Dark Season, Year TwoIt's been a year since the previous session, and in that year, the two remaining rite brothers have passed their trials. Little Bull is now Tuathal who is called Tiger Crusher (remember that from back in Sea Season?) and Little Fox is now Ead who is called Ghosttamer (Ead is also cozying up to the shamans of the Cult of the Honored Ancestors). The rite brothers helped a new hunter pass his trials, and he is now Cassan Tuskfinder.
At the cusp of Year Two's Dark Season, the hunters found themselves returning from Dangerground again, and again they found themselves surrounded by bonfires on their horizons. This year, though, things were different from last. This year, the clan's hunters needed to harvest the yew trees that would make the rite brothers their new bows (or spears in the case of Ead Ghosttamer) on their way back to the clan camp. Also, this year, they were followed.
When the bonfires appeared on the horizon, at first the hunters took little notice, as nothing untoward had happened the year before. But when the horizon lit up with dozens of torches and the light of those torches began to descend on the hunters' camp, the hunters packed up what they could and took flight. The torches followed them all night and to the next morning. They had reached Rodi's Gap, that place that separates Dangerground from the East Plain of Balazar, and the Labras Trailseer, leader of the clan's hunters, told the rite brothers to make for the yew grove and keep that sacred task, while he and his hunters drew whatever subhumans pursued them away from the clan and the brothers and hopefully lost them.
As it turns out, however, a small group of the pursuers followed the young hunters as they ran through the forest for a day and a night. As they searched for the elusive yew grove, Tuathal called out to animals of the forest, and they sent a guide in the form of Father Thrush, the spirit-chieftan of those birds. Father Thrush led the boys in their flight away from their as-yet-unseen pursuers toward the grove, and in the grove they made their stand.
Broo. It was the Broo. The goat-headed beastmen, warped by Chaos, fanned out to come at the boys from as many angles as they could. Three Broo against four young hunters. The fight was brutal and harsh and by the time one of the Broo went down, Ead Ghosttamer drew his flint axe to take down another when the two Broo still standing could smell the aching, cloying smell of death and decay that the disease spirit bound to the axe emanated. Immediately, the Broo backed off, believing that if these beings had truck with disease spirits, they might hold Malia, Chaos Queen of Disease and Mother to the Broo, sacred. And if they had struck down one of the Broo's number without the axe, what could they do with it?
Hoping for an ally among the Balazarings, the Broo laid down their weapons and offered tribute. The men may take what their fallen comrade had (turns out, the Broo kept some sort of small metal disks for some reason -- yes, the hunters have never seen coin) as a gesture of good faith, but a true offering of friendship would be coming in the future. The lads praised their good fortune as the Broo retreated.
While this encounter meant they had to explain to Cassan why things had happened the way they did (they plead ignorance), the young hunters gathered their yew branches, looted the fallen Broo and even took his head before making their way back to the clan camp.
Again, it looks like my telling of this particular tale has run a bit long, and so I won't be getting to Storm Season today. From a rules vantage point, the Earth season marked the first time that all of the rite brothers were able to spend skill points on the skills that are prized by the Found Child cult and thus start earning their way toward Initiate rank in that cult. +PJ Muszkiewicz had been carefully statting Ead toward Initiate rank in the Honored Ancestors shamanic cult, but wasn't quite there yet at the end of this session. Similarly, +Gabriel Perez Gallardi & +Craig Brasco started focusing on Found Child skills, hoping to work their way into Initiate status with that cult as well since their primary focus is on hunting.
Moving into the Storm Season, when the clan battens down the hatches against the constant blizzard-like conditions, the players prepared for something close to down time... if they can only get it.