Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Flames of Rebellion - Session 1

Session 1 Recap

The game opens with an initial scene between Arik, second in command of the Bitter Wind Host, and Sunulael, Sarcosan wizard and religious leader.  Arik is summoned early in the morning on the day before the House Moot to Sunulael's tent.  The tent is large and decorated to resemble a starry sky, bits of metal sewn to the tent twinkle like stars in the light of the rising sun.  There is also a tall pole with a star atop it planted outside the tent, the symbol of the Sarcosan religion (The Sorshef).

Inside the tent, Sunulael gestures for Arik to join him at a low table surrounded by plush pillows.  At first, Arik refuses.  Sunulael grows irritated and commands him to sit, which forces Arik to reluctantly comply.  Though they are of the same caste, Sunulael is the more honored member.  A strong, black coffee is served and Sunulael stares across the table into Arik's eyes.  His gaze is both powerful and intimidating and Arik is forced to make a steel test to maintain eye contact.  Arik returns the gaze steadily until Sunulael finally smiles wryly and looks away.  Finally, Sunulael reveals his reason for summoning the Jei'Sharif of the Bitter Wind Host.  He has had a powerful vision and he brings warning to Arik that members of the Host are planning to assassinate the leaders of the Dornish Houses during the Moot.  Arik is incredulous, but Sunulael convinces him that the stars never lie, though their messages are often misinterpreted by mere mortals.  He brings this knowledge to Arik out of respect and states clearly that he cannot approach Jahzir as they are rivals and Jahzir would not take his warnings to heart.  Arik, he says, is clear of mind and even of temper and will act upon the warning responsibly and in a way that will not bring shame to both Jahzir and his Host.  Sunulael instructs Arik to seek out one called Ravadi Al'Afik, whose name was revealed among the stars.  He is connected to the plot in some way.

In the city, the Constable of the North, Lord Fergus Redgard, has a surprise visitor to his suite of rooms in the Ducal Palace.  Earl Vildar Esben, a thin, sickly looking young man, newly risen to power in House Esben, requests an immediate audience with Fergus.  He brings with him his new slave/bodyguard, a T'mek tribesman from the far away Pellurian continent, many weeks travel by sail to the south of Erenland.  Fergus does not react to the presence of the savage warrior in the way that Esben had hoped, so gets right down to business.  Fergus, Esben points out, should know that the House Esben spy network is without equal in the North.  Those spies have uncovered what can only be described as an effort to see Jahzir, Sharif of the Bitter Wind Host and representative of His Majesty, the Kalif, assassinated this night, during his planned tour.  Esben claims to have direct evidence linking House Orin to this plot.  Fergus, somewhat skeptical due to the poor reputation that Esben has among the Great Houses, promises to investigate with all the power of his office.  Esben makes a point of reminding Fergus that this information comes with a cost, a favor due to House Esben when and where Vildar deems it appropriate.  Fergus half-heartily agrees to the debt.  

Arik, troubled by the news he has received, decides to enter the city and seek out his cousin, Kali, who is the wife of the Constable of the North, Fergus Redgard.  He seeks her counsel and, if all goes well, that of her husband.  Arik, after some difficulty with the Dornish guards, is finally allowed to see her in her suite, but only in the presence of her husband.  Kali is thrilled to see her cousin and she happily introduces him to her husband.  The two men offer greetings stoically, appraising each other carefully.  Finally, through their shared love for Kali, they agree to exchange information and to assist each other.  During the conversation, however, Kali's maid, Samira, is caught eavesdropping through a closed door.  Arik roughly drags her into the room and, with Fergus' approval, questions her motivations.  She manages to win an opposed test and convinces the two men that she was merely interested in the well being of her mistress, as she had heard voices raised in anger.  Arik does not fail to notice, however, the look of black, bitter hatred that briefly crosses her features as she glances at Lord Fergus.

The two men agree to work together and share information as they proceed with their individual investigations.

Arik rushes out of the city to find his loyal follower, Dumik ibn Surani, to assist him in finding the person involved in the plot, Ravadi Al'Alik.  After some difficulty escaping the notice of the Host riders who were curious as to the presence of the Jei'Sharif among them, Arik and Dumik arrive at a tent on the outskirts of the camp.  Entering the tent, Arik attempts to arrest Ravadi, who prostrates himself at Arik's feet.  When Arik accuses him of plotting the death of the Dornish Earls, Ravadi screams out that he has been betrayed and attempts to push past Arik toward the tent opening.  Arik skillfully swings his spear haft into Ravadi's shins and lays him low.  He begins to interrogate the man as the game session ends...

GM Note - We had a third character who participated in this game, Vijur the Scarred, but the player decided at the end of the session not to continue his involvement.  Burning Wheel is not everyone's cup of tea and we wish him the best.  The actions of his character were isolated from the others during this first session, so I did not include them in the recap.  There will be new character joining us in session two.