Write up 15th December 2022 – Aftermath of the Comet – Part 2

Our group found themselves back in Bukrish, a village with mixed emotions, glad that the bandits that had come there hunting the group had been defeated, but concerned that if the group stayed there, more would come. The group, mostly, decided to resupply and figure out what to do, well, mostly.

Farshad moped a bit, despondent that the crow man had been cured, the former crow man was himself talking to the villagers, trying to find out where he was, and could anyone use a scholar who had lost his way, tablets and purpose.

Fetnah decided to cheer Farshad up. She spent time preparing, to clear her own spirit and enhance her powers, and she sent her spirit forth to seek the crow spirit. She found it as it, lost, it was circling around, itself unsure of what had happened to it. She seized the spirit and placed it into a crow that she had carved, not well, recognisably a bird, but uneven of wing and bent of beak. The bird hopped around, settling on Farshad’s shoulders, pecking lightly on his ear.

Whilst this was going on, the Utana, Jose and Smersh looked around the village to see what they could find to help them in such a run down mining village, long past  its best. Utana gave Smersh some funds as a loan, and they obtained some food, some arrows for Utana and Smersh, Smersh also picking up a light bow and a buckler. After her spirit conjurations, Fetnah also traded some ingots for good quality ingredients and spices.

That being done, the group decided to chase down one of the groups of scouts they had seen, and considered that the Eastern group, on the higher hills would be easier to track than the ones through the boggy heathland. Utana led the way, and after w while the smoke of a fire was spotted. Smersh went ahead, muddy and as camouflaged as if he deliberately meant to be, seeing two scouts by a fire, preparing to move off, but he was not as quiet as he might be. One cautiously headed in the direction Smersh was, spear out, as he hunted for the source of the noise. Smersh’s arrow was keen and severely injuring. As Fetnah hid, Utana and José loosed arrows.

Lightly armoured though they were, the scouts were no match for the group, the scout closest to Smersh refused his offer of surrender, and so was downed, the other fled, but was bravely and heroically shot down, in the back.

The scout was patched up enough so that their life was not in any immediate danger, but they were put to the question, though luckily none of Utana’s more exotic techniques were required. Smersh,  Fetnah and José were able to establish that many scouts were hunting for the group, and bands totalling 120  bandits were positioned ready to come to them when the group was found.

The group seemed unconcerned, 120 was not many to cover all the territory, and the bandits were keeping most of their forces in their usual places, cowing peasants and securing the strongholds they had infiltrated and taken over.

The scouts were stripped of gear, José taking vambraces and greaves from the fallen scout, Smersh taking the heavy leather jerkin, vambraces, greaves, shoes and cooking gear from the one he had injured. Other supplies, such as their horses, some food (of poor quality, but better than nothing) , arrows and others were taken, notably some herbs that Fetnha took. The injured scout, now bereft of weapons and supplies, they left to fend for themselves.

José turned his tactical mind to the situation. He felt that the bandits, getting desperate to stop word getting out, would commit more of their forces, and their chances might be less. The way home was south west, but that was where they knew the majority of the bandits forces hunting them were.

The group decided to consult the oracular bowl that Utana possessed, Fetnah singing to it, and got this reply

South West is the way you do not want to go
South West is the way you do want to go

The group decided to achieve this apparent paradox by heading south, then cutting west, on the road back to Eshtaband and their employer. Utana took them south by an abandoned road that once served now exhausted mines. Fetnah, riding with Smersh. was looking for the forests of her youth, but here the trees, whilst there, were in groups of no more than a copse, but, as they travelled west, the road went through an actual wood. The group enjoyed the cover, though heedless of potential ambush, they were lucky and reached the edge unmolested.

Peering out, they saw two massive clouds of dust, converging, one from the south, the other from the north that would cut off this road. What to do? Go north or south and try to go around, go forward slowly and quietly and hope that the groups pass and move on, letting them go forward, or race hell for leather and get ahead of them.

They decided to do the latter, swapping riders to give them all the best chance. Fetnah riding with Utana, Farshad with Smersh, and they galloped on, with only minor injuries to Smersh when he fell off that one time. On and on they went, looking over their shoulders as the bandit cavalry approached closer and closer. They crested a rise, and into an armed camp, a line of spearmen facing them, cavalry assembling behind, José spotted the banners of Niralha and raised his agent’s symbol high shouting “Agents of Niralha, Agents of Niralha!”

They were allowed to pass, and intercepted by an officer who took them to the council area of the camp and Harvan. He thanked them for the work they had done, over and above expectation, saving the world again, alerting the magistrate’s officers to the grave situation here. The forces are here to put the region to rights, to restore good order and governance.

Fetnah and Smersh were surprised, when they found Harvan spoke Idarit in a form they understood without gestures and  circumlocutions. Finding out where, or rather, when they had come, HArvan was excited, and invited them into Niralha’s service, as agents like the others. They would be paid, as the others are, well, except Utana, whose servant deals with that.

Meanwhile, he has another task ahead for them, a diplomatic conference is to take place in Eshtaband. A meeting between the powers of Haraxa, Ishtir, Idym and others to discuss the fate of Bardij, so recently stolen by the group away from Idym and the group, the group is to organise it!

And there, for this year, we left it

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