Homoventures Chapter 4, Part 9

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Summary

The boys meet Karala, who gives another version of the story of Orelius the Horse Lord, and offers them her hospitality. She also tells them about the other tribal guardians, or gods, that the people of Psyra used to follow, including Horse, Stag, Raven, and Salmon, as well as local nature guardians like the satyr. Before they leave in the morning, she reveals that she had a prophetic dream, that they will both meet someone - or someones - from their families.

Session

Session date:
Diablotin date: Spring 2275


<DiablotinNarrator> So when we left off, you were approaching the brightly-painted cottage of the supposed wise woman Karala
<DiablotinNarrator> (I looked up her name to check ;)
* Xandhil will, in fact, lead the way to Karala's house
<DiablotinNarrator> As you approach, you are able to see that there are a few animals there - a horse, a few goats, and some ducks, presumably to provide the inhabitant with food.
* Xandhil doesn't pay them too much attention but will knock
* Justen stands by your side
<DiablotinNarrator> There is some rustling sounds from inside, and then a voice saying "Hold on, just a moment"
* NPC1 is now known as Karala
* Xandhil patients, more or less
* Karala opens the door. She is a middle-aged woman, maybe around 40-50 or so, with long brown hair with some grey streaks, tied back in a knot, wearing a patched multicoloured skirt and a plain tan blouse.
<Karala> Yes?
<Xandhil> hello, sorry to drop by without any warning
<Xandhil> I'm Xan and this is Justen
<Justen> Hello
* Justen says politely
<Xandhil> We were travelling in the area and we were told that you were a wise woman of sorts?
<Karala> Oh, who told you that?
<Xandhil> We're trying to learn some things about the region and we thought you might be a good person to talk to, if you're willing
* Karala asks with a chuckle
<Xandhil> Athos, at the [name of inn].
<Karala> Ah, yes. He's a bright young man - shame about his leg, but he does well enough without it.
* Xandhil nods
<Xandhil> he was very friendly.
<Karala> well, I suppose I can talk to you for a while, as long as you don't object to me making jam while we chat.
<Xandhil> not at all :)
<Karala> The sour cherries are ripe, and if I ought to do something with them.
<Karala> (-if)
* Xandhil looks at Justen
<Xandhil> if we can help at all...
* Karala steps aside to permit to you enter her cottage. Inside it's nothing fancy, but clean and well-kept, with plenty of interesting items on the shelves - things like odd stones, bits of polished glass, dried herbs and flowers, bones, etc.
<Karala> I should be able to manage, but I'll ask if there's anything I need, thank you.
* Karala returns to the pot she has over the fire and stirs it
<Karala> What brings you here? Clearly you're not from around here.
<Xandhil> No, we came to help with the expedition that's looksing into what they found at the railway site
<Karala> Ah, that.
* Karala says with a bit of a frown.
<Xandhil> yeah
<Xandhil> do you know anything about the site?
<Karala> Some things are buried for a reason.
* Karala says rather ominously.
* Xandhil nods neutrally, thinking of Sirris
* Justen takes a seat on the bench along the wall
<Xandhil> Maybe, but once they came across it, there was pretty much no chance of it being left alone
<Xandhil> at this point, it's better we know as much as wel can about what to expect
<Karala> No, once something like that is uncovered, someone's bound to poke their nose into it.
* Xandhil nods
<Xandhil> if there is something dangerous, I'd rather know so we can be better prepared to deal with it
<Karala> well, I can tell you the story I know, about Orelius's tomb and what lies there.
<Justen> That would be great.
* Karala nods
<Xandhil> please
<Karala> After the battle in which he fell, having been betrayed by his wife, who forced his djinn to abandon him, they turned against her.
<Karala> She did not have the wits or wisdom to command them, and they deceived her, to her downfall.
<Karala> Then, in shame at what they had been compelled to do, they retreated to the tomb they had built for him, and covered it with earth so that none would discover it.
<Karala> They say that djinn cannot die, not truly - so they may still be there, for all I know.
<Karala> But although they cannot die, apart from through some divine power, they can become corrupted over centuries of isolation
* Xandhil nods slowly, thinking of his dad >.>
<Karala> This is what I fear they may uncover there - mad, powerful, corrupt creatures who will defend what they still think of as their master.
<Xandhil> do you know what their names were?
* Justen is sort of biting his lip, listening intently.
* Karala shakes her head
<Karala> Those have been lost over the centuries.
<Xandhil> hmm
<Karala> Even what names they went by - perhaps only Orelius knew their true names, I'm not sure.
<Xandhil> We did some exploring in the lake by the village, there was a cenotaph there with three names on it
<Karala> oh?
<Xandhil> Epher, Tenek, Seri - it said they raised it in Orelius's memory
<Xandhil> it was enchanted, still, too
* Karala 's eyes glint, intrigued
<Xandhil> so they must have been pretty powerful
<Karala> Indeed so.
<Karala> This may be them, I do not know.
<Xandhil> I wondered - the first version of the story we heard said that they told Orelius's wife how to call them away so that they coudl escape his service
<Xandhil> but if that were true I don't think they would be errecting any momnuments tob his honour
<Karala> three names only...
* Karala considers
<Xandhil> They could have been some kind of priests, I supose - it was dedicated to the Horse Lord
<Xandhil> or maybe the djinn didn't all agree
* Karala nods
<Karala> I had always heard that between the djinn, they commanded each of the four elements. I always assumed that meant there were four of them under his control.
* Xandhil nods
<Karala> Perhaps one alone betrayed him...it is an interesting prospect.
<Xandhil> hmm
<Xandhil> it moght explain why it was buried by the lake as well
* Xandhil considers aloud
<Karala> if it was the djinn of water who wished to escape?
<Xandhil> yes
<Karala> It could be.
* Karala nods pensively.
* Xandhil wonders if she will ask where we heard that version of the story >.>
<Karala> There are so many versions of the tale... most have forgotten pieces, or changed them to suit their own beliefs.
* Xandhil nods
<Xandhil> most of them seem to agree that there is probably some kind of guardian - corrpted djinn, undead, something, still at the tomb
* Karala reaches some empty jars down from a cupboard and begins spooning the jam into them.
<Xandhil> At this rate it will be a relief to get out there and have nothing be amiss :p
<Karala> Most people have an instinct for self-preservation, it is understandable that those stories persist longest.
* Xandhil nods
<Karala> The ones that tell you 'stay away from that place, it's dangerous, even if we don't remember why'
<Xandhil> fair
<Xandhil> . o O (But those are the most interesting places!)
<DiablotinNarrator> (that's why she said most people ;)
<Xandhil> (heee)
<Xandhil> So, Athos told us that you were some kind of priest?
<Karala> Some kind, yes, I suppose.
* Karala continues filling up her jars with the delicious-smelling jam.
<Karala> As much of a priest as one can be when the deity one venerates is gone.
<Xandhil> oh?
<Xandhil> which deity?
* Xandhil wonders if she is going to say Horse >.>
* Karala smiles, drawing from the neck of her blouse a small silver amulet shaped like a rather abstract rendition of a horse-figure.
* Xandhil nods
<Xandhil> I wondered, after we heard people talking about orelius being a Horse Lord
<Xandhil> The monolith kind of confirmed it
* Karala nods
* Karala tucks away her medallion again and goes back to putting jam in jars.
<Karala> I heard stories from the city, stories that the priests of Rat regained their strength when their god returned. So perhaps my wait is not so hopeless after all.
* Xandhil nods
<Xandhil> Serpent came back too
<Xandhil> We know that the seven were the patrons of seven tribes that came to Diablotin - I think everyone assunme that they muct have represented all the tribes that left Am
<Xandhil> but really it makes sense tat there might have been others
* Karala nods
<Karala> (sec, phone)
<Xandhil> what do you know about Horse?
<Karala> (it's mom.. she's now talking to Arthur ;)
<Karala> Only what has been passed down through my family... as I said before, the stories change with the telling.
* Xandhil nods
<Xandhil> I'd be realy interested to hear anyway
* Karala nods
<Xandhil> if you don't mind sharing
<Karala> Horse is a spirit of freedom and wanderers, although obviously some of us have settled down.
* Xandhil nods
<Karala> Long ago, there were others too who travelled with us - Stag and Raven and Salmon, but I don't know that any of them still survive. Certainly I've never met any who claimed those spirits as their own.
<Karala> and I've only met a few others who follow the Horse.
* Xandhil nods
<Xandhil> if Orelius was as powerful and influential as its claimed in his toime, it make sense that horse would be more enduring
* Karala nods
<Xandhil> (What perios was this supposed to be in, again?)
<Karala> (when Orelius was alive?)
<Xandhil> (yeah, sorry)
<Karala> (around 600 or so)
<Karala> He was a powerful warrior as well as a magic-user, and he had the strength to unite many peoples behind him
<Karala> For a long time after the missionaries came, it was forbidden to worship Horse - but I think by then the power he granted had already begun to fade. It's difficult to know, though.
* Xandhil nods
<Xandhil> the gods and theor relationships are complicated...
<Xandhil> he might not have had the same kind of power anyway
* Karala nods
<Xandhil> I don't know
<Karala> Nor do I.
* Karala begins sealing up her jars with heated wax.
<Xandhil> the seven got their power from Serpent - Serpent's return changed a lot of things, and things are still changing
<Karala> We live in interesting times ;)
<Xandhil> definitely
<Karala> So... tell me your stories, then.
<Xandhil> our stories?
* Xandhil look at Justen, not entirely sure what she means >.>
<Xandhil> (or where to start, at that :V)
<Justen> well... you mean why we came here?
<Karala> You know much more than most people about these subjects... so, you are scholars, I understand, but perhaps there is something else as well.
<Xandhil> My father's been studying this stuff since before I was born
<Xandhil> I picked it up from him - it makes it easlier to ask the right questions
<Xandhil> we've done some exploring too though
<Xandhil> In Am
* Karala looks intrigued at that
* Justen relates the condensed version of your travels to Am
* Karala seems intrigued by your travels
* Karala glances out at the window, where the sun is now past the horizon.
<Karala> It's too late for you to continue your travels tonight - would you like to stay here for the night?
<Xandhil> oh, thank you, if it wouldn't be any trouble that would be great.
* Karala nods
<Karala> I can make some dinner for you - nothing too fancy, I'm afraid.
<Xandhil> that's fine!
* Karala will prepare some duck-egg omlettes with goat cheese and green onions
* Xandhil will offer to help?
* Karala is happy to accept help with chopping onions :)
* Justen gets deputized to go out and feed the animals.
* Karala has only one bedroom, but she will bring some blankets to make it more comfortable for you to sleep on the floor of the main room.
<Xandhil> (we can use our bedrolls too)
<DiablotinNarrator> (true, you'll have extra padding :)
<DiablotinNarrator> (was there anything more you particularly wanted to talk about before bed?)
<Xandhil> (i don't think so - we did still want to ask her about the satyr though, but maybe over breakfast >.>)
<DiablotinNarrator> (okay)
* Justen snuggles up with you for bed ^-^
* Xandhil is always happy to snuggle, and really probably has a hard time *not* snuggling Justen
* Karala is quietly bustling around already when the two of you wake up in the morning
* Justen separates from you a bit awkwardly, not sure if she noticed your snuggles, or cares
<Xandhil> hmm?
* Xandhil pops an eye open when he is disengaged from
* Justen smiles drowsily at you to let you know it wasn't anything you did
<Justen> time to wake up, I think
<Xandhil> oh, yeah
* Xandhil shakes his head to clear up and eyes Karala
* Karala just smiles
<Karala> Porridge with cherry preserves for breakfast :)
<Xandhil> thank you...
<Justen> sounds delicious
* Justen goes outside to take care of morning necessities
<Karala> The two of you, you are a couple?
* Karala asks as she gets breakfast dished up
<Xandhil> oh... Yes. I guess that must be pretty obvious at this point >.>
* Xandhil admits with slight wariness
* Karala smiles
<Karala> You seem well suited to each other.
<Xandhil> thanks
* Karala seems to be considering saying something more
* Xandhil gives her a curious look then
* Justen comes back inside, dripping a bit from rinsing off in a rain barrel or maybe a horse trough ;p
* Xandhil can't help but smile at that!
<Karala> I was just wondering if you know that ... traditionally, in my faith, it was permitted for two men or two women to marry.
<Justen> ... I guess I missed something?
* Karala hands out wooden bowls with steaming porridge and cherry preserves stirred into it
<Xandhil> We had heard that
* Xandhil says with a smile and reaches a hand out for Justen
* Justen takes your hand, still a bit unsure but willing to trust you
<Karala> Well, if you ever do decide that you'd like that, I would be willing to perform the ceremony for you. But don't feel like you need to rush into anything, of course.
* Justen is a little bit @_@
<Xandhil> oh! thanks
* Xandhil flushes
<Justen> Maybe we can, uh, talk about that... if that's okay?
<Xandhil> I meant thanks for the offer
<Karala> Of course - I don't mean to put you on the spot.
* Xandhil is still flushed not sure if he is explaining to her or justen @_@
<Karala> I only wanted you to know that, despite what you may have been told, there are choices for you.
<Justen> Thank you
* Justen seems a bit flustered as well
* Xandhil nods
<Karala> well, eat up - you'll have a busy day ahead, I'm sure.
<Xandhil> I think we.. well I... wasn't really worried about what people told us we could do anyway
* Karala nods
<Karala> That's a good way to live.
<Karala> At least, I've found it to be so.
* Xandhil nods
<Xandhil> yeah
* Justen nods too, gulping down some porridge despite it being still way too hot for any normal person
* Xandhil takes a bit of porridge and jam @_@
* Xandhil burns his mouth -_-
* Karala offers you some water
<Xandhil> thanks
* Xandhil says meekly
* Justen squeezes your hand some more
* Xandhil stirs the jam in some more then >.>
<Xandhil> um, acytually, there was something else I wanted to ask you about - unrelated...
<Karala> yes?
<Xandhil> . o O (more or less >.>)
<Xandhil> Do you know anything about local.... guardians in these places?
<Karala> Nature spirits?
<Xandhil> I think so
<Xandhil> liek.... goat men maybe?
<Karala> Ah yes. I've had some dealings with the satyr.
<Karala> There are other sorts as well, although they are reclusive - spirits of ponds and trees and stones.
<Karala> They can be dangerous if provoked, but most will prefer to hide if they can.
* Xandhil nods
<Karala> Have you encountered them?
<Xandhil> one, on our way to the village
<Xandhil> Eosphoros
* Karala nods with recognition
<Xandhil> he's the one who told us the longer version of the story of Orelius
<Xandhil> do you know him?
<Karala> A little. As much as one can know such a creature, I suppose.
* Xandhil nods
<Karala> They used to be more numerous, it is said.
<Xandhil> that's what he said too
<Xandhil> but as the are becomes less wild, thet get fewer... :/
<Xandhil> (area)
* Karala nods
<Karala> It is unusual that you would have the chance to speak to him. Did he approach you?
<Xandhil> yeah...
<Xandhil> I think he used some kind of charm/
<Karala> ah
<Xandhil> to make sure we weren't dangerous, maybe
<Karala> that seems likely, yes
<Karala> You were fortunate to meet him
<Xandhil> yeah
<Xandhil> it was interesting, anyway
* Karala smiles, nodding
<Justen> Definitely
* Justen agrees with a smile of his own
* Xandhil takes a bite of hopefully cooler porridge >.>
<Karala> There is something else I wanted to tell you as well.
<Karala> I dreamt last night that, where you were going, you would meet someone... someones?... from your family.
<Karala> I don't know if it means anything.
<Xandhil> ...
* Xandhil eyes Justen
* Justen looks a little alarmed, but trying to keep composed.
<Xandhil> that's..... interesting
<Justen> I guess we'll find out.
<Xandhil> both of us?
<Karala> Yes, in the dream it was both of you.
* Justen sets aside his empty bowl
* Xandhil offers his hand
* Justen takes it nervously
<Xandhil> do you often have that kind of dream?
<Karala> Once in a while.
<Karala> But not often, no.
<Justen> well.. thank you for telling us.
* Justen glances to you
<Justen> We should probably be on our way soon...
* Xandhil nods
<Xandhil> The rest of the expedition is probably wondering what's become of us
<Xandhil> if they haven't been eeaten by zombies
<Xandhil> or angry corrupt Djinn
<Karala> hopefully not
<Xandhil> or angry djinn zombies
<Justen> Thank you for your hospitality.
<Xandhil> thank you for your... yes.
* Xandhil smiles
<Xandhil> It was very nice to meet you - and we will keep your offer in mind, maybe for the future
<Karala> Not at all. Let me give you a jar of jam to take on your travels - it might make some of the camping gruel more palatable.
* Karala hands you one of the jars of cherry jam.
<Karala> And please do come back, anytime.
* Justen will put the jar safely into his pack
<Xandhil> thank you!
<Karala> A swift journey to you both.
<Justen> Thank you
* Xandhil smiles, suspecting that is a Horse saying
* Justen gathers up his things, ready to go
* Xandhil heads out with then
* Justen sort of sighs once you're a short distance away from her house
<Justen> Family?
<Xandhil> its okay
<Xandhil> I think.... maybe it just means my theory is right?
<Justen> maybe. I hope that's all it is.
<Xandhil> that the Djinn are maybe related to angels somehow
* Justen nods
<Xandhil> it makes the most sense for how it would be both of our family
<Justen> yeah...
* Xandhil squeezes your hand
* Justen leans over to give you a kiss.
* Xandhil kisses back
<Justen> we'll deal with it, whatever it means.
<Xandhil> yes :)