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Mharreff's Journal

Quill-scratchings of a city-Sleeth

Examinations [3 Oix 4260]
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mharreff
The world through hyprie is very strange. Thoughts chase thoughts like kittens chase butterflies, and with each step and turn there is the new distraction. So strange are the thoughts that made sense at the time, when I record this after I cannot follow them. It is clearer now why, after some moments of discussion, Chrys suggests I nap by the water.

So I do not see when the other healer examines the Orren, but I hear of the examining after.

Sablemask, it seems, has the curious affinity for Healoc. He is not so good with it himself, but somehow, even healed twice by Heal Once, he still feels like he is not yet healed today. Another spell and he is only somewhat bruised, with only the hole in his armour to say that not an hour ago he is somewhat impaled.

I make my own inspection of the Orren later, and though he is already healed, still there is the curious resonance with Healoc to his magerium. Also his water-form is very very slender, but quite strong. He flirts well, hinting that things may be possible later, but now he is hurt and tired and still not sure he wishes the flirting to go farther. Still, he has the right idea of the heat, napping in the water. I am not so comfortabl in the water, but being wet lets the light breeze cool me somewhat better than otherwise.

As I rest on the bank, I hear two Rassimel talking, in voices that would be very soft, maybe too soft, to any but Sleeth ears. The one asks, "Doesn't that bother you at all?"

Chrys chuckles softly before he responds, "He's a Sleeth. I might be able to keep him sated if I made it my life's work, maybe. He'd probably need more variety. So long as I'm the one he comes back to, I'm content."

Before I examine the Orren, Chrys examines the gunch, and the gunch's spines. For all the gunch is the quite small gunch, the spines are fine quality, though he worries somewhat that perhaps they warp in hot Surprise; so they are slung against the pack with half-frozen water to stave off the heat as much as possible. The few hundred lozens is not the great prize - the boxed spells I learn are worth far more - but still it is the better prize than none at all.

Perhaps Not the Best of Ideas [3 Oix 4260]
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mharreff
Truly this is the strange morning. The dried meat is tough, bland, and unpleasant. The hyprie berry is sweet and strong and heady, almost like it ferments on the vine only without any actual alcohol; the fruit is very much the finer morsel than the meat.

We creep closer to the pool. If the gunch notices, it does not think us close enough to worry about, and keeps lounging in the water. Tantamerakis sets down the hunk of wood and works a careful, silent spell, and the wood reshapes itself into the large, stout beetle. Chrysomerax makes sure none of the arrows in his quiver are the arrows with bound Fire Flowers, and sets one of them to string. The others make ready in their own ways.

Keeping track of those ways quickly becomes difficult. Every moving thing around us inspires thoughts and imaginings; only with difficulty do I keep my attention on what we are supposed to do. When it seems like the very patterns of magic show themselves in the rustling leaves, I flex my forepaws and tilt my ears forward.

Chrys is around Sleeth enough to know some things of the silent language, and nods to the others, and draws his bow.

Then everything happens quickly. When the arrow strikes, the gunch lurches up out of the water with the great angry bellow. It sees us and starts to lumber forward, only to meet the wall of thick air; and when it forces past that, there is the wooden beetle jabbing its hide with great thorny pincers. The gunch has quite thick hide, but the beetle is quite strong.

With the twist of magic and two cley, I bind the gunch's left hindleg, and it stumbles as it turns toward the beetle. Then the Herethroy is there and the Orren is there, hacking and stabbing. The rapier drives in deep, and a flailing forepaw sends the Orren flying - another twist of magic seizes the Orren to levitate him, but it is too slow to keep him from hitting the splintered snag. Only when he has pulled free of it does the spell seize him, and he yelps in surprise.

That is not my finest spont ever, but I do not have time to fret about it then. I do not concentrate on that spell; instead I put as much force as I can into the next, and with three cley lift the gunch away from ground and water also. It flails greatly and makes much noise, and the thrashing is a peril to the Herethroy and the beetle, and the Orren when he splashes back into the shallows and wades forward. Probably he is not at his best, fighting pain and his own instinct to change to water-form, but still he delivers many pricks in the gunch's hide.

More spells I use, binding this or that of the gunch's limbs and forcing it to stumble. The hyprie makes the currents of magic so easy to handle, only twice does a spell fall apart unfinished; but making the right spell at the right time is not so easy.

Still, we are many and somewhat prepared; the gunch is only one, and small, and surprised. Though it batters the fighters, smashes the Thorn Beetle, and breaks many trees and bushes on the shore, it slows and falters; then it stumbles, reeling, and the three-handed sword bites deep into its side and the rapier pierces its neck, and it slumps and moves no more.

A few more blows to be sure, and the fight is done.

The quick thoughts of the hyprie already are fading, leaving my mind feeling full of cobwebs and cotton; but I try to remember that I am the healer also, and I still have some few cley left. The Herethroy has some bruises and some cracks in her chitin, but Sablemask is badly hurt early on, impaled on the dead stump, caught by blows and claws and flailing branches after; on him I spend my cley.

Dinah sees what I mean to do, and starts to protest, saying she Heals him Once already; but by then the spell is cast.

Even with my head still fogged by hyprie, when her words catch up with me I can think it the odd thing that my spell seems to have full effect.

Final Preparations [predawn of 3 Oix 4260]
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mharreff
Near dawn, the river bends ahead of us, and Chrysomerax thinks we are close. The Zi Ri casts Mask Odors on me, and I creep along the bank where the sound of the water masks my footsteps.

There is the larger pool, and there is the gunch lying very still in it. The pool is not the very much larger pool, so some of the gunch is out of water still. Especially the spines are out of water, and though there is pondweed all over them still they are very very colorful beneath that, and all look to be whole - none are bent or obviously broken.

"Sounds like it's a bit on the small side, actually - for a gunch," says Chrys when I return. "Just as well. Still, we'll need to take this as carefully as we can. And preferably not wading all the way in with it - better if we can get it to the shore."

"That's the truth," says the Orren.

"Best to afflict it with a few spells before it has a chance to get to us," muses the Zi Ri. A Wall of Air in its path as soon as the arrow's on its way might give us a few more moments to that effect, if not long."

"Good," says the Orren. "What else do you have that can slow it down?"

The Zi Ri and the Gormoror discuss spells. The Gormoror picks up the fallen log and says that with it he conjures the elemental to fight. The Zi Ri is ready with Toughen the Flesh, and also with Leather Noose. The Gormoror has vines and Pepper Strikes and such things.

I want to make the quick excursion of hunting, so that I do not swallow a fruit by itself, but Tantamerakis insists I be ready to fight immediately after dawn, so instead I have dried meat from our packs.

When the sun first glimmers through the leaves, I have this special snack.

Fortunate Finds [2 Oix 4260]
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mharreff
As the sun gutters lower I spend three more cley to finish grafting Cure Gnarn's Deadly Game. I do not leave the very expensive boxed spell behind, or risk losing it in the wilds.

We leave at sunout. I am not the greatest fighter of us, but I have Sleeth eyes and Sleeth nose and Sleeth ears, so I go first, then the Orren and the Rassimel and the other Rassimel and the Gormoror and the Herethroy. The Zi Ri goes wherever in the group zie wishes.

The journey is still hot, especially when the trees are close all around and the trail is narrow, winding, and half-overgrown, but at least the sun is not burning overhead so the heat is closer to bearable. Especially with the half-frozen waterskins. The footing is treacherous, so Chrys takes a moment away from the group to pack his things on a Sleeth-style harness and journeys in krango shape, and for the others I cast Sleeth Eyes. After that they are not telling me to slow down so much.

I watch between the trees always, but the trees themselves I do not pay so much attention. Tantamerakis is the one who notices the vine twisting around the old arken tree and the small fruit hanging from it, and asks the Zi Ri to bring one of the fruit down. The Zi Ri is not so pleased at this task, but gets the fruit anyway.

The Gormoror looks at the fruit for some time, and sniffs it, and maybe inspects it magically. Finally he grins. "This is hyprie," he says, and looks back up at the vine. "We've found a good bounty already - there's a few fat discs' worth of hyprie right there over our heads!"

Hyprie. I do not see it before, I do not know that these small round fruit are called hyprie, but I do know the name of hyprie from my Guild training - useful and doomful both. Mostly the Guild warns of the signs of hyprie intoxication, comparing it to putting anyone's mind in the Orren-like wild rush, only not quite so quick. But the reasons anyone would eat hyprie are mentioned also.

Again the Zi Ri goes up to the vine, with even more grumbling, and cuts it free, bringing it down with the other fruit attached. The Gormoror makes to cast Tough Herbs so the fruit are not harmed by being in his pack, but the idea strikes me suddenly.

"Save the one already plucked," I suggest.

"Save it?" the Gormoror asks, turning that one in his fingers. "What for? It's no key to great magical potency."

"But it helps spontaneous magic," I point out.

"Somewhat, yes..."

"I spend more time than many with my spontaneous magic," I point out. "Also I am good with Ruloc and Corpador, and I can use spells with both well, as all Sleeth can. Before we confront the gunch, I eat that one. I do not want it to be tough under my teeth."

"Leaving us with an unfocused healer..."

"We have another healer also," I say, and wave a paw towards the other Rassimel.

Chrys swallows doubly, then his left head manages to say, "We could use any edge we can get. Does anyone have a better idea?"

Daytime Doze [2 Oix 4260]
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mharreff
Staying awake long after sunout is the much easier thing playing with an eager Rassimel than it is when everyone who is not Zi Ri is wilting and sleepy in Surprise-heat. For the Rassimel himself it is the somewhat easier thing, but five times he pinches my ear when I am dozing off.

By midnight my ear is sore and I withdraw my request for him to keep me awake. I have two cley left in case something wakes me before dawn - no meditating for the second cley this time - and if something does, probably it is the emergency of note so I have use for those cley.

There is no emergency. I wake briefly a few minutes before dawn to bind one last spell before my new cley arrives. It is the light day for cley, so those two cley would have been fine to sleep with instead of finding one more spell to bind, and so waking up to spend them is not the happiest moment. But I am awake and hungry and already hot, so I find something to help with the hunger and heat.

Running through Riskalt there is the Kasadrin River. It is not much of a river yet - its source is the spring a hundred miles outward, and one smaller tributary joins it twenty miles away from the palisade. There are hardly any fish in the river, but the water is cool and clear and smells of sweet spices so the Orren are liking it. The river flows through the tangled thorn-vines that bind the wall, so there are even less fish in the city, and not far from the trunkward wall there is the dam that makes the river fill the smallish lake, and this is stocked with not yet enough fish. Here, or in the tumbled rapids below the dam, there can be found many Orren, especially in hot Surprise.

At other times, some of the Orren are playful in ways that the Onaza Orren are not. When they are in water-form the Riskalt Orren, or some of them, do not care who sees them coupling. In hot Surprise, even in the water all they wish to do is rest, and that is why I come there also.

It is easier to doze there on the lake's grassy bank than in the sweltering house. From time to time I wake as Orren or some few others get in or out of the water near me.

One time, the droopy tired Orren nudges my shoulder and suggests that if one fish happens to swim closer, no one will miss it so long as many more do not follow. So I paddle out from shore somewhat, and a fish follows me back, and we find enough energy to tumble and swim so that nobody outside the lake sees our snack and makes a great fuss, and then she cuddles up beside me and dozes also. Rrai, in the water the warmth is not so bad, and the contact is pleasant.

She is right - there are good fish in the lake, enough for the snack here or there, but not enough fish to eat them often. But that is the concern for after sunout.

Hot Surprise [1 Oix 4260]
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mharreff
Before dawn it is the quite pleasant autumn night. I wake early as always, and with the very last of my cley I bind one more spell, and I wait for dawn.

On other night possibly I nap on the roof to wait for the sun, but I do not do that today of course.

Soon after dawn, everyone who pulls blankets over themselves against the autumn air is struggling out of them, and many are seeking lighter clothing and regretting dark or thick fur.

Only the Zi Ri is happy. "If you're going to drag me by the tail on this mission of yours just so I can be of no use," zie says, "at least I'll get to enjoy the weather."

Now I am very glad to know Cold Delight. Before we go, we freeze skins of water, so they are still cold later in the day when they have melted somewhat.

Now I am not very glad to have fine black fur. When we are under the cover of trees, I am the happier Sleeth. Still it is hot, but at least there the sun does not add to the heat so much like it does in the city. Indoors, the still air stifles; outside, the sun is too bright and hot.

More Plans [27 Chirreb 4260]
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mharreff
Today in Riskalt most adventures are the quite small adventures that happen all in one day, or never leave the city. None wants to be out of the palisade on the first dawn of Oix.

My adventures are the very small adventures indeed, for they are the tedious adventures with the small wooden box. Grafting spells is shorter for me than for most, and this spell grafts better than most for me, but still Cure Accanax's Hideous Embrace is a quite complex spell. Ten hours and ten cley it takes, leaving six cley to bind a few more spells of healing and one more cley for anything I might need through the night.

While I am busy with the wooden box, the other adventurers make plans. Some of it is the plans of what to find if it is hot or cold Surprise, so that the finding is faster when that is known. Also there is the planning for farther away.

"Pah! We won't be known and sung through the ages for the things the heroes think beneath their time," says the Gormoror.

"It's still things that need doing," is the Orren's protest.

"There's no shortage of things that need doing," Chrysomerax tells him. "If they can afford to pay us this well for the things they don't have time for, they most be finding a lot of wealth somewhere doing other things that need doing."

"Perhaps the wild tales that made their way above aren't entirely fabrications," says the Zi Ri. Aside from Chrysomerax, zie is nearest me, sitting in the fire I am curled up beside with the boxed spell. "Once we're somewhat better established, we should be alert for a place that can be tamed. Even a field of salt bushes would be better than nothing."

"Salt bushes?" Tantamerakis scoffs, and his fist strikes the table. "Salt bushes are for farmers! Surely a band of mighty adventurers can do better than that!"

"No doubt," the Zi Ri replies, "but whatever we might be in time, we're not that, not yet. Besides, I didn't say that we should find the first valuable bit of land we can and settle for only that. It would just give us somewhere to start."

The Gormoror ponders this a moment, and then grins. "A defensible camp near a forest full of game - that will be enough to start!"

"A forest is harder than grasslands to explore," Chrysomerax says. "More likely we'll find something people have missed there. I'll see what the maps have so far, especially around this lake we'll be going to - though anything that way is probably claimed already."

"So we go beyond those claims!" exclaims the Gormoror. "Find land of our own that no prime feet have been set upon!"

"Assuming this pond isn't right by the Verticals," the Orren says quietly.

Plans [26 Chirreb 4260]
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mharreff
After the testing and the too long ceremonies I meet the other adventurers.

They are not the very many other adventurers. There is the Rassimel woman who is another healer, and there is the Herethroy with the three-handed sword. Rrai, if we face something with armor, probably the three-handed sword is better than claws or teeth or serpent rapiers.

Tantamerakis says there is more to be done to keep Riskalt fed. There is the pool upstream, a day's travel on foot, that is home to many fish, and that is good. But lately it is also home to a river-gunch, and that is not good. The gunch does not let Orren take fish; the gunch makes much noise and breaks boats and sends Orren racing downstream.

So the gunch must go, and soon.

Escaanahauvis is not the very pleased Zi Ri at this task. Zie is, after all, the fire-mage. Gunch do, after all, become very violent when confronted with fire. We do, after all, wish to avoid the gunch being very violent. So the Zi Ri does not use zir potent and practised spells against the gunch.

"Not everything we do will make the best use of all of us," an Orren says, and that is that.

There is much talk of plans and tactics. Gunch are very very strong and hit quite hard, so having two healers around is perhaps the useful thing - if one is hurt, the other still can cast. Also Corpador magic may be the useful thing in impeding the gunch without damaging its spines and sending it into rage.

And if the gunch is killed, not driven off, and all its spines are sound, perhaps there is the additional prize to be had.

But we do not go yet. First we learn if Surprise is hot or cold, so we are suitably prepared. Adventuring in Oix is not the most pleasant thought ever, but we make it less pleasant if we do not prepare enough, or if we prepare for hot Surprise and find ourselves buried in snow and ice.

[OOC] Char sheet, redux
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mharreff
So I was looking over Mharreff's char sheet, and I realized that successive edits and tweaks have actually warped it to the point that I don't think it qualifies as a valid starting char sheet anymore. Also, he hasn't played out quite according to the concept I initially had for him, and now that he's getting to the start of his adventures proper (the point in time for which the sheet was written), and since I'm apparently a masochist and like making char sheets, I decided to remedy this by remaking his sheet!

The results...Collapse )
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mharreff
Early in the morning I do not meet the others of the adventuring party. I bind Heal the Awful Wound five times with the old day's cley, and while I am watching the sun light and enjoying being a Sleeth again, the Guild healer comes to the borrowed home, saying I must come to the Guild hall. She presumes so much I am tempted to not hear her, but the Guild is the important thing to me; I tell the others, and I go to the Guild hall.

There a Rassimel and a Cani and a Herethroy - only the Rassimel I see before, Charizande - say I do well with the wherriwheffle, and it is better to have the healer willing to work with them. So, they say, it is better if I take the Guild test for healers, that I do not have time to take in Onaza before Father is weak and needs help through the days.

So I take the Guild test. The pen scratches over paper for hours. The healers ask me seven times twelve times about this organ and that ailment in such species, always a different thing. My mind is good; I remember my lessons with only the moment of thinking, and I give answers and cast spells and show that the classes are not wasted.

Also they test me with Destroc magic and theory, and that is the more curious thing, but I am too busy answering questions to ask questions of my own.

They tell me after that it is not perfect, that I need more study of Cani and Gormoror and Herethroy; but also they tell me that it is enough, and with the ceremony of an hour and a third they name me a member of the Healer's Guild of Riskalt. I do not yawn and nap through the ceremony; I do not tell the Rassimel giving speeches to trim the fat from his words. But they are the very tempting thoughts.

An Orren fixes a Guild emblem onto my harness, and then a Rassimel says, "We may call on you if the friendly monsters need any more help. For that purpose, we have two boxed spells that I want you to graft. You should be able to cast them... barely."

I touch the wooden boxes, I study the sparks, I see Healoc and Destroc and Corpador of quite high complexity, higher than anything else I know - twenty-five, or so. But the spells are twisty and complicated and I do not learn more from staring at them. Still, they are the spells of healing, and I know two spells of Healoc Destroc Corpador 25, and both are the useful spells for nonprimes. So probably the markings on the boxes that name them Cure Accanax's Hideous Embrace and Cure Gnarn's Awful Game are correct.

"When I am not healing my companions or giving them bound spells," I say, "I graft these." Probably today we do not go adventuring, and most of my companions have many bound spells already, so perhaps today I start grafting the first. Also soon it is Oix, so perhaps there is not much adventuring done if the weather of Surprise is too strong.

Mostly the diseases of Accanax leave less time for the healer. I begin with that one.

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