Chronicles of Khaldun: Bread and Circuses

Session 17

Godsday, Harvester 18, 552 CY (50 AN)

The rest of the day continues without incident — Croitus, Khuna, Nobody, Resh, and Southie converse and wander around town before returning to the Wizard’s Tower for dinner and retiring to bed.

In the night, Khuna has a dream. She is young — perhaps eight, or so — running along the path to her mother’s house. Her mother Sati, working in her garden, asks her why she runs, she replies that it is fun. She goads her mother into playing tag with her, and they run, chasing each other all around the yard until they collapse into a breathless pile of giggles.

As they recover, Sati reminds her that running is not always safe — some things chase when you run. Dhavita mentions dogs; Sati mentions wolves. She then warns Dhavita that she ought not to run, that those on the ship will need her. What ship? “You know,” Sati replies.

Khuna awakens in a cold sweat, a faint drizzle sounding against the window. Nobody is “asleep,” as much as her people sleep — she sits, cross-legged, by the window.

The visitors in the Wizard’s Tower start awakening one by one, and at breakfast, Khuna breaks the news that she believes they need to stay, to assist the refugees on the spelljammer. Southie is antsy, and worried about the inherent boredom of this place, but the others agree to this state of affairs and proceed to wait.

Duchy Jepson is full of bustle, as people get ready to receive the refugees. A refugee camp is being prepared, and things are being moved around in Headmaster Ebenezer’s study to assist with offloading. It is around midday when they see the flying ship start to descend. Khuna and Nobody make their way to the top of the Wizard’s Tower to assist offloading, while Croitus and Resh see about keeping Southie under control. Khuna and Nobody accompany the stream of refugees to their camp, and Khuna begins delegating as she is well-versed in these matters. After an hour or so, she is approached by one of the leaders of expedition, Adeptus Gloomblight Spellweaver, who thanks her for her assistance and indicates she may be allowed to use the spelljammer for her own purposes.

To keep Southie out of trouble, Croitus and Resh decide to take him hunting. They proceed beyond the town, deep into the wooded hills around Jepson. Resh finds boar tracks, and follows them, but the hunting party swiftly encounters rumbling, growing closer as they follow the tracks. As they approach a clearing, they see why — a party of two giants and four ogres, feasting on wild boar. Croitus and Resh are discussing strategy and whether they should get help when Southie decides to lunge into the clearing, throwing himself at the assembled hunters. Croitus flees, hoping to get help in Jepson. Resh decides to cover Southie with arrows.

Southie engages the ogres in combat, while the giants break off to heft boulders at Resh. He manages to dive into a hollow before a stone crushes him, but by the time he dislodges himself, the giants are upon him, swinging their great clubs. Resh catches the broad side of one of the clubs, and despite the aching in his joints, he switches from his bow to his spear. He throws it at one of the giants, impaling the creature through the throat. The magic spear recalls to his waiting hand, and as the other advances, he sends his spear through its eye, apparently penetrating deeply enough to pierce the brain and send the giant stumbling forward. He sidesteps before its corpse falls upon him.

Southie, having carved his way through one of the ogres, now makes short work of them with Resh’s assistance. Searching through their pouches, they find a small, gold idol that looks as though it may be worth something.

As he runs, Croitus pulls out the sending stone and activates it. He determines that Mr. Monkshood is on the other end, and asks if it is possible for him to send a message to Khuna with one of his magical birds. He replies that they travel at the speed of a regular bird, so it would take much longer for one of them to reach Khuna than for Croitus to reach her. He puts the sending stone away and keeps running.

Croitus arrives breathlessly in Duchy Jepson after roughly three-quarters of an hour. He runs to the refugee camp and finds Khuna, informing her of the giants’ attack. Khuna gathers Nobody, and the three prepare to trek into the forest to save Resh and Southie. After roughly a quarter-hour, however, they happen upon Resh and Southie, walking out of the brush. Resh looks battered and injured, but Southie does not, although he is covered in blood. When Croitus sees them, more or less fine and returning with treasure, he leaves in a huff, walking to the river and diving into a deep spot with his jar of breath to brood. Southie, meanwhile, indicates he feels satiated after having taken his wrath out on the ogres. He requests sack time in the bag of holding, but since Croitus is the one with the jar of breath, they suggest he wait on that. He agrees.

Khuna, Nobody, Resh, and Southie return to Duchy Jepson, and Khuna and Nobody prepare to return to the refugee camp.

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