We were back at Munin’s last Friday. Pizza was on the menu, courtesy of Degroat. We ate and ate and were sad about ourselves soon after. Luckily, our gluttony didn’t keep us from forging ahead and returning to our captured and tortured heroes.
The group, all but Degroat, ate the black tar balls and soon felt the violence of the poison pill. Each rolled a 1d8 against STR, CON, and DEX, and vomited and spewed as they lay suffering. Estelwrath made sure the auction price would be as low as possible – and it worked. He made a show of your mistreatment; blaming Krrrrkkt’t for his carelessness with such potentially valuable property. A lowly trader by the name of Bakal Thijcoor was able to purchase your entire band for the fairly cheap rate of 6,000 gold.
You were surprised when you were greeted with healing salves, nourishing broth, and even more surprised at the healing touch of Inti, Esili, Nisil, and Silni – comely pale slave women from the deep south.
In the morning, all were given showy but poorly made armor, freshly painted white, but not particularly cleaned of previous contestants’ blood. Three rage and three strength potions added to team pumpitude. Big theatrical weapons were handed out – designed more for show than for function – and four tower shields. Within moments, the great gates opened and the crowd began to roar.
The battlements atop the walls of Mock-Erramun were lined with the black skinned enemy. As you advanced, their feathered black shafts hammered the tower shields of the front rank. A champion of the enemy stepped from the gates before you – and some charged – only to be ambushed by an aged Ankheg bursting from the sands.
The Angheg didn’t last long, and the supposed champion went down soon after. The champion wasn’t really the blind fighter from Erramun, but some simulacrum. Hilgari went ‘sploring around the tower and climbed up to pick his own fight – Ren followed his lead and climbed the front – both were given a pounding by the Marghbull’s concealed inside.
The group nearly fell into the same pitfall where all were captured two weeks previous – dividing and diluting the team’s offensive strength. Some were attacked the main “door,” others climbed the walls to face muscle bound horrors solo, Gau held back for fear of failing to gain the popular support, and some hunkered in the shadow of the wall waiting for one path or the other to evolve.
Brute strength and a bit of luck won out in the end, however, and the defenders of fake Erramun were utterly defeated with only Ren and Hilgari sustaining serious wounds. The crowd was unsure, at first, as to what they had just witnessed. These terrible killers, these attackers of the outpost of Erramun, these hated enemies – had triumphed. That isn’t the way the show was supposed to end. These villains climbed and ran and gave as good or better than they got. They used only their hands, and threw knives, and killed many foes with single dramatic blows. A real show like none they had ever seen before. It was great to watch!
Paraded through town and back to Bakal’s humble domicile, you took some time to nurse your wounds and await your next bout in the arena. After a day or two, you decided to follow up on some information delivered from Estelwrath. Markessa is in town and is staying at the Temple of the Living God. You had seen some of their iron masked acolytes outside the city gates when you arrived. Evidently, whatever Markessa was looking for at Erramun, she had finally found it.
Gau helped Hilgari to become invisible – and gave him a sort of rat-in-a-pocket potion for a recharge and with that, Hilgari snuck into the temple. He made good progress, exploring the majority of the ground level. It was on the second level, after ascending a great staircase, that he got a bit distracted by a very large emerald. It turned out to be trapped when he tried to pry it from it’s hold – he was hit by a very heavy blast of energy. The blast set off alarms and the temple came alive. Hilgari, to his credit, didn’t run however. He used the commotion to try and steal further into the temple. It was in the next chamber when an iron statue turned and yelled, “intruder!” with armed guards and Markessa herself nearby, that Hilgari finally had seen enough – he turned and ran back out to his waiting comrades in the street.
It was a good time. What shall we do this Friday? Continue to pursue the Markessa and the cult-like Temple of the Living God? What are they doing in there? What did the Markessa find? It was members of the cult that raided Kassen’s tomb and recovered two pieces of the key to hidden treasure? Could she have found the third and final piece?