Saturday, 10 October 2020

PARIAH DISCORD SESSION 014: GOING 'HOME'

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


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

Actual photo of actual pigeon vs. actual catfish

SESSION 13: DAY 15 GIBBOUS CROW MOON  WAXING (continued)

(This session took place on Saturday 12th September)
This session witnessed one of the biggest player turnouts for some time, with the following individuals in attendance:

- Alex (thezanderd)
- Joe Bluewolf of https://tombofspiderprincess.blogspot.com/

Sadly no Semiurge of http://archonsmarchon.blogspot.com/ this week, but two of his characters had back seat roles in the adventure!

With a comparatively large number of players (for a voice-only game at least) I really wanted to bring everyone together as quickly as possible rather than having players sat out of the action for extended periods of time. With 3 new characters to drop in (Earnestly-Wooded-far-from-the-Dreaming Land for Oisín, Brave Porcupine for Stephen and Eugene introducing a third (WHAT COULD GO WRONG?) character — Grove-over-the-Dell — as regular character Nervously-Rides-the-Grave was in recovery. The problems were compounded by the split of the band into two groups, with Mortally-Garnished-of-the-Fallen, Undecided-over-the-Yellow One (UotYO) and Little-is-the-Gazelle a few hours south along the coast at the coastal settlement and Worm standing vigil over the wounded Witheringly Footed-in-the-Point and the previously mentioned Rides-the-Grave.

Phew! I hope you're taking notes, there will be a test at the end of some of these names. Failure is not acceptable and will lead to your exile from the band.

So with the expedition group of Garnish, UotYO, Maggot and Gazelle making their way back to Worm from the settlement we agreed that Brave Porcupine and Earnestly-Wooded would arrive at Worm's encampment simultaneously but separately. This was especially comical as EW was accompanied by quite the menagerie:
  • ...an aging reddish dog named Clay 
  • ...an easily amused myna bird named Flute
  • ...a perpetually annoyed wild donkey named Dust
...leaving Worm facing off at could be perceived as a two-pronged attack by these two pariahs. Earnestly Wooded was able to smooth things over, offering to catch some supper down on the beach. Both of the new arrivals were aware of the wounded Wither and Rides, unconscious beside the ashes of a campfire and covered with multiple crudely bandaged wounds.

Return Journey

Though in possession of a coracle, it's size precluded all the pariahs paddling back to their comrades via that vehicle, and instead Garnish and Gazelle pulled the boat along using UotYO's ropes, while she and Maggot hugged the tree-line to keep the young ghoul-ette out of the sunlight. Some fisherman attempted to hail them from out to sea, but they ignored them and continued their journey.

Before arriving back at Worm's camp beside the ruins of the burned tree the party encountered a dark, muscular stranger dragging a wooden sled behind him laden with items. Swathed in a heavy cloak to cover one half of his body, the powerful man — named Grove — expressed a need to find a tribe of his own and a willingness to share the bounty of his foraging.

Back at camp the combined band (now comprising 8 pariahs, two dogs, a donkey, a myna bird and Maggot the ghoul-child) shared a grand feast of fish, sea food and other foraged items while discussing the logistics. With plenty of rope and two makeshift stretchers (the coracle and Grove's sled) they were able to work out a safe way to carry Rides and Wither. Knowing that they had half a day's travel ahead when Etau's settlement was nearly a whole day's journey away, they decided to head towards the Spirit Tree at which Gazelle, Rides and UotYO had made an offering on their outward  journey

The band organise  a provisional marching order and set out on their journey.

Goat Boys

AS the sun began to sink and the sky and the river at which the tree would be found still not within sight, the party were alerted to the bleating of dozens of pygmy goats. Tending to the flock was a trio of teenage herders who seemed quite excited to see this motley crew of apparently battle-scarred warriors traipsing along the beach. 

Initially cautious, the pariahs quickly relaxed and accepted the offer of shelter with the herders (after the boys enquired after the possible availability of food).

After a shor trek through some open, scrubby land the three lads led them to a cluster of deserted palm leaf huts on the fringes of the jungle. To the pariahs' surprise, they herded all of the goats into one of the huts. While the pariahs prepared food and a fire, the boys argued about who would fetch water. Ultimately it befell Never to carry out the chore, with Grove, Brave Porcupine and Gazelle agreeing to accompany him on the short journey to the river.

Catfished

Catfish. Source: the internet

The boy, never, carried with him a wooden bucket. He leaned over the edge of the water to fill it back.

There followed a sound softer than a splash, and the boy was there no more.

When asked later, Gazelle would swear that a shape emerged from water and swallowed the boy whole.
 
They called out, but there was no response. Bravely, Grove waded in... Brave Porcupine and Gazelle... advised(?) from the riverbank.

Somewhere in the murk and dark there lurked a catfish of improbable proportions, carrying a boy in its belly... and it had turned its attentions to Grove!

It was at this point that Grove revealed his dark secret... the arm he had for so long kept hidden beneath a cloak was in fact an enormous lobster claw

As the sound of struggled carried through the early evening air, the remaining pariahs postponed their evening meal and hurried to the riverside, with UotYO telling Maggot and the goatherders to wait for them back at camp. They arrived to witness a confusing scene: Grove wrestling with an enormous dark shape, being tossed from side to side, with Gazelle firing a series of arrows from the shore, none of which hit the mark.

Earnestly-Wooded initially attempted to disorientate the creature by swirling the water with his wooden pole, and although this did throw the creature off somewhat, it also threw Grove off of its back, and (unbeknownst to the pariahs) took his foot clean off in the process. 

UotYO attempted to hack at the creature with her bonesword, while Worm formulated an alternative plan: to entrap it with Brave Porcupine's net... though at some point this plan metamorphosed into  plonking a clay jar into the catfish's enormous gummy mouth. He endured the lashing of its curious barbels and temporarily prevented it from closing its jaws fully, rendering its bite attack quite useless.

When the catfish finally crunched through the jar Worm revealed its contents: deadly poison. Perhaps detecting a bitter taste, perhaps sated after eating a whole teenage boy and a grown man's foot, perhaps no longer having the stomach for the fight... whatever the reason, the catfish disappeared beneath the water and drifted off from the party, hopefully to succumb to the poison at point in the near future.

Gazelle was able to pull the critically wounded Grove from the water—he was also able to conceal Grove's incredible mutation while working with UotYO to dress his wounds. 

Mournfully, the pariahs returned to the camp, explaining the tragic fate that had befallen the goatherder, Never. The group ate their evening meal in silence, before setting a watch for the night.


* * *

I wasn't joking about the test, please comment with the missing words below. First correct answer will receive a special secret prize.

  1. Mortally-_________-of-the-Fallen
  2. Undecided-over-the-______ One
  3. Grove-over-the-____
  4. _________-Rides-the-Grave
  5. Earnestly-Wooded-far-from-the-________ ____
The next game was not played until Saturday 3rd October... The link to the write-up is here:

https://aloneinthelabyrinth.blogspot.com/2020/10/pariah-discord-session-015-unlucky-ones.html

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