Gau made stew. We had it over rice. It was excellent. All, except Alazne, were present.
After briefly returning to the chambers beneath the Temple of The Living God, in search of the Chamber of Earthly Pleasures and fighting a retreating action against The Black Hand, our heroes regrouped at Bakal’s, where they licked their wounds and planned what to do next.
Bellies full of stew and beer and chips and ginger and nuts, it dawned on the group that Markessa was two days ahead and if they were to catch her – they needed to get going. The group split and went to the markets to equip themselves for a long voyage over sand and sea.
The team ventured into the markets with full purses (borrowed funds from Estelwrath). Rope was acquired. And some provisions, and some water, and even a few weapons, and I heard mention of a 10′ pole. Inventories were checked and double checked. Dal “remembered” he had acquired some soggy, bloody armor off a dead Herald at some time previous. Eventually m our group lumbered bottle and bale back to Bakal’s. And, within a very few moments of arriving there, a runner warned all that members of the elite guard of Sgublugal Jadub Gura – The Owner – were approaching quickly. All fled into the street toward the construction yard where the wagon-boat awaited.
But, there were four guards there, waiting for the team to arrive at the wagon-boat. Our team, in a rare moment of clever planning, came up with a plan. Gau and Hilgari allowed themselves to be taken to the Palace, under arrest. They were marched off through the city streets, shoved and pushed and generally scorned by their captors. The three druids had a few words with Gau and wanted more – Gau directed them to find the rest of the group, and on the guards shoved and drove the captives. Until suddenly, Gau disappeared and Hilgari took off like a Mogasheeran Witch after a loose toddler – the guards had no chance.
Meanwhile, back at the wagon-boat – the one remaining guard wasn’t so lucky. He was left with Degroat, Dal and Ren to keep him company, and he didn’t know they were there. It went badly for him – he as brutally stabbed and beaten into unconsciousness – but not slain. And the boat wagon rolled out. It took a few moments in a side alley for Arok and Kaden to attach their Ankheg beasts to yoke and harness – but soon all were on the way to the great gates.
And what should be waiting but more guards – not the elite guards of Sgublugal Jadub Gura – but guards of the watch – regulators of the flow of goods and trade in and out of the city. One tried to sabotage the wagon with some grit in the axle bearing, and all worked to extort money from our little caravan. Hilgari and Lukin (mostly Hilgari) nearly took the life of the saboteur – but calmer heads prevailed. And...the druids showed up again. “Do not venture to the City of Death,” they warned, “avoid the Isle of Terror.” In a fury, they warned against the dangers of your plan, and said this place of horror had already taken the lives of many of their order. To journey to this place is to face certain death at the hands of horrors and abominations unnatural.
Finally, Garum (Estlewrath’s bald-headed slave and agent) appeared, and paid the guards their fees. With the druids looking on with great concern, the Ankhegs pulled the wagon-boat out into the desert. As VandeMarghul faded into the distance – our group took stock of its new members. The ranks now include the lithe Moasheeron Witch, Rum Dey Komisee. and the stout and swarthy navigator, Oatso. Oh, and a brace of lesser Marghul slaves – food for the Ankhegs?
Hours later, a lone figure began following their wagon. Then another. Soon, there were many. Men of the sea from long ago, and now mostly decomposed, trundled after the wagon-boat and its living occupants. Our team dismounted and began to hack them down, but the violence of combat, and especially the few wounds our heroes suffered, brought more and more undead until our heroes couldn’t possibly keep up. Barely escaping with their lives, they fought a retreating action to the cart and journeyed onward – nursing their wounded and unconscious as the undead sailors and seamen follow.
Soon, another wagon boat, a larger and better made version of their own – surrounded by a horde of ravenous undead and the tattered remains of priests of Razmir. Gau’s detect magic revealed a few potions scattered amongst the ruined bodies and in the bottom of the boat. But the mob, and the injuries of the team, demanded the caravan journeyed onward.
Ahead lies the coast. But how far ahead? Arok the D’Othar has taken ill, poisoned in the fight against the undead, perhaps. Oatso bemoans the poor condition of your wagon-boat and works to plug the gaps in the hull. Bloody clothes and soiled bandages litter the bottom of the wagon. Rum Dey seems healthier and more attractive with each passing hour. Somewhere ahead, in the dark distance, the Markessa and her masked minions are running with the key, the key to a city of unlimited wealth, the key to the City of Golden Death!