Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Journey's Quest II

After obtaining some additional information about the temple and what was there, the crew set out into the desert to find the Celestial Compass that was in the hands of the Yuan-ti. A full day of travel later the crew reached their destination. Andargo rushed ahead (as usual) and was quickly attacked by the snakes warriors guarding the entrance. With a swift victory, the crew ventured inside. The entrance was, surprise, more warriors, but one escaped and raised the alarm. Further inwards tougher Yuan-Ti with pet snakes greeted the heroes. It was tough fight. However, the crew were able to defeat their foes and toss the leader of the pack, a Yuan-Ti Abomination, into a pit at the center of the room. Cleared of all danger, the crew faced a choice. Which door would lead to the Celestial Compass?

Meanwhile, Trystrem the Tear Jerker sojourned with the Malakim regiment to Dorne. Once there he settled while the captain settled matters with his former quartermaster. Trystrem shared many tales with the troops; stories of adventures on the high seas with Captain Daggfin and all the rest of the Ever Valiant. Many of this tribe’s soldiery had never thought of sailing the distant seas, having only known their nomadic lives on their seas of sand. The bard regaled them with tales of lands far beyond the horizon.

The coming days were spent exploring Malakim city life, learning about the local culture and investigating the exotic goods to be found at the bazaar. His nights were spent playing bawdy tunes to raucous crowds amongst a few of Borne’s taverns. By the third night Trystrem was requested to perform at the largest venue in all the city. Those in attendance at “The Sandy Dune” received a memorable variety show (the joke about how many Svartalfar it takes to light a candle really killed).

One evening, he wrote his wife, far away in the Amurite lands. Even though he missed his wife greatly, his first love was adventure. Oh, what’s that? What about the others? You mean you want to hear what Dagfinn, Andargo, Vorn, Quimby and Battlecat were doing? If living like a rock star is less interesting than delving into dangers unknown, then...fine (sigh).

Ahem. After clearing the first few rooms of the Celestial Temple, the crew pressed ever onwards. There were some aggressive negotiations after Quimby, a dragonborn, stopped killing the Yuan-ti long enough to listen to them. Then the crew continued fighting through the first level of the temple. They found themselves trapped upon entering a room with a pair of skeletons lying on the floor. Expecting the bones to come to life at any moment, Quimby proceeded to take their feet in the hopes of preventing them from having the ability to stand. Sadly, these skeletons weren’t animated, but the trigger of a trap releasing swarms of insects into the room! A few bug bites and lots of fire spells later, Dagfinn & Co. found themselves face to face with fire elementals. It was unknown how these extraplanar beings had cross over into Erebus, and the mystery did little to entice their curiosities before they beat a hasty retreat.

Of note was a chamber designed to halt all forward progress by teleporting them back to the doorway. Some shredded tapestries eventually led the crew to the conclusion that they needed to walk along each tile as if they were knights on a chessboard. At the end they hesitantly opened a treasure chest. Inside were a few mundane items within which proved to be quite useful. Five magic potions were also inside, and Battlecat - being thirsty after eating large quantities of snake meat - lapped one up out of a saucer he kept in his pack. The potions revitalized the heroes with new energy, as if they had taken a quick rest. They were a welcome gift as one of the side effects Dagfinn’s attunement to the Necronomicon was exhaustion.

Andargo, the brash soul that he is, found a staircase leading to a lower level and immediately raced ahead. He was greeted by two talking doors with a riddle for him. The riddle proved too boring for Andargo’s impatient intellect. Instead of deducing the answer he simply guessed, which resulted in a door opening to a room full of traps, instead of to one holding only safe passage.

Fortunately, Quimby was able to masterfully disarm the traps with the help of his companions. Traversing deeper into the dungeon the heroes not only encountered more Yuan-ti, but their pet hunting dogs (each with two heads). It was during this great battle that one of their own fell. The crew’s newest and best-est friend, the Tiefling-Ranger-Warlock-Weretiger known as Battlecat, succumbed to the pack of cerberi.

They said a small prayer over him and started to drag his body towards the exit, but one of the crew found the room holding the Celestial Compass. Forgetting all about Battlecat, the crew entered the hidden chamber and collected their prize without incident. Some strange writing and graphic depictions covered the walls of the room, but none of the surviving crew could read it. Ever the wise adventurer, Quimby decided to make a rubbing of the inscriptions. Dagfinn got bored and stumbled upon a room containing flying carpets! Chalking it up to a blessing from Tali the crew left the temple, but not before coming across a Yuan-ti patrol. Apparently, the snake people had come across a few tamed horses left outside the temple, which they quickly butchered for meat. Upon seeing the head of his trusty steed Applesauce, Vorn let loose a fiery blast incinerating the snake men, and cooking the meat.

Before beginning the journey back the crew took a moment to rest and reflect. Thoroughly exhausted, they all fell into a deep sleep due to an unknown side effect of energy potions. Then Dagfinn’s cursed soul brought each of them into a violent nightmare realm. There before them they saw dark futures, the results of their own actions. They saw children turned into grotesque creatures. They saw their former friend, Journey, brought to his lowest when he could not protect the ones he loved. They saw their enemies gathered before them at their strongest: a fallen hero whose thirst for power knew no bounds; once beloved family turned against them; a demon-seed  determined to bring ruin to a family’s honor. And then they awoke.

Were these futures simply manifestations of the heroes darkest fears? Or terrifying omens of things to come?

Epilogue: Journey’s Farewell

“Quimby, I had sent word through the camp for all the Dragonborn to meet in the large meeting tent on the north end of the camp. They should have all gathered there by now. You can go now, or wait for your companions to join you. I hope you are able to find what you are looking for.

“Vorn, you have proven your loyalty to Dagfinn, but I fear your connection to your brother Torn is still strong. Are you willing to see to him destroyed, to see his armies driven before you? To hear the lamentations of his women?

“Dagfinn, friend, captain, bestie, My BFF! Is something troubling you? I am worried for you. After you arrived the other day some of the people complained of inexplicable exhaustion. No one could take a short rest in their tents, or relax from the day’s work at all. I have heard in the Elohim lands are healers and priests of great renown. After this little war with the Svartalfar, I would suggest you head over there to take care of whatever it is that troubles you.

“Noble Andargo, Your golem army is ready. When you prepare to leave, I will release control of them to you. They may be frightening to look at, but I trust that will make them all the more useful.

“Farewell, my friends.”


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