The Holy City of Ten Thousand Gods

Session 12

Down in the Ground Where the Dead Men Go

Players: Peter, Joe, Oliver, Chris V, Chris L

  • Word comes that the Red Blade’s mining camp was attacked last night.
  • Duban and Farouk head off to the barge, to see what’s up.
  • Azam, Fazzik and Janwar head off to the mine. They take Aman and Soraya with them.
  • The Sultan’s Palace is full of big guild scholars and officials trying to work things out. Armed line of foreigners guarding the boat, people not sure what to do.
  • Farouk tries to remember some of the tales about the people over the mountains, in particular their language. Thinks their language sounds like birds, so he imitates some.
  • It gets attention, but then he insults them somehow and almost gets shot. Duban stops Taladiq people from intefering, though, and more people emerge from the barge and beckon Farouk over.
  • They begin trying to open a dialogue, taking Farouk and Duban onto the barge.
  • At the desert garden mine, the Hand runs into guards from the Red Blades. They’re wounded, bandaged but still armed. They give the Hand details of what happened. They were attacked from underground, by creatures that took the shape of men but exploded into tentacles and snakes.
  • Janwar and Azam look at their wounds, treating them. Janwar reckons they’re using some kind of poison, and Azam thinks a demon may be to blame.
  • The Hand go to the Hands of Stone’s shack, to look at diagrams of the mine. On the way, they see Thapsis walking with some Red Blades, giving encouragement to the various guards around. Fazzik bristles.
  • In the shack, a Stone Hands clerk talks them through the cave system, describing the route to the lowest tunnel where the attack happened. The caves go in a succession of expanding chambers, with paths winding downwards between them.
  • The Hand grab lanterns and make their way down. At the bottom, they find a collapsed tunnel with strange goop on the walls. There’s a fresh tunnel dug off to the side.
  • Azam tastes the mucous, gets a numb mouth for his troubles.
  • Down the side tunnel, Najma and 2 Red Blades are guarding some Stone Hands digging away. Najma briefs the party: something came out of the collapsed tunnel, collapsed it, and several miners were lost. They’ve been trying to dig around the collapse and break through, to see what caused it.
  • The Hand wait for the miners to break through. Azam tries to prepare a spell to turn into a snake so he can sneak in, but fails to properly hold it.
  • The wall is broken through, revealing a 2-meter wide diameter tunnel slick with slime, going down into the depths.
  • Fazzik goes ahead to sneak around and see what he can see. His aura of shadows cloaks him, enabling him to get past any observers.
  • Fazzik makes his way down the slick tunnels to a great chamber. Something large and slithering lurks there, sleeping in the center of the chamber. Small forms are scattered around it, like bundles of snakes. In one corner, there is a pile of ambrosia jars, unbroken.
  • Fazzik drives pitons into the slope up to the tunnel, to allow for quick escape. He then climbs back up, and relays what he’s seen.
  • The group decide they need to take down this creature. They all make their way down the tunnel to the lair, and form up. Fazzik and Soraya will snipe from the ledge, with Aman guarding. Janwar, Najma, Nikesh and the two Red Blades will engage the creature directly, using a firebomb made from Janwar’s hair-oil. Everyone gets into position without disturbing the monster’s rest. Azam hides in the tunnel.
  • Fazzik and Soraya launch a volley of arrows, waking the creature and beginning the fight. The arrows drive deep into one great tentacle, thoroughly disabling it.
  • The creature stirs to life, and so do the bundles, forming into man-shaped figures of writhing tentacles. Janwar and Najma get stuck in, cutting into the remaining great tentacle and keeping it busy. Janwar adopts a defensive style, weathering blow after blow as his shield cracks and warps from the strain.
  • The lesser minions run to try and take down the archers. Aman stands in their way, and they’re unable to get past his great axe.
  • Soraya and Farouk loose another volley, taking down one of the tentacle-men and driving another arrow deep into the great beast at the centre. Janwar and Najma press the assault, cutting viciously into it and bringing it down. The fire is lit, and spreads quickly across the chamber floor. Numberless things squirm in the jelly coating the walls, and start flowing towards tunnels away from here.
  • Aman does his best to hold back the remaining creature but it’s too quick and overwhelms him, covering him in a writhing mass of squirming tendrils. Fazzik drops his bow and pulls it off Aman, but it’s already given Aman enough poison to render him unconscious.
  • As Soraya draws a blade and Janwar charges up to help, Fazzik tries to wrestle the creature and fails. His guard slips for but a moment, but a tendril snaps out and bites deep. Poison courses in, dropping him to the ground.
  • Janwar and Soraya cut away the creature before it can do further damage, and the battle is won.
  • The ambrosia jars are divided up between the three guilds. Nikesh starts sniffing around the chamber, and then tries to dig underneath the great carcass of the beast.
  • Thinking this might be important, people join forces to push the creature away. It was squatting in an indentation on the floor, and at the bottom a translucent oval can be seen in the slime. A shadowy humanoid form can be seen within.
  • The group dig up the thick, gelatinous oval and carry it out, and as they leave they send down barrels of oil to set the place afire.
  • Back on the barge, a few hours have been spent building up a rapport with the foreigner’s translator, a man named Nik’Tal’Canti.
  • They have come to the city because they saw it go from a great temple to their goddess to a sprawling city overnight, and have come down the river to find their goddess’ high priest and get answers.
  • The conversation is disrupted by the sound of screaming and wailing from within the barge.
  • The interpreter goes to sees what’s up, leaving Duban and Farouk alone in the room with the big armoured guy. He’s not very talkative.
  • Nik’Tal’Canti comes back in, very agitated. He motions for the two of them to follow, and urgently tells them that their priestess has had a vision. He warns them she’s quite, quite insane, but as his cousin and their priestess she is tolerated.
  • They enter a smoky, incense-filled room, where a heavily pregnant woman is lying on a bed.
  • As they enter, she struggles to her feet and starts speaking at an escalating volume, gesticulating and shrieking. Nik frantically translates while holding her back: the goddess has awoken, the goddess has suffered great loss, her priest has betrayed her and she has chosen a new herald. As Nik tries to calm her down, Duban and Farouk are escorted off the barge.
  • The Hand meet back at the guildhouse, and confirm the figure trapped in the ovoid is the sultan. They sit down to ponder their next move…

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