(For those who came in late: this is the eighth session of my GURPS solo-play campaign. Instead of a GM, I use a big collection of procedural tables (see the tabs above!). The campaign is set in a fantasy world I created from scratch in in a previous series of posts, using a procedural world-creation system. This session, I’m going to be testing some new rules – namely, my alpha-version town adventures system. We’ll see how that goes!)
The PC: Temian Fell, explorer of ancient ruins and all-round hero.
The story so far: In his last adventure (Temian Fell and the Secret of Murdfane Temple), Temian finally succeeded in his quest to bring the dreaded Witch of Dunmoss to justice. Now he’s returned to his hometown of Dunmoss. He has a broken hand, so he’s going to try to lay low for a while. As today’s story begins, Temian is hanging around town, feeling a bit sorry for himself – having a broken hand is no fun!
First of all, let’s roll to see What’s at Stake This Session? (Rolling…) 6! Excellent! This means that a lot is at stake this session. If we can swing it, then Temian will have a chance to earn Plot Elements in both his primary and his secondary plotlines. Nice.
Temian’s primary plotline is his quest to find and explore the lost Elven city of Lara Ithuil. I’ll be very interested to see how that develops.
At the moment, Temian doesn’t have a secondary plotline, since last session he completed his quest to bring the Witch of Dunmoss to justice. So that gives me a chance to come up with a new one some time this session. Sweet.
To finish setting up this session, I’m going to head over to my draft town adventures system.
First, I ask myself: what does Temian want to achieve? I think he probably wants to find out more about all the mysterious things he discovered last session (the Valirothians are somehow mixed up with Narnuilakh, the Demon Prince! Oh my!). This means he’s trying to “Pursue the Plot”, in the terms used by my system.
Now I have to decide how dangerous I want things to be. Since Temian is wounded, I’ll play it safe by nominating Peril 1. But how Perilous is it really? (Rolling…) 10. Ok, so it is indeed Peril 1. Good.
Finally, I have to roll to determine what kind of Scene we begin with. (Rolling…) 17: “A standard Social Scene. If failed, a Deadly Combat.”
Woah – so that was dramatic! It looks like this is going to be a pretty high-stakes opening scene. Temian’s busted hand means that I’m really going to have to work hard to avoid that combat. I wonder who Temian is getting mixed-up with this time? Well, I’ll have time to determine that in a moment. For now, let’s get started…
Scene 1: Down at the Phoenix
As our story begins, Temian is hanging out at his usual watering hole – The Phoenix Tavern, a large inn on the banks of the Cairnflood river. It’s a damp and rainy afternoon, but Temian is sitting at a table outside, under the shelter of the eaves. From there he has a good view of the whole riverbank. Sometimes his attention is attracted by the shouts of the dockworkers unloading furs, or the sight of peddlers and traders coming over the Oldbridge, but mostly he’s just watching the raindrops falling quietly into the Cairnflood river. He’s nursing an ale, and feeling a bit sorry for himself. His broken hand is aching badly.
Sipping his ale, he tells himself that he ought to be happier. After all, he’s richer right now than he has been in quite a while – his last journey out into the ruins earned him quite a haul! That’s a nice thought, but ultimately it fails to cheer him up. Really, when it comes right down to it, he doesn’t care that much about money – no, what he wants is adventure, and it’s very hard to do anything adventurous with a broken hand.
He feels so useless just sitting here nursing his ale. Why, he should be out there doing something! In particular, he very much wants to discover the truth behind the very strange scene he witnessed just a week ago deep beneath Murdfane Temple. What were the Valirothian military doing down there, he wonders? Why were they invoking the name of the Demon-Prince Narnuilakh? And what does all this have to do with the fabled Lost City of Lara Ithuil, far to the North? Hmmm…
This seems like a good moment in the narrative to introduce our first challenge – which we just determined is a “Social” challenge. Obviously this calls for the entry of a new NPC. Over to the People system!
(Rolling, rolling…) Ok, here’s the new NPC I came up with:
- Name: Ianthe Duskthorp
- Role in Society: Involved in religion
- When you meet her, she is: Admiring you
- Bodily Appearance: Moves awkwardly
- Distinctive Feature: Carries a letter, deed, or contract
Well, that’s interesting – at the end of last session, Temian spent some points on improving his Reputation as a local hero, and now it appears he might have an admirer! That’s kind of cool, given how appropriate it is to the narrative at this stage, but frankly it’s also a bit embarrassing, especially since the NPC has turned out to be female – I’m not sure I want to run a “author-substitute Hero gets mobbed by his female groupies” plot. Blech.
To colour in a bit here (and to head things in a different direction) – let’s pose a few questions to the Solo 8 .
Ianthe being “Involved in Religion” makes me think that she might be an acolyte or initiate in some kind of church, order, or cult. This gives me an idea: maybe she’s a young initiate being taught by Temian’s old friend Aed Steadlark, the Mouth of the Triple Goddess Simara/Timara/Dimara! Is that true? (Rolling…) 1: an emphatic “yes, and…”. Ok – let’s declare that Ianthe is indeed an initiate in the Cult of the Triple Goddess – and let’s say that she’s an extremely promising initiate – all the signs show that she has the favour of the goddess, and is likely to become a very great priestess indeed, one day.
Since Ianthe is Aed’s student, Temian probably knows her already – but how well does he know her? Do they consider one another friends? (Rolling…) 7 “Yes, but…”. Ok, let’s say that they’re on friendly terms, but they’ve never been especially close friends, mainly since they just haven’t spent that much time with one another.
That’s plenty to go on with. Let’s return to the scene!
Temian has nearly made it to the bottom of his mug of ale when he notices someone heading along the riverbank towards him – a young woman dressed in robes of brown and red. Why, it’s Ianthe!
Temian is pleased – he likes Ianthe quite a lot, but they’ve never really spent much time together – mainly because Temian spends all his time wandering exploring distant ruins, while Ianthe has always been quite single-mindedly focused on serving the Triple Goddess. But Temian has always admired her intellect and dedication. Frankly, when it comes right down to it, Temian has always really thought of Ianthe as a bit of a zealot. But she’s a dedicated, highly intelligent, and kind zealot, which makes her ok in Temain’s book.
So Temian is pleased to see her coming. So pleased, in fact, that he calls inside to the innkeeper Heralf for another ale…
Come to think of it, is an initiate of the Triple Goddess allowed to drink alcohol? (Rolling…) 4: “Yes, but…”. Very well – let’s say that, technically, an initiate of the Triple Goddess is allowed to drink alcohol, but Ianthe is so zealous that she still doesn’t (and kind of disapproves of those who do). She’s a stickler that way.
“Heralf!” Temian shouts into the bar, “When you have a moment, I’ll take a fresh ale for me, and the strongest spirit you have for Ianthe!”
Heralf’s derisive snort can be heard over the rain. “Ianthe’s no drinker. I’ll put on some tea for her.”
“Whatever you say,” Temian shouts, while thinking to himself “Ah, Heralf oviously didn’t get my joke. He can be a bit humorless sometimes…”
Moments later Ianthe herself arrives at Temian’s table, looking a little worse for wear after her trudge through the rain. “May I?” she asks, gesturing to a dry seat under the eaves.
“Of course,” Temian replies. “Good to see you, Ianthe.”
“You too,” she says, sitting, and taking down her damp hood.
Let’s see – earlier we determined that Ianthe is carrying a “letter, deed, or contract” of some kind. We don’t yet know what it is, but presumably it’s important. Does she bring it out right away? (Rolling…) 2: “Yes”.
Ianthe is a no-nonsense young woman, and she gets right to the point. “I’m here for a reason, Temian,” she says. She reaches into her robe and takes out some kind of parchment, handling it carefully so it doesn’t get dripped on. Then she opens it up, pauses for a moment as if in thought, and then hands it straight to Temian.
Deeply intrigued, Temian takes the parchment from her and begins to read…
Ok, now I’m intrigued, too. What the heck is this parchment? Is it something directly concerning Temian? (Rolling…) 3 “Yes”. Is it a message from Aed? (Rolling…) 7: “No”. Alright – here’s a whacky idea that would connect us up with the main plot: is it a message from the Valirothians, for some reason? (Rolling…) 5: “No, but…” Ok, it’s not a message from the Valirothians, but it does have something to do with that whole series of events. Here’s an even crazier idea: is it a message from the demon Prince Narnuilakh himself? (Rolling…) 8: an emphatic “No, and…”. Ok – it’s definitely not from Narnuilakh. In fact, just the opposite – let’s say that it’s a message from someone utterly opposed to Narnuilakh, and all he stands for. Here’s an idea: is it somehow a message from the Triple Goddess Simara/Timara/Dimara herself? (Rolling…) 1 an emphatic “Yes, and…”. Ahah! That’s it. Ianthe is bringing Temian a message from the Triple Goddess! That’s a very interesting development.
Is it something Temian can read? (Rolling…) 1: an emphatic “yes, and…”. Ok – so Temian can read it, and furthermore, there’s extra information there that he might be able to read, with a suitable skill roll.
Remember that I began by determining that Temian would get a chance to earn a Plot Point in both his primary and secondary plotlines during this session, if I could manage it. This seems like a great moment to give Temian a chance to earn a Plot Point in relation to his primary plot – his quest to discover the Lost City of Lara Ithuil (and find out what the Demon Prince Narnuilakh has in store for it!) In order to successfully earn that Plot Point, let’s say that he’ll have to succeed at two suitable skill rolls. Let’s watch him try…
The parchment is very old, and the words written on it are very hard to read. But with a bit of squinting, Temian finds he can make it out. It’s an archaic form of eldervalean – the kind that one often sees inscribed on old ruins in this region.
Reading it, Temian gasps – the text seems to mention both the Triple Goddess and the Demon Prince Narnuilakh himself! “Narnuilakh!” he blurts out without meaning to, and then looks looks up at Ianthe in great surprise.
She smiles at him. “Yes, Narnuilakh” she says calmly. “I thought you might be able to read this.”
Suddenly, Temian feels a bit paranoid. “How did you know to bring this to me?” he asks, failing to keep the suspicion out of his voice, though he knows it’s a rude way to talk to a friend. “I’ve never mentioned Narnuilakh to anyone.”
Ianthe ignores his tone, and instead positively beams at him. “The Triple Goddess came to me in a vision. She told me where to find it, and so I did. Then she told me to bring it to you.”
“Seriously?” Temian says, a little more bluntly than he meant to. Then he remembers who he’s talking to, and pulls himself together a little “I mean, did She really?” he asks. “That’s… odd. I mean, I thought…”
“…you thought you had offended the Goddess by behaving in your usual fashion?” Ianthe teases. “Yes, I thought that too. But She obviously has something in store for you, for good or ill.”
Temian laughs – he hasn’t seen Ianthe in a while, and she’s funnier than he remembered. He gets the sense that Ianthe admires him a little, if not for his personal qualities, at least for his having been noticed personally by the Goddess. That’s nice.
But basically, he’s still dumbfounded. He’d never normally believe a story like this – he’d think someone was pulling his leg. But he’s hearing this straight from the mouth of Initiate Ianthe Duskthorpe herself, and she’s never anything less than serious about her Goddess.
He shakes his head, and then looks down at the parchment again. Then he notices something: a sequence of symbols that looks as if it refers to some kind of ritual. “Hmmm – that’s odd,” he thinks. He tries to make it out…
Let’s call for a roll against Occultism here, as part of Temian’s chance to earn a Plot Point. His skill is 13, and Peril is 1, so his effective skill is 12. (Rolling…) 16: Failure!
…but he can’t: the symbols are entirely unfamiliar to him.
Ah well – there goes that Plot Point! Luckily he still has a chance to earn one in his secondary plotline this session, as well as a chance to earn an additional Plot point if he successfully completes this adventure as a whole – so this loss doesn’t sting too badly. Still, it would have been nice…
“What are these symbols here?” he asks Ianthe, pointing them out.
“I don’t know,” she says. “Frankly I was hoping you might tell me.”
“Yes – erm – well, yes” he says, a bit anxious for his reputation. “These look quite ancient. Very rare. You’d need a great sage, really,” he adds, a little lamely.
Does she believe him? For fun, let’s just ask the Solo 8. (Rolling…) 6: “No”. Ha!
“Riii-iiight.” she says, making no effort to save face for him. Clearly she’s unimpressed.
As luck would have it, it’s as just this moment that Heralf arrives with Temian’s fresh ale, as well as a mug of hot of tea for Ianthe. Heralf winks at Temian. He knows that he’s bailing him out.
“Is this for me?” Ianthe asks, surprised. She’s never been one to buy little comforts for herself – she doesn’t have much money, and anyway she often just forgets, since she’s so single-mindedly focused on doing the Goddess’ bidding.
“Yes, I’m sorry love,” Heralf replies, placing the tea in front of her. “The young lad here ordered it for you. I’d throw it out if I were you – he’s trying to utter you up, nothing surer.”
Temian rolls his eyes. Ianthe beams, not taking it at all seriously, but happy to be included in the banter. “Ah, tea!” she says. “There’s nothing better on a rainy day. You must be feeling rich, Temian, to be the one buying.”
“Yes,” he says. “I came into a little recently.” He doesn’t like talking about money – he’s usually so poor that he has to ask his friends to pay for the round, so he’s used to avoiding discussions of money whenever they threaten to arise. And now he has more important matters on his mind. “But Ianthe,” he says, still not quite allowing himself to believe her, “Are you really saying that the Goddess came to you, and spoke about me? Me?!? I mean, I’m very flattered, but it just seems so strange. I’ve never really been very, you know, pious, or anything…. In fact, if I were to pray to a divinity, I’m not even sure I would choose…”
“Stop right there, Temian Fell,” Ianthe says, looking very serious now. “Don’t say something you might live to regret. The Triple Goddess is watching you now. It doesn’t pay to offend her.”
Ianthe thinks for a moment, and then visibly comes to a decision. She takes the parchment from Temian, tucks it back into her robe, and then stands up from the table, entirely forgetting her tea. “Well, there’s nothing for it,” she says briskly. “If you can’t read the whole parchment, we’ll just have to…”
… just have to what? This seems like a good moment to get to the first challenge of this scene. If you recall, it’s meant to be a generic “Social” challenge, and the consequence of failure is pretty dire – a “Deadly Combat.” What could this situation be?
Let’s see now. Here’s a fun idea, kind of out of left field: is Ianthe suddenly going to be possessed by some kind of divine power, who will attack with devastating effect unless it can be talked down? (Rolling…) 1: an emphatic “Yes, and…” Woah! Ok, so the dice gods really liked that idea. Very well, dice gods, your wish is my command!
“…we’ll just have to…” Suddenly Ianthe’s voice falters, and she sways a little on her feet. She puts one hand up to her head, as if something is troubling her there. With her other hand she grasps the tabletop to steady herself.
Temian, worried that Ianthe is about to faint, springs up and tries to help her stay upright. She tries to speak again. “We’ll have to…”
Then abruptly Ianthe’s manner changes. She stands tall, as if she were a marble statue of herself, and her voice changes entirely.
“Kneel, mortal!” Ianthe cries, her voice booming like an echo of thunder. “You look upon the Vessel of Timara! Kneel!”
Temian springs back, astounded. He doesn’t have the presence of mind even to consider kneeling.
Ianthe – or something inside of Ianthe – stares at him with an unnaturally steady gaze. Temian is transfixed. Idly, he notices the table rattling a little. Then the whole inn begins to shake. Ianthe’s tea sloshes in its mug. People down on the docks look up the hillside a little fearfully, trying to work out where the shaking is coming from.
Can Temian get it together here in time to talk down the angry Goddess – if that’s what this is? That sounds like a job for the Diplomacy skill. Temian’s skill is 11. He gets +1 for attractive appearance and +1 for Charisma, but suffers a -1 due to the Peril rating, so his effective skill is 12. (Rolling…) 14: failed by 2. Damn!
According to the draft Town Adventures System, this failure will lead to negative consequences for Temian – in this case, I choose the “You must spend resources!” option, which means he must lose property equal in value to $5x PerilxPeril. Luckily that’s just $5 here, since he’s at Peril 1. That seems about right – let’s destroy something, and make Temian feel he has to pay for it…
Temian fumbles his words “Ah… erm… Ianthe? Are you in there? What’s happening?” he asks.
It seems nothing makes a Goddess angrier than going unrecognized.
Ianthe’s eyes flash sudden fire, and her voice booms thunderous. “Fool of a mortal!” she cries. “Grovel! Grovel before me!”
CRASH! All at once a crack of actual thunder splits the sky! The rain was a light drizzle, but now it begins to pour down in real torrents. Down at the docks the people scatter, looking for shelter; crowds rush over the Oldbridge, trying to get to the far side before they’re soaked. In moments the whole city is inundated by a real downpour.
But this is no ordinary storm. At The Phoenix Tavern, the ground itself shakes and buckles. Temian’s ale and Ianthe’s tea both go tumbling to the ground; the clay mugs shatter.
Temian will feel obliged to pay Heralf for those shattered mugs later. In case that happens off-screen, I’ll subtract 5 silver pieces from his character sheet right now. Not a big loss! Peril 1 is pretty forgiving.
Temian gets scalding tea on his foot, and yelps. At the same time, unthinkingly, he simply backs away from the possessed Ianthe, out into the pouring rain.
He’s not doing a very good job of keeping his wits about him here…
What’s the next challenge in this scene? Let’s roll to see. (Rolling…) 10: “Either attempt the same challenge again at an additional -1, or attempt a different challenge within the same scene type.” Right – it looks like Temian needs to keep trying to placate the Goddess, either using Diplomacy again, or one of his other social skills. This makes sense, given the way the story seems to be going – but it’s bad news for Temian! If we try Diplomacy again, then he’ll be at an additional -1, which makes his effective skill just 11 – not great odds. But looking at his other social skills, I only find Acting at 12 and Intimidation at 13 – and neither seems particularly appropriate. (Intimidation seems especially inappropriate, given that he’s dealing with a Goddess). Ah well – nothing else for it: it’s Diplomacy once again.
Hmmm… come to think of it, there’s just one more little thing that might slightly improve my odds here: Temian’s “Classic Features: Generic Hero” Perk. This means that Temian looks exactly like a generic storybook hero, so he gets an additional +1 when dealing with people who have a particular weakness for that type. Normally this wouldn’t come into play, but I’m assuming that I’m dealing with an avatar of the Triple Goddess here, and judging by Greek myths, at least, it seems as if some fickle divinities do indeed have a weakness for attractive human heroes. I think that’s enough for me to justify asking the Solo 8. Does the Triple Goddess have a particular weakness for “Generic Storybook Hero” types? (Rolling…) 1: an emphatic “Yes, and…” Wow! Nice one. I’m getting a lot of interesting Solo 8 rolls today. Ok – so the Triple Goddess does indeed have a bit of a special fondness for young, moderately attractive men who look like Generic Storybook Heroes, and let’s add that she’s actually not that angry at Temian – she just wants to make him squirm a little, so as to emphasize who he’s dealing with. That seems to me good enough to justify a +2 to effective skill, rather than just +1.
That means that Temian’s effective Diplomacy skill is 13. Let’s see how this goes! (Rolling…) 11: success by 2. Nice! I think I’ll spend those two success points to give Temian a +3 to the next challenge he faces during this scene – he may need it!
Temian backs away from Ianthe, out into the pouring rain, as she turns to face him, her eyes flashing fire. Maybe it’s the sudden shock of rain running down the back of his neck that does it, but for whatever reason he finally pulls himself together enough to realize what’s going on here. He’s not dealing with Ianthe – he’s dealing with a Goddess in human form!! How could he have been so slow to realize it?!
Without hesitating, Temian drops to his knees in the mud, and bows his head. In moments the rain soaks him right through. Drenched, muddy, and with a great show of humility, he raises his hands in supplication.
“Oh Great Goddess,” he murmurs. “I – I beg you – forgive me. I did not… I mean, I was too awed by your grace and majesty, even as you wore Ianthe’s form… ”
The sight of Temian muddy and grovelling seems to please the Goddess, and when she speaks, her tone is softer.
“It is well. Let it not be said I am unmerciful” she says (though she does nothing to indicate that Temian is allowed to rise from his knees). It appears that Temian has managed to placate the Goddess, at least for now.
Ok, so that was a lucky break, but we’re not out of the woods yet – Temian still has to win this “Social” scene as a whole, or else face a Deadly combat of some kind. What’s the next challenge? (Rolling…) 11: “Attempt any challenge within the same scene type, as long as you haven’t attempted it already during this scene.” Right – so any “Social” challenge except for Diplomacy, then. Fair enough.
Which challenge to choose? Well, at this point in the scene it seems appropriate simply to call for a straight-up Reaction roll, in search of a “good” result. Apparently the Goddess has chosen Temian for some special purpose, but what does she think of him now that she actually meets him in the flesh? Now that the requisite browbeat-the-mortal-and-make-him-grovel phase is over, that is…
Let’s see, now. Reaction rolls in GURPS are one of the only cases where you want to roll high – and to get a “Good” or better reaction, Temian will need a total of at least 13. That ought to be doable, since he’s got a lot of bonuses: +1 for Charisma, +1 for attractive appearance, +1 because the Goddess is apparently particularly susceptible to his classic storybook hero features,and +3 carried over from the last challenge, which represents how pleased She is to see him grovelling in the mud in such an appropriately humble fashion. That’s a total of +6, which is pretty good. Let’s see how this goes… (Rolling…) 13, +6 = 19: “Excellent”. Ah, that went even better than expected! According to the Reaction Table in the Basic Set, “The NPC is extremely impressed by the PC, and acts in [his] best interests at all times, within the limits of [her] own ability.” Sweet! It seems Temian has somehow won the favor of the Triple Goddess! (I wonder if perhaps she’s happy he defeated the Dunmoss Witch? Anyway…)
According to the draft Town Adventures system, that’s a success by 6 – and I’ll spend those points right away to “Win” the scene. Nice!
Obviously pleased to see Temian respecting her power by kneeling humbly in the mud, the Triple Goddess smiles beneficently. “Temian Fell,” she says, “Tremble no more. You may continue to kneel before me, though now in gratitude, for unworthy as you are, I have chosen to grant you the honor of performing a task for me….”
…let’s fade to black there, ending the scene.
Whew! I’m very happy to have avoided that “Deadly Combat” – with Temian’s broken hand, that could have been the end of him.
I think that by the time we start the next scene, Temian ought to have accepted the task from the Goddess (whatever it is), and be trying to complete it. But that means we have to find out what that task actually is. Given that I began this adventure by nominating “Pursue the Plot” as my desired Reward, I think I ought to declare that the Goddess’ task has something to do with Temian’s primary plotline. To flesh this out a bit, let’s consult the Solo 8.
Let’s see, now. Does the Triple Goddess want Temian to stop the Demon Prince Narnuilakh in some way? (Rolling…) 5: “no, but…” Ok – let’s say she’s not asking him to stop Narnuilakh – that would be crazy; he’s too powerful. But she does want Temian to find out more about Narnuilakh’s plans. But why does She want Temian for the job – surely She has better means of information-gathering at her disposal? Temian is wondering that, too! Well, I don’t know yet, so for now, let’s just say that the Gods work in mysterious ways.
In fact to emphasize this, maybe let’s say She gave him a piece of cryptic advice to go on with – that sounds like the kind of frustratingly mysterious thing that a divinity might do. What was this advice? Well, here I’m going to use one of my sillier GM-less play methods, which is simply to type some random letters into Google, go to a random site on a random page of the results, and then read out the first few interesting words that I find there. (Doing that now…) “Day, invisible, desire, power.” Ok – here’s a riddle: “On the Day of Desire, the One Who Walks Unseen has the Power.” Ok – that’s too wordy. I’ll simplify it to “Look to the Unseen for Power”. It’ll be fun to find out what the answer is!
Hmmm.. this seems like a good moment to determine the next scene type. (Rolling…) 12, -1 for having successfully completed a scene = 11: “A choice between two scene types”. Which scene types? (Rolling…) 1 and 3: “Social” or “Mental.” Well, that works well – since we’ve already completed a “Social” scene, let’s have a “Mental” scene in which Temian tries to work out what Narnuilakh is up to. Onwards!
Scene 2: Musty Tomes
Later that day, we find Temian in the “Castle” district, leafing through old tomes. Over the last few hours, he’s made his way through most of the scriptoria and bookshops on the Street of Pages, searching through the various collections for anything he can find on Narnuilakh, in the hope of giving himself at least something to go on.
While reading, he’s muttering to himself: “‘Look to the Unseen for Power’ – what the heck is that supposed to mean?” He’d asked Ianthe, when she’d returned from her trance, but Ianthe had just smiled at him and said “The Goddess wants you to find out. She will be with you,” which was no help at all. And now here he is, trying to find anything at all, in all these books…
Still, for all his complaining, he’s excited. Tremendously excited, in fact. He’d thought his broken hand had condemned him to weeks of boredom, when wham! Along came Adventure with a capital ‘A’, and smacked him right in the face. He’s been chosen by the Triple Goddess, no less! Now, chosen for what exactly, he’s not yet sure – and he’s trying not to think to much about what tends to happen to mortals ‘Chosen’ by the Gods in stories. (Why, there was Andrias, who was turned into a bat for his insolence, and Fermia, whose whole family was gutteds before her and then returned to life and gutted again, every day for sixty-sixty years, and there was also…) No, definitely better not to think about that.
He turns his mind back to the books. Books, books, books – and never even a whisper of the name “Narnuilakh.”