Day 25, Month 8, 2 After the Night of Fire (ANoF)
Morning dawns with a light drizzle, and a rather foul-tempered Krenai, due to her inability to sleep well. As Krenai checks to see that all of the children are present, she realises that Sava is absent. She asks the already awake Sandor if he has seen her, but he tells her that he has not. He gestures for her to be quiet, and then Krenai notices the soundly sleeping Ana next to him. Krenai decides to say nothing, and goes over to wake Phedrin, kicking him awake to do so. She tells him that Sava is missing. Sandor spots her tracks, although her pack is still there, and says that she must have left the night before. While Krenai and Phedrin talk, Sandor says that he will go after her. Hastily gathering up what he needs, Sandor pursues the girl.
Sandor follows Sava's tracks cautiously, and the trail proceeds for a good half hour or so. He moves through a copse of woods, and finds several dessicated remains of animal bodies, and eventually finds the young Sava up in a tall birch tree. She is tired, dirty, and only somewhat scared, but is very glad to see him. Sava tells Sandor her story. She explains that she saw lights in the copse, so she followed them. Naturally she got lost, so she climbed a tree for safety's sake, and practiced some of the techniques that she had learned from Sandor and the others. Sandor angrily takes her to task for leaving the campsite, but is secretly proud of her learned survival abilities, and after chastising her, the two set out for the campsite again.
Krenai and Phedrin start to wake up the other children. Tom is also quite wet and in a foul mood, and he whines some about the conditions. Phedrin is in no mood to take this guff, and reluctantly Tom gets up. Krenai refuses to cook the food for the morning, and cajoles Phedrin into teaching the kids to cook in the wildernesss; he targets the older children for the duty, much to the annoyance of Tom and Danik. When she arises, Ana notices that Sava is not present, and that Sandor is gone as well.
While Phedrin starts to do the cooking with some of the older kids, Krenai takes Derun, Patrik, Tom, and Danik aside and teaches them a bit of basic spear technique. Phedrin is in the process of adding fat to the water for cooking when Nature and his distracted mind cause him to dump the fat into the fire. It flares up, burning Phedrin, Ana, Regat, and Sar [Phedrin takes 2L damage, the kids taking 1L]. Phedrin concerns himself with putting out his own fire damage, not paying any attention at all to the children. After Krenai helps the children extinguish the flames on them, she heals them of the fire damage. However, she refuses to treat Phedrin's burn injuries as an object lesson to him. Phedrin attempts to heal his own injuries, but is only partially successful. He makes a decision, and tells Krenai and the kids that when Sandor returns, they are heading back to Keveli. He states his reason as being that he "is not qualified". Krenai is shocked, and Regat confronts Phedrin about his reasons. They talk about various factors, and it is pointed out that he has a responsibility of teaching them, learning the bad and the good, that they will be branded cowards upon their return to the village, and that they have failed to hunt the bring back meat for the villagers. Krenai explodes at Phedrin, saying that the children have learned survival skills [though not from him], and he is forced to agree with her and the kids, so he changes his mind and tells them all that they will continue on. Ana asks him why he's changed his mind, and he tells her that it's because he realises they should go on. He attempts to save face, and leaves the children somewhat more confused.
Given the shenanigans of the past half hour or so, Krenai prays for the return of Sandor, and her prayers are answered. He enters the campsite, a somewhat dirty Sava accompanying him. Sandor tells Sava to explain what happened to her, and she does (see the earlier section). Krenai is pretty annoyed with her, but from Sava's chastised face, she can tell that Sandor told her off, so she doesn't do so. When Sava goes over to the fire, where Ana is preparing food for the other children, Krenai tells Sandor about Phedrin's wanting to go back to Keveli and then his about-face on the matter. The discussion among the three characters comes down to Phedrin's crisis of lack of belief in the tenets of primalism as well as knowing his heart and mind. Ana calls them over, saying that breakfast is ready ("no thanks to our crazy leader, Phedrin Mor").
Once breakfast is complete and Sava is somewhat cleaned up, the player characters and the children set off deeper into the forested hills, led by Phedrin Mor. As they travel on, the drizzle stops much to their relief. While they walk, Krenai gets the children to embellish their spears. Several tear strips of coloured cloth off their clothes and tie them to the spears as ribbons. Sava has a whispered conversation with Sandor, who gestures, and the young girl cuts a piece of ivy vine, and uses it as a decoration. Several of the other children follow suit.
Krenai spoits a carrion reaper on what appears to be a vegetation covered column of stone. The reaper literally vanishes and reappears on another flora covered column some 20 feet away. It then returns to the place she originally saw it. She tells Sandor and the others to stop. Telling them what she has seen, Sandor says that he will go and scout ahead a bit. Krenai asks the children to look around and see if they can see anything else. Ana asks, "Like that bird?", pointing to another carrion reaper, which flies off. Phedrin sees what appears to be a squirrel step into the shadow of a tree, and appear in the shadow of another tree. Sandor returns, and tells Krenai and Phedrin that there is a series of ruins around them, as well as some vegetation-free buildings, and there is a swamp ahead of them! They discuss the matter, and conclude that the swamp and perhaps the ruins might have been transported here during the Night of Fire. Sandor also tells them that there were some odd corpses, odd in that they had no bones. He also found what appeared to be sucker prints on outcroppings of rock, but has no idea what they might be or what creature they belong to, nor what is responsible for the lack of bones in the corpses. Their attention is distracted as they see that Derun is weeping. He keeps whispering that "they're all crying", gesturing around. Krenai senses nothing magical, and the characters decide to cautiously go through the area, as it is too big to skirt around, and that they will be ever vigilant. The kids are scared, but are told that they need to learn about things like this in the new world of the After.
As the characters prepare to continue on, Derun screams! He is attacked by a small, 2-foot long 1/2-bear, 1/2-snake. Phedrin races over to help the boy out, while Sandor and Krenai prepare to defend the rest of the children. While the other children are frozen in place, Danik panics and races off. Krenai nearly grabs Danik but he slips free, and she chases after him. Phedrin attacks the 1/2-bear, 1/2-snake creature, but it gets the better of him due to its speed and snaky-ness, and almost kills him. He is saved by Sandor, who attacks the creature after Phedrin drops to the ground unconscious. Meanwhile, Krenai catches up with Danik easily, and brings him back to the others while he struggles in terror in her arms. Danik eventually passes out.
While the children regroup, Sandor treats the dying Phedrin's wounds, and brings him back to life and semi-consciousness. Krenai devotes herself to healing Derun's injury. Sandor and Krenai then take care of the needs of the children, while they await Phedrin's awakening.
To put it bluntly, this game session was one that drove me nuts, given spross's indecision and his problems with the personality of Phedrin Mor (that he also had last week as well). Other than that, the game went rather well, I thought, and I know Tammy expressed some interesting opinions about the session (which I will let her comment on, when she reads this post). There's an interesting set of character dynamics going on in the game, so we'll see where this goes next week.