Thursday, January 28, 2021

House of Worms, Session 211

Having returned to Linyaró by means of Kétem's nexus point, the characters immediately briefed Aíthfo on what transpired during their latest visit to the ruins of Pashkírigo. Unlike his clan mates, Aíthfo relished the prospect of once again visiting the Battle of Dórmoron Plain and suggested that perhaps they ought to bring along the Shén mercenaries whom they had employed shortly after their arrival on the Achgé Peninsula more than a year ago. The other characters were more concerned with making preparations for their journey and soon fanned out across the colony on various errands. 

First among these was Keléno, who wished to speak with each of his wives regarding his plans. His first wife, Hmásu hiTéshku, a scholar priestess of Belkhánu, urged him to accompany Kétem to the Battle, stating emphatically, "You must go; there is no other option." Keléno was somewhat taken aback by this, since he had, until this point, been uncertain whether he would accompany his clan mates. Hmásu then wrote a name down – that of Mitsárka hiWashára – on a scarp of parchment and suggested her husband get in touch him: "He has some information you will need for your journey." Intrigued, Keléno then met with his second wife, Akolána hiHetkuné, who was less pleased to hear of his plans. She reminded him that, if he never returned, her position would be uncertain. Her Copper Door clan had agreed to the marriage between them in hopes of establishing an alliance with the clan of the colonial governor. She had no child to cement that alliance and, if he died, the Copper Door would be no better off. Keléno assured her that he would make arrangements for her continued upkeep and, if she wished, a suitable replacement husband from among the House of Worms clan. Akolána seemed unenthusiastic about any of his plans and dismissed Keléno from her quarters.

Keléno's third wife, Mírsha hiGirén, was already appraised of his plans, having accompanied him to Pashkírigo already. Further, of all his wives, Mírsha had the most affection for her husband and seemed most well suited to his life of travel and adventure. She intended to join him and his clan mates as they journeyed with Kétem to Dórmoron Plain. It was at this point that Kéleno realized he would also need to provide for his translator slave, Chanchayánto. A Naqsái who'd lived among the Livyáni of Nuróab most of her life, she had been a gift to Keléno from that colony's governor nearly a year ago. Keléno had once considered freeing and marrying her but he had not due to warnings from Hmásu that such a liaison would be ignoble. With the likelihood of his imminent demise on the horizon, Keléno decided to follow through with his plan and formally freed her, leaving the matter of the nature of their future relationship up to Chanchayánto, who asked Keléno to find her a suitable Tsolyáni clan and name to mark her new status. He said he would take care of this before he left on his mission.

Marital matters also concerned Grujúng. As clanmaster, he had made arrangements with the Black Stone clan for a marriage between a young woman of that clan and Aíthfo. Like Keléno's marriage to Akolána, this would be a political marriage intended to ally the two clans. Grujúng felt that it might make sense for the wedding to occur before they left for Dórmoron Plain, since there was no guarantee they'd ever return and it was nevertheless important that the alliance be established beforehand. Aíthfo, originally reluctant to enter into this marriage, finally agreed, boasting that they would return. Kétem cautiously agreed that it was possible they would, since, as fixed point on the Tree of Time, Dórmoron Plain had connections to other branches – perhaps even to this one. It might take some time, but the sorcerer held out hope that they could one day return to Tékumel once their mission was complete. Consequently, lavish wedding plans were begun, with the festivities beginning within a few days.

Nebússa spent as much time with Lady Srüna as he could during this time, in addition to preparing reports of what he had learned, with an eye toward its being sent to Prince Mridóbu and the Omnopotent Azure Legion back in Tsolyánu. He hoped that Kétem might make use of his command of nexus points to enable him to deliver the reports in person before he departed. He also hoped that he might be able to speak with him parents, since he had lived for so long under the cover of a dissolute wastrel that they had no idea of his true life and accomplishments. He felt he owed it to them to reveal the truth about him and his life so that, if nothing else, they might realize their son was in fact a noble defender of the Imperium.

Keléno and Kirktá sought out the man whose name Hmásu had given her husband. As it turned out, Mitsárka hiWashára was a priest of the temple of Belkhánu. A smiling, middle aged man with bright eyes, he seemed happy to have been called into Keléno's presence. Immediately, he admitted that he was pleased to have been finally summoned, explaining that he had expected he and Keléno would one day meet. It was then that he admitted that, in addition to being a priest of Belkhánu, he was also a servant of the deity known simply as The One Other. The One Other is one of the dread Pariah Gods, whose worship in Tsolyánu and the other Five Empires was forbidden under pain of death. Keléno's immediate response was to summon guards and have Mitsárka arrested for his heresy, but the smiling priest cautioned him not to do that, saying that, if he were arrested, he would have no choice but to reveal that Keléno's first wife was also a servant of The One Other and that no one would believe that a man as intelligent as he could have been deceived by her for so long. 

His anger abating for the moment, Keléno allowed Mitsárka to speak. Smiling, Mitsárka spoke at length about the Battle of Dórmoron Plain and how it was that the other nine deities had called upon The One Other to aid them in imprisoning Ksárul within the Blue Room. If Keléno and his companions were to be traveling to Dórmoron Plain to seal up the nexus point connecting that point in time to this version of Tékumel, they would similarly require his aid, as he had magical skills to make this possible. Keléno and he debated for some time about the morality of serving a Pariah God, but, ultimately, it was agreed that, for the time being, they would be allies in a common purpose. Mitsárka then left to prepare for the journey and Keléno called a meeting with his clan mates to explain what he had learned.


  1. Oh ho, now how the plot thickens!

  2. Hey, James! We talked a bit back when g+ was alive and well. I've looked, but can't find an email address for you. Can you message me?