After the Storm

Visions of Doom and Plans for Glory

well at least the curse is lifted

All present.

The heroes rested after their fight, Korhadriel being some days from unconsciousness with all his wounds (and no one with First Aid, Medicine skills etc.)

The next day, they hear some chanting or singing from ahead in the forest and Edrahil and Gunnar go to explore while Captain Jurgen stays back, as he is carrying the unconscious Korhadriel.

Efforts to approach the source of sounds stealthily fail and several native warriors appear.

The two explorers keep weapons sheathed and try to parlay though no common language is found. Edrahil holds out the sigil he was given by the “king” but it doesn’t attract as much attention as the two elves, who provoke quite a bit of chatting and pointing and then some dispute as the two humans are then pointed at, their legs in particular, which are inspected.

The heroes deduce the natives somehow knew of them by description that included a human with wooden leg (Gunnar having miraculously regrown his leg meaning they don’t quite fit the description).

The native talk includes some key repeated phrases among which are Morwana and Morintaba, the PC’s had earlier learned that the Magritta company’s native foes were called Morwana Timely Arrival at Puesta del Sol- though that didn’t appear to be spotted.

After more natives are fetched and more discussion among them, four of the warriors are tasked to guide the heroes somewhere while the others all vanish away. The leader of the four is one who seemed to have prevailed in some dispute about the heroes, though gaining this task as a result didn’t please him.

The PC’s are then lead through the jungle eastwards for seven days, going so far as to reach the foothills of the eastern mountains where they see a rocky spire or mesa pointed to as the destination. During this time the Captain struggled with his disease and did not make much progress, worsening a little.

More interestingly, while carrying an unconscious Korhadriel, one of the silver cubes in his pouch started issuing a sibilant voice – it repeated itself and after a few moments a shrill whistle like the ones that triggered skinflake survivors’ transformations sounds, so piercing it’s a Stress, but unlike previous times it has been heard it keeps rising in pitch, dealing a Wound to all in vicinity (the unconscious from wounds Korhadriel takes an automatic critical, a nuisance black to mental checks) before Edrahil grabs it with his gauntleted hand and hurls it into jungle – just as it flashes a red blast and turns to dust.

Not long afterwards, the other silver cube starts the same progression but it is hurled away at the ‘stress causing stage’.

Continuing on, after a few days Korhadriel has regained consciousness, awaking with a start as visions came flooding back – shadowy reptilian people working in the Great Pyramid’s sarcophagi chamber, a great assembly of armed men camped in the sunken ruins and then terrifying images of the world being overrun by skinflake transformed humanoids (Terror 4 failed) {though he does not share these details till later, below}

On Sommerzeit 27th, the group reaches the rocky spire and ascends via a pathway around it. At the top is a ruined brick building and a small pyramid on which sits a metal disk set on a shaft so it can be turned.

The native warrior who lead them here starts spinning it and gestures for the heroes to keep it going. In the setting sun, the spinning disk flashes brightly. After about twenty minutes of this he signals they can stop and that they should remain, while he leaves (no further sign of the tribal warriors).

The next day, the heroes hear someone ascending the rock and see four warriors with curved swords and composite bows, cloth headdresses come up and take a defensive screen in front of two robed figures, each wearing gilded masks that look like the King and Queen. Though dark-skinned as with other natives their clothing and arms are clearly more sophisticated.

They quickly establish the gilded figures comprehend a sort of pidgin elvish (Korhardriel considers if it is an earlier proto-elvish and decides it’s a debased pidgin elvish instead, 3D Education check).

Edrahil tells them of their King and Queen awaiting them, which triggers surprise and questions about the status of the city, if lizardmen are around it (after some confusion they are told no). The natives consider this would be good news if it wasn’t for the fact the sun will soon go dark (the world is ending) for the City of the Gods has been entered.

On the plus side, this seems to satisfy whatever curse was on them and their shortness of breath (2 enduring Fatigue each) vanishes.

The gilded priests (as it turns out) and heroes talk and the heroes learn that (according to the priests) the army of many types of people (Magritta mercenaries) are pawns of the Serpents that Walk – which are not lizardmen and which can pass as humans as some sort of shapeshifter. These creatures are the enemies of all and prophecy says that if the City of the Gods falls the human race will end, so these creatures entering it certainly looks bad – at this point Korhardriel shares his terrifying vision which seems to depict that outcome.

Somebody makes custom diseases that transform victims into crazed killers and someone, maybe the same someone, has got control of the site with the templates for all the humanoid races – that can’t be bad can it?

The heroes learn when posing as humans these creatures are undetectable unless they are carrying some of their strange ‘hidden magic’ artefacts (silver cubes and such), though if they are killed by something fatal to a human but not a serpent person they change back. There is a poison (ingested) which qualifies and which these people all carry (giving some to heroes).

Examining things the heroes have found, they are shown the staff Korhadriel took from Borgir’s body and are awed, it is a Staff of Ptrah. What that means in practice they don’t know, it’s legend, Ptrah is the great creator whose gaze must not be met (some comparative symbology suggests this is the same god the elves call Asuryan, and was the greatest power referenced in the City of Gold). Magical sight reveals the staff is some sort of conduit, the bearer may effectively act as a proxy for some entity (which is still active) though at great risk to sanity from the contact with such a power. Gunnar, feeling he may have fatally erred in shooting his brother Borgir, offers to carry it now. He cannot sense anything when handling it though.

Korhadriel tries and manages to contact a distant mind (when he handled staff in the pyramid it was difficult to stop from being overwhelmed by something, now he must work to reach it). Korhadriel is successful, earning him the chance to pass a Fear 4 check in terms of stress risk, and has a vision of how guided by the mind working through the staff, the ‘control room’ site in the smaller “Prophet’s Pyramid” can be used to cause the city’s energies to overload and destroy it – including the contents of the Great Pyramid being used by the ‘serpents the walk’. This seems a radical, last option, though the heroes can see no other way now.

The gilded priests stay with the heroes a day atop the mesa, and overnight, praying for them (between them giving a boatload of fortune dice to PC rolls, mostly to the Captain as he suffers disease). They also give some tonic that helps suppress symptoms.

Edrahil asks that a letter be taken to the waiting boat, describing where it is, writing a note that explains the officers do not expect to return.

Two warriors guide the heroes to another way to enter the canyon city (the gilded priests’ people keeping watch on all such ways), taking five days. This is a place where the cliff face is more easily climbed – it descends into the marsh at one end of the city – which if crossed would lead heroes close to the Prophet’s Pyramid. The heroes climb down, Captain Jurgen managing to hold firm to Korhadriel’s safety rope when he slips.

In the marsh they encounter some poisonous water vipers and three heroes (all but Korhadriel) are bitten suffering a woozy condition from the poison.

(Draw from nature encounter cards dictated the risk)

Though they have speculated that Borgir’s followers who scattered on his death likely live in the marsh they do not try to contact the “bullywugs” as Captain Jurgen calls them (recalling a game involving imaginary places he played when he was a teenager).

The heroes make their way to the edge of the marsh next to the city ruins but spend the day there, getting a bit water-logged, waiting for darkness to make their desperate effort to sacrifice themselves and save their races from extinction.

Next time, Going Out With a Bang?



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