Friday, September 18, 2009

Chapter 4, Part 7: "No Man is Left Behind..."

Part I Here, Part II Here, Part III Here, Part IV Here, Part V Here, Part VI Here.

After recovering from their initial foray into the underworld beneath Pitt, the party again sets off into the tunnels connecting to the bottomless shaft, this time taking the unexplored branch.

They walk through several long, dusty passages, finding empty chamber after empty chamber. One room does contain an massive lead statue of a Hluss with the caption, in the script of the Elder Races "Hail the Hluss, Masters of the Underworld!"

While negotiating the maze of featureless passages, the party again smells a terrible stench before they see 5 shunned ones peering around an upcoming corner.

Soon they are battling 2 of the slender beings of rotting aspect, the fighting-men having a hard go of it due to the incredible speed and grace of the Shunned Ones who easily bat aside their blows with their wand-like greatswords. However they are soon bloody from the companion's halberds and swords, and the other 3 Shunned Ones rish into the fray.

At which point one of the Sorcerers renders them all unconscious with a sovereign somnolent incantation. The stinking forms are searched, and the sorcerers use the gland of the third eye to seek magic emanations. One of the swords is magic, and one of the shunned ones is wearing a suit of close-fitting, light flexible mesh of some strange alloy and three ancient technological devices, "eyes" are found as well. The unhuman beings are decapitated and the companions return to the Black Pickaxe Mining Gang's office to collect their gold credits. They enjoy a round of gin and pungent green cigars before leaving.

The party returns to their inn. A physician is called in to treat their wounds and a sage is summoned as well. The youthful sage reveals the degrees of potency of the sword and mail, three auric shells, and the eyes are identified and their remaining charges disclosed. One protects against all weapons for a goodly amount of time, with only two charges; another slows foes to a third of their speed as has over fifty charges; the third can raise those who have been dead for three weeks or less, requiring only a scrap of their mortal remain, and has over a score of charges!

Over the next couple of days, while relaxing and planning their next foray, Maggot Mort and Dickie Dee again visit the Brass Tines and engage in a bout of recreation Gamma Iridium abuse. They return jittery, with grayish complexions and sores.

Monster Monagin claims the suit of magic mail, and takes a brief sabbatical as a constitutional as well as to practice his weapon skills. Rygarr also decides to study his mouldering scrolls and tomes and declines to partake in the next expedition. Visions of great magical wealth in their brains, the rest of the party descends again into the bowels of Algol.

Among their wanderings through the endless passages, they find a secret door, with a staircase descending deeper behind. The decide it prudent to refrain from exploring in that direction, and continue wandering the tunnels to encounter the reek on cinnamon, the harbinger of a pair of hexapodal beings with graying shaggy skin like layers mouldering paper, Ssu!

Ssu picture from Tekumel.com

A ferocious battle ensues, one of the Ssu engaging the party while the hold holds back, casting an occasional spell. At one point one of the fighting-men decapitates the meleeing Ssu only to see the other cast a spell on their foe that results in it growing another head and returning to the battle, it's sword cutting a deep gash into the cactus man Euphorbus than renders him unconscious on the floor, bleeding thick green sap.

The part flees, abandoning the gregarious Cactoid the mercies of the Ssu. The Ssu gives chase and "The Eye of Retarding Destiny" is utilized and their foes slowly proceed as if walking through syrup. The party gets away, returns to the surface and resigns their commission.

Their employer is understanding, knowing too well the horrors that lurk in the underworld, and is grateful for the services rendered. He tells the party that they can stay at the luxurious Titanium Vault for a couple of days while they mend their wounds and bundle up their belongings. The companions begine to make plans for their next expedition, and many express curiosity regarding the contents of The Bronze Dome of the Desert, located in the Rust Desert easywards.

Part I Here, Part II Here, Part III Here, Part IV Here, Part V Here, Part VI Here.

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