Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Sea of Spices - Chapter I, Part III

Kasem Somchai dashes through the pyramidal monoliths, both graven with the form of a powerful looking man, with his back to the viewer, wearing an elaborate witch doctor's head-dress and somehow with his arms outstretched holding back a loathsome vague slug-like shape, stumbling onto a black stone platform, a landing, over the edge of the titanic blue-lit pit before him. Almost toppling over the edge, he desperately swings his arms to regain his balance and somehow, through the instinctive reaction to the sudden peril of a calamitous fall, breaks the mesmerism that has overtaken his consciousness and regains his senses, fully lucid.

Looking around he sees a wide basalt staircase plunging from one side of the landing he is standing upon, horribly worn, descending at a steep incline down the side of the pit. His companions catch up and they all stare in awe at the vast glowing void wondering if the other ensorcelled Henchmen had ran heedless off of the platform into the blue abyss before them?

The situation is discussed and the party begins cautiously descending the staircase, alert and clenching bared weaponry. After 2,000 small, tall, steep steps the stairs come to another landing before reversing course in their descend down the sides of the cyclopean shaft. A narrow aperture gapes in the pit-wall adjacent to the landing, with graven forms in the stone on either side, the same powerful witch-doctor as on the monoliths above, but this time facing the viewer and wearing a face-covering cowl that bares fierce eyes and its palms up and out as if holding something back.

As the party discusses whether to further descend gibbered whimpering is heard from withing the dark portal in the shaft-wall. Zusander, with his skills in languages and translation makes out pidgen words for "Please," "Help" and the like. Inquiries are made and the unseen speaker begins begging in Common "Please take me from this bad place; Please protect me from the wicked ones below."

The companions further discuss their options at length before torch-light is cast into the aperture, revealing a short, narrow tunnel with a prone man at the end, clad in orate Ankhor mail with a round-shield bearing the bas-relief of an elephant's head and a sheathed bolo-sword at his waist. Although he had the frizzy hair and almond complexion of the islanders, his eyes and facial features belied Ankhor ancestry.

The man, and adventurers named Nodcal, explains that he and his Sindhu dwarf companion, Sufru, had descended into the pit seeking gold; they found many abandoned strange huts before night fell and several ghostly bad men emerged chanting wicked black juju. Sufru fell under their spell and wast entranced, but as Nodcal fled they brushed him with their fingers and sucked his vitality, draining him of his strength. He was able to ascend this far before collapsing from exhaustion and dragging himself into the alcove.

Nodcal begged the party to descend and rescue Sufru, but the party refuses and instead conveys Nodcal back to their vessel. The journey through the jungle is uneventful, aside from placid orangutans and an arm-sized leech attacking a Henchman, but Nodcal recovers no strength and requires the aid of two men to walk.

The party weighs anchor and sails for the southern village, delivering Nodcal to their witch-doctor; the half-Ankhor adventurer presents them with a purse of 3,000 worn shiny coin-like flattened lumps of gold. Speculations are made regarding what else he had been carrying while helpless and in their power.

The party feasts, rests, and under the pretense of "hunting" begins navigating an indirect route through the jungle for the mist-shrouded middle mountain of the three looming above the jungle inland from the village.


  1. Just had a chance to sit down and read all three of these and, man, those culture and character names are so apt I feel discouraged that I didn't do better for my slapdash campaign.

  2. Haha, those culture names were pretty much the first thing I thought/came up with for them, and if you look into their etymology they're not that clever ;)

    Slapdash? I find you're stuff wildly inspirational/awesome!