Sunday, 13 December 2020

PARIAH "ETAU" CAMPAIGN, SESSION 23: High Mountain, Deep Sea

These events continue from the TWENTY-SECOND session. The real world session took place on Saturday 12th December on the Atelier Hwei Discord. Today is the 15th December abut I'm pretending it's actually 13th December so that I can address the backlog of posts I'm supposed to be making every day this ADVENT!

- Eugene  as Mercifully-Wasted-from-the-Tribe
- Mister Kent as Beautiful Other-far-from-the-Lake
- Oisín playing as Over-Hollow-Hills-Flies-the-Cuckoo
- JFur playing as Fallen-far-from-the-Wind

Mortally-Garnished-of-the-Fallen and Fleet Snailwife were NPCed.

To find out more about PARIAH please read this post: 


Art by Beautiful Other's player, Mr Kent

The time had come to make sense of the weird situation in which the pariahs now found themselves, and this called for the (mostly) level head of Fallen-far-from-the-Wind.

1d10 Healing Skill

Garnish returned to the beach to rest up and Fallen took his place. Meeting the others at a bluff overlooking the sea, she was led down into a cave where the wounded Eagle-Witch, Zhao, had made herself a nest.

Fallen experienced the same problem as the others: there was something unreal about the figure before her, she seemed to glitch an re-constitute in a way that should have been more unsettling than it was. She removed her leopard-skull mask to reveal her face, and when she looked into her Zhao's eyes witnessed the countenance of a tired island woman approaching her elder years but still vital. Zhao demonstrated the extent of her wounds: a broken wing, a broken arm and a compound fracture to her leg which was badly infected.

When asked what happened, she explained that she had been pushed into a deep shaft. She was not yet used to her wings, and could do nothing to prevent her own injury.

Fallen did an excellent job: Beautiful Other acting as her assistant and holding a torch for her to see, while Cuckoo ferried materials and fire back and forth from the cave's mouth. Mercifully Wasted stood guard. Dolphin watch the procedure solemnly, as bones were re-set and wounds were cleaned. The procedure went on for a few hours, after which Zhao fell into a deep slumber. Dolphin returned to fishing.

The pariahs discussed what to do while Dolphin dived beneath the waves searching for oysters and pearls. He emerged to hear the bad news from Fallen: the infection around Zhao's broken leg was only going to get worse. She was not long for this world without the intervention of a powerful spirit.

Boat Trip!

The pariahs felt their only course of action was to get back to the mainland with Dolphin. Dolphin was not going to leave without Zhao and somehow they now felt obliged to help her. Something was still not sitting quite right with them, especially when they asked Dolphin about the owners of the moccasins left by the cave's mouth. Nonetheless, the boy directed them to a wise shaman who might be able to heal Zhao. They decided to travel by coracle, leaving Garnish on the beach to babysit Fleet, who by now was seriously regretting joining them on this adventure.

Pink dots shown journey from Macaw Island to Eagle Island. Large Xs are potential sightings of flying eagle-witches. Small X is the supposed lair of a shaman.

Taking about an hour to cross the bay, they caught a faint glimpse of the giant winged boat sat on the shore of the turtle clan's settlement... but of greater concern was the bump they received to the base of Cuckoo and MW's boat. It was a colossal squid.

The squid tailed them for a while, before they tossed it some dried meat and it let them go. 

Presently the pariahs arrived at the shore.

The Ascent

Two protrusion of rocks hundreds of feet apart acted as an odd sand-trap, providing the pariahs a bay upon which to land their coracles. Like their "bay of the dead" this too was lined by a low cliff pock-marked with caves. No sign of shrines though, and hopefully no graves... instead it became a stash-house for their coracles.

Beautiful Other and Fallen-far-from-the-Wind made short work of the 20-30' climb... Cuckoo made hard work for themselves when, perhaps some 20' up, they reached for handhold that possibly wasn't there. Down came Cuckoo, tumbling into MW.

MW had already decided he was going to attempt to catch his travelling companion: what's more, he pulled off an impressive aerial leap, somehow landing in superhero pose down on the beach with Cuckoo beneath one arm. 

Fallen tossed them a rope and they climbed up, escaping the fall with minimal scrapes and minor bruises.

Though shaken, Cuckoo took the lead as they scouted through the forest, trying to find the base of a second cliff they had identified from their boat matching Dolphin's description. Mercifully wasted took the position of rear guard, and it was at this point that he caught sight of an unusually large tree.

Cuckoo an Beautiful Other meanwhile had arrived at the base of the cliff they thought might lead to to the shaman. They considered going round given their poor luck with the climbing before. Fallen reminded everyone of her prowess and also the fact she had a rope, while also noticing that the large tree extended all the way up the top of the cliff and might be easier to climb than the rock face.

The Tree

Mercifully Wasted was wary of the tree, however: it was old, enormously tall, and its bark was coated in a fine powder. He implored Cuckoo to take a look at it in their spirt-form, and Cuckoo obliged.

The ancient consciousness breathed heavily. Cuckoo saw its roots stretching deep into the earth and the life it carried. They felt the wariness of the spirit, and it did nothing to respond to their questions. They stopped and returned to their body.

"We need to find another way."

Fallen-far-from-the-Wind took point, carefully ascending the cliff face until she arrived at a ledge roughly halfway up. From here she had just enough room to anchor herself in position and throw down the rope to the lightest party member, Cuckoo. Once cuckoo had safely made the climb the two of them braced firmly, throwing the rope down to Mercifully Wasted and finally Beautiful Other.

Fallen gathered up the rope and began her ascent up the second part of the climb.

High Mountain

With a great heave Fallen-far-from-the-Wind hoisted her athletic frame over the top of the cliff to see a small elderly man boiling a clay pot upon a fire. Behind him sat a small cave, above which the densely forested mountain slopes continued to climb ever-upward. On his head he wore the skull of a deer or an antelope.

 It was a meeting of skull-helmeted minds...

Middle-era Pariah meme, 2020.

Fallen exchanged a few words before remembering she needed to help her friends ascend the cliff. The shaman invited them to join him for tea, inviting his monkey to fetch more cups. The monkey was not terribly efficient.

The skull helmet is open-faced... like this guy. But a guy. Not an Ewok

The shaman explained that his name was High Mountain, and that he kept a vigil over the whole island, not affiliated to any particular clan. He was open and shared information.

  • The spirit of the island is a great eagle. The true "eagle witches" are the wise women who mediate between the clans.
  • The people of Eagle island are organised into five clans:
    • Leopard clan.
    • The Silverbacks.
    • Swordfish clan.
    • Turtle clan.
    • outcast clan of apes who have been shut out of the island's culture.
  • They learn that there are some eagle-witches who, long ago, succumbed to a curse when a star fell from the sky. They are reclusive and pitiful.
When the party explain that they need treatment for a wounded harpy High Mountain states that he cannot leave his cave for too long nor travel too far, lest the islanders have need of his aid, but should they bring the invalid too him, he will try his best to heal her wounds.

As they sit and drink tea talk somehow turns to a wisewoman on the north of the island, perhaps falsely accused of witchcraft. As the group start to realise that there is a definite distinction between folktale and fact, High Mountain drops a bombshell... the so-called witch's name is ZHAO. 

* * *

The campaign continues at:

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