Back/up Pavis overall

Egil digging and chatting

After the excitement of finding the temple and battling the trolls the next few days seem remarkably slow and peaceful as the various leaders take their councils and discuss what it is they require of each other.

Egil sits in the shade of a scrubby looking tree after finishing some sword practice when a runner comes looking for him.

"Hey Egil! Siggyr's got a job for you. You're to go to the temple and scout around the place for other buildings and entrances. He says not to go inside the temple proper though. OK? Report back to him when you're done."

"Uh, Ok, will do. Any idea what I'm supposed to be looking for?"

"Not really just that he wants any more information he can get, knowledge is power and all that."

Turning and picking up his weapons, Egil heads over to where his companions are sitting, "I've got to go and scout the area around the
temple if you'd like to join me, I'll be there in about an hour's time. I'll meet you there." Then he goes back to his billet to collect the gear he uses for scouting and war before making his way towards the temple. Mauvin follows behind his cousin.

Gerras says "OK" then gets up and heads in the opposite direction.

An hour later Egil and Mauvin approach the temple cautiously. It is still hostile territory and who knows what might be lurking behind any of these piles of rubble? Suddenly from behind a wall Gerras steps out leading a large, fierce looking zebra, he is followed by five other men all leading a zebra of their own. "These guys wondered if they might be of some help?"

"I'm not sure at the moment but if something nasty pops up I'm sure they will be welcome. Shall we start our search?"

Using his archaeological knowledge and his cult knowledge he will try and work out how temples are laid out and where out buildings are likely to be located before he starts to dig. They start near the temple and work out.

The area is less covered in undergrowth than it had been when they first arrived here. The main temple area has been cleared, stones are being brought to rebuild the walls, and some of the bushes have been hacked down to leave a clear field of fire.

Egil expects to find some smaller buildings close to the temple, and is not disappointed. A deep layer of charcoal shows where a fire had burned for years, perhaps decades, and thick walls around it - the site of the temple forge. No weapons remain, of course, but perhaps the area will still be holy to the Swordsmith.

But patient digging is not what nomads do best, and his assistants were getting less willing and more disappointed that the "treasure hunt" had produced no gold. To humour them, he takes them over to where Siggyr had been digging, where they had found the mysterious bent golden rod.
And since Adrian has now worked out what that was, a link to a picture of something very similar:
I was particularly inspired by seeing this a few years ago:
that's real gold, over real cast iron.

The thought of gold tempts them into a little more digging, and while Egil is aware that this isn't exactly close to the temple, he's curious to know what had stood here himself. A small building, facing the road, with an open front and a wall further in - possibly a small trader's stall of some sort? A cry of delight from the diggers puts an end to his musinngs: starting at the deepest hole Siggyr's group had dug, and extending it down and sideways with energy if not precision, they have uncovered - something. It isn't gold. It seems to be a dull metal, or possibly some sort of stone. It's basically box-shaped, perhaps a foot across but with a horn-shaped thing on one side and a slot in the other. A quick rub shows some sort of strange symbols on another side. Egil doesn't think he's seen anything like it, but one of his companions seems to recognise the style, at least. "Mostali" he says. "Likely does nothing, or does it wrong. Much like that in Smalltown."

While Egil stands scrathing his head at the discovery, Manir approaches him with a strange angular pice of metal which is hexagonal at one end. It seems to fit neatly into a hole on the side of the box and now looks like a handle of some sort.

Turning the handle makes something inside the box move but it's hard to say what the effect is. Egil ponders for a while before he comes up with an answer "I think something goes in the horn, you turn the handle and then something comes out of the slot. It would need to be quite soft to be squeezed into that small shape though, maybe something fleshy."

He casts around until he sees a rat scrabbling about, then quick as a flash he launches his dagger at it, the squeaking rodent dies quickly.

Recovering the rat and his dagger, Egil drops the small creature into the horn and begins to turn the handle. After a few moments the mushed up remains of the creature fall out of the slot as a flat round patty. The patty isn't recognisable as rat. It's vaguely meat-like, that's all.

They look more closely at the symbols. One looks like a bull's head. Another looks a bit like a chicken. Another might be a fish.

Egil shows his discovery to the assembled zebras before asking, "OK has anyone got any rations on them? I've got some fish but some herd-beast meat will be useful to try and the first one to bring me a guinea-fowl gets a guilder."

Then with his various proteins prepared in front of him Egil puts them through the mincer pressing the appropriate buttons on the box to correspond with the flesh dropped into the hopper. Soon he has a small pile of patties in front of him, "Right then let's get these on the fire and see what they taste like." The small thin slices of meat cook quickly and shortly all the digging party are tucking into them. They taste ok, if a little bland, "Next time I'm going to add some herbs or spices to pep them up a bit and probably get some bread to wrap around them, this grease is getting everywhere."

If you press the "bull" symbol before processing, the patty that appears is a dull browny red, like low-quality beef. If you press the "chicken" symbol, what appears seems to be coated in some lighter brown covering of small tasteless particles, and on being broken open is pale inside. And the "fish" symbol produces something coated in a smoother light brown covering, and with the inside smelling vaguely of fish and looking more like bread pudding.

This includes the time when someone got confused and put bird meat in with the "bull" button pressed.

It also includes the time while Egil was cooking when two of his new friends took the thing away for more experiments, laughed a lot, and then did a "hey, look at that! you're never gonna taste it? go on, I dare you...". It turns out that they'd put zebra dung in the hopper, and got "beef" out.

All options taste bland. In fact, it's quite hard to tell them apart.

After the Zebras' discovery Egil starts trying anything in the hopper, and finds that "anything" will turn into "burgers". Well, anything a troll might eat, anyway, which covers a lot. A thorough check of the box reveals an inscription on the bottom that says "Murkdees" next to a copy of the golden rune similar to the one that was found in the ground.

"Well it looks like a magic box that will feed an army, I'll take it back and show it to Siggyr when we're finished here. If we can turn anything into food it certainly deals with the problem of carrying rations or having enough food to last out a siege. Ah well, back to digging I suppose."

As the day goes on, Egil becomes aware that his nomad assistants have been muttering amongst themselves in their own language perhaps a little more than he might expect. Eventually, just as he was about to broach the subject himself, a decision seems to be reached. The last bit of the muttering is still in Praxian, but very obviously goes along the lines of "you ask him - no, you."

The chosen victim approaches nervously. "Friend Egil," he begins, "Gerras says you follow the Death god, and know his secrets."

Concentrating on his search Egil merely nods at a statement of the obvious.

"Then you'd know - see," he looks back at the others, apparently hoping for reassurance, "there's been something odd stalking our herds. That is, not the herds, more, well... our tents, see."

One of the others interrupts here, apparently impatient to get to the point. "It gets a guard from time to time. But this is bad, now. It got through to the tents." His voice lowers, he looks around to check no-one else can hear. "It hurt a woman."

From the little Egil knows of Praxian culture via Gerras, their women are always protected by the men. Always. For a raider to get so far within the camp as to be able to hurt a woman would bring great shame on them if it were widely known.

The first speaker goes on, hastily trying to change the subject: "and it's the marks, see, makes us think we need the Death god, or the Iron Man. No spears, no knives, just these little marks on the throat. That's - well, it's what them dark demons do, see? So they say. You'd know."

"And," the second man adds, "Junas says you owe him. So you'll help us, yes? No need to tell anyone what happened, when there's a friend who knows the Death God, yes?"

"It sounds like one of the children of Vivamort has taken a liking to your camp. I will help as best I can, Hu hates these abominations with a passion and so I will help. We will dig here for the day and then I will return with you to your camp for the night. We won't see it until then anyway, Yelm burns them to destruction."

He then wanders away from the main group while he ponders how to kill a vampire, "Mauvin, a word if I may. I know Heler is none to keen on providing you with clouds and rain but if we are to fight the dark undead any aid would be useful, Could you spend the rest of the day praying to her to send some clouds for us so you can bring some killing rain?"

Later he goes to talk to the zebras again, "Friends I have thought on this and it may be we just have to catch the monster and slug it out sword to fang with Hu's aid but the women who was attacked will need watching. I am no expert here, the followers of Li Phanquann know much of this, but I have heard the bite of a vampire will render the victim a vampire too. One other thing which will aid our fight, do you have any weapons made from ul-metal or ur-metal? These can cause harm to the undead more easily than stone or wood or hu-metal."

Egil continues to dig and search but now his mind is wandering from the job in hand, how to kill a vampire? The fight with the vampire on the hero plane, it had nearly killed Hrolf, it had taken the combined efforts of some of the best warriors the legion had to offer and they had barely come through it, this was going to take a bit of help. On his own he would soon be feasting with Hu or maybe something much worse.

The sun still has another few hours in the sky when Egil calls the zebras back in, "I am going to talk to my leaders about this and get their advice, we will come to your camp tonight to try and destroy the monster. One of you may want to come with me and describe the events at your camp again, he can lead us back there when we are ready to go. Come we should be swift so we can be ready before the protection of Yelm's light disappears."

He turns and begins to jog back towards the Legion's lines.
Valid XHTML :: Valid CSS: :: Powered by WikkaWiki