Saturday, 5 September 2020

PARIAH ACTUAL PLAY — DISCORD SESSION 11 [BEACH EPISODE!]

A summary of the ELEVENTH session of the discord live voice-chat game of PARIAH. This is a continuation of events in the tenth session.

To find out more about PARIAH please read this post or trawl through the many, many posts tagged pariah at this link https://aloneinthelabyrinth.blogspot.com/search/label/Pariah.


SESSION 11: DAY 14 CROW MOON 

(This session took place on Saturday 22nd August)

Two days passed since Nervously-Rides-the-Grave and Worm made their trip to the Hive, during which the former lost his left hand and the latter gained the respect of some of the settlement for his wisdom. While Worm, Wither and Antelope (now nearly fully recovered from the midnight raid embarked on some unspecified business (probably hunting or fishing), Rides-the-Grave found himself on guard duty besides a new arrival to the settlement, Little-is-the-Gazelle. Gazelle had arrived a few days previously from the north, though he was somewhat cagey about what happened to him there...


So at some point in the middle of the morning the two pariahs found themselves standing on the causeway dividing two rice fields, watching the approach from the north. Around them the labourers in the field seemed to have little to do, lounging in the hot sun.

A tall, athletic women with fair hair and dark skin slowly came into view, walking towards them along the causeway.

This is Undecided-over-the-Yellow One; portrait Made by Jen Furious using https://artbreeder.com/
They recognised her to be a fellow pariah, a hunter-gatherer outcast leading a nomadic life. She introduces herself as Undecided-over-the-Yellow One Hungry and in need of a drink, the two pariahs decided to introduce her to community leader Etau.


Etau

Once again, Etau is in high spirits: the tribute to the Ant-Queen has formally cemented their alliance, and a brisk trade in honey-for-rice is keeping the two communities tied together. The Hill Tribes have been quiet since their raid a few days ago, and already the northwestern cluster of houses (Wolfskin's enclave) is nearly repaired.

Etau is happy to have another capable-looking pariah joining her ranks, and offers the 3 a choice of two tasks warranting their attention:
  • The farm workers are complaining because they have to carry water from the river to the field in wooden buckets: something is up with the irrigation ditches.
  • A coastal settlement to the south of the spirit-beach needs to be brought into the fold: present them with a honey globe to earn their loyalty.
The 3 pariahs elect to fulfil the second task and make their exit.

Setting Out

The pariahs are advised to follow the river out of the settlement to the sea, then follow the coastline to the south until they arrive at the mysterious southern settlement. Before they do that  Undecided-over-the-Yellow One trades in the enormous animal femur she is carrying for some additional supplies, including a few shots of strong rice wine to her waterskin.

The sky is clear and the sun is shining but it is already nearly noon by the time the party set out: they will have to walk very fast to get to the place before sunset.

Tree of Birds

During the journey towards the coast they note the transition from managed rice plains to sandier, dry soil with scrub. A thick line of vegetation clings to the edge of the river. The sound of gentle breeze blowing through the trees is gradually supplanted by an ever-increasing din:

The calls of hundreds of birds.

As they advance, RtG recognises a tree very similar to the one which took his hand, where a flock of green parakeets are roosting.

The birds call back repeated phrases they utter in chorus, until eventually they have said enough for the spirits to give them a clear sign:

GO AWAY.

...and that's just what they did.


Seafood Platter

The pariahs reach the beach: on the far horizon they can just about glimpse the hint of a distant island, but mostly the ocean stretches away from them into the east.

Unlike the rocky beach that Gazelle traversed previously, the coast here is comprised of wide, flat sandy plains, terminating at a small sandy outcrop to the west marking the jungle. Occasionally the beach is interrupted by large dunes, but for the most part the party can clearly see the horizon to the south, jungle to the west and ocean to the east.

After some time they notice a vague shape beneath the waves.

They spot a tentacle...

...and then a silvery tail?

They watch as a huge tuna, wrapped in the tentacles of a giant squid, is washed up on the shore.



Grateful for the bounty, they easily finish off the beached marine creatures, and prepare their food. They are short on firewood however.

Foraging


Gazelle elects to remain on the beach while RtG and UotYO venture into the dark jungle to pick up firewood and supplies. RtG uses his newly acquired dawn-spirit to remain magically hidden.

They spend several hours foraging, retrieving plenty of firewood and some shaman shrooms. UotYO returns to the beach to get the fire started and to set up an impromptu smoking frame to preserve some of the fish & squid.

Rides the Grave remains, wandering down to a marshy area of the jungle. He is looking for something specific: the purple orchid Wolfskin told him about. After nearly an hour he finds it, sprouting from the bark of a swamp tree. Satisfied, he returns to camp

The party eat a fine meal by the beach and arrange turns to keep watch that night.

Night Watch


Gazelle takes the first watch. The fire burns brightly and the others sleep soundly.

After a few hours Gazelle switches places with Undecided-over-the-Yellow One. She takes up watch with her bonesword in hand. All is well she spots a pale figure flash by—only briefly— and she hears a voice call out to her.

She calls out in return. There is no response.

Eventually she returns to sleep, waking Rides-the-Grave to switch roles.

Only when he feels his eyes begin to tire does hear the sound of a man calling out in the darkness:

"Hey!"

RtG returns the shout but hears nothing in reply... but then the voice of a young girl calls out from the opposite side.

"I'm hungry..."

Visibly disturbed, RtG shakes the others awake.

"I'm hungry..."

They see he girl approach the fire, her hair an ashen, chalky white... UotYO proffers a piece of smoked squid. The girl takes it from her, an uncertain look in her eye.

The mysterious girl: portrait Made by Jen Furious using photoshop and a base image from https://artbreeder.com/
From the other side of the pariahs there comes a slathering noise as two figures emerge from the darkness at high speed. Rides-the-Grave invokes a spirit under his breath, and a purple-indigo haze emerges from somewhere deep within himself, flickering at his fingertips before flying off into the darkness upon receiving RtG's instructions:

Tear their fucking face off.

One of the assailants falls to the ground with a dark shroud wrapped around its face but the second figure charges forward, lashing and rending at Rides with claws and teeth. It's a frantic few seconds and Rides is barely able to perceive the true nature of the pale figure that's attacking him.

UotYO pushes the pale girl behind her as she knocks an arrow and attempts to aim towards the felled figure, which growling and rasping is already on its feet. Both Gazelle and UotYO let fly, but the creature is staggering towards them, and manages to bring Gazelle to the ground under a manic flurry of blows.

Gazelle desperately hacks at the creature with his axe as blood flies in all directions; UotYO is unable to get a bead on either creature while they are both in melee with her comrades, and Rides is in a bad way. Though he is able to once again call upon his protective spirit and sends it flying into the face of the one who assailed him, the creature is not defeated and it pulls him to the ground. The invocation itself seems to drain Rides-the_Grave of his power, and he collapses to the ground as the creature tears into him.

With a mighty heave Gazelle knocks the peculiar being clear, allowing UotYO to let fly with an arrow, striking it through its throat. Immediately Gazelle spies the pale-skinned creature clambering atop Rides-the-Grave: the bestial man sinks his teeth into Rides' face, tearing away part of his cheek... but turning his back to Gazelle leaves him vulnerable, and the elder pariah sinks his axe between its shoulder blades.

The ghoul collapses atop Rides-the-Grave and, with his last bit of energy pushes the cadaver to one side, leaving him breathlessly heaving. Gazelle too takes stock, collapsing to the ground under the strain of his wounds. Only Undecided-over-the-Yellow One is unharmed. The girl whom she had been protecting scampers out from behind the towering pariah, making a bee-line for the corpse of the fallen one, and begins to eat.

Undecied-over-the-Yellow One pulls the child away.

"No."

The child scowls petulantly, but does no more.

"We don't eat people."

She shrugs her shoulders and, looking towards the jungle says:

"We're not safe here. We could see your fire. Quick-Quick said you must be very brave but Eel said you were very stupid."

UotYO points towards the corpses on the beach.

"Were they Quick-Quick and Eel?"

The girl nods.

"Were they your family?"

"No," says the girl, "they were my friends."

Rides-the-Grave looks at the cadaver beside him: already it looks as though it has been left out to rot for days on end. It's face has an almost beast-like quality, and its elongated teeth remind him of the open wound upon his face that those very teeth wrought.

"...some friends..."

* * *

Campaign continues here:

https://aloneinthelabyrinth.blogspot.com/2020/09/pariah-actual-play-discord-voice.html

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