Friday, November 6, 2009

Chapter 7, Part 2: "The Digestive Functions of Macroscopic Protozoa"

CORPORAL RADAR O'REILEY - Teenaged Earth Man, former member of a failed Terran Exploration Mission, has a metal nose
RODAN THE SCROUNGER - Green-skinned Scavenger and Fighting-Man
RYGARR - Green Man Sorcerer
THORAZ AND KALERVO - Cactoid Brothers, Fighting-Men

Part I Here.

The battered party makes their way to Pit without incident, all the while Kalervo the Cactoid is staggering and oozing sap from his gargoyle injuries. The companions with experience in Pit insist on staying at the Titanium Vault and soon the party are drawing baths and sending their clothing off to be laundered in a spacious, luxurious, and secure brass suite.

Even in these lush accommodations it takes several days for the Cactoid to recover from his injuries. While in town Radar O'Reily, the metal-nosed teenage Earth Man explorer, finds a weapons merchant with a small quantity of shotgun shells available; meanwhile a couple of party members head for the offices of the Lhogar, head of the Black Pickaxe Mining Gang, seeking employment where they meet with the gregarious purple-scaled mining gang boss who plies them with spiced brandy and pungent green cigars as he tells tales of his youth as an adventurer in the lands beyond the Red Sands to the east. Lhogar regretfully informs the party that he has hired a capable band of mercenaries to secure the mining tunnels from the depredations of underworld denizens, but that they may be able to find work guarding prospectors seeking minerals in the Bornite Mountains, a very dangerous area.

After Kalervo recovers, the party decides to make for Jakay to meet up with Buzz Brazelhatch, who had arranged a commission for the party to guard a safari expedition. They make their way southeast across the great span to Fortress Adamant, which had an unfriendly air and afforded no accomodation. Fortunately there is a passable inn outside of the fortress and the party feasts on simple fare before retiring.

The next morning, emboldened by stories about the artifact scavengers of the Rust Desert, the party decides that they should take a detour northeast into the Rust Desert and seek out ruins on their way to Jakay. At midday an ancient rusted hatch is found and opened, Kalervo's fighting hand is crushed in the process, and a huge subterranean rusted iron chamber is revealed. Ropes are secured and the party descends. Although a modest cache of ancient silver coins is found, Kalervo's brother, Thoraz is grotesquely digested by an ocher jelly and the four remaining party members refrain from further exploration of the giant underground iron chamber. The climb back up the rope is painful for Kalervo, not only because of the crushed hand and the acid burned legs from combat with the aforementioned sibling-devouring, oversized single-celled organism, but because of the loss of his Cactoid brother for a few mere silver.

When the party arrives in Jakay they head for the Bronze Engine (which is indeed an Inn constructed out of a massive ancient bronze engine) located next to a throbbing atomic water pump. Neither Buzz or his wealthy patron are present but lurking in a shadowy corner is a feather-crested, downy gray Tikalg man bearing a slender basket-hilted sword in a belt scabbard and clad in fancy red leather pants, a luxurious billowing purple synthsilk shirt and a dashing half-cape. Introductions are made and a round of drinks is bought. Friendly conversation begins and eventually drifts to hushed whispers over possible whereabouts of crashed rocketships, or earthman relics. It is then that the Tikalg man is found to be quite knowledgable and introduces himself as Vrroomish, a sophisticated dandy and adventurer.

Inquiries are made about adventuring opportunities and Vrroomish asks for a small retainer which is quickly paid. He soon returns with an intense, grizzled Lhoyg mountain-man who bears several battered weapons: Hobab of the Bornite Mountains.

Hobab, in a raspy quiet-to-LOUD manner (which occasionally frightens the the jittery teenage Radar O'Reily) tells a tale of a flying saucer and silver-suited beings with powerful rock-cutting rays he spied in the Bornite Mountains. Hobab explains he saw the strange flying vessel land and the silver suited beings emerge to examine and take samples from the mountainside with technological items before returning to their saucer and taking off briefly before some unknown catastrophe struck the vessel. In a sudden change of direction the saucer fell from the sky into the thick white fog of the Forbidden Mist Valley of the Bornite Mountains.

Hobab claims that he could guide the party to the crashed saucer in exchange for first pick of the loot. Vrroomish interjects and explains that as the facilitator of this expedition that he is entitled to second pick of the treasure. The party is eager to loot the crashed flying saucer and agree to the expedition.

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