated and began her climb, invigorated by her recent experiences. All of this felt right. But soon, the climb became much too hard to endure. 
Light was sharp and warm, and soon, Senela sat down when she found a place to sit on the mountainside. But, here, she was a young man with flowers in his hair, standing in a small plowed field on an outcropping.
Greetings farmer, my name is Senela, Daughter of Nala” she said. The youth stopped up, his seed-sack in hand as he had been planting. 
My name, beautiful daughter of the Earth, is Flamal. And where might you be heading?”
I am climbing the mountain, but this heat is far too much.
[Insight: 40roll38 = Success = Something is wrong]
What is troubling you, Flamal?
I've strewn my seed all over the fields and gardens, but to no use. Nothing will germinate, grow, or take root.
She remembered this. This myth was when Ernalda had offered up her blood to create life… and had Zaramaka not just told her that she had been filled with life-giving waters?
[Rolling Harmony to find a way. Harmony 75 roll37 - Success, she’ll share it]
I can give you some of my blood, Flamal. Everything must grow, it is the way of the world
She moved to take his knife, Flamal seemed a bit bewildered, but allowed it. 
From her hands and from between her thighs, Senela began to bleed and the Earth became dark and ruddy, causing Flamal to kneel in admiration. “O Blessed Life-Giver! Forever I promise the secret of the seed to you, and entrust all seed that you may make it come alive.
Flamal, the God of the Green, swore his loyalty and love to her and escorted her up the mountain and Senela felt her second soul, her Sacrificial Soul, had been awakened.
[Fire Rune 20 - 20 vs roll11! Success = Sacrificial Soul awakened - Check in Fire
Not as transgressive to poor Senela as the other trial, but she's up for something different in a moment.]



Ernalda in the House of Abundance

Climbing the Cosmic Mountain with Flamal, green was growing everywhere and flowers grew in Senela’s footsteps. Eventually, under an azure sky studded with golden stars, she comes to a golden palace, the court of the Bright Emperor, Yelm, the God of the Sun.
In front of those gates, Flamal took his farewell with a kiss on her cheeks.
It is an endless series of rooms in gold and marble, with precious stones set into the walls. 
There were the golden-hooved white horses, the exotic songbirds, proud griffons roaming the halls. 
She saw the great throne of Yelm, towering over the main hall, a thing of gold and topaz and amber and the throne of Empress Dendara beside it.

"Such beauty," the Solar Emperor purred. "You'll be a wonderful addition to my Halls. I'm assuming you're a good cook. Weave? That you understand how to raise children? These jobs are too lowly for my Empress's hands, therefore I'll appoint you Mistress of the Loom House, Nursery, and Kitchens. Others will recognize you as my preferred concubine and will follow your dictates."
Before she could really protest, she found herself doing all those things. In fact, she felt like she had reached her goal and the Emperor adored her as needed be.

She weaved in the House of Looms, and no one really found her fabric all that compelling. She was frustrated and felt trapped, having always hated the loom. Yelm did not mention it, but the Emperor still found that she was still a beauty that he would kept for himself as a rare treasure.
[Weaving: - Customs Heortling 40 vs roll93 - Fail]
One day, she stood in court, attending the Bright Emperor as a object of beauty to be displayed, quite against what she really wished for.
Then, a vigorous youth showed up, blue-skinned and clad in cloth and woad. He challenged the Bright Emperor to a dance, but not before locking eyes with her. And she fell into his eyes. Yet, the Emperor danced against the youth, and everyone felt that the War Dance of Orlanth was much too wild to win and Orlanth left in a fury.

For what seemed hours or years, Senela oversaw the kitchens, and her food was never any good. Her talent for cooking was next to nothing.
However, while the Emperor was displeased with her cooking, he still loved and desired her as his favorite concubine. But, she could not help but still think of the red-haired youth whenever she entertained her Emperor.
[Feast Prep: Customs Heortling 40 vs roll93 - Fail]
Then, Orlanth showed up once more, and challenged Yelm to a contest of Magic.
As he passed by her, they saw each other again, but Orlanth moved by, only for Senela to grab him by his arm,  “Why do you do this, Stormson? The Emperor is too proud to ever lose to anyone.” 
It is why I must be here, Earthwoman. Because he has everything and that must change. And I...
With the sound of a horn, the youth was called away; as now the Contest was on. Yelm showed the magic of existence and being while Orlanth showed the magic of changing and becoming. The Judges once again took the Emperor’s side. And Orlanth left with storms in his eyes.

As a part of her duties, Senela nursed the children of the Emperor, a task she finally knew how to do. She had always liked children, yet she knew not if any of them were her own. And it did not matter, as she fed the children and made them grow. Here, she was truly worthy of her title of first concubine, admired by the Emperor and her handmaidens always assured her that the Emperor had great love for her, while in her secret heart she pined for the wild storm god.
[Nursing: Customs Heortling 40 vs roll13 - Success!]
One night, Orlanth sought her out. “You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, praise worthy across all realms!” - and Senela’s heart soared with pride and adoration; but she still feared the envious Emperor and sent the wild-haired Orlanth on his way.

The next morning, Orlanth challenged the Emperor once more, this time on the field of music. Whereas Yelm played that harp that Senela knew so well, it was Orlanth and his bagpipes that caught her attention. It was not a matter of winning, but of mockery and Senela could not help but laugh at the Emperor’s expense, nor could a lot of people, even if Yelm was once more made the victor by the judges.
On his way out, Orlanth stopped near her and spoke.
I'd like to take your laugh with me since it's like music and so pure. In truth,  I'll take you anywhere as long you agree to share that melody again..
Senela hesitated, but then looked at him. “You cannot, Windlord. I am the Emperor’s concubine. There are tests you must pass to win me. You must challenge the Emperor of the World first
That last part was not Senela’s words, and she knew not where they came from, but Orlanth just nodded and left.

He returned on another golden day; and this time he aimed to challenge the Emperor on the field of Weapons.
Yelm brandished his golden bow, placing an arrow in Orlanth’s chest, yet that arrow did little else than to wither away, much to Senela’s astonishment and relief.
Then, Orlanth drew his blade.
And she recoiled when she saw it. It was a black and terrible thing to look upon, full of endings and grief, something that she had never imagined! And as Orlanth struck, the Emperor fell, clutching his chest as the mountain shok and the hall shattered apart.
Life left the Golden Emperor and he fell into Hell!

With little time to hesitate, Senela found herself among her handmaidens who were all ready for escape, just as she had told them to. Orlanth and his new followers joined with them, and he kissed her passionately before saying that they had to leave.
[Earth Soul - Awakening The Nurturing Soul - Earth 80 vs roll66 - Success]


Ernalda Descends Into the Underworld

Score of years passed in second before Senela's eyes.
Storms and darkness ruled the world. Gods of Darkness having fled up when Yelm ended in Hell. Winter was on the march from the north. Chaos had come into the world. Now, Senela was Orlanth’s queen and wife, his lover and mother of his children. But their rule was not a good one, as Orlanth always had battles to fight as the dark and cold threatened to bring that wicked Death to everyone.

And this winter was far worse. Her husband had ridden off to war, and she was left on the stead.
Her children wept with cold and hunger. And now, an enemy, Nontraya the Wolfrider, a being of death and rot, whose love she recalled having spurned, was bringing an army of undead to be the end of herself and her children.

Only her bedmate, Argan Argar, the dark and handsome who had warmed her in Orlanth’s absence, had an ear to grant the Queen in that hour.
And he advised deception. She gathered around her handmaidens to seek their advice, and they said the same. If Nontraya believed her dead, they could hide her in the hall of her aunt, the dread Ty Kora Tek. Senela was then dressed in funeral garbs and was placed upon a bier, her handmaidens acting as her procession, weeping and wailing as they went forth from the Hall of Orlanth. 
And as they met the army of dead that Nontraya rode before, he demanded to see the body of his beloved. Senela held her breath when the gaze of the wolfriding Taker and Waster inspected her.
[Roll Act - 15 roll03 - Critical!]
His rotten eyes did not see anything wrong with the deception and roared in anger, but grumbled that Senela-who-was-Ernalda truly was dead…

And that’s when Senela discovered that she could not move.
Nor breathe.
Nor live.
She felt like a corpse, and soon, she was carried towards a cave. One that she knew very well.
It was the Riddle. 

At that movement, Senela remembered who she was and where she came from.
The procession entered the shadows again, while Senela tried to scream. Round and round they went, until they placed her in the dark once more. Senela could not move, nor could she tell where she was. All of her handmaidens had left her alone in the black.
Suddenly, something removed the veil from her face, and she gasped, as if awakening from a deep sleep. A voice, with age and cobwebs spoke to her from the shadows. As grave-lights lit up, Senela saw the withered form of Morganeth.
She could not tell what was going on anymore. Was she Ernalda? Was she Senela? Was she in the Underworld or the Riddle? Was this Morganeth or Ty Kora Tek?
A old decrepit hand touched her cheek, and Senela understood. She had failed her test. She died here.
“Everyone fails. Everyone dies. This is how it must end.
The girl you once were is no longer alive."
The withered hands placed the grave shawl on her once more, and Senela could not do anything but cry as she understood that she would be here forever in the black tunnels of the Riddle.
[Roll Darkness Rune - 00 vs roll05? Huh… well, that’s a thing = Success as she awakens her Fourth Soul, the Cunning One ]


Ernalda, Midwife of Time, Mother of Spring

And here she would be for eternity. 
Dead and gone as Time had not yet been born.

Then, Senela woke up, as the shawl was removed. 
Her beloved Orlanth stood over her, and kissed her lips, but he was gone as soon as the kiss ended. 
Senela took a breath, a fresh, new breath as strong as anything she had felt before and she stumbled to her feet. Once more, she was in a cavern, strewn with cloth-wrapped corpses, but also a strong light filling it.

Escaping her own wrappings, Senela stumbled towards the light, but found herself in something far more breathtaking than death.
The cave had a dome of black rock, but was adorned with the glittering stones set in the constellations of stars that she knew so well, with Yelm’s light streaming from the central point. And in the middle of the cave, sat a beautiful woman that everyone knew as Ernalda, along with her six handmaidens, all indescribably beautiful, bare-breasted and jeweled. Ernalda’s skin was the pale green of spring. 
White strands of silk or thread are coming from the immense spider beyond the mouth of the cave, and Ernalda and her handmaidens were gathering them up and weaving furiously. Queen Ernalda raised her gaze at Senela and spoke to her; “We could use another pair of hands
Senela hesitated, knowing that her weaving skills were small, but she shivered away the doubt and moved to join them. 
Daughter, in our circle, we give birth to Time. Come claim your ancestral right!.
And then, a sharp pain struck her. Senela looked down at herself, her stomach heavy with child, and waters splashed from her lap, the same waters Zaramaka placed in her, and she knew that she was about to give birth to a child. No one moved, Ernalda just continued her weaving while Senela looked bewildered at her, but the Goddess did speak to her again.
This is the Soul of Life, daughter, the Fifth and Final Soul. It is the most powerful of your gifts.
Senela screamed and sank to her knees.
[Roll POW14x5 -70 = 70r13 = Success!]

Great Ernalda continued while she and her handmaidens weaved the silk of the spider
"We wove the pattern that now connects the cosmos from the Spider's Silk and the Five Ages of the Gods. Five souls for five ages, as five seasons for a child to be born, five eras for a sunrise. Each generation inherits the world from the previous, just as mortals inherited the cosmos from the gods.
You, like us, shape the future.
Pained from her oncoming labors, Senela fell to her knees, all while the Goddess continued her weaving. Through her agony Senela saw that their work was a great net of spider-silk filled with a bewildering array of shapes and patterns… In it’s weave, Senela saw plant and animal life, humanity, the patterns of the seasons and the stars all in the weave, until she caught Ernalda’s eyes again.
"You were sent here to die, yet your immortality is tied to your ability to weave Life's threads, that bulwark against the forces of oblivion.
Inside of you is the Weave that once more give birth to eternity. You are now a woman.
Another scream as Senela pushed out the child from her lap!
- Awakening the Soul of Life
- Air Rune 20 roll15 
- Success!

Moments after she had done that final push, she collapsed into sweet, sweet oblivion.
She woke up again. Naked and on the floor of the cavern. 
The Goddess and her handmaidens were gone.
But, the shimmering light  from above finally allowed her to see, only to spot an unmoving form next to her. It was herself. Senela, dead in a puddle of birthwater. 
Senela backed away, but still could not help but to look into her own dead eyes, wide open and glossy. Her own face contorted in a death grimace.

That is a girl that once was”, a voice behind her echoed. "mourn for her, as she died giving birth to the woman that stands now"
With those words, Senela saw her own corpse melt away like ice, wind rushing at her back and snow now covered the ground. She turned towards the voice. It was female.
A person walked towards her, young and calm, dressed in a pelt of bear with white hair draped across her shoulders.
She introduced herself; "I am Ivanne, wife of Heort, Mother of your People. And like you, I was given this Secret of Life to defend the Cosmos."
She brushed some of the last of the snow from her cloak. and began to walk, gesturing for Senela to follow her.
Why was I seeing the world like this? Why did I have to die to understand how to give life;” Senela asked as they passed through the snow.
“The turn of the season reflects the world of the gods, as it turns, so do the Ages. Each year the world withers and is reborn again at the Sacred Time.” Ivarne said as they began their walk along the spiral-path of the Riddle.
So I can just create life?” Ivarne looked at her for a second. “There’s nothing small and insignificant about it. In the same time it takes a year to turn, you can bring a child into the world. 280 nights from conception to birth
Why was I Ernalda?” Senela looked into the ground, vaguely remembering the time where she walked in the footsteps of the Goddess.
Because you walk in her footsteps to understand. And Ernalda gave you this gift. Why? Because your Gift is the answer to stand against Death. Ten times a year, you will give your blood to Ernalda in tithe, and this blood will be a sacrifice to help save the world, keeping it safe from being devoured by Death.
Senela shivered a bit as her naked body felt the wind on her skin once more. “All the trappings of life are ours to keep. Traditions and continuity. The cycle of the world. A blessing and a burden at once.
But,” Senela realized as the rays of sun hit her face, “what about those who do not follow the Gods of the Earth. Like the Humakti. Are they our enemy?
No, Senela. They are the keepers of Death, and it’s wardens. They know the balance to keep precious and not to give too much to Death. Ernalda and her tribe in turn weave new things into being

Ivarne… no, it was Morganeth who walked besides her. Had it always been Morganeth? They walked towards the light, the exit of the Riddle.
And at the mouth of the cave, Morganeth stopped and gave one last ceremonial address. 
From Darkness and Death walked the Sawn and walked Spring - Now, Senela Nala’s Daughter, you walk forth as the Woman You Are To Be.
They exited into the sunlight where the women stood waiting. Her grandmother Veressa and the women from her stead.
The Chieftess Velorina, Derinna the Tall and even Hara who had become a woman six months prior. Senela was welcomed among her fellow women with hugs and clothes. They gave her water and food, and it felt like coming home to a home that she never really understood she had. That night, she was told of her duties in the village by Velorina, and her grandmother, wise old Veressa, began to adore Senela with tattoos that marked her as a part of the Haraborn.

Heroquest Rewards
+6 to Reputation [She saw deep!]
+1 to POW 
+5% to Darkness, Fire and Air


Player-GM's Corner
Alrighty. That spells the end of the Riddle. Very different, almost a thought exercise in how to see what Andrew wrote from a first person perspective, and how it affects the character of Senela going forward. I think this entire rite is beautiful and strong, and I cannot wait to do more of this.

Søren A. Hjorth
- Freelancer Writer, Cultural Distributer, Font of Less Than Useless Knowledge

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Interlude: What Happened in the Years of 1616. 1617 and 1618

  • 1616 [Age 14] 
    This is the year where Senela became Woman of the Haraborn. During the Fire Season, Senela accompanied her uncle Borkar to the market in Clearwine, where she purchased a quite nice songbird for her grandmother. Both her uncle Borkar and Grandmother Veressa saw a need for Senela to learn even more about eloquence and writing, and made sure to teach her well.
    In the Earth Season, Angian found himself being coached in the use of the composite bow by his uncle Gordangar; the cheiftain took quite an interest in him.
  • 1617 [Age 15] 
    It was in the Fire Season of that year, that Angian put his skills with a bow to the test as he developed a rivalry with Verinith Heartache’s younger brother, Ofin. Verinith always defeated Angian at archery, but Ofin often found himself outmatched, only incensing the boy.
    During the Darkness Season, Senela's father return from a caravan to Esrolia, where he found his wife, Nala. Senela's mother have spend the past few years in service to an Esrolian Company of soldiers, which has caused the entertainer to be living out her exile in Nochet, the great city of Esrolia, in spite of the recent few years battles with both Wolf Pirates and Solanthi.
  • 1618 [Age 16]
    Angian is being idolized by his younger brother Yanalan. Yanalan often tries to walk as his brother and often mimics him, which causes Angian quite a bit of embarrasment.  That same summer, Velora, the chieftain’s wife, fell from a cliffside and went to the halls of their ancestors.
    As for Senela, she found her old childhood rival Anelia Sunkissed, injured and unconcious on a trail while Senela was out gathering herbs. A series of tall, carved wooden totem poles flanked the trail. Around her was the torn bodies of her parents, the two outsiders who became Haraborn.
    Anelia and Senela spend a lot of time together afterwards, as Senela helped Anelia regain her faculties after witnessing that horror, and due to that, their old rivalry turned into a deep friendship.


GM's Note: Real short update today. I'm currently formating the Male Initiation Rite for tomorrow.

Søren A. Hjorth
- Freelancer Writer, Cultural Distributer, Font of Less Than Useless Knowledge

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