Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Daruna - Session Teaser

This the is the session teaser I just sent out to my players as a lead in for our upcoming weekend game extravaganza.

Waxing Summer, the 19th day of the Moon of Heaven's Call

It's hot out. Damn hot. In the fields, irrigation work is in full swing, farmers levering skins of water from the Tana and its network of canals onto fields of wheat and barley, plots of beans, and clusters of fig and fruit trees. The temples are beginning their preparation for the midsummer sacrifices, a minor matter for most, but important to the scholars that track the movements of sun, moon and stars.

Most of the troops dispatched toward Moha have returned. Ramone caught a glimpse of Vikus and his cronies on the street the day before yesterday. But better news, your good friend Sula [a returning player] has also returned, filled with stories of bloodshed on the river and fascinated by your tale of the giant crocolisk and ancient ruin. From what he says, the fighting at Moha was indecisive at best. Shalish forces held the nearer shore, but there were many fires on the other side of the Tana. He also has a bit of bad news: Vikus earned a silver badge of rank in the fighting. He led a sortie against a troop of cavalry and managed to capture one of the officers alive.

But the most important bit of news from Sula, Marshak Selo [the party's captain when they have militia duty] has asked them all to visit his office later this evening. "He seemed worried, and had someone else with him, one of the Harth's I think" [the Harth's are one of the major families in Shalish, relative newcomers in the city power games, but one of them is in charge of the king's bodyguard now].

You all agree to meet at a nearby tavern before heading over to the captain's offices at the appointed time. Marshak is there, looking rather grim, as is his squat and solid companion, someone you've seen around before on militia duty. The captain introduces him as Rakshi Harth, his cousin's future brother-in-law. Rakshi gives you a hard look and a brief nod, but seems content to let Marshak do the talking.

"It seems you've all made something of a reputation for yourselves. The Zulat and their man... Kara? Keera?"

"Keela sir. Keela Shotan," chimes in Torin.

"Right. They speak highly of you." He gives you the look that usually means 'I'm not sure you can do this, but I'll let you try' and continues. "A situation has arisen, a family matter for both Rakshi and I. My cousin Tula is engaged to be married to Rakshi's brother Arupa. Between our families we've arranged a grant of land and a house for them down south, in the new lands across the Chungal. They were on site with the builders and a few family retainers, and... something happened. The story is muddled, because the only person that's come back is one of the stable slaves, Loh. He's loyal and truthful, but... he's a bit slow." The captain raises his voice "Loh! Come in here!"

The side door to the captain's office opens and a short, thin man comes in, wearing a rather ornate collar (usually the sign of a well-trusted slave). "Loh, tell these men what you told us. Take your time."

"Yes sir." Loh begins to speak, slow, and fumbling for words. "The mistress and the others. Them builders called them over to the foundation. They found something when they was digging. I didn't get to see, I was feeding the horses. They talked a while, then some of them sell swords went and got their gear. The mistress and master Harth, they was arguing with the builder. He kept shaking his head no. I couldn't hear much, the horses was upset with the commotion, and Red, well he tried to bite me as he does, so I was distracted. Anyhow, by the time I was done with the horses, them builders was packing their stuff back to the tents. Mistress and master Harth, they was gone, along with some of the guards, and Dar, and Ara. Them builders said they found a tunnel or old ruin and the master and mistress were going to explore it. Seems like the builders didn't think that was a good idea. They was sitting around the fire drinking ale. The other guards and that other master..."

Rakshi speaks for the first time "Shala Vigya, a captain of our house troops. A good man." He waves Loh on.

"That master, he got tired of waiting. Him and them other guards went after them. Then it got dark and I had to tend the horses. When I was done, some of them builders, the local boys, they was leaving. Said they weren't gonna stay around and get taken by whatever was down there." Loh pauses and scratches his head. "There was some arguing. Some of them wanted to stay and wait, some wanted to leave, then someone got hurt, I don't know how, and they took off back to the village. Left me there with the horses."

"The next morning I waited around, but no one came back. I knew I wasn't to leave, but someone had to get word back and them builders I didn't trust. I let the other horses off the tether so they could graze and took Sunset, she's easy to ride and got good lungs. I came back, crossed the ferry, and rode to the gates. Them guards weren't gonna let me in til I showed em my collar. They brought me to the master here... that's all I know I guess."

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