The Holy City of Ten Thousand Gods

Session 16

The Barrel of Laughs

Fazzik tried to trade the kidnappers an unconscious Azam in a barrel for Farouk, but when it’s clear they don’t have him a fight breaks out. They manage to corner Fazzik in part of the covered market and he takes a nasty wound from a throwing dagger (and drops his great bow), but manages to escape fleeing across the roof. Janwar binds his wounds, stopping the bleeding, and Duban gets him to a cheerful and skilled surgeon to treat the wound.

Azam wakes up in the cell previously occupied by Farouk, tied to a chair and gagged. When the elf comes in he manages to convince her that the Hand have a terrible demon bound as their archer-assassin, and their priest is a servant of dark powers. He convinces them he’ll help them banish the demon and kill the priest, but asks that they steal some of his books so that he can conduct the proper magical rituals.

Duban leads a service to Zarus, gathering all the Hand’s staff and servants together. He pulls down the power of Zarus to start destroying the cocoon around the Sultan, and begins carving the peripheral bits off. Then he dismisses the rest of the guild, sending them home. While bringing the Sultan up from the celler, he spots someone dropping down from the hole in the roof, but moves the guards to a defensive position.

Fazzik take a lookout position on the roof, and spots the thief running away over the roofs with a bag full of books. He tracks him to the kidnapping gang’s hideout, spotting Azam in the cell. He goes back to the hand and tells them about the hideout, and they move to attack it.
The thief comes back to the hideout, and drops the books he stole from the basement in a corner of Azam’s cells. Then the guards go back to playing cards.

After Aman fails to lever out the bars to the room Azam is kept in, a plan of action is formed – the Fingers will break down the main door to the hideout and charge in while Fazzik provides covering fire. This goes pretty well, although with his wounds, downgraded to a hunting bow and firing through the small cell window Fazzik is having trouble penetrating the guard’s armour. Soon the guards are backed up into Azam’s cell, fighting as defensively as they can but taking a few scrapes. They turn to look as Azam announces he’s found the right ritual, only to be sent cowering as he casts The Fear. The Fingers then hack them down.

The Hand poke around the hideout and don’t find much – a few empty cells, some dismembered human limbs (Fazzik is very relieved to see none look like Farouk), a small room with playing cards and booze. Duban is watching the proceedings from outside with a guard, but neither of them realise what’s happening in time to stop the elf grabbing him and putting a knife against his throat. The rest of the hand pile out into the street as she demands to be let go if they want the priest to survive, but they continue advancing on her as Fazzik draws a bead. She starts singing a low, discordant song that worms into people’s ears, filling their minds with horrid grief. Most of the Hand fight it off, but Duban is wracked with tears. Fighting past it, Fazzik lets off a shot, clipping the elf across the temple and interrupting her song. She shakes off the pain, bares her teeth and slices through Duban’s throat, throwing him at the Hand and running. The Hand split; Janwar and Azam try to treat Duban, stemming his bleeding, while Fazzik chases the elf through the streets. Eventually he outpaces her, finding a vantage point from rooftop as she runs through the street below, and nails her with a shot straight through the chest. As she bleeds out, he climbs down and demands to know where Farouk is, but all she manages to say is “…gone…”. Then she dies.

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