Writeup 2nd June 2022 – The Return of the Comet episode 3

The group are resting after the events of the last few hours, being fed by the village as they await the return of the parties sent to hide the bodies and cover the traces of the fight that, for a short time at least, freed the village of the bandits that seemed to be assuming control of the area. As they wonder where to go next, to pursue the symptoms of the Green Death or the signs of bad governance, or straight to the goal set by Harsan, they are dining on mutton and fruit stew, and stuffed shrews washed down with fig wine when, dressed in the robes of the Temple of the Cold Ones, a man approaches and bows. He introduces himself as a messenger of Doraksha, the Sangun of the nearby Temple of the Sacred Pool. The Sangun has heard of the service the group provided the people of the village of Pamasdeh, and wishes to thank them for it, and offer them accommodation for the night.

They follow the clergy to the temple, asking their guide about the Temple and Doraksha, being told that, like most temples outside Idym, the clergy serving here are not permanently assigned. The temples of the Cold Ones in Haraxa prefer that the clergy serve in the communities, with trades that support them, serving in the temples is a temporary duty, for a relatively short time, some of them learning trades and skills to take back, others being instructed in precepts of the faith. As they approach the temple, they see priests working repairing the roads, others tending groves of trees and, as they get closer, see that the temple is actually a small complex, the temple itself, built over the stream feeding the sacred pool, there are accommodation buildings, on one sides for the clergy, and on the other for pilgrims, in other places workshops and stores.

They are greeted by Hahmir, the master of pilgrims, who nervously and apologetically tell them that the accommodation offered has subsequently been taken by Yamizh and his party, and that more pilgrims are expected at any moment, and they can no longer offer accommodation, As he flounders and apologises he is interupted by Sangun Doraksha, who also apologises, and offers space in the dormitory used by the clergy. They follow, and the dormaitory space proves that the usual occupants are shoved up one end, and space is given over to the group with the best that can be provided at short notice.

There is some time before the light evening meal for guests, Farshad looks at the activity, seeing woodworkers and potters in open sheds. Utana approaches the group that took their accommodation, finding them to be a noble of some sort, here on pilgrimag, esome soldiery types and they have servants who come, take some baskets and boxes and take them to stores before returning to the same dormitory that the group are staying in. Utana thinks that the noble, Yamizh, is hiding something, and is suspicious of the mention of the harp relic held by the Temple.

José goes to the temple looking for any evidence of the comet or the disease it spreads in the depictions at each station of the pantheon. He finds a triptych as part of the decorations around the statue of Hyyan wa Kothar showing a comet, some people lying down, and the god playing music to them on his harp, then the people sitting around the seated god as he played music. Speaking to one of the clergy there, José learns that this temple is founded near the farm where Hyyyan, in female form, lived with a farmer and raised children. She made a harp that is a relic held by the temple, gifted to the temple by the farmer as he grew old.

Asking the priest about the green death, the priest did not know anything but rumour, though, upon examination of the comet in the triptych, there were flecks of green paint, though José could not see it.

The evening meal is held outside, the clergy, pilgrims and characters are split into groups, a priest at each. Doraksha starts the prayers, and a priest at each of the groups adds a line in turn, before the prayer is finished by Doraksha. The meal progresses and José, looking for information about medicine, is pointed at Odimil, a rather merry drunken Shevam. Farshad spotting a Shevam, goes over, they make merry and progress into singing the infamous Goat Song. Unfortunately, they started by singing different verses, and it got worse when it became apparent that the song was going down badly with the assembled crowd.

That song, and Yamizh’s good nights, end the festivities, and they all go to bed.

During the night, José wakes up, spooked by a shadow, he investigates to see that it was cast by a statue on the wall, but in so doing he sees a figure steal into the Temple. Waking the others, they grab weapons and shields and head to the temple. It was odd, their movements did not wake up any other sleepers, and others they met on the way were asleep.

Opening the door to the Temple, they see a group approaching the main altar and at the other door an archer keeps watch. The group charge the interlopers, it does not go well for Utana, who skids past Yamizh, Jose wishes he had his bow, but does what he can hand to hand, Farshad has a better time of it, wounding someone who seems like a mage, forcing them to drop rod and amulet as they surrendered. Luckily in the dark, the interlopers have it just as bad. Shortly Yamizh is dead, two of his soldiers are down, the archer has fled and the last soldier is trying to flee but is downed and forced to surrender.

José tries to heal the mage, but the wounds are too great, and the mage dies. Odimil arrives and treats another, Farshad, lifts rod and amulet, and he and Utana find a box containing a harp, realising that the interlopers planned to switch this harp for the relic, Farshad decides to complete the heist, and moves to swap before Odamil turns round and notices. Alas, the normally stealthy Farshad trips, smashing box and fake harp.

Doraksha and others arrive, take in the scene and she thanks the group for trying to save the relic. Luckily they knew of the attempted theft, thanks to bribes made by Yamizh and one of the bribees telling Doraksha what was planned. This is why all the junior priests that conduct night services were absent, they had been paid. and the one in the altar is a fake.

She thanks them profusely, generously, fullsomely as Farshad and Utana try not to look each other in the eye, They will now stay in her quarters, she will sleep elsewhere, it is the least she can do.

Until the morning, they can rest, the question of where to go next still, however, remains

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