Session 8: The Elk Tribe Part 1
Date: October 16, 2017
Player Characters Present: Jessamine, “The Major,” Frey
The Major and Frey meet up with Jessamine in Uxphon. Jessamine had been travelling with a small group of troops from Qi, who met up with the Amber Papacy troops just outside the city. Salvin, the leader of these troops welcomed Jessamine with open arms and treated her with respect, given her role as a noble in his home country. After talking with Salvin, he reveals two important pieces of information: (a) his scouts learned that Jessamine’s sister (Jessabel) was living in the Gaian village and (b) that they were attempting to “educate” the Gaian tribe, because they suspected that they were being manipulated by some manner of alien influence. Jessamine agreed to go the tribe and try and convince her sister to leave.
Meanwhile, Frey explored the city and wandered by the renowned arena in Uxphon. While taking in the sights, she saw the Margr leader who survived the desert fight chained up and being taken to the arena as a gladiator. Upon seeing her, the Margr temporarily broke free of his captors, stole a sword from a guard and threw it at her, cutting her cheek before being taken down by the arena guards. A recruiter was impressed by her reflexes, and gave her a card inviting her to fight in the arena.
The group all met back at a local dive bar known as the “Rusty Pipe.” After arguing about what to do – and whether or not to work with the Amber Pope’s troops – the group was interrupted by an incredulous voice calling The Major “Elijah.” They met Remmer, a soldier in the Amber Papacy’s employ who served as a quartermaster in the same war The Major survived 25 years ago. They reminisced over times past over a few cigarettes, and he revealed that the Amber Pope’s second in command was a hot-headed ex-cultist known as Aldine that was pushing hard to fight the Gaians in order to exterminate the “alien intelligence” she believed was controlling them. Moreover, he suspected that the Amber Pope ordered them to fight the Gaians because he hoped to gain numenera as spoils of war.
The group decided to sneak out of the city under the cover of night, to avoid being followed by the Amber Papacy troops. The Major found an oddity that looked like a flute with buttons rather than holes so you can play music without blowing into it. He played it relentlessly for the whole trip to the Gaian tribe until Aadle got fed up and broke it over his knee. Otherwise, the trip to the Gaian tribe was relatively uneventful.
Once in the tribe, Jessabel runs to Jessamine to hug her (receiving a swift slap, but then a tight hug). After talking to Jessabel and the chieftain – the only two people who could speak the Truth – they learn about the strange Gaian tribe that lived in the region. The tribe worshiped an elk fertility god known as “Freyaga,” and wore antlers and animal skins as an expression of their worship. All of the Gaians were androgynous and intersex, with secondary sex characteristics that were not clearly male or female. They had a communal way of living, with no marriage, communal care for children, and no clear social hierarchy other than a chieftain who mediated disputes. They lived in cone-shaped tents by a large hill covered in desert vegetation – the hill was regarded as sacred, and outsiders were asked to stay away from it. Myths and legends said that their god Freyaga – which they described as a giant hermaphroditic elk – lived within the hill, and would protect them by quelling the anger and violent urges of any interlopers.
While exercising, Frey is invited to go for a run in the desert by Suni, Jessabel’s stoic friend and lover. While on the run, Frey stumbled on unstable terrain, and cut herself on a jet black cactus with triangular spines. Though Suni was briefly amused, they quickly become alarmed – Frey had become poisoned with a deadly, fast-acting poison. Her arm turned black and she started to get light-headed. Suni took Frey to their sacred cave as soon as they could, with the Major and Jessamine following close behind. Once inside, Suni used rag to draw out a little bit of blood to wring into a plain glass bowl. Shortly afterwards, an enormous elk statue adorning the room reveals itself as a real, almost impossibly large elk that was caked in dust. This enormous creature stuck out its tongue, and dropped a blob of saliva onto Frey, who was almost instantly cured of her poison. She had visions from the elk of members of the tribe coming here for generations, being artificially impregnated by the creature as it slowly guides their evolution towards some unknown aim. She also feels an overwhelming sense of peace and tranquility, and finds herself uncharacteristically non-violent as a side-effect of interacting with Freyaga.
With this major crisis over, the group conferred on how to protect the village from the impending invasion from Amber Papacy troops. They decided that Jessamine should return to Uxphon to try and persuade Salvin towards peace, while the Major and Frey stayed behind to improve the defenses in the village.
Notable Numenera / Loot:
- Discovery: Freyaga. An enormous hermaphroditic elk worshiped by a Gaian tribe in the Cloudcrystal Skyfields. It has healing powers, the ability to compel non-violence, and has slowly converted the biology of the tribe to intersex people over the years of their worship.