Mythic Russia playtest session 5
Outside the church, Bear and Volk joined forces and created a terrifying howling. This, combined with Tengujin's archery, persuaded the remaining monks to flee the compound. Bear (and the bear), Volk (and his wolves) and Tengujin (and his horse) all entered the small chapel. The bear went into the back of the church, ripped down the altar screen, and entered the inner sanctum of the chapel. This was inside a pre-existing cave in the hill against which the monastary was built. The bear went into the cave and sat on the floor, moaning.
Meanwhile, out in the forest, Valvo came across a few deliberately-blocked game trails. As well as the unseasonal greenery, he also noticed that there was less animal life in the forest than he was expecting. He was then found by Satyga, an important hunter in the local Khant (Sibiryak) group. Satyga warned Valvo against going into the village, because of the evil vodyanye that haunted it and the christians that depised all non-christians. Valvo decided to ignore his advice and returned to the village, saying that his friends were there. Satyga decided to accompany him.
While all the was going on, a Russian hunter (a temporary PC) approached the village of Novosibirsk. He was in the employ of the Prince of Novgorod to see if he could extract some tax revenue from the fur trading in the town. He was met by a group of hysterical monks fleeing the village, ranting that some bandits had attacked the monastery and killed the abbot. The hunter decided to do something about it. Ordering the monks to find him food and drink, he entered the village square, rounded up a few trappers with weapons, and the group of them approached the monastery.
As he got there, he saw a Sibiryak man and adolescent (Satyga and Valvo) ascending the path ahead of him, and watched as Valvo greeted the wolves hanging around the gates to the monastery and pass into the courtyard. The hunter ordered the men to attack the wolves while he stood back and shot them.
Valvo entered the church to see the mess caused by the bear. Both Valvo's and Tengujin's magical senses were keen enough to see into the Ideal World and see the heart-blood flowing from the scars in the bears chest and pool on the ground of the cave. They also saw the shape of hands plunging into the pool of blood and rising up, looking like hollow gloves made of spiritual blood. Valvo put his hands in the pool, and the blood stayed on them when he took them out. He then stood in the pool and had a strong sense that Olga, his mother, was near and that she loved him.
At this point, Volk heard the howls and yelps from his wolves by the gate as the trappers from the village attacked. As Volk rushed out, it was hit by an arrow from the hunter. Volk dived into cover. He made the wolves more terrifying and charge the trappers. The attacking wolves and the sight of Volk, still covered in Fr Volkh's gore, was more than the trappers could stand, even when bolstered by the hunter's admonishments; they fled.
There followed a tense stand-off between the hunter and the pagans inside the monastery. Every time one of those inside showed themselves, the hunter showed the benefits of his great skill with the bow and his quick and keen eyes. He was also too patient to rise to Tengujin's requests to say who he was. The sharpness of his arrows was even too much for Bear's thick skin and resistance to pain. Eventually, those inside rushed out together and brought down, and killed, the hunter.
Valvo wanted to go to the river to wash off the blood that was all over him. Volk and Tengujin questioned his judgement in entering a village of christians to bathe in a haunted river, but Valvo couldn't see the problem. Satyga suggested that they go to his family's camp as his wife, Khui, a christian-hating shaman, would like to meet them. On the way there, Satyga asked Volk to ask his wolves to crap in the woods near Novosibirsk, to scare the game animals away from there.
Everyone arrived at the Khant camp, who held a feast in their honour. There was some discussion between them about things going on in the village and the surrounding forest, but nothing much was revealed that the player heroes didn't already know: they river was haunted, the leshy had gone missing, and things looked in a bad way.