Monday, November 30, 2009

Chapter 10, Part 2: "The Long, Hard Walk of Shame"

Dickie Dee - Bone Man Intoxicant Addict and Sorcerer
Rodan the Scrounger - Zermish Man Scavenger and Fighting-Man
Thragg the Skyman - Zermish Man Ornithopter Passenger and Fighting-Man
Xarnagan Vrokk - Haasht Man Fighting-Sage

Two Nguamodons - Pack Lizards

Part I Here.

The quartet of miserable survivors huddle with the grunting, spooked nguamodons in a makeshift camp, engulfed by the moldy, white, thick, cold fog of the Forbidden Mist Valley. They somberly confer over sparse rations before cautiously retracing their steps up out of the mist to the multi-colored pastel chalk cliff where so many of their companions died the previous day.

The ledge with the tunnels bears the signs of battle, pools of dried blood, scattered weaponry, but no bodies aside from the cactus carcass of Kalervo the cactoid. Thragg the Skyman shows previously unseen initiative and seizes the magic two-handed sword of the Shunned Ones (possessing three valience shells!) and Vrroomish's sleek silvery needler pistol while the others examine Kalervo's body.

Rodan the Scrounger uses his rare treasure, the Eye of Restoring Life, and Kalvervo suddenly comes to, restored to life with all his injuries fully healed, and staggers to his stumpy feet, forever drained a measure of his vitality from his experience in the realms of Thantos. The party gathers the remaining weapons, Rodan disappointed by the lack of a certain gleaming bronze battle axe, and they scurry a short distance up the trail leading higher into the mountains.

They have a desperate council of war. Although Dickie Dee the Bone Man Sorcerer has prepared multiple somnolent incantations, Thragg and Rodan are sorely wounded by the misadventures of the previous day. Although they presume that the remaining bird-things lurking in the tunnels took the remains of their deceased companions into their lair, and that if they could find even scraps of the slaughtered adventurers they could use the Eye of Restoring Life to bring them back to life, fully healed, they have no idea how many bird-thing lurk within the tunnels. Thrag repeatedly proposes that the tunnels lead to a city of the bird-things and votes that they immediately leave.

The party, for the most part regretfully, heads up the trail into the Bornite Mountains, and make for Jakay, staggering with wounds and low on food.

In the afternoon of the fifth day afterward they stagger out of the sweltering red oxide dust of the Rust Desert into Jakay, Rodan and Thragg clad in filthy, festering bandages, the entire party gaunt, exhausted and thirsty, the two pack lizards dragging their tails and mournfully grunting.

The Sorcerer and the Sage confer with the local Sorcerer, purchase some stimulants (Golden Ocher Lotus Nectar Tea) and spell enhancers (rounded, dull lead-gray pills of Sorcerers Silver), and rejoin their remaining companions at the Bronze Engine, where Rodan is drowning his guilt in gin while a multicolored band of Algol Man bohemians play cold, funky alien krautrock-analgoue.

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