25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid.   Posted by GM.Group: 0
Vasana
 player, 127 posts
 Initiate of Orlanth (VA)
 Veteran Heavy Cavalry
Sat 19 Jun 2021
at 01:28
25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid
Vasana brings Hendroste along, seeing as their party is a bit lighter than she would like for dealing with a pair of Sakkar.  She is happy to be leaving on a Windsday, it always seems to bode well to her.

She enjoys the ride, her faithful bison doing the hard work on this journey.  The fresh snow is beautiful and the crisp cold air reminds her that she is still alive against all odds and ready once more to fight to protect her clan and tribe.

She greets Korol formally, not having had the opportunity in the past.  She is always seeking allies and friends close to Apple Lane as one never know when someone will be able to help and having a circle of friendly faces just makes life more pleasant.

"Chieftain Korol, I am pleased to be of assistance to a neighbor.  The Queen was most gracious to allow us this opportunity to help out.  I was hoping someone here could provide us any information you have been able to gather on the Sakkar.  When and where they strike, frequency, time of day or week, if they come together or separately, or anything you have gathered or guessed about where they make their den.  Heortarl has been most helpful in our journey here but his knowledge of the beasts is limitd I am afraid," Vasana says, mindful to praise the young herder in front of his Chieftain.
Erina
 player, 58 posts
Sat 19 Jun 2021
at 20:40
25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid
Erina welcomes her carls' help. She's good at a lot of things, but animal-lore is not one of them. She doesn't expect them to fight the sakkar beasts; instead, she would like to have them help set the trap.

While casually riding along the path, she inquires, "Do you think the sakkars, being cats of some sort, would respond to a demand for honorable contest? They might be compelled, as servants of Yinkin, who is the thane of Orlanth."

She smiles, greets, and charms her way through Heortarl's clan hold and Korol's hall. Erina is tall, exceptionally beautiful, energetic, and forthright, so that's not hard for her to. She does not say anything derogatory about Korol, whatever her thoughts might be regarding him. She performs the Greeting flawlessly. Vasana asks the questions Erina would have, so the latter satisfies herself with small talk and being the life of the party.
Korol Serpent-Tongue
 NPC, 1 post
 Chieftain Varmandi Clan
 Orlanth
Tue 22 Jun 2021
at 12:04
25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid
"Being cat monsters, I doubt they have a den, although I'm not certain of this. Two of them have been seen, probably a male and a female. They've attacked in daylight."

"Look,"
he continues, "there’s plenty of bandits in these hills. Tusk Riders, Orlevings, Lunar deserters... there was even a troll gang here a decade ago. But bandits we can kill — few are willing to hunt down a sakkar. We've seen tracks previously, and occasionally we've lost a cow or two. So maybe we'd just let them be if it wasn't for the fact that they've now attacked the sacred herd belonging to the tribal Orlanth temple in Clearwine. That herd must be protected."

"From what Heortarl has told us, according to tracks left, they are still in that area of the hills."

"I'd like you to accompany Heortarl to the herd and protect it. That's the most important part of this mission. Killing the sakkar would, of course, put an end to the threat."

Vasana
 player, 128 posts
 Initiate of Orlanth (VA)
 Veteran Heavy Cavalry
Sun 27 Jun 2021
at 17:39
25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid
Vasana nods, inwardly contemplating the chances of scaring off the sakkar or at least dissuading them from attacking the sacred cattle. 

"Truly," she replies reassuringly, "they are not the sort of threat one would normally encounter.  We will scout out the area at daybreak and see if we can track them or wait for them to make an appearance."  As Korol seems a little defensive about this, Vasana makes an effort to reassure him.
Erina
 player, 59 posts
Sun 27 Jun 2021
at 19:56
25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid
"Surely Yinkin's cats would cease their predation, if properly admonished. The herd they prey upon is sacred to their lord's master. And if not, then we must trap and kill them; the latter will require the help of skilled huntsmen. Have you any to spare to lay the trap? Two of my carls have come with us to share in the glory and help with just that, but more hunters bring more prey."
Korol Serpent-Tongue
 NPC, 2 posts
 Chieftain Varmandi Clan
 Orlanth
Tue 29 Jun 2021
at 15:50
25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid
"It is true they are some sort of cat-monsters," Korol answers Erina, "but it is also true the sakkar are sacred to the Death cults. I'm not sure they answer to Orlanth or his little brother."

"As to hunters, we might have one for you."


He turns to one of his carls. "Ulynnrella, go fetch Korlakt the Lonely. He should be in his hut."

The carl is obviously not happy being told to go outside in the cold, but does what she's told. After a while she returns with a rugged odaylan in bear skin. Korol instructs the hunter to accompany you to track sakkar. The hunter nods and exits the hall without even looking at you.

"He'll be waiting for you outside." Korol smiles with a shrug.

"You should make it to the herd before nightfall if you leave now." he adds. ((OOC: It's lunchtime.))
Vasana
 player, 130 posts
 Initiate of Orlanth (VA)
 Veteran Heavy Cavalry
Tue 29 Jun 2021
at 20:46
25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid
"Thank you for your assistance and hospitality," Vasana replies to Korol Serpent-Tongue.  "We will head there straight away."

Unless there is anything else, she will head out to gather up Korlakt the Lonely and be on their way.
Erina
 player, 60 posts
Wed 30 Jun 2021
at 02:18
25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid
Erina feels similarly to Vasana, says as much, and also thanks Korol for his hospitality. She gathers her belongings and prepares to leave as well.
GM
 GM, 313 posts
Wed 30 Jun 2021
at 06:17
25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid
You thank Korol Serpent-Tongue for his hospitality and prepare yourself to be on your way into the Gejay Hills to the Northeast.

Your group now consists of
- Erina
 * Erng, light infantry warrior
 * Merka, light infantry warrior
- Vasana
 * Hendroste of Apple Lane
- Heortarl the young herder
- Korlakt the Lonely hunter

Vasana rides her bison (I assume), but who else are mounted? Korlakt and Heortarl are not - they will be walking.

Hendroste asks Vasana. He has brought a horse, but is unsure if he should ride it into the hills or walk with the Varmandi.

The same goes for the carls Erng and Merka, who ask Erina if they should mount their horses or walk.

And Erina?
Vasana
 player, 131 posts
 Initiate of Orlanth (VA)
 Veteran Heavy Cavalry
Thu 1 Jul 2021
at 03:27
25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid
Vasana would wish for Hendroste to be mounted assuming that (as Horsemaster) his horse is combat trained and he is equipped and skilled at mounted combat.  Mounted pursuit is far more realistic against a giant cat than a foot pursuit.
Tannis
 player, 30 posts
 Orlanthi Warrior
 Ernaldoring Clan
Fri 2 Jul 2021
at 16:43
25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid
Tannis would also wish for Hendroste to be mounted with the same assumptions.
Erina
 player, 61 posts
Fri 2 Jul 2021
at 18:07
25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid
Erina is not a particularly good rider. She owns horses and knows how to ride, but, like most Orlanthi, she dismounts to fight. So, she leaves her two horses in the village, safely stabled, and she walks with the men, as do her carls. They could ride their horses to the site, but if the cat monsters are willing to attack full-grown cattle in broad daylight, a warrior who isn't skilled in mounted fighting will just endanger their own treasured horses by riding.

The longer she spends around Vasana, the more Erina gets used to her tiny cousin's exotic steed. Still, though, the bison's strange appearance, sounds, and fuzziness are almost irresistible. Can she pet the bison? Pretty please?
Tannis
 player, 32 posts
 Orlanthi Warrior
 Ernaldoring Clan
Sat 3 Jul 2021
at 16:56
25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid
Tannis will be on foot for the fight, staying back behind cover and sneaking around.
GM
 GM, 315 posts
Tue 6 Jul 2021
at 19:23
25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid
As you say goodbye to Korol he gifts Vasana (as thane of Apple Lane, home to several Varmandi clan members) and Erina (as a thane of the Colymar tribe) with ceramic votive images of Vinga.

Heortarl takes you along herders’ trails through the rocky hills and mixed woods of pine, oak, and grassland. There is snow on the ground. Heortarl wears a winter cloak made of antelope hide. He continues to be helpful and likeable.

"Tannis, what adventures have you been on? Where did you get those scars?" he asks.

Old ruins are scattered about in the hills. You see sheep graze alongside the remnants of the stone foundations of a building, herders having made a campfire behind a broken wall. Now and then you pass a pile of ancient masonry, and so on.

After about six hours of travel, you can see a herd of about 100 black cattle being herded by five herders. They are rounding up the cattle for the evening. All carry slings and javelins; none wear armor beyond thick vests. The cattle are marked with the Black Spear of Colymar – this is the sacred herd of the Orlanth temple. A campfire provides welcome warmth.

The herders welcome you with some food (flat bread, cheese, and dried meat) and some wine that has been watered down.


(Vargast, Jareena, and Cara. The other two herders are called Varlanth and Hengall. Please note: these portraits were made last summer when it was warm ;))
Erina
 player, 63 posts
Thu 8 Jul 2021
at 05:12
25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid
Erina thanks Korol for the gift. It's both pretty and useful, which is the best combo that a gift can be, among Heortlings. Similarly, she makes sure to praise the chieftain's gift to others, as this is the best way that a good gift can be received.

She finds the ruins fascinating. Their ancient stones must have so many stories to tell, if they could talk. Who built these places? What were they like? How did they dress? What did they eat? So many questions, likely never to be answered, drifting like sand on the shores of memory.

She receives the hospitality of the herders with gratefulness and introduces herself heartily. She also introduces her carls, as they are her subordinates, as well as her cousin, Vasana, and compatriot, Tannis.
Vasana
 player, 133 posts
 Initiate of Orlanth (VA)
 Veteran Heavy Cavalry
Fri 9 Jul 2021
at 04:19
25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid
Vasana thanks Korol for the lovely votive. 

As they ride along, Vasana shifts into a more attentive posture.  Although not enemy territory, one never knows when it will be useful to be familiar with a route or terrain.  Although the reports indicate that the sakkar have not been seen in this area, Vasana still keeps a lookout for tracks or other signs of their presence.

Once in the vicinity of the cattle, Vasana rides a wide circle around the area.  She wishes to get the lay of the land, look for tracks, scat, or other signs of the sakkar as well as determining the most likely avenues in and out for the large cats.  She also notes the direction of the wind and any places that some or all of the members of the party could hide in wait.

Dismounting, Vasana greets the herders and thanks them for their hospitality and introduces Hendroste.  Once they have eaten, she inquires as to any information the herders can provide about the sakkar, even if the information has already been provided by others.  How many, when were they last seen, how frequently have they come, when did this start, what time of day have they come, etc.
Tannis
 player, 33 posts
 Orlanthi Warrior
 Ernaldoring Clan
Tue 13 Jul 2021
at 18:53
25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid
Tannis will follow Vasana, keeping his eyes open for tracks or any other signs of life after he eats.
GM
 GM, 317 posts
Tue 13 Jul 2021
at 19:45
25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid
As he notices Erina's interest in the old ruins you pass, Heortarl comments on them: "There’s plenty of them around here. The elders say that the Wyrmsfriends used to live here. The ruins probably belonged to them."

The herders are glad that you are here, as their clan is responsible for the sacred herd. If any of these cattle are killed or stolen, not only does the clan lose those resources but they must also make up the loss to the tribe or run the risk of angering the tribal gods!

Vasana and Tannis find no sign of any sakkar, or anything else really.

Vargast seems like the most experienced herder and acts an older brother to the others (you soon learn that he is actually Varlanth's older brother). He has a cautious and somewhat suspicious attitude towards you. He answers Vasana's questions, but you learn nothing new.

The herders are definately concerned about the sakkars that have been preying on their herds, but they are also worried about the presence of Orleving bandits. It's obvious they harbour hatred for the Orlevings, and swap tales of betrayal, thievery, and murder — the cause of all attributed to the Orlevings.

Heortling especially gets agitated on the subject. "They are all thieves and murdering bandits! Did you know that Orlev Eye-spear stole the goddess from Iskalli son of Varmand, back when our ancestors first came to these lands?"

Hengall the herder has been silent most of the evening, but at a pause in the conversation he starts to sing. He is a surprisingly good singer.

"Praise not the day till evening has come; a woman till buried, a man till burned. Praise not a horse till broken; a sword till bloodied; a youth till married. Praise not a life till death has judged it. Thereafter, nothing can change the song of our valiant dead." he sings.

Soon it's bedtime. The herders prepare to take shifts watching.

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:50, Tue 13 July 2021.

Vasana
 player, 134 posts
 Initiate of Orlanth (VA)
 Veteran Heavy Cavalry
Tue 13 Jul 2021
at 20:24
25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid
Vasana does not participate in the conversation regarding the Orleving beyond agreeing that banditry is a serious issue.  She is careful to refrain from accusing the Orleving of any such crimes.  She is here to deal with sabre-toothed cats, not rival tribes.

She listens with pleasure to Hengall's singing and comments appreciatively.  Once it is time to turn in, Vasana recommends the best spot she has noticed in order to reduce the chances of being spotted.  "I am not particularly familiar with the hunting habits of large cats," she says to the others.  "Anyone else have any thoughts on the most likely method of attack a sakkar might use against the herd?" she asks, inviting their expertise.

Although the sakkar do not seem to attack at night, it seems better to be safe than sorry, so Vasana sets up a watch schedule.    Five people on watch for two hours each, allowing everyone 8 hours of rest.  She takes the middle watch, as it is the one involving the shortest continuous sleep.
Erina
 player, 64 posts
Thu 15 Jul 2021
at 02:29
25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid
The tribe provides for its members, of course! After, the tribe is the clans, the clans are the families, and the families are the people. The larger units are built from the base, and so the larger must provide for the smaller.

Erina ponders, "If the Orlevings are so treacherous, is it not then possible that they are mimicking the sakkar somehow in cattle raids, under cover of deceit?"

Theft by deceit, like secret murder, is a much more serious crime than its open parent. The situation would also be much complicated by said treachery.

She does not know the song Hengall sings, so she asks him to sing it a few more times until she has learned it. She offers to teach him one of the songs she knows, if he is interested, though they are mostly womens' songs.

Erina does not volunteer for a watch but takes the first when and if she is prodded to do so.
GM
 GM, 319 posts
Sun 18 Jul 2021
at 08:48
25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid
"The sakkar normally lie patiently until potential prey comes by. The cat then springs, stabbing the victim and digging in with its massive claws. Few creatures can long survive such an attack." Vargast replies to Vasana's question.

Erina's question starts another bout of stories about the Orlevings. Vargast says "It wouldn't be beneath them. The sakkar are said to be incarnations of Death, and there are many worshipers of Humakt among the Malani."

((OOC: The Orleving clan is a part of the Malani tribe. Humakt is the god of Death and War.))

The herders noticeably appreciates Vasana taking a watch pass, and move camp to where she indicated they would be best protected.
Vasana
 player, 135 posts
 Initiate of Orlanth (VA)
 Veteran Heavy Cavalry
Sun 18 Jul 2021
at 18:36
25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid
Sleeping out in the open and taking watches seems to come naturally to Vasana.  It is as if she never gave the casual gesture any thought.  It is simply part of what she is, a warrior who tramps around in all kinds of weather, always watchful, always on alert, sleeping wherever she can, eating whatever is available.

Part of her theory of leadership is never to ask others to do what you yourself would not do.  So fishing dead bodies out of the river, taking the worst watch slot, or eating trail rations are part of acting like a leader, leading by example and being able to empathize with your troops.

She will inquire as to whether the sakkar attacked the herd here or when the herd is traveling, either to water or pastureland.  (OOC:  I was envisioning the herd mainly staying in one place but I am not, by birth or occupation, a herder of livestock.)
GM
 GM, 322 posts
Sun 25 Jul 2021
at 18:31
25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid
The cold winter night passes slowly for those at watch. The rest sleep huddled together close to the fire. You can hear the sounds from the herd as the cows moo, snort, or grunt. Tomorrow you will move the herd down the valley to try to find some snow free pasture and running water.

This message had punctuation tweaked by the GM at 18:32, Sun 25 July 2021.

Erina
 player, 65 posts
Mon 26 Jul 2021
at 05:51
25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid
"Humakt is also a Truthkeeper, so deception of that kind would be hateful to him. Then again, if the Malani are willing to attack a sacred herd, I suppose they don't care."

Erina understands a leader to be someone who provides displays of virtue in trying times and who lives a life that others aspire to, a figure of inspiration who gives people someone to emulate in a way that promotes and improves the whole of society. Ultimately, it is lonely at the top of the mountain, and a queen, for that is what she aspires to be, draws strength from those beneath her, even as she provides it to them.

Herds usually move around a lot, but this is a special herd, so maybe it doesn't.
Vasana
 player, 136 posts
 Initiate of Orlanth (VA)
 Veteran Heavy Cavalry
Wed 28 Jul 2021
at 16:41
25 Darkness 1625: Cattle Raid
"I heard roars last night," Vasana says in the morning as they are preparing to lead the cattle.  "To the northeast, probably a few kilometers but it was difficult to tell exactly.  Are we headed in that direction?" she inquires.  "If not, can you tell me what is in that direction?"

If that is not the direction in which they are heading, Vasana wants to head there as soon as t is light, preferably with someone who is good at tracking, to see if she can locate the sakkar.  This would probably require them to split up as someone needs to protect the herd.