Saturday, August 10, 2013

Westmist Session #51 - Charmed I'm Sure

Erijay, Kern and Vorn decided to press on further into the mountain, since the alternative was to go back and sit in the pool of water for gods knows how long. As they donned their packs and prepared to leave, Darnorth arrived in a flurry of curses on Kern for leaving the basilisk head on the path, nearly turning the dwarf to stone. .  Using hand signals through the gate, Rikar told the dwarf there was no sign yet of Riley, Gurruk or Turrick, so Darnorth decided to catch up with his companions to help them on their way.  And on the way they were, pressing down another long 20’ wide corridor that headed on for hundreds and hundreds of feet. Erijay and Vorn were nervously eyeing their oil supply when Kern suddenly raised a hand to signal a halt. The merchant had heard faint noise ahead. Covering their light sources, Erijay and Darnorth peered into the dark with their infravision, seeing a band of short humanoids (and one tall one) blocking the narrowing passage ahead.  To the left another narrow, natural passage branched off into the darkness. Assuming the creatures had already seen their light, the four moved forward to engage. As they got closer, they saw a phalanx of the chimpanzee/man creatures (tasoli) backed by another one of the snake men (yg-ti). The part opened fire on the yg-ti and ignored the tasoli, figuring it was the greater threat. And it was, for in short order, it had charmed Kern and forced the other three to run away in fear. The fear eventually wore off, but not before Vorn and Darnorth had run back to the gate and Erijay pretty much back to the pool. The three turned around and headed back to help Kern. Who in the meantime had agreed with his new scaly friend that his companions had abandoned him and the merchant would be best served by accompanying the yg-ti.

Once Darnorth, Erijay and Vorn got back to the branch, Kern and the yg-ti were gone, but the tasoli still blocked the way. Determined to bull through them to rescue their friend, weapons were drawn to attack. And the three were quickly surprised by a second band of tasoli coming out of the left hand tunnel. Erijay frantically ripped a page out of Bjorn’s spellbook and cast sleep to take out a great many of the creatures. The rest of the tasoli stood their ground, and it took much swinging of swords and hammer to clear the way. Stopping briefly to finish off their sleeping foes, the trio raced on. Ahead they could see daylight at the end of the tunnel. Erijay cast locate object, focused on Kern’s alien jumpsuit, but the merchant  (or at least his clothes) were out of range. Running towards the light in order to close the distance, they burst out into the light of the evening sun. Behind them and to the right rose sheer cliffs 400’ high; more cliffs could be seen far in the distance. And in this rift spread the remains of a ruined city. Tumbled columns, collapsed buildings, all overgrown with vines and other foliage, spread as far as the eye could see.  Except straight ahead, where they could see a swampy area.  But there was no time to admire the view, as Vorn caught movement out of the corner of his eye, and they all turned to face two more yg-ti. One was a scaly skinned humanoid like the others they had seen, except snakes grew from its shoulders in place of arms. The other was a snake headed humanoid wielding a wickedly huge halberd. Weapons were drawn, but combat was short as Erijay was able to charm the human headed/snake armed yg-ti. She asked her new friend to call off his companion. The second yg-ti was hesitant. But when Darnorth flashed the black tablet he’d recovered from the breeding pits of Yg, the snake headed creature obeyed, convinced now there had been a mistake and the party were servants of the snake god.
Questioning their new friend, they learned that Kern had been led off to meet the leader of the cult of Yg, someone (something?) by the name of Horen. Erijay’s snake sword was a relic of the cult lost when the cult of Yg was shattered in the north, but spies had discovered its location and one of their own had passed through the gate to recover it. It was now held somewhere in the temple of Yg. The yg-ti themselves were being breed or created in the temple so the cult could rise again. Horen had brought many of the jungle creatures into the service of the cult, and had the surrounding human tribes frightened enough to do whatever he bid as well. In the city itself were the yg-ti, tasoli, bullywug and bugbears. There was also a band of mongrelmen, degenerate descendants of the original inhabitants of the city, who were shunned by the cult.  And finally, the swamp and lake were home to the ‘god of the lake’, a dragon of some sort based on the description. It was pretty much indifferent to all in the city, but was worshipped by the bullywugs. Erijay also asked if they could do something about that little skin problem, their oil supply now having reached a critical point. The yg-ti could not help, but offered to take them to Horen as he wilded great magic and could probably help them. Instead, Erijay asked that they lead them to a water source in case she and Vorn needed to go for a dip. This the yg-ti did, showing them a still full well in the courtyard of a ruined building.

Stepping aside from the yg-ti for a few moments, Darnorth, Erijay and Vorn discussed what to do next. The snake headed yg-ti was insistently trying to guide them to Horen, and they probably couldn’t delay too much longer. They decided to turn on the two yg-ti in surprise and cut them down. This unfortunately didn’t go too well. Blows were landed on the two snake men, but did not slay them. Instead, Erijay found herself charmed and Vorn and Darnorth were once more sent running back towards the tunnel in fear. And in a repeat of Kern’s experience, Erijay was led away by the yg-ti to meet Horen, and by the time Vorn and Darnorth returned, they were long gone.

Now deep in trouble, the dwarf decided to use his remaining precious wish to try rectifying the situation.  Darnorth called upon the powerful magic to heal all his companions of all hurts and harms and enchantments, and to teleport them all to a specific location next to the well.  Alas even this mighty magic couldn’t do everything he asked; both he and Vorn (and presumably everyone else) were healed and Vorn got his normal skin back. But no one appeared to join them by the well. It now being night, the dwarf and cleric headed off into the ruins to find a place to hunker down and rest before deciding what to do next. In the morning, the two were joined by a human magic user by the name of Aratheas, who stumbled out of the ruins. She had been with another adventuring band and her companions had been wiped out trying to enter the city. Having spent some time sheltering with the mongrelmen, she had decided to try making it out of the city on her own rather than remain trapped there forever. The lady mage agreed to join the pair in return for assistance getting out of the city once their mission was complete.
[While all of this was going on, Kern and Erijay were brought separately before Horen. He proved to be a man, a wizard in red silk robes who questioned them about their purpose in the city. He assumed they were still charmed, but Darnorth’s wish had broken that spell, so the two told only a tale of looking for the snake sword that had been stolen from them. Satisfied with that answer, Horen ordered them taken to the temple where they could be ‘converted to the service of the snake god’. Stripped of their gear, the two were led off through the ruined city and imprisoned in the temple of Yg.]

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