Hilgari was out of town so Gau and I gathered the data projector (for our advanced mapping project) and figures from his home. We barely survived. Thankfully, he had a couple of spare Guinness in his fridge which served as iron rations to fortify our labors.
So, Friday we gathered again – all but Hilgari and Ren – to sit gathered in Gau’s space, around his table and successfully re-deployed the mapping project. It worked – again! I brought a crock-pot full of sloppy joe’s – 7 lbs of moose and beef, which, before the night was out, we killed. And on we went. Degroat and Dal stepped off the street to exchange positions with Hilgari and Ren on overwatch.
Some brief debate about whether to go upstairs or down in the Temple of the Living God. The upstairs argument won out, so up we went. There were sounds behind the giant bronze doors ahead, and everyone wanted to tamper with the mask beset with emerald behind- but all were fearful of Hilgari’s painful experience. Finally, Dal tried the doors and sure enough, they were trapped with an fierce ice burst. The spell caused all to save vs. freezing – but everyone made it – and threw open the doors. Behind lay the mask golem and initiative! Painful melee ensued – for some. Degroat ran after noises and witnessed a slight girl leap from one of the temple windows – and leapt after. Alazne was be-masked by the golem – unable to breathe, hear, or see – luckily, the rest brought their magical weapons and magic-like fists to bear and brought the masked guardian down.
Degroat landed in the street below and the girl was gone – onlookers watched in astonishment. Degroat took after retreating glimmer and rustle and finally ran down the fleeing, invisible figure. His pursuit was relentless and finally the figure paused to fire some deadly energy – but it wasn’t enough to bring him down and a quick left and right of Degroat’s daggers dropped the girl. He carried her back to the temple and yelled to yonder window on high.
Meanwhile, Lukin, Dal, and Alazne started to interrogate an acolyte caught in the Markessa’s chambers. It turns out that Markessa and company left some two days ago. They are headed across the Sand Sea in a small wagon train, with wagons built like wheeled boats. They head for the City of Golden Death on the Isle of Terror!
Having enough of all this talk, Gau started building a pyre in the middle of the floor. Then, shouts from outside alerted our heroes that the forces of Sgubjugal Jadub Gura, Owner of the temple and Owner of all VandeMarghul was outside demanding to know what was going on.
Our team lit the fire, took their two captives, and ran downstairs. Some brief exploration and a humorous tumble down a spiral staircase trap led to a battle with a giant snake – which didn’t last long, but again, blood of our heroes was let and they continued to push beyond their exhausted healing reservoir. At this point, Alazne was being carried, I believe.
Discovery of a secret door led to a long dark narrow earthy hallway. Gau went first and was thoroughly disgusted and annoyed by the spider swarm he discovered and their stinging biting wounds – especially as they drained his meager hit points. He led the swarm back toward the party at a run – where the creeping swarm was annihilated in a fiery conflagration.
Back down the tunnel, carrying Alazne and Tikka – and up through the floor of an active drinking establishment, the Plainsman’s Lament, during early-afternoon-happy-hour. All were surprised, but drinks all around was welcome medicine for the disturbance. No doubt all were bloodied and Alazne and Tikka lay gracefully allowed those better off to have a moment of refreshment.
After limping back through the streets, our heroes collapsed in a heap as they reached the quiet safety of Bakal Thijcoor’s humble residence. Hours of Bandar massages and rest later, the team was ready for a second go! Where was that “chamber of earthly pleasures?”
Back to The Plainsman’s Lament – all cleaned and polished and magics remembered – a heroes welcome awaited them. Drinks all around and singing and cheering as they descended again through the little door – in the floor.
There was a moment when all might have gone otherwise, a moment where Degroat rolled a stealth roll – but that went poorly, and then there were guards, the elite troops of Sgubjugal Jadub Gura and the fighting became drawn out and bogged down and soon the enemy was calling, in their foul dark tongue for “the Black Hand” and on it came in darkness and fear. And all fled, except those who couldn’t run fast enough and those hurt badly, almost unto death, in a single round of the horror’s ferocity. Back, back down the tunnel to the Plainsman’s Lament…. and lament they did.
Our team boiled out of the hole in the floor to cheers and hooray’s from the happy patrons, and the darkness followed, and death came after, death for all.
But our team, they ran, once again, ran off into the streets, bleeding and bandaged.
That’s pretty much where we called it a night.
Estelwrath’s man (scribe, slave, and right hand), Garum, has arranged for some kind of boat-wagon for you. It is to be pulled by a pair of Ankheg and their D’Othar drovers, Arok and Kaden. The girl, Tikka, is to remain behind.
How will you find your way to the Isle of Terror across the Sand Sea? Some rumor was heard that the Sand Sea is actually a dried lake bed haunted by the restless souls of an ancient naval battle who yet search for victory and hate all life. And what to do once you find your way across the sand and journey on some distant water? Where is this Isle? Perhaps some sort of navigator might be helpful? What other equipment and supplies might you need? Great treasure awaits – and the masked forces of Razmir…or is it Zaghlool…are days ahead of you!
Oh, and Gau’s fire… it burned a bit before it was extinguished. Extinguished by someone else who now hates you.