This is part 2 of the replay for my Call of Cthulhu / Cthulhu Dark Ages scenario, Branches of Bone.

Branches of Bone Replay Part 2: Call of Cthulhu Viking Age Survival Horror

This is part 2 of my replay for my own Cthulhu Dark Ages scenario, Branches of Bone. You can read the text version on You can purchase Branches of Bone on DriveThruRPG, and as a thank you for listening, the link will take you to a discounted version.

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Branches of Bone: A Cthulhu Dark Ages Scenario of Viking Age Survival-Horror Out now on DriveThruRPG:–A-Cthulhu-Dark-Ages-Scenario?affiliate_id=3534349 Beleaguered chieftain Askr Yelloweye leads you and your impoverished clansmen to the rocky isle of Skógrbein, off the coast of Northumbria. Askr chases a vision from Freya, claiming she showed him a relic of Yggrdasil held in the heathens’ stone temple sitting upon Skógrbein.

This the second part of my narrative replay for my own Call of Cthulhu / Cthulhu Dark Ages scenario, Branches of Bone. If you haven’t read the first part, you can do so here. If you’re a player, or just don’t want to know everything about the scenario ahead of time, you can read or listen to the first, spoiler-lite section of my overview of Branches of Bone here, and if you want to purchase is, as a thank you for visiting my site, you can get it on 25% discount through this link for $3.95. 

And now, on to Branches of Bone, part 2.




Spoilers Call of Cthulhu




Off-balance from his own vision, much less the madness spouted by Revna, Svend stumbled away from the others, towards the far wall and its cracked sigil. Likewise disturbed, but instead driven to angry frustration, Njal stomped back up the stairs. No warriors, nothing to fight, only this damned magic. Njal was leaving. Harald stared at his father, frozen in place with his followers, words not their own, in voices not their own, in languages not their own, slipping from unmoving lips. He shook his head and followed Njal. 

Revna paused before also going up, turning an ear to the ensorceled Vikings’ whispers as something snagged her attention. Four Vikings, each speaking in a different language. Their own tongue, the tongue of the monks, and three others. Three others. Four Vikings, five voices. She shuddered, shouted to Svend they were going up, then hurried to the stairs.

Svend waved her off. He’d never taken to runes. Couldn’t read them, certainly couldn’t write them, but he could tell the brutal scratchings ringing the sigil did not exist in his language. Their harsh angles and savage lines spoke of something primal, something violent. He could almost hear, almost feel its meaning. Its rhythm. A steady thumping beat. 

His brow furled. He reached out, setting a palm on the wall, right over the cracked tree at the centre of the sigil. The brittle stone vibrated under his palm with a slow and steady beat. Putting his ear to it, he could hear the muffled beat. Disturbed but curious, he spun around a spear and bashed at the wall with its butt. 

It proved thin, and chunks broke away without much persuasion. When he’d made a hole the size of his fist, and he had hefty fists, he squinted through, perplexed. Only two knuckles in was another wall. One of wood. His squint tightened. He knew wood, he built his own ships, cut the timber himself. The wall’s wood was knotted and swirled. No one had worked that wood. It wasn’t a wall. It moved, in time with the beat, pulsing, throbbing. Beating. Living. 

Under a strange compulsion, he pushed his fingers against it. That familiar pressure rushed through his body from his fingertips, up to and squished his brain. 

Below him, those insufferable little bipedal creatures flung seeds around that stone, the southernmost of the four. Amongst his roots pitiful little trees sprouted, but soon the tangled and choked him, stealing his water, and the stone grew fat with their plunder. He cried out as it and the others overwhelmed him with their weight.

The wood thumped away under his fingers, his own heartbeat slowing to meet its pulse. And with a horrifying certainty, Sven knew a heart, a great, vast, and terrible organ, beated away on the other side of the living wood. He pulled his hand away, ignoring the stinging pain as if the skin on his fingertips ripped away, like ripping skin from frozen iron. He pointedly ignored the feeling of something bony and rigged poking through the torn flesh, and the horrible itching breaking out over his body.

Svend fled, trying not to realise he understood two of the voices flowing from the cursed Vikings, one of which spoke in the exact manner he instinctively knew the writing around the sigil would sound on a human tongue. And he certainly ignored the bark-like knotted and swirling scabs growing with observable speed over the Vikings skin, or the spurs breaking out of their fingers and joints, splitting like branches that twisted and groped for him as he sprinted past.

Njal planned to find the pudgy monk and drag him down to the crypt. This all stank of magic. Heathen magic. And what were monks if not magicians? Njal snared at the three robed men, hundling together. Damned sorcerous freaks, the lot of them. 

But just before he snatched one up he checked himself for two reasons. One, Revna was a Volur, and while Njal couldn’t claim to be an expert in religion, magic, or words, he guessed a Volur wasn’t much different from a sorcerer, and she was alright by him. The monks may be cowards and southern barbarians, but they seemed just as frightened out of their minds as he would be if he wasn’t fearless.

The second reason was the racket from down the hall. Goats braying and chickens squawking in a maddening chorus, like a wolf had gotten into the pen. Something about their screeches set his teeth on edge. They were muffled, gargling like they were being drowned. The scrawny monk met his eye, said something in a shaky voice and gestured at the animal shack.

Njal hefted his axe and stomped forward. In tune with his man, Harald readied his sword and shield and fell in step with the berserker. Revna, huffing from going up the stairs so soon after her augery, leaned on her staff the centre of the hall and waited. By the time Svend reached the last step, sweat stinging his eyes, Harald and Njal had already crept into the storeroom.

Feathers wafted in the air over the partition. One squawking hen fluttered up, nearly cresting the partition. Something snagged its leg. With a crack the chicken snapped down, its rattling screech drowning out as its throat clogged. 

Njal and Harald looked at eachother. Nodded. They peered over the partition. 

Njal grunted. Harald stumbled back, tripping over his own feet, and cursed and prayed in a string of obscenities. 

The goats and chickens huddled together in a wriggling mass. Not together, in eachother. Jammed through one another in crude angles, beeks and necks, horn and talons, wings and heads sticking out and wrapped around, all held together with woody blotches and tendrils. Two gibbering goat heads rounded on Njal, still frozen in place by the hideous site, and the thing tried getting to its many feet.

Cleary not yet comfortable in its growing form, the amalgamation struggled and flopped about, giving Njal time to snap out of his funk, and with a roar bash his way into the paddock and swing his axe. The mighty chop lopped off a slab of flesh and barky growth, taking a goat head with it. Little blood flowed, but a thick, sickly sweet yellow liquid splattered the walls and Njal.

Braying in pain, though Njal swore it actually laughed, the abomination gained a semblance of balance, and tw tendrils slithered towards Njal. One tendril met his axe, spinning off to squirm and die in the corner of the room, but the other seized his ankle, drawing him into the wriggling mass. Spurs jabbed into his skin, and something within his flesh answered, reaching out to break free of his own body.

Harald pushed up to his feet, and dow his fear. With a war cry he bounded into the pen, driving his sword into the beast. The blade clanged uselessly off a hard bit of bark, and the freakish eyes of the goat turned on Harald. It gave a wet scream, gnashing its flat teeth. 

Then the head whirled the air, spurting yellow gunk over Harald and Njal, whose axe tore through the mass of the amalgamation, tearing it apart. It crumbled into pulsing chunks, and those too soon died.

The sweet goop sank into their skin. Their minds jolted again out of their human confines. 

Harald watched crowds of men and women, bearing swords billowing smoke, slashing into his roots, his trunks, trying to find his heart. He ripped and tore them apart, but the scars remained, and he would always know how close they’d come to poisoning him from the inside out. 

Njal remembered dreaming. The stones held him in a deep slumber for eons, but he still dreamed. The people who had snared him into sleep gave way to others. They planted trees around him, and worshiped him, but they kept him locked away with gifts of spit, ash, seeds, and blood. Others followed, clearing the trees and covering him with a stone temple. He almost awoke then, but legions with smoke and iron hurt him enough to put him back to sleep. And finally others took their place, building a larger stone temple, but they did not feed him as the others had. And so he grew stronger, still asleep, but with enough power to let slip a dream out into the world, where another lost soul found them. And that soul had come, and finally the dreams slipped away. It was time to wake up.



Thank you for reading. If you would like to see how Branches of Bone goes for your group, you can purchase it on DriveThruRPG. And as a thank you for reading all the way through, you can get it for 50% off using this link.
Before you go, though, maybe take a look at some more scenario replays?
Seeds of Terror: The Mummy of Pemberley Grange, Endless Light, One Less Grave.
Chasioum: Amidst the Ancient Trees, The Necropolis
Japonism: Do Gods Dream of Digital Drugs?

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