View Full Version : I told the witch doctor...

May 02, 2003, 06:06 AM
Introduction of Niven

As the son of a charcoal burner, Niven spent much of his formative youth in the wilderness. He learned a love of nature and appreciation of the balance and harmony of the wilderness. His mother was a witch (traditional, not the ones on the brooms) and was delighted with Niven's ability to quickly learn herbology. When it became aparent that his abilities would far surpass her own she managed to foster him to the Karbala (witch doctor) of the village nearby.

Although he despised the corrupt old man Niven learned much from him in a handful of years. That time was also the first in his life when there were many people around him and definitely the first time he was with any people his own age. He was astounded to discover himself to be both garallous and outgoing. His intellect and quick thinking made him popular with his peers and his deferential and respectful nature (beaten into him by his mentor) made him just as popular with his elders.

Just before his fourteenth birthday he completed his rights of manhood and became a Karbala in his own right. He was then forced to leave the village as his mentor (who increasingly was becoming his enemy) would not permit a challenge to his authority.

He was home for only a few days when he was struck by a portent of doom. He immediately sent his mother to the village and went into the woods to find his father. As he neared the clearing where he knew his father was cutting he heard harsh gutteral laughter and a scream of pain. He burst through the undergrowth and screamed at the top of his voice when he saw what was revealed. Eight barbarians surrounded the prostrate form of his father. They were slowly stabbing him to death with long stakes and laughing at his attempts to crawl away.

When they saw a Karbala leap into the clearing and scream like a demon the barbarians fell atop each other trying to escape the frightening countenance. As the barbarians ran off into the underbrush Niven approached and knelt by his father. He immediately saw that the older man was beyond his abilities to heal. Blood soaked the ground and his father had been pierced in both kidneys as well as the stomach. Niven did what he could to make his passage peaceful. He put his leg under his father's head and then placed some leaves and ground root from his belt pouch into his father's mouth.

After a few moments the older man's groans and cries ceased and he looked up at Niven. Niven could see the light in his eyes slowly fading. His father grabbed at the ground and tore up a piece of turf. He reached across and rubbed it on Niven's chest. "Remember" he said "this is life. Not that (pointing in the direction of the village). Never that." With those parting words he died.

Niven was heartbroken but he did not have time to grieve. He raced through the wilderness to the village. The battle with the barbarians was over by that time. He found his mother and brought her back to say goodbye to his father. Together they applied the herbs and berries that would help his spirit escape the husk of his body. There was already a good amount of peat and wood cut from is father's work so it was a matter of only a few hours for Niven to construct a pyre. On the third day after his death, Niven's father's spirit was released as his body was given to the winds.

May 02, 2003, 06:33 PM
Anthony lays in his bed, Nicole laying next to him. He is wide awake, thinking about a new weapon, the bow and arrow.

Anthony (to himself): Hmm... this seems like a powerful weapon. I must learn to create one.

He soon falls asleep, but it is a troubled sleep because of the pain in his left leg.

May 03, 2003, 08:45 AM
It is the next day. Nicole is helping Niven prepare food to eat. Anthony is carving a long T shaped stick with a part of his axe. While carving, his stone starts to sharpen.

Anthony: Hey, this stone is sharpening. It is making it easier to carve this stick. Maube you can use it to cut the meat?

Nicole (taking sharp stone): Ouch. It cut cut me. (some blood on her palm).

Niven: Wrap that in some deerskin, it shouldn't be bad. (Takes sharp stone). This is amazing. It will defianately help.

So anthony invented a "knife" of his own. He uses another stone and produces the same result. Thus, he "invented" the knife where he is.

OOC: Remember, Anthony is in the woods, and Andrew is in the Village.

Ehecatl Atzin
May 03, 2003, 07:37 PM
Izcoatl arrives at Niven's hut and drops a deer stomach pouch on the floor while a faint sound of leaves stirs inside it -- Hello Niven, I brought you something you might enjoy having a look at-. Izcoatl opens the pouch and sticks his hand inside, while Niven looks curiosly at him. --Here, take it. Izcoatl takes out a long, spindly root and streches his arm towards Niven. Niven takes it carefully and begins to smell and taste it. -- It's for cuts, see, you grind it up and mix it with warm water, then you wet the cut with it. I found it on the hills south of here, I've seen animals take baths in pools with these roots in the water, most of their cuts heal quickly. I think it might be the root, but you're more up to finding out, I just find the stuff-. Making a small, self-congratulating grin as he said it, Izcoatl got up and made his way to the exit. --Oh, any other plant you're low on?, I might find some and bring it to you...

May 03, 2003, 08:10 PM
Anthony and Nicole are preparing last minute items before they leave for their hut.

Anthony: Thank you Niven for your hospitalities. As a token of my gratitude, I want you to have this. He hands Niven his knife he made making his crutch.

Niven: Thank you, and may you feel better.

Anthony and Nicole depart, Anthony's free arm around her and his other holding his crutch. They both have deerskin bags.

May 04, 2003, 07:36 AM
Everyone! Please look in the event thread ( to see if your character has died or not. 13 turns have passed in the demogame.

May 04, 2003, 09:03 AM
Niven soon became quite sought after for his healing arts. With the help of Izcoatl and his mother he discovered new uses for many new natural medicines. The Karbala of the village died shortly after the founding of Noshuret and Niven was again able to work in the fledgling settlement. He still spent most of his time in his little shack in the woods but would come into town to treat patients that could not come to him and to perform various rights and celebrations. When he felt age approaching he took three students. One died from the training - falling into a stupor during a trance and never awakening. A second could not withstand the pain of the ritual piercings and fled. The last proved to be an apt pupil and was prepared to become Karbala when Niven himself passed away.

That protege, Marvcus Karbalus buried his mentor when he was barely 12 years old and took over the duties of the Karbala of Noshuret.

May 04, 2003, 09:14 AM
Edit: Posted while Shaitan was posting. Had to fix it.

A large man, clad in bearskins enters the hut of the Karbala Marvcus. The Witch Doctor looks up, surprised by the size and strange features of the man before him. He also notices that the man has two large axes and a bow strapped across his back; very potent firepower for a social visit.

Marvcus: And who are you then?

Germanicus: I am Germanicus Arturius. I have come to speak with you.

Marvcus: And what do you wish to speak about, Germanicus Arturius?

Germanicus: I have heard stories of a barbarian raid of your mentor's village. I have heard that his father was killed in the battle.

Marvcus: Indeed. But certainly you did not just come to learn if the story was true?

Germanicus: Nein...

The Karbala becomes curious when he hears the man speak in the foreign tongue of the barbarians.

Germanicus: I came to tell you that it was my tribe that inflicted that horrible crime on your people so long ago, and to apologize for the actions of my former people.

Marvcus: You are a barbarian then? Get out!

Germanicus: No. There is more to say. The tribe that killed your mentor's father were the Ottogoths. I am no longer a member of that tribe. I came to try to make amends for the horrors of their past conflicts. And to teach you something that they have long known.

Marvcus: What is that then?

Germanicus: They know a type of healing that has not yet been discovered here. It uses a certain plant found over there, which when applied to the skin can heal even the worst wounds. It has saved many of our warriors.

Marvcus: A lot of good that does then, with those plants over in Gothland.

Germanicus: I have some with me. I will give them to you.

The ex-barb unpacks his deerskin pouch, laying a number of leaves on the table. Marvcus takes them and smells them. They have a strong, minty scent, and are potent healers. Another kind of leaf is also laid down.

Germanicus: These leaves also make pain disappear. If an injured man eats them, within minutes his pain will be gone and he will suffer not. It does not heal, but it makes death less agonizing. Use them well, Karbala.

The Ottogoth leaves the hut, with a somewhat confused witch-doctor standing in the doorway.

May 05, 2003, 09:34 AM
The dance for John. (

May 05, 2003, 09:52 AM
The barbarian had given Marvcus much to think of. He knew all of the plants in the environs of Noshuret but there was a whole world out there. What could he find if he traveled? But what would happen to the folk here if he were to leave? There would be nobody to ease the passage of the dead, nobody except the witches to help the living. What if a curse or a drought should strike? He shuddered as he thought of what might have happened if he had not been present to perform the rites that eventually ended the recent famine.

No, he simply could not go himself. Not until he had trained a replacement for his own. That would take years, he knew. He himself had trained with the great Niven for half of his life. Marvcus decided then and there to begin looking for a protege. It was a bit earlier than a Karbala generally took on a student but he could conceivably be free to travel in a handful of years if he did so now. And for the time being he would gather information, and maybe samples, from those people fortunate enough to have the liberty to travel to strange lands.

Marvcus let it be known that he sought a child with the sight of the spirits to be trained in the arts of the Karbala. At each full moon after he performed the blessing of the wolf on Noshuret he would gather all of the children in the hopes of finding the one with that special combination of insight and intellect that marked an untrained Karbala. And at each full moon he returned to his hut disappointed at his lack of discovery.

He began to worry. Were the spirits angered at him for his presumptious activity to find a student at his own whim? He performed the rites of purity and fasting but this did not help his search. Eventually he came upon the answer. In the dreamy state of trance he saw that the Ottogoth who had visited him had carried a deeper message than what he said with words. Marvcus' protege was not in Noshuret. He was an Ottogoth barbarian.

Marcus set off immediately to find Germanicus. He would need the huge barbarian's assistance to travel to the Ottogoths. But, would the tribeless man help?

May 05, 2003, 12:59 PM
A warning and a search (

May 05, 2003, 02:22 PM
The Karbala found the barbarian in the village square. He approached him slowly. The man turned and saw the witch-doctor coming toward him. Instinctively, he drew a knife half-way from its sheeth, but then he replaced it.

Germanicus: Why have you come for me, Karbala Marvcus?

Marvcus: Come. We cannot speak here. All will be revealed to you shortly.

The two return to Marvcus's hut. There, Marvcus speaks to Germanicus.

Marvcus: Friend Germanicus, I came to find you because I think the people of Noshuret need your help.

Germanicus: What help could I provide for these people? You are the healer; I only tell of the ways of my former people.

Marvcus: That need not be so. While I was meditating, I had an epiphany. You are to be my student, the future Karbala of Noshuret.

Germanicus: Me? A healer and minister? I am a warrior; I spill blood, not clean it. What use would I be to the people of this village?

Marvcus: Much, much use, Germanicus. You alone know how and where to get these magical plants you showed me. They have infinite use to the people here. I need your help to find them, and bring them back.

Germanicus: You are a fool if you think you can travel to Gotland and survive. The Ottogoth tribes have been angered by our settlement and expansion. They are unifying, and preparing for war. If you were to leave now, you would arrive at the peak of their readiness. They would capture you and torture you like they did to all who opposed them. Like they did to the father of your mentor.

Marvcus: But would they do that to one of their own? And could they stand against one of their finest warriors?

Germanicus: And who is this fine Ottogoth warrior who will fight his tribe? Who?

Marvcus: You. You will go with me, and together we will collect the plants and bring them back to Noshuret. In the process, you will learn how to be a Karbala, that you might serve the people when I cannot. Will you do it, Germanicus of the Ottogoths?

Germanicus: I am Germanicus of the Fanaticians, Marvcus. And yes, I will go.

May 06, 2003, 12:24 PM
The augur revealed (

Note: The journey of Marvcus and Germanicus will be presented mainly in this thread though we may have chapters like the one above placed elsewhere when topical.

May 06, 2003, 01:48 PM
The Goth and Healer leave the village, with the townsfolk standing shocked behind them. Several miles out of the town, Germanicus stops.

Marvcus: What is it?

Germanicus: Listen. Horns. I recognize that call.

Marvcus: Your tribe?

Germanicus: No. Worse....Visigoths. Bloodthirsty monsters of men from the North. They are a strange tribe; they mostly fight with knives and shields, but some of them fight without clothing, without a shield.... only a long-handled two-handed stone axe. They get into a raserei.... a rage. They run and scream like maniacs. No wound can stop them. They only cease their attack when they slain. We must leave this place. They will be here soon.

Marvcus: So that is the omen I sensed. They are being sent by the spirits to punish Noshuret for its petty infighting.

Germanicus: No. They are sent by greed and bloodlust, not any spirits. We must make haste.

The Ottogoth warrior stands, waiting impatiently for his companion. Marvcus does not move, considering what to do....

May 07, 2003, 07:15 AM
* Marvcus continues to stand, looking down the path they are following; the path that leads to the sound of the Visigoth drums. Germanicus becomes increasingly impatient. *

Germanicus: Marvcus, we must leave this place. Do you not hear their drums approaching? If they find us we will be slain.

Marvcus: Nay, this is our path and we will continue on it. Come, let us continue.

* Germanicus stands and stares at Marvcus as if he were mad but the young witch doctor continues down the path. *

Germanicus: Karbala, don't you understand? These are more beasts than men. They cannot be reasoned with and will surely slay us!

Marvcus: They will not slay us for they will not see us. Trust in me and in the spirits, Germanicus.

Germanicus: I trust you, Marvcus. (mutters) It is the Visigoths that I have a problem with.

* Germanicus lifts the travois and rushes to catch up to his companion. He unlimbers his weapons in preparation for what he knows will be a futile struggle. The drums sound closer every minute and he becomes more irritated; both from the mounting tension and Marvcus' apparent nonchalance. He is startled when Marvcus speaks again. *

Marvcus: In Noshuret you wanted to ask me a question but you did not do so. What was it?

Germanicus: Is this the best time for conversation? The drums are near enough to feel.

Marvcus: It is always a good time for learning, Germanicus. Now what was your question?

Germanicus: (sighs deeply) Very well. I wondered at the story you told the villagers. Is it true? Is that Noshuret's fate?

Marvcus: It is one fate, surely. If the barbarians arrive and they are still involved in their petty squables then it is a very likely one.

Germanicus: But the way you told it, it seems like you were telling what would happen. Like you had seen the future.

Marvcus: I told a parable of wolves, Germanicus, not of Noshuret itself. Noshuret could have the same fate but they will hopefully heed my warning and take a different path. There is no way to see the future for there are many, many futures. The birth of a child, a slip on a path, a haunch of spoiled meat, three rivals settling their differences without bloodshed; all and any of these can bring forth a different future. All of our actions and inactions change the future for ourselves and all others. It is a great dance that we all step through, most of us unknowing.

Germanicus: So it is mostly an application of wisdom to know what parable to relay? What if you give the wrong one? What if your warning frightens the people of Noshuret and they flee instead of unifying to fight their foes?

Marvcus: There is always danger, Germanicus. The difficult part is recognizing it and choosing what is more serving of Life; action or inaction; one action over another. But I did not choose the augury, it was given to me by Karbala.

Germanicus: What do you mean? I thought you were the Karbala.

Marvcus: Sometimes I am Karbala in flesh. More often I am Marvcus.

* Marvcus looks at Germanicus and sees the confusion written on the large man's face. He smiles and stops walking. *

Marvcus: I see that it is time for our first true lession. Let us stop to break our fast and I will tell you of the aspects and the facets. I believe the barbarians are far enough away so that will be safe.

* Germanicus turns about, listening for the drums and realizes that the sounds now come from behind them and are fading. He had been so intent on the conversation that he didn't realize the two groups had passed each other. *

Germanicus: That's impossible! How did we not see them?

Marvcus: Not impossible at all. Aranna, the wind spirit, is in a very playful mood today. It sent the sound of the drums along that ridge line there and then to us, making it seem as if they were on the same path as us. Tersus, the earth spirit, was annoyed at being so used and allowed me to see what the truth was. The Visigoths were close but by walking ourselves we kept that great hill between their party and ourselves.

Germanicus: So if we had cut across country in order to avoid them we would have...

Marvcus: COULD have. Yes we could have walked right into them. But that is just one of many possible futures that could have happened. In our case we have come through it all quite well. Your decisions were correct, just misguided. That is because you listened to noise with your ears instead of listening to the spirits with your heart. That's not your fault of course as you haven't been trained to do so. Which leads me back to our lesson.

There are five great spirits, Karbala of the mind, Arrana of the air, Tersus of the earth, Phear of the flames and Hyro of the waters. Each of them is a facet of life. Each of them also has many aspects, what the commoners think of as the little spirits...

* Marvcus continues instructing Germanicus about the spirits until it is too late to continue walking. They pitch camp and dine on smoked meat and wine then fall into a restful sleep. *

May 07, 2003, 02:58 PM
In the morning the two set out again to continue the journey. They clear the camp, put out and bury the fires, and take to walking. They travel across the open fields and rolling hills, eventually stopping to rest in a small stand of trees.

Germanicus: Marvcus, there is something I have been meaning to ask you since we began this travel.

Marvcus: And what is that, my friend?

Germanicus: You spoke of spirits before. And you have said that you are the incarnate of Karbala. But I wonder; how have you, and those came before, been chosen to be his mouth? Surely there must be a way of choosing? How did you know it was your calling to heal and to teach?

The witch-doctor begins to explain the rites of purity to his Gothic companion...

May 07, 2003, 03:54 PM
Zeitel noticed a Group wondering about the plains. He then decides to investigate

Marvcus: Who is that stranger comming to us, Is it a Barbarian?!

Zeitel Jade: No I am on your side. I am part of the Jade Commandos.

Marvcus: Ahh so you are on our side. We are just harvesting plants that would help us.

Zeitel: I would like to help. My Tracking Skills are very good.

May 07, 2003, 07:27 PM
The Goth warrior turns to the Karbala healer, and then turns again to size up the man before them.

Germanicus: He looks alright to me. From the look of him he is likely a good tracker... small, stealthy. But he doesn't seem to be much of a fighter. If the Ottogoths DID catch him, he wouldn't have a chance. And he wouldn't be able to help us in trouble, that's for sure. What do you think?

Marvcus: Tell me, Jade Commando, what is your name?

Zeitel: Zeitel, sir.

Marvcus: Zeitel. Well, Zeitel, how do you propose to help us in our quest?

Zeitel: Well, sir, I can sneak around undetected. I could scout ahead to make sure we were clear of barbarians.

Marvcus: And tell me, young one... what do you know of the spirits?

Zeitel: I must admit I do not know much, healer.... I know that they rule all things; that's about it. I know enough to pay heed to the words of those who speak for them.

Marvcus: You will do well, Zeitel of the Jade Commandos. Come, we have far to travel.

The three set off again for unknown and foreign horizons.

May 08, 2003, 01:00 PM
* Marvcus, Germanicus and Zeitel continue on their journey. They make fair travel but speed is not their objective. Often Zeitel is off ahead scouting and just as often Marvcus or Germanicus are on side treks examining flora and fauna. When each promising plant is located they take several samples, carefully wrapping the root balls in hemp cloth and placing them in the travois. By the time they near Germanicus' home tribe's territory they have collected dozens of new herbs. As they cross a stream that marks the borders of the Ottogoths Germanicus queries Marvcus about their plans. *

Germanicus: We are now entering the territory of the Ottogoths, Marvcus. The scouts here are fairly lazy but it is a certainty that we will be noticed before too long. What is our intent here?

Marvcus: To teach and learn, as always. We seek the place of your birth where I will help you to undergo the Rites of Purity. After that we shall wait until you find the spirits, or they find you.

Germanicus: But I was born in the village. We can hardly conduct ourselves there without protests. The Goths do not believe in the spirits. And from what you have described to me I shall hardly be in a condition to guard you while I am undergoing the rites.

Marvcus: They do not believe in the spirits but they believe in the power of the Karbala. We should be safe enough.

Zeitel: And I will be there also to watch for danger.

Marvcus: Quite right. And besides, even if they do not believe in the spirits, the spirits believe in them. (Marvcus smiles wickedly.)

* Just then there is a challenge shouted from the bank they are approaching. Zeitel and Marvcus take the travois so Germanicus can unlimber his weapons. A small group of barbarians rise from the reeds of the bank holding bows and arrows pointed at the companions. *

Ottogoth: So, Germanicus. You have come home at last, playing the beast of burden for a couple of Fanatici. I must say it's a better fate than the one you fled! And I must also say that we scouts haven't been "fairly lazy" since you left!

* Germanicus stands stock still, his axe in one hand and a buckler in the other. He could possibly take out one of the archers by throwing his axe but the others would make a pincushion of him. The grim face of the Ottogoth that spoke suddenly changes to a wide grin and he laughs heartily. He puts down his bow and jumps into the stream, rushing at Germanicus. The two meet with a resounding crash and Marvcus and Zeitel note that they are almost of a size, and quite similar in appearance when seen together. Zeitel unobtrusively draws a dagger and is looking for an opening to strike when Marvcus grabs his wrist to stop him. The two big men release each other and both are wearing great smiles of honest happiness.*

Ottogoth: Germanicus you great stupid lump. I never thought to see you again! Are these your slaves? Where have you been these years? By the axe you owe some stories! Come, we are camped not far from here.

Germanicus: And stories you shall have but let me straighten out the introductions first. These are not slaves who accompany me. This (gestures to Marvcus) is the Karbala of Noshuret, my friend and teacher called Marvcus. This (gestures to Zeitel) is perhaps the finest scout I have ever met, my boon companion Zeitel. And this (gestures to the Ottogoth), this amazingly hideous thing before you, this pile of offal and rot, this is my cousin Aticus. Aticus the Foul to be precise. Later I will tell you of the amazing misadventure that earned him the name.

Aticus: If you wish my fire and food you'll tell your own tales before slandering me you great oaf. Now come, I am wet and hot and thirsty. The heather mead should be drinkable by now.

* Aticus turns and clambers up the bank. The other barbarians in his party help the companions up the little slope and they all head towards Aticus' camp. *

May 08, 2003, 02:38 PM
The travelers and the Ottogoths enter the hut of Aticus. They sit down, and Aticus lights a fire. He takes 4 pottery drinking vessels from a table and fill them with mead from a large communal pot. He hands out the drinks and the sits.

Aticus: So, my friend, how have you been these 3 long years? I thought for sure you had been killed after that battle.

Germanicus: Aye, it was a terrible skirmish indeed. I have spent 3 years in servitude because of that fight....

Aticus: And all so Gallicus could have the bronze tools those fool travelers were carrying. If only he had known that those soldiers were in the area....

Germanicus: Gallicus would have gone ahead anyway. He was driven by greed, not intelligence. But come, we have far better things than that to discuss, no doubt.

Aticus: True. So what brings you here from your far-off land?

Germanicus: My friend here is a Karbala, a healer. I told him of the Koka herbs that we use, and he was intrigued. He thinks they can help the people of Noshuret.

Aticus: Noshuret? Ha! What do you want to help them for?

Germanicus: They are my people now, Aticus. I have spent 3 years with them, have become a citizen.... If I can help them, I will. Would you not travel to Noshuret to help a fellow Ottogoth?

Aticus: I suppose I would. Point taken. So what has been going on in this Noshuret village?

Germanicus: I have been living as the adopted son of the man who captured me in battle. Not much happens in the town... most people keep to themselves and raise crops or stock. The most exciting thing that has happened was when the town leader died, and the people fought for his throne.

Aticus: Like when old Haelfagar got thrown from his horse and the families fought for who would become Chief?

Germanicus: Yes. We left before most of the real fighting transpired, though. So, Aticus, shall I tell my friend your story now?

Aticus: If you insist, you big dumb ogre...

Germanicus: Don't mind him. He get's rather touchy about this story.

Aticus: I do not!

Germanicus: See, what did I tell you? Anyway, one time when we were younger, about 10 I believe, we went out exploring around the camp. We were camped farther East then, before the people of Noshuret started pushing us off our lands. Anyway, we were in the forest exploring when we came across a small black animal with a white stripe.

Aticus: It wasn't small! It was a monster, as big as my torso, and with a tail that could paralyze a man with one swing!

Germanicus: Don't mind him.... he like's to make it sound like he was defeated by a behemoth instead of a rodent. Anyway, we surprised it, and it got scared. As this big doof charged it with his sharpened stick, it lifted its tail and sprayed the worst-smelling liquid you could imagine! I couldn't get within 15 feet of this one, he smelled so awful. We ran back to the camp, and when we found his mother, my aunt, she kicked him right out of the hut! Said she couldn't stand the stench, she did!

Aticus: But cousin, you forget to tell what she did to you.

Germanicus: And what was that, Aticus?

Aticus: She made you bathe! She stripped you down and poured jars of water over your head, because she was afraid that you would start to smell the same as I!

The huge, one-menacing Gothic warrior turned bright red. The tohers had a good laugh at the story of one man getting skunked and the other being forced to bathe.

Marvcus: Well told, friends. And friend Aticus, I must commend you on this brew. I have never had mead of heather, nor have I had a finer draught in ages. But the time for talking is over, I am afraid. We are here on a mission, and it must continue. We must find the herbs.... "koka" I believe you called them. And we must also find the place of my companion's birth. It is written in the stars that only there may he be brought to fulfill his destiny.

Aticus: Well then, Karbala, I will escort you to the village of my people. There you will find this fool's family and his birthplace. They will also help you find the koka that grows throughout the forests here. But I will give you two pieces of advice. One, get some proper clothes. The tribe is not found of Fanaticians right now, and you would be best to conceal that part of your identity. Two, when searching for the koka leaves, look where the dirt is red as blood and the brush is thick with vines and trees. Now go, before I decide to tell the story of the time me and Germanicus went swimming in the river to the West.

Germanicus: Aye, let us go, I would rather not hear that story again....

Aticus leads Marvcus, Germanicus, and Zeitel to the path to the village. Halfway down the path he leaves them, and they continue on alone.

May 09, 2003, 04:50 AM
Soon Maximilian Gontsky comes out of the shadow. He noticed his freind Zeitel Jade is with them

Zeitel Jade: Ahh Maximilian Gontsky. How are things

Maximilian Gontsky: Not so good, I lost my son during the storm

Zeitel Jade: My simpathy

Maximilian Gontsky: Thanks, I have decided to do a bit of traveling to take my mind off of the death of little Andrew.

Marvcus: My simpathy is also with you Maximilian

Maximilian Gontsky: I would place my skills to use, Marvcus. My troubled mind needs to be kept occupied away from the death of my son. Ill donate my Tracking skills to aid you.

May 09, 2003, 01:41 PM
Don't notice this post.

May 13, 2003, 11:08 AM
* The growing troupe continued onward to the village. Germanicus entered and procured local clothing for all of them. Their slight stature and odd weaponry would still identify them as Fanatici, and there was simply no way to effectively disguise Marvcus with his body and face virtually covered in tattoos and pierced rings, but a casual glance would not betray them. That night they entered the village after the watchfires were lit and the villagers were settled down. They were well into the living areas of the village before they were challenged. *

Guard: Hold there. What mischief are you up under cover of darkness?

* Germanicus holds up several carcasses. *

Germanicus: Getting in late. We startled a brace of rabbits on the way in and it took us longer than expected to get them.

Guard: See to it that Worin gets his share. Sleep well, hunters.

Germanicus: We will, to both. And a good watch to you.

* The companions continue inward following Germanicus through the maze of huts. *

Maximilian: Who is this Worin? The clan chief?

Germanicus: No, he is the god of this tribe. A portion of all hunts and getherings are sacrificed to him. When I was young this was done on the family hearth. Over time it became more and more strict until, just before I left, the offerings had to be given to the priests who would then sacrifice them. It was one of the reasons that I left. You see, I had fletched a score of arrows and given one to the priests for Worin. A week later I killed a deer that had been arrow shot. It was my own arrow, the one that was supposed to have been burned for the god. I realized that the priests were keeping the sacrifices for themselves. I did not wish to be here when Worin's wrath fell upon them.

Zeitel: But surely you do not still believe in this god Worin? You are heading for a purification ritual to become a Karbala!

Germanicus: As Marvcus has taught me, there are many aspects of the greater spirits. I believe that Worin is one of them. And it is not Karbala that he is an aspect of, but Phear - the spirit of the flames.

* Zeitel and Maximilian shudder and make the sign against evil. Phear is a force of destruction and consumption, never sated until there is no prey left. It is seldom called upon in the ceremonies in Noshuret and then only when other spirits are at hand to quel his fiery hunger.
The companions arrive at the hut of Germanicus' family with no further incidents and he leads them inside. A small fire is buring in the center of the hut and the smoke hole in the roof is not adequate to keep the room clear. Through the haze they see several people. Germanicus introduces his two sisters (both widowed), seven nephews and another cousin. Aparently Germanicus' large size is a stamp of the family genes for his cousin is of a size with him. Even the youngsters are large for their age.

The group settles down together and the sisters quickly skin and spit the rabbits. After several mugs of heather ale and friendly conversation everybody dines on rabbit and wild onions. As the sun begins to rise Marvcus motions to Germanicus. *

Germanicus: It is time. We will need all of you to leave the hut until Marvus or I emerge. It could be quite fast but I have been told that it sometimes takes days. It depends on how pure the vessel is to start with and I confess that I'm starting at a disadvantage.

* Everybody laughs at Germanicus' joke and then gather their belongings and leave the hut. Maximilian leaves with Germanicus' cousin to go hunting and Zeitel helps the youngsters with things around the village in order to keep an eye on the hut as best he can.

Marvcus dons the wolf mask, the fearsome visage of the Karbala, and begins to dance. Germanicus sits before the fire and tries to meditate as he was instructed to do. Every so often Marvcus throws different powders into the fire. Some turn it different colors or send fiery streamers flying about the hut. Some are meant to help the initiate to purify his mind and find the spirits.

After several hours the combined effects of meditation along with Marvcus' chanting and dancing and the effects of the various herbal powders that he inhaled Germanicus enters a deep and powerful trance. He is staring at the fire and sees a pale shadow writhing on the walls. All is quiet except the crackling of the flames as they consume the wood. The fire mesmerizes him with its shifting patterns and its elemental beauty. He reaches into it to feel its flow. He feels something very wrong. This is very wrong. There are rocks all about the fire, aspects of Tersus. They restrain the grace and joy of the fire! And even worse he sees that the life of the fire itself is in danger. The poor fire is starving and there is so little to eat. He lifts it out of the prison of rocks and holds it to him, like a mother nursing a babe.

It begins to feed. Slowly at first but then with greater speed. As it does, he feels the strength and rage of the fire building within him. In a short time the fire has consumed him but at the same time his is still whole. He IS the fire. He stands and looks about him. The shadow is gone and in its place is a great wolf with eyes of blackness. *

Karbala: I was afraid it would be you.

Phear: Of course you were, old dog! I am PHEAR!

Karbala: The vessel is strong, and you cannot hold it for long. When you flee we will take him back under our wing and teach him to resist your temptations. You are the strongest aspect in him but you are not the only one.

Phear: I shall not need the vessel long and I greatly pity that you will not have much to work with once I quit it. I have a debt to collect. One that is many years overdue.

* Phear, the great bear with fur of flames, stands erect and roars. He reaches up and pulls the roof of the hut in. The dry timbers and thatching catch fire in a heartbeat and the hut is an instant inferno. The great bear lumbers off to find his prey. *


Zeitel: What in the name of the spirits? Children, hurry! Call out that there is a fire in the village! FIRE! FIRE!

* Zeitel does his best to battle the blaze until help arrives and it arrives quickly. Few things are more feared in the village than a hut that is ablaze. Bucket brigades are formed and everybody helps to try to douse the raging flames. Zeitel drives them on faster and faster. He knows that anybody in there must be dead but he hopes beyond hope that Germanicus and the Karbala have somehow survived. *


Phear: Begone you beast! You will not stop me. I will have my revenge!

* Karbala stood in the middle of the path, blocking Phear's way. His hackles were up and his teeth were bared. He bunched his legs and lept at the great bear. Phear swung clumsily but managed to connect, sending Karbala flying. The wolf knew this was a hopeless task. Karbala was the most powerful of the spirits but Phear was the strongest of them all when he was enraged. And especially when he was engorged. Still, it was his duty to stop the great bear, or at least mitigate the damage he caused. He continued to harass Phear and at least succeeded in slowing him down a bit. *


Maximilian: Zeitel! What is happening? Where are Germanicus and Marvcus?

* Maximilian entered the smoke blackened clearing that was once a hut of Germanicus' family. There were scores of barbarians, all exhausted and some crying. He caught Zeitel's arm and swung his overwraught friend around. *

Maximilian: Zeitel! Snap out of it! Where are Germanicus and Marvcus?

* Zeitel tried to talk but could only cough. Even breathing was a nightmare. He pointed to the blackened ruin of the hut. *

Maximilian: They were still in the hut?

* Zeitel nods and a tear runs down his cheek. Maximilian is stunned. He can't comprehend that the great witch doctor is gone. He is brought out of his daze when he is roughly grabbed. *

Ottogoth: Thrice damned Fanatici!! You drive us out of our hunting lands, you take our streams and now you would burn down our very homes?! Hang these two!!


* That bloody wolf was still following, nipping and pouncing and generally infuriating him but there was nothing under the skies that would prevent his vengeance. He arrived at the large hut of the priests and tore straight through the great door. They were there, sitting around HIS altar. Eating HIS food and drinking HIS wine, just as they had been for years. With a horrific roar he attacked. They scattered but he caught one as it tried to jump past him. With a quickness that belied his great size he picked up the unfortunate priest and sent him flying into another one. A distant pain in his side made him look down and he saw a spear sticking out of his gut. A priest was holding it and driving it it in further. Phear grabbed it and pulled it out, then yanked the priest into his arms. He buried his teeth into the screaming man's throat and ripped it out. Another was trying to slip to the door but he reversed the spear and cast it, pinning the priest to the wall of the great hut. He felt slow for some reason but his fury was still at its peak. He charged into a group of priests that were trying to hide behind a partition. His claws ripped the leather curtain down on top of them and he fell on the wriggling mass of men.

He had just finished the last of them and stood up when he realized how quiet everything had become. There were no priests left in the hut. Not alive at any rate. He was tired too. Very tired. At least these cretins wouldn't dare to steal from him any more. The ones that had managed to flee would not dare to tempt his wrath again. He saw the wolf saunter into the hut but he didn't care any more. He had done what was needed and nothing Karbala was capable of could undo it. *

Karbala: We didn't realize that the hate was so strong in you.

Phear: Not hate. Anger. Rage. Fury! They stole from me. They stole from their own people in MY NAME!

Karbala: I see. You saw a wrong and have made it right. But at what cost? This is your tribe and through your actions you have doomed them.

Phear: I have set them back on the correct path!

Karbala: You have set them against the Fanatici, my own people. Like you, your Ottogoths are hotheaded and arrogant. They will blame the Fanatici for this destruction and will turn to destroy the Fanatici. They cannot. The hill people are too strong for this little band of plainsmen, no matter how fierce they are. And look what you have done to your vessel. That wound is mortal, even I could not heal that.

Germanicus: It is? I don't even feel it, to tell the truth. I just feel so tired. Very very tired. Marvcus, the visions were so real. So much more real than life. Did I do well?

Marvcus: Yes, great bear, you did just fine. Lay your head here, I will cushion it. I am sorry that I cannot heal that spear wound but I can make the passing peaceful.

Germanicus: Thank you Marvcus. I don't mean to be rude but I am really so very tired. I'll just close my eyes for a minute if you don't mind.

Marvcus: Not at all my friend. Be at peace.

Germanicus: Farewell, old wolf.

* Marvcus sat and held his friend until the breathing stopped. It was not a long wait. He then arranged the body carefully on the altar, cleaned the wounds and placed Germanicus' weapons upon him. The other dead could burn where they lay. They had cheated the spirits and he would not help them now. He took a brand from the fire and went outside. He walked around the entire circumference of the great hut, lighting the thatch at every step. Then he calmly walked into the wilderness, the inferno at his back.

He had walked less than a mile when he heard soft footsteps somewhere behind him. He turned and waited for his pursuer to catch up. Within a minute one of Germanicus' nephews came running into view, gasping for breath. He stopped when he saw Marvcus. *

Marvcus: It is Scipio, is it not?

Scipio: Yes, great one. I new you had not died in the hut, though everybody else thought you and Germanicus were trapped in there.

Marvcus: Indeed? And how did you know?

Scipio: I saw them! I mean, I saw you! You and Germanicus, the wolf and the bear.

Marvcus: That is rare power indeed that could see the aspects without undergoing the Rites. What will you do now?

Scipio: If I may, I would go with you. The tribe is in an uproar. They have slain your companions. I yelled that they had not started the fire but nobody cared. The people are filled with anger and would not listen to me.

Marvcus: (sadly) Yes, I felt when they passed. It is sad that so much promise has been wasted, caused by greed and stupidity and fear.

Scipio: May I come with you then?

Marvcus: Of course, dear boy. After all, it was you who I journeyed to find. It would not do to leave without you.

* Marvcus and Scipio turn together and begin the long walk back to Fanatica. *

May 14, 2003, 08:04 AM
* Scipio and Marvcus continue their travels back to Fanatica. They travel quickly as they are not burdened by worldly goods. They eat as they come across berries or tubers and drink when they find water. Scipio proves to be an excellent shot with his sling and is able to supplement their diet with the occasional rabbit, squirrel or bird. Throughout the journey, Marvcus teaches Scipio of the ways of the Spirits and the Fates. Scipio also shares his life story and the tale of the deaths of Maximilian and Zeitel. *


Scipio: So we managed to put out the fire before it spread to the neighboring huts. I can't say how as it was the fiercest blaze I have ever seen. Many were burned or hurt in battling it.

When the flames were reduced to smoldering embers some of the warriors realized that your friends were Fanatici. They grabbed them and called for their deaths, in retribution for the fire. The old

Marvcus: Maximilian.

Scipio: Yes, Maximilian. He broke free of the warrior holding him and grabbed a nearby axe. Nobody was carrying weapons as we had just been fighting the fire but there were many strewn about that people had dropped when they arrived. He threw it with great force and buried it in the head of the man that was holding Zeitel. The two then backed up to a hut. Zeitel had managed to grab a knife and a club. Maximilian had another axe.

I yelled then that these men had nothing to do with the fire. That they had both been off helping our people with different things when it started. I tried to tell them that it was Zeitel who had spotted the blaze and sent the alarum in time to save the village. They didn't care. My people have great animosity to yours. The Fanatici are better armed and more numerous. You expand into our territories and we have no choice but to move back. The Ottogoths were once a predator but increasingly their teeth have been pulled and in their place is a mouth of bitterness.

The warriors took up weapons and advanced on your friends. They had no chance but they sold their lives dearly. Including the man that Maximilian slew to free Zeitel there were four dead and at least that number dearly wounded.

Marvcus: I do not doubt it. They were both fine warriors themselves and they had Karbala's help. The Great Wolf always enacts a high price for Phear's excesses. I hope that the Ottogoths realize what is driving them and seek a peaceful route but I fear that will not happen. As Worin, Phear has regained control of them with his ravaging of the apostate priests and he will want revenge on Karbala.

Scipio: Indeed I think you are correct, master. Even before all of this happened many of the scouts and raiders were preparing to set off for the southlands to help with some attack on Fanatica. If the tempers stay as I saw them as I left I would not doubt if the entire tribe comes south.


Marvcus: Scipio is an odd name for a Goth. How did you come by it?

Scipio: My father is an Ottogoth but my mother was Fanatici. She was taken as an axe wife in a raid a few years before I was born. She died when I was very young but I still remember her strength and how she always made me feel better when I was ill. Everybody came to her when they were sick or hurt and it was a great blow to the village when she died birthing my sister.

Marvcus: She was a healer of Fanatica?

Scipio: Yes. She always called herself a witch until the priests beat her for it. Then she still called herself a witch but only when there were no priests about. She was a very strong woman.

Marvcus: Sometimes it is a marvel how fate intertwines the threads of the tapestry of lives.

Scipio: I don't understand what you mean.

Marvcus: My teacher, Niven Karbala, lost his father and an aunt from an Ottogoth raid 15 years ago. His father was slain and his aunt was taken away by the raiders. She was a very powerful witch, the strongest in a family that was strong in the Spirits. Her name was Nineveh.

Scipio: That was mother's name! So I am a cousin to your teacher Niven? I should be very happy to meet him!

Marvcus: That is not possible, not in the flesh anyway. He passed away some time ago. But there are many other of your kin in Fanatica and we will be sure that you are reunited with them.


Scipio: What of all of those plants that you had in your travois? Will you need to make this trip again? I tried to pull it out but I did not have the strength so it burned with the hut.

* Marvcus reaches into his robes and pulls out a large scrip. He opens it and shows the contents to Scipio. The walls of the scrip are lined with small leather pockets. In each is a collection of seeds. *

Marvcus: I did not lose all that we collected, just the live specimens. It will be more difficult with just the seeds but we will make do. With my knowledge of plants and your knowledge of the area these came from we should have little problem in growing them.


* After several days journey, Scipio and Marvcus arrive in Noshuret, coming up the trail that Marvcus and Germanicus had gone down so long before. There was great excitement as Marvucs introduced Scipio as his protege and as a lost Fanatici returned. They were fetted as Marvcus relayed the stories of the companions' adventures and the great danger that approached. Scipio met several of his kin and was able to give them an account of his mother's great acts and her position of importance in the Ottogoth village. Eventually darkness fell and Marvcus concluded the evening with a Rite of Protection for Noshuret, calling on Karbala to defend his chosen from their oncoming enemy. The two weary travelers then traveled the several hours to Marvcus' hut in the wilderness and sank into the peaceful sleep of the exhausted.

The witch doctor was finally home. *