Friday, April 16, 2021

House of Worms, Session 221

The provincial capital of Mihimór was unimpressive to the idea of the Tsolyáni, being only slightly larger than Linyaró, which was widely recognized as a backwater. Mihimór was walled and possessed two gates and a waterfront. One of the gates allowed access to a Sákbe road that snaked southward along the coast. Most of the buildings, which seemed to be made of baked mud bricks, were squat and broad, with few rising above a couple of stories. Two structures towered above the others, visible even from the waterfront. Znayáshu theorized that they must be a government building and the temple of Jráka of which Vrummíshsha had spoken. He suggested they make their way in their direction once they had disembarked from their boats.

A customs officer waved them into a dock and inquired about their origins and purpose in Mihimór. Keléno, as one of only two characters who spoke Bednallján Salarvyáni, spoke on behalf of the party. He explained that they had come from up the coast, from a fishing village called Bakátlan. The official was skeptical, saying that their accents suggested they were foreigners. Keléno then admitted that, yes, they called the city of Sokátis home, located far to the west. The official had never heard of Sokátis but seemed satisfied with the explanation. He then asked about their purpose in the capital. In reply, Keléno said that they were coming to visit the temple and had business there. 

The customs officer seemed satisfied, though he explained, "I thought you might be deserters fleeing the Red King's armies." Naturally, this piqued the interest of Kirktá, who asked Keléno to find out more about this Red King. The official shrugged, adding that "He's just another fanatic – a prophet of Vaomáhl – dissatisfied with King Tarishánde's religious policies, or so I hear. Don't worry: the battles are far from here. You'll be safe in Mihimór." Znayáshu expressed some concern upon hearing this, since their ultimate goal was to travel westward toward the royal fortress of Evú Nithóru. For the moment, though, they had more immediate concerns and so he put aside any thoughts of the Red King.

The group advanced toward the two large buildings they'd seen earlier, along the way taking in the sights. It was quite clear that Mihimór was a minor, unimportant city. The soldiers here looked ill-disciplined and poorly equipped, unlikely to have ever seen combat. The inhabitants mostly ignored them, going about their business, though a few eyed them suspiciously. They came first to the building Znayáshu had correctly guessed was an administrative structure but chose to ignore it in favor of the other, which they hoped would be the temple of Jráka. When they did reach it, though found it was, like all the buildings here, broad and squat, with several spires attached to it. The place was surrounded by a low wall and two soldiers stood at its entrance.

Keléno approached one and explained that he and his companions had traveled far to speak with the high priest. The soldier sized up the group and said, "Most of you don't look like priests. What need to you have to enter the temple?" Keléno told him that they had "items of value" that they wished to trade to the high priest and pointed to a bag filled with his possessions. The soldier then acquiesced and led Keléno, Znayáshu, Nebússa, and Srüna inside. Once there, they were introduced to a scowling, middle-aged man identified as Kirída Giraggánu. Keléno engaged in brief pleasantries before telling the priest that he wanted some ancient devices identified – for surely priests of Jráka could perform such a feat – and some scrolls of dispel magic. 

Kirída immediately asked about payment. Znayáshu suggested giving him as much coin as they could muster, but it soon became clear the priest was not interested in such trivialities. He said that he would take one of the three ancient devices in exchange for the temple's services – one of his choosing. Znayáshu did not like this deal but was willing to accede to it at first. Once Keléno added that he would also require scrolls, Kirída said that, in such a case, he would ask for two of the devices in payment. This was too much for Znayáshu, who told Keléno to end the negotiations. They would find someone else who could help them. The characters then left the temple, with Kirída telling them that he would be here if they changed their minds.

Attempting to find alternatives met with failure. Interviewing locals made it very clear that the priests of Jráka were the most educated and magically potent individuals in the city. Znayáshu hit upon the idea of looking for the temple of the local equivalent of Sárku – Qúrgha – in the hopes that their priests might be less obstreperous. Unfortunately, the closest temple to Qúrgha was in the city of Khavárish, days away by Sákbe road. Since the characters had little interest in traveling so great a distance, they took inventory of their possessions to see if perhaps they had something else that might interest Kirída and that he might take as payment without claiming any of the ancient devices they possessed. Znayáshu remembered that he had a text known as the Du'ón Duqála Tóruuna, "The Scroll of Bringing Forth the Unnnamed," written in the ancient tongue of the priests of Ksárul. He suggested that perhaps the priest of Jráka would find that to his liking.

Returning to the temple, Keléno offered the scroll in exchange for identifying the devices and scrolls of dispel magic. Kirída tried to hide his obvious pleasure at the offer, but he "reluctantly" agreed. He summoned a junior priest to identify the three devices, which turned out to be an eye of non-seeing, an eye of retarding destiny, and an eye of madness. Kirída said the temple could offer five scrolls to them, which Keléno accepted before Znayáshu could press him to get a better deal. The characters then left the temple and headed back toward the waterfront, with the intention of returning to Bakatlán. Ultimately, their goal was the ruins inhabited by the Ssú, whom they wished to face again, now better armed against the battle to come. 


  1. Braver than I am, that's for sure. When it comes to ssu I was always perfectly content with just making a successful escape.

    Wonder if they'll walk into an ambush, or the aftermath of a raid on the village they first went too.

    1. They did pretty well in yesterday's session, which I'll write up next week. They're far from out of the woods, but the party made better use of their resources and made a good start of it. I'm curious too how things will turn out, once they press deeper into the Ssú lair.