Tuesday, September 1, 2009
As Grubb Grizzler sneaks through the caravan grounds he is stealthily hailed by a figure lurking in the shadows around the slumbering triceratops. A caravan guard had seen the two sorcerers enter the carriage in the morning and, misapprehending the actions of the party and believing that they are attempting to steal Gan-ron's magic silver sword, attempts to solicit Grubb for a generous gratuity in exchange for his silence.
Grubb maintains his innocence, and in an attempt to turn the tables, asks instead to be taken to the caravan master, Harkam, insisting that if he is under suspicion then the carvan master should be appraised of the situation. The guard agrees, and leads Grubb through the dark streets until coming to an even darker, narrow alley entrance. Assuring Grubb that the alleyway is a shortcut to the tavern that where Harrkam is carousing, the guard suggests that Grubb enters first so that the the guard will be able to protect Grubb's back from cutthroats.
Grubb declines, and offers to guard the guard's back instead. Both parties are equally insistent, and, sensing that his bluff is up, the guard draws his sword. Grubb immediately lunges at him and the two are struggling, taking wounds from the other's blade, migrating into the alleyway as they desperately grapple and stab, both weak from blood-loss. The guard drops his sword and draws a dagger, driving it into Grubb's body, who collapses.
The two sorcerers lurking in the iron carriage tire of waiting for Grubb to show up and exchange the cadaver in the brass trunk with the synthetic prostitute, loot the body of it's wealth, including the magic silver sword and silver embossed banded mail, heave up the weighty the trunk and exiti the carriage, awkwardly bearing their burden with a nonchalant stumbling gait away from the caravan ground, seeking an inn as far away from the sordid scene as possible.
By fortunate coincidence, they chose to lodge in The Red Beak, coming across their companions in the common lounge at the same moment as their friend Nigel Nightbringer comes upon them, having concluded his business in Agog City.
Nigel Nightbringer is filled in on the party's current doings, and in return expresses grave concern for the well being of Grubb Grizzler on account of failing to reconnoiter with either the sorcerers or the inn. His companions respond phlegmatically to his concerns and Nigel spends several hours wandering the dark streets looking for his good friend.
The next morning Nigel continues the search and finds the stabbed body of Grubb Grizzler, throat slit and stripped of valuables. This turn of events outrages him and after finding an undertaker to store the body he takes his grievances to the local constabulary who respond with unconcern that further outrages the hot-tempered Earth Man.
Next Niels seeks a sorcerer in order to speak with the shade of his deceased companion to find out the identity of the agent of his demise. The local sorcerer reveals the fees associated with such a service and they are beyond Nigel's present monetary circumstances. The sorcerer offers to waive his fee in exchange for the poison gland of a "zorse sized scorpion" from the Prismatic Wastes northwest of town.
Although Nigel finds the arrangement acceptable, the rest of the party do not share his enthusiasm. At this point Dickie Dee realizes that the synthetic prostitute locked in the brass trunk at their inn has been without any sustenance for over a day.
After again visiting the undertaker and paying a modest fee for the disposal of Grubb's remains, the party returns to their room at the inn where they disinter their captive and find her pale and weak but alive. After providing water and nourishment, the very simple synthetic being regains her color and inquires about the whereabouts of her husband. However, the genetic programming of the vat-grown prostitute overwhelm her and she begins soliciting the party, who respond to her advances by binding her and wrapping her in a carpet from their room.
Next they travel to a stable where they purchase several zorses. Nigel mulls naming his zorse Grubb, but is offended when Dude Earthman also names his zorse Grubb, and the idea is quickly taken up by the rest of the party who, also name their respective zorses Grubb. Fuming, Nigel decides to name his mount Grizzler instead.
With the rug-wrapped synthetic prostitute draped across the back of one of the zorses, they set back towards Agog City. However Fortress Cobalt guards the summit of the cliff-side trail back up to the Iridium Plateau and Agog City, and soon the party finds themselves being questioned regarding the disposition of the contents within the rolled-up carpet.
Nigel responds with a falsehood, claiming that it is the body of his deceased friend. The guards become agitated and lecture the party about the dire consequences of importing diseases, parasites or undead beings into Agog City before insisting on inspecting the body. When the synthetic prostitute in revealed the guard's tension is replaced with lusty chuckling and the party is informed of a thirty gold credit duty on their cargo.
A quick thinking member of the party offers an alternative method of payment which the six guard find anticipated and agreeable. After the guards indulge in a storage room Nigel decides to avail himself of the situation but the inquiries regarding the whereabouts of Gan-ron the Silver Man afterward sour the experience.
At this point Dickie Dee begins to have misgivings about the party's callous treatment of the prostitute, synthetic being or not, and allows her to continue the journey back to Agog City seated on zorseback instead of being bundled in carpeting and slung across the mount's back.
As the fleet zorses travel the road across the purple grasslands of the southwestern Iridium Plateau the party spies a small group of travelers on foot, shrouded in gray robes, coming their way on the roadway. The traveler's demeanor makes an unfavorable impression upon the party who take a wide semicircular detour off the road in order to provide a wide berth.
The companions soon arrive at Agog City, the trip being much faster on zorseback as opposed to trailing alongside a plodding triceratops drawing a train of iron carriages, and again attempt deceit with the guards regarding the identity of their cargo, who are neither deceived nor concerned.
Immediately they arrive at the Lamia's Breath Intoxicating Vapour Lounge and present their captive. The proprietress calls for the cubes of Gamma Orichalcum, which had been dipped in lead as a preservative measure. Realizing that his friend Grubb Grizzler had expired in the pursuit of a mission for which the reward was cubes of recreational stimulant hallucinogenic metal (toxic, radioactive recreational stimulant hallucinogenic metal at that), Nigel Nightbringer again unfurls his outrage, and insists that the party accept their payment in gold credits instead, a proposal that is found acceptable by the other concerned parties.
The Bone Man Dickie Dee does decide to dabble, and soon a Xorn (their silacious composition renders them capable of comfortably handling many hazardous substances) is placing a sliver of the fuming, soft, yellowing isotope within a glass-and-brass device. Taking a lungful of the vapour from a mouthpiece, the rest of the party see the ordinarily completely transparent lungs and respiratory tract of the bone man outlined in noxious yellow smoke. Dickie Dee finds the experience gratifying, but afterward expresses concern that his teeth are soft.
Soon the rest of the party are indulging, albeit with tamer substances such as gin, and they find themselves agreeing to a proposal by the Proprietress to slay Mozug, a wrestler and representative of the Lounge's concerns in the mining town Pit, located in the foothills of the Bornite Mountains northwest of Agog City, who had accepted a large quantity of merchandise and afterward failed to pay for it. The party comes up with a scheme, and has an ordinary brick dipped in lead before retiring into the dark, low-ceiling Chamber of Cushions...