"This is a weird question, but do you know any place where I can find left-over hyetzu hair? You know, not attached to a hyetzu?"
Ula, still a little unnerved from her encounter with Morgaine, growled unintentionally at Ressad. But she quickly calmed her nerves and apologized for her attitude. It was a curious question, but at the same time, a harmless one. Ula plucked a few hairs from her red head and wrapped them in a small bundle. As soon as she handed over the bundle the historian recognized what purpose the hairs were for.
“Paralysis potion, yeah? Careful on that one. What the book didn't tell you is that it's most effective on beasts whose hair you used. In this case, it's most effective on hyetzu.”
The historian was not worried about Ressad trying to assassinate the matriarch. There were eighty hyetzu warriors in these ruins, the majority of which hung out near the matriarch's war room.
+(1) Paralysis Potion [Hyetzu]
-Paralyzes anyone within blast radius for one DM post.
-Critically paralyzes hyetzu for two DM posts.
Jyuta motioned for the warriors to follow him to meet with Matriarch Luna. He made it clear that they should give Matriarch Luna the utmost respect they could muster. What he did not mention was his displeasure with meeting with the Matriarch. Hyetzu all have a matriarchal society, and as a result, the males are often looked down upon. They represent the lowest rungs of the social ladder.
The guards at the doorway to the war room gave Jyuta a quick smell before they allowed for him to proceed. The females chuckled at one another at Jyuta's discomfort. But they were empathetic to Jyuta's current situation. His mother had often referred to him as her “first disappointment”. It was embarrassing for a matriarch's first born to be a male.
“Don't worry Jyuta, your mother will not be harsh as last time.”
“Keep your chin up, Jyuta. You did well.”
Jyuta nodded his head and brought the followers inside.
The matriarch's war room was an interesting location. It was a massive domed area with a large stream cutting through the centre. The dome itself had a large hole in the ceiling where the natural light of the sun or the moon shined upon the centre of the stream. In the middle of the stream was a square stone platform where tables and chairs were set up. On this table were maps, icons carved from rocks and bark, and various markings designating battles, supply caches, allies, and enemies. The matriarch stood here with her four captains discussing only the stars know what. The sides of the dome were decorated with various trophies from banners of human settlements and manors, captured weapons from heroes, armours, even the bones of humans, elves, and various beastfolk.
Matriarch Luna turned to face the newcomers and smelled the air deeply. So many fresh faces and scents, it was a bit of a relief to smell something other than hyetzu.
“Scout Jyuta, come forwards.”
Jyuta hesitantly marched upwards and stood before his mother. She looked regal for a hyetzi. Though she wore armour and had weapons slung upon her person, she gave off a calm demeanor. Her greying hair was tied in a pony tail with brass ringlets. She had numerous scars on her face and one one of her eyes suffered from cataracts. Her body was muscular for a female hyetzi. It was obvious she was still a warrior first and a political figure second even if she wanted to be all warrior.
“This is the lot you bring me?” she asked.
“Morgaine, arachnian stalker, reads a lot. Snake-man, likes to stab things a lot. No Idea, deinosaurian, likes to paint snake-man. Kijani, Minoan herbalist, stares into nothing. Maulfield, felesian, talks funny, slaver. Ressad, avian, probably tastes good. Drumbeat, Minoan, Verrbjorn, frightening.”
One of Luna's captains looked rather unimpressed with the group Jyuta brought in. She turned to the other captains and chuckled something about never having eaten snake before. But Matriarch Luna hushed her commanders and walked to Jyuta in silence. She placed her hands on her hips and looked to each member eye to eye. She knew what they were all capable of, it was evident in their figures, their smells, and the way they returned her gaze. They were mostly capable warriors.
“Good work, Jyuta.”
The matriarch motioned for the group to follow her up to the centre table. It was a relief that she was not throwing insults at Jyuta, and at the same time, confusing. He had expected her to be angry at his haul of bodies, or at the least, tell him how she preferred his younger sister over him. Perhaps the clan has become desperate in ending the feud.
“We have, for the most part, fought a losing war against Clan Bloodmouth. They've raided our outposts, slaughtered our maternal camps, and poisoned lakes in our territory. We've been pushed to the brink of collapse. There is no other option than to eliminate the entirety of their clan. I understand you all expect a reward for your efforts. We hyetzu have no need for coin taken from our kills. Once we have secured a future peace for our clan, we will fill your pockets with gold. And if you have no need for gold, we will give you whatever it is that you desire. Given, of course, you make it back here alive.”
Luna pointed out a location on the map close to the peninsula’s southern shores.
“Listen carefully. We have secured a deal with octopians for a powerful poison to use in our future conquest of Bloodmouth. You will take the bartering object from here and bring it past the mountains to the southern coast at a place we call The Weeping Rock. There, a ferryman will take you to sea to meet with the octopians. I will warn you now, a human trade fleet has been spotted near the shores lately. We have not a clue as to their intentions, but if you are afraid of water, now would be the time to excuse yourself from the Carrion Kingdom.
“You will not have to worry about further negotiations with the octopians. Once you retrieve the poison, bring it back here and give it to our War Maiden. I cannot express how important this poison is. Do not drop it, cause it any dilution, or lose it to thieves. The same goes for the bartering object. Do not let it escape or be killed.”
Matriarch Luna allowed the group to study the map for sometime before dismissing them all save for Kijani.
“I understand you wish to speak to me?” asked Luna.
The Burning Hall
The burning hall was exactly as it was named. The fires of the forge roared brilliantly casting a glow on the various captured weapons that hung on the wall. The clan's War Maiden, Jyuta's younger sister, pride of the clan, and second born to Matriarch Luna stood in the centre. Jyuki was well armoured in a complete set of Imperial hoplite armour save for the deepsilver breastplate. The breastplate itself was amazing piece of art and craftsmanship as it had a painted mural depicting hyetzu scavenging the lands conquering their enemies and rising up from the dirt as a mighty people. Jyuki had her hair dyed red like Ula but was tied in a long braid that went over her right shoulder.
“Jyuta! When mama said you were coming home I was excited! It has been so long since I've seen you! Let's go for a swim when all of this is over.”
She was a lot warmer than the other hyetzu were. It was obvious she and her elder brother shared a deep bond.
“Love to. Glad to see ya' still light headed as ever, Jyuki,” replied Jyuta casually. “Matriarch said you have something for us?”
“Ah! Yes, the bartering object.”
Jyuki barked into the air and within seconds Torok, the massive hyetzi that brought Kijani into the Carrion Kingdom, arrived with a light elven child in tow. The child was small, frightened, a little dirty, and chained with void iron cuffs and chains. Never mind how the hyetzu were able to get void iron restraints, how they managed to capture an elven child was a whole new mystery that will likely never be solved. The child hid behind Torok as the numerous beastfolk gazed upon her pitiful form.
Jyuki pointed her thumb towards the child and turned to the group.
“The octopians want her. Why? I don't care. I'm sure mama told ya'll what your task is. Make sure she reaches the shore alive and well, unharmed, yaddah yaddah yaddah. Oh! And no matter what she says, don't let her go! We have her in void iron for a reason.”
Jyuki nodded for Torok to hand over the girl. The massive hyetzi patted the child's head and spoke softly.
“Torok hand you over now. Be good small one.”
Jyuta grabbed the chains and nodded his head.
“Say, Jyuki, has the Matriarch changed at all?”
“No, what do you mean?”
It was obvious Jyuki was withholding something.
“She hasn't yelled at me, called me names, nothin'. C'mon, Jyuki, I'm your brother. Talk to me.”
Jyuki couldn't lie to her brother for much longer.
“Yeah, I sorta asked mom to be nicer to you. With all the other scouts dead you were the only one to return with warriors. She was mad at first. But after a little bit I convinced her to be civil.”
Jyuta nodded his head silently and patted his sister's shoulder. He did not say anything, but Jyuki knew he was thankful. She watched the group move off towards the centre plaza with the elven child in tow. Jyuki did not have the heart to mention that the Matriarch sent Jyuta away with the hopes of him being killed.
[All of you, save for Kijani, are in the centre plaza with the chained elven child. Ask any questions you have to either Jyuta, Jyuki, Torok, or Tomok in the centre plaza. This is the final opportunity to learn anything about your task or any related materials. Mostly, this is so I can get the next post ready :P]