|Yeah I've used this image before and I'm not sorry|
SESSION 5: DAY 9 CROW MOON CONTINUEDPETITIONING THE ANT QUEEN
Wither's magic leaf was not necessary to communicate with the ant-queen: as it transpired, she was a Great Insectoid Spirit and spoke the language of the settled peoples. Which was nice.
A deal was struck the ant queen would send some of her children with the pariahs to locate their missing band-mates, Whisper and Antelope.
In exchange—should the missing members be recovered—they would enter into the ant-queen's service.
Four giant ants joined the party: two trackers and two soldiers. They led the band through the jungle, indicating a closed canopy where the apes were lurking.
Lake and Fox entered a clearing to create a distraction, drawing the apes into an ambush.
Two were slain but two escaped, carrying the body of Antelope
There was no sign of Whisper.
Using their ants as mounts, they cornered the apes, but there followed a tense stand-off: ultimately the band were able to bargain for Antelope's body in exchange for some dried meat and the apes' safe passage.
The pariahs send the two soldier ants after the apes, and head back to the hive.
Antelope was alive but in poor health. A return to the apes' lair did not reveal the body of Whisper, but they did happen upon a polished axe head and some other trinkets.
RETURN TO ANT MOUNTAIN
The band enter the ant-mound unobstructed, but are feeling their way in the dark with improvised torches, carrying a wounded comrade and so end up wandering into a large chamber containing this spectacle:
Lake takes it all in for a bit before heading to the queen.
There is some debate as to whether the bargain was adequately fulfilled: Antelope has been found, but Whisper has not been recovered. The soldier ants return with the heads of the two apes. Antelope is wounded.
Ultimately it comes down to the ant-queen healing Antelope back to full health, in return for the Pariahs' service until the next full moon.
A blood pact is sealed, breaking of which will incur dire but unspecified consequences.
The pariahs are tasked with taking a large, amber coloured globe about 1' in diameter to Etau as a gift./ The globe inflated luck a balloon from the mouth-parts of a worker ant.
After taking the gift, they are to return to the ant-queen.
All is well, but the ant-queen's magic has left its mark upon Antelope: upon her forehead is a small slit-like mouth, running perpendicular to her existing mouth. It intones words voicelessly.
Antelope is otherwise okay.
The pariahs set up camp close to the mound, but outside of it, in the long grass. They decide to leave before dawn, so that they can fit in a return trip to the witch in order to find Whisper without disrupting their mission for the ant-queen.
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SESSION 06: DAY 9 CROW MOONSome kind of big cat interrupts the night's watch, but it is scared away, and in effect serves as a valuable alarm clock. The band of pariahs decide it is best to split their party in twain, with Lake and fox heading back to Etau and Quiet One taking trail uphill to the lair of Mother.
This task is given extra purpose when later Antelope discovers her curious mutation. Distressed, she wraps her forehead in a torn piece of cloth.
A Quiet place
The small lake and series of cascades appear quieter than their visit yesterday: there is no sign of the goat beast, not the small boys and their pygmy goat herd.
Taking time to put together some impromptu torches, the band of three head into the cave, only for the torchbearer to be divembombed by a swarm of bats.
|The extent of the caves explored by the pariahs this session. They didn't get to see the whole map, just the bits they were in.|
On their last visit, small fires burned within little sconces in the wall, barely illuminating their passage downward. On this occasion their torches illuminated the smooth walls in flickering light.
A story was told, in pictures: of a great goat, of a woman, and of the offering of children to this pairing by the local people.
Following the snaking natural staircase downwards into the witch's lair the pariahs cries were not met with any response. Yesterday's fire had burned out.The dirty bowls remained from their previous meal with the witch. Some flies buzzed around the leftover food.
A straight wand of wood, tapered and nearly two feet in length, was left abandoned on the small carpet in front of a drape.
The draped animal skin revealed another passage in the rock, curving to the left and opening into a similar sized chamber.
The witch lay asleep on a carpet against the wall, overlooked by an enormous white goat statue.
A gaping hole more than six feet wide sat in the middle of the room, gently sucking the air from it, and showing no sign of having any bottom.
The Witch is dead! (ding-dong)
After much equivocation, Quiet One was able to establish that the witch was in fact dead. The three pariahs, puzzled, began to inspect the statue. It was not fixed to the ground but was very heavy, being carved from a monolithic piece of white stone.
Traversing a fourth chamber, this one also of bats (again the bats only divebomberd the torchbearer), the party found a route around to the other side of the waterfall pouring over the cave's mouth.
They were also alarmed by the clip-clop of cloven hooves... and a strong, animalistic smell...
|His eyes are like that because he doesn't get enough screen breaks amiright?|
It was particularly keen to find a new "mother".
During the confusing dialogue, the Goat revealed that Whisper yet lived, and had in fact made her way to the settlement.
He also said that the party needed to bring her to the cave, so that he could once again have a mother. While the [party debated whether this was the thing to do, he placed a curse on each of them: though neither Wither nor Antelope showed any immediate signs, Quiet One's curse was immediately evident:
Walking on Air
Within seconds of the Goat afflicting him, Quiet One began to levitate an inch or so from the ground: he felt resistance, but his feet never made contact with the floor.
The Goat stated that until a suitable replacement for mother was found, they would remain under the influence of the curse indefinitely. He did bestow a gift, however: the command-word to activate the wand of Mother.
He receded into the shadows, cloven hooves a clip-clopping as he left.
Making their way back to mother's last resting place, Quiet One thought he'd test something out: asking Wither to take hold of his shoulder, he took a step forward over the bottomless pit, curious as to whether his newly found power would prevent his death.
It did not, and Witheringly-Footed-in-the-Point was not strong enough to hold on to his friend.
Quiet One plummeted to his doom.
Nothing left to do but loot the place
Dumbstruck for a moment, Antelope and Wither were left pondering but one thought:
""hat did he think would happen?"
Silently, they retraced their footsteps through the cavern, making sure to loot the witch's lair on their way out.
Actually, in the event they gained a magic wand: the Goat had given Wither the command word, and now an unknown number of spirits were his to command.
* * *
Find out what happens in the next exciting instalment—link coming here: