Sunday, February 7, 2010

Chapter 15, Part 2 "The Bee and Tales of the Dome"

Part I Here, Part III Here.

The party continues on their way from the ruined lilac glassteel dome to the port city of Kharhem. Mookla is denied entry to the city proper and us directed to the Beggars Gate on the south side of the city walls. The slums are the only area that mutants and nonhumans are ordinarily allowed. The rest take lodging at the Seven Precious Metals Inn located on the bazaar plaza and visit a Kherulhi Sorcerer, Robag Xul, who translates the lilac glassteel fragment from the ruined dome ("Bow Before The Witch-Kings of Ylum Your Now And Eternal Masters!") and sells a copy of a sinister incantation (The Talons of Yrg) to Dickie Dee for sveral thousand gold credits.

Meanwhile Mookla finds a rude camp of mutants, mostly of the wasteland variety, located outside the Beggars Gate. A grizzled Wasteland Mutant warrior befriends Mookla and offers him a place in his warband if any work comes up.

The rest of the part return to their Inn where they start chatting with their host, Cultan. Cultan tells them several tales of the lands about Kharhem such as the narcotic honey produced by the bees of the jungles west of Kharhem; the coven of mummified sorcerers north in the desert; Mount Yrmspir full of positronic crystals and massive blotched worms; the Twin Sky Masters and their slaver allies; the seventy-seven fossilized crystal brains of an extinct race of insect-sorcerers; the treasure forgotten in the basement of a ruined monastery; the slime encrusted winged abominations The Writhing Coils that nest upon the southeast rim of the Iridium Plateau and many other tales.

The present party members begin fiercely debating their next move over flagons of gin. Several want to return to the ruined lilac dome and excavate the sand, so a short trip is made into the bazaar to purchase pickaxes, shovels and the like. The party decides to rest in the inn for the night and set out in search of adventure upon the morn.

The next day the party rouses Mookla from the mutant camp and they all set forth on Ornith-back on a westwards course circling around the northern terminus of the Southern Gash. Soon they come to the thick greenery of the jungles adjacent to the slime lands. They can smell thick sweet perfume and see thick masses of large waxy light-colored blossoms growing in the dense vegetation. Investigating further they see that the jungle foliage is thick with bees as well and they begin searching for beehives.

After about an hour little progress has been made. It is hard to see well with the dense jungle canopy obscuring the sunlight and the thick vegetation hinders exploration and vision. Dickie Dee notices something odd about a bee flying by his head and immediately zaps it with a Magic Missile.

The Bone Man Sorcerers searches the rotting vegetable matter and fallen leaves that carpet the jungle floor and after several minutes finds what appears to be the fragment of a minuscule amber-colored human leg?

The Australian brawler Buzz Brazelhach snatches one of the omnipresent bees out of his hand. The party crowds around him and he holds his hand before his eyes and slowly, cautiously opens his fingers.

A tiny, bee-sized and colored human-like female form lies on his palm, it's bee-like wings crushed and mangled by Buzz's grab. It looks up at Buzz with a tiny plaintive expression and waves its antennae sadly. They try to communicate with the minuscule bee-girl but are unable to accomplish anything.

With a pale face and shocked expression Buzz gingerly places the tiny bee-girl upon a large jungle leaf. The little figure makes several pathetic attempts to fly with its mangled wings before dejectedly lying down while the adventurers quietly take their leave of the jungle, avoiding conversation or eye contact with each other.

The party finishes the short trek to the ruins of the lilac glassteel dome protruding from the arid grasslands at the southwestern fringe of the Red Sands. They spend several hours labouring with pickaxes and shovels trying to excavate the sand out of the dome ruins before realizing that with their current tools and resources this attempt would prove fruitless; the sand just runs back into their excavations as quickly as they haul it out. The group discusses the usage of tarpaulins, slaves and the like and resolve to return when better equipped.

One of the adventurers spots a small group of spiny green figures approaching from the north, a small group of nomadic Cactoids. The two parties hail each other and soon both groups are camping within the dome while sharing food, drink and tales.

The party finds out that the Cactoid nomads make a point of camping at the dome ruins during their counterclockwise circumnavigation of the eastern desert lands. Some Cactoids folktales say that the Cactoid people emerged upon Algol from another world at this dome in the distant past; other legends say that a race of powerful sorcerers took many Cactoids away from this world at the dome in eons long ago.

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