The hour passes, the late afternoon shadows turning into the dark of twilight. Tulip sniffs at the water then gives Zaine pleading look. Exploring the Green Lake reveals no fish but a great deal of rot. Approaching the southern into the Lake you see some writhing creatures like oddly non scaly snakes.
K: dungeoneering DC 28:
You get to act in the surprise round.
You recognize the odd green snakes as the tentacles of a froghemoth. You know the creature must be lurking near underwater, although the tentacles do heavy 30-foot reach.
You also know that froghemoth are vulnerable to electricity.
The back bedroom proves boring just an old room unused for many years and covered in dust.
Outside, are you still sees no signs in the visible surroundings that would give clue to where the hezrou teleported.
Survival or K:nature DC 15:
You smell and turgent nature of the water would suggest it is anoxic. Despite that occasionally see ripples that cannot be attributed to the wind.
This only leaves boggard village at the base of the spear.
K: local DC-10 or just plain common sense:
Well the group is utterly able to sneak into the village and this hop into the chieftain's bedroom, that would seem in a hostile action too many groups.
Fort sub Ride: 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (9) + 19 = 28 SUCCESS - not nauseated
def DC 29 / cast in grapple DC 33: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (18) + 17 = 35
Áine quickly snaps off a shot as the demon moves, but it is only a glancing wound.
Tulip, apparently recovered from her squeamishness, chomps on the demon and latches on with her powerful jaws. For a brief moment, the dinosaur looks to be overwhelmed by the noxious taste of the monster, but she doubles down. (Swift action used for Indomitable Mount) And grapples the monster in place.
Despite this, the monster tries to use its ability, carefully. And succeeds, leaving Tulip with an empty mouth.
On her quick flight out of the small building, she doesn't see a sudden disturbance of animals within her admittedly far eyeshot. Within the room, you see there is a small pile of offerings beneath the table that held the demon jar. Pretty rocks and carved wood for the most part, but there are a few coins that were left in offering.
K:local DC 15:
Based on the type and quality of the offerings, it is likely they were left by the nearby boggard tribe in exchange for question they have asked over the years.
Based on the aging of the items near the bottom of the pile, you'd guess that the jar has been used by the tribe for a decade, maybe two.
Frog in a Bag
Regardless of what soul or essence may be in the frog's body, the body is a normal standard frog. It dies.
A Jar House
Sasha,tentagard: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 141d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
"Oh, yeah, like we didn't see that coming." Áine rolls here eyes, casting Instant Enemy as her carpet moves up behind Faith. She launches a barrage of cold iron arrows which disappear into the creatures fatty underbelly.
"How about you thank this?" Zaine says, leveling his gun.
Zaine fires and hits. Tulip takes a bite out of the monster thing. Tulip misses - either uninterested in biting down on something that wafts so noxiously or still depressed by the recent loss of a new friend.
Both attacks do significantly less damage than either attacker would expect, but significant damage.
The creature stumbles back a few steps (provoking AoO from Tulip and Aine for movement) through the open door. From the cover of the wall, the same urbane voice though undeniably rattled, "Guess you'd like neither reward nor answer, priest." And he vanishes.
A) Spellcraft DC 20:
B) Sense Motive DC 20:
Nah, the demon had totally intended to attack, but it is a demon, it has to make you think you lost out on something.
"You didn't ask the right question, disciple of the martyr, you should have asked why did the wizard choose me." The voice chortles as the glass of the jar shatters revealing a grotouque creature with flesh both scaly and moist. It's very large, toothy mouth gapes below a pair of hungry, intelligent, reptilian eyes.
The voice is the same and seems so wrong coming from the toad-like creature, "Your answer is this is the one hundred and second question I have answered truthfully." The rot Aine noticed is now impossible to miss, rising from the creature's flesh in almost visible waves. It smiles, all tooth and flesh, "I should thank you for my release."
"Don't you think?"
A) Sense Motive DC 20:
...yea, its reward is totally going to be trying to kill you.
B) K: planar DC 21:
That would be a demon. A sloth demon properly called a hezrou. While these creatures are incredibly intelligent having a great deal of arcane knowledge, they rarely utilize their skills, preferring the simple and straightforward pleasures of slumber, gluttony and torture.
Other than basic demonic resistances - Immunity to electricity and poison, Resistance to acid 10, cold 10, and fire 10 - they are resistant to magic.
B) K: planar DC 26:
They are created from the evil souls of those that poisoned themselves, their kin, or their surroundings - traditionally drug users, assassins, or alchemists.
In their planar existance they continue to poison everything around them, noxious vapors and foul fluids weep and seethe their body nauseating those theyembrace.
The urbane voice answers, fairly vibrating with a chuckle as he answers, "My name is Tentagard." Clearly answering the first questions.
After a slight pause, Tentagard continues, "I was imprisoned here by the first leader of the nearby boggard tribe. He was a wizard and bound me to answer questions." The chuckle grows a bit as he answers the second question, "One hundred and one questions which had to be answered truthfully, in fact."
A) Sense Motive DC 20:
The delight in the easy questions is very apparent in the voice. It hungers and is very satisfied.
As far as you can tell, it also spoke the truth.
B) Perception DC 30:
You notice a something new, which hadn't existed until this very moment. A noxious smell, very probably from the tepid water in the lake around you.
Sasha boosts herself onto Tulip's back, her arms going around Zaine's waist lightly to keep herself mounted without a saddle. Seeing everyone else is able to access the interesting stone building across the water, Pakshee quickly casts flight on herself and Faith.
The stone building looks to be a simple home unrelated to the waterlogged ziggurat on which it sits having no obvious exit downward. The building itself seems to be divided in two, with a open doorway leading into what may have been a small sleeping area. The front is edged with tables topped with arcane devices - all quite old and dusty and ignored. In the center of the room, alone, sits another table it's top graced with jar from which the sickly green glow emits. As you get to the doorway, a voice - urbane but in an archaic form of Polygot - vibrates out from the jar. "Greeting travelers, I have no doubt you are from a far distance away and are utterly curious of this odd and ancient city in which you find yourself."
"Come close and ask your questions! I am only too happy to be a font of information!"
Sense Motive DC 20:
Hard to judge from voice alone, but the voice seems delighted at your presence and eager to answer questions.
Sasha tentatively sticks her fingers in the thick green water, it comes up coated with vegetation which she wipes off on her pants just above her boots. "Won't be able to see if anything is creeping up through that."
Before heading to the water, Sasha gives Aine a side look then asks Zaine quietly, "Are we supposed to be collecting toads?"
Faith or K:religion DC 25:
The creature you fought was a vrykolakas - a bestial undead often aligned with vampires due to its blood drinking. The apeish fur covered undead are pestilence carriers, an aura of virulent death affecting everything around them. They can only be truly killed by preventing their essence from returning to the soil of their lair - a task made harder by their ability to possess animals with their essence on the destruction of their current body.
Handle Animal: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (20) + 13 = 33
It takes a bit of time, a great deal of observation and more than a little luck - but Áine is able to determine the oddly acting frog.
Faith is able to follow the far from quiet trail of Pakshee easily, finding the tattooer without much trouble. She is wide-eyed and jumpy when found, but cautiously follows Faith back. During that time, Sasha comes up and pets a sulking Tulip. She looks up at Zaine, abashed.
When the group gets to move on, they are able to make the edge of the algae choked small lake. Within easy eyesight of the lake's edge, you can see the topmost tier of the small ziggurat where it protrudes from the lake. Even in the late afternoon light, a sickly green light glows from the open archway of a small stone building that tops the center of the ziggurat.
Faith or Zaine or Heal DC 20:
Other than the obvious injuries, Faith can see no sign of why Zaine would be turning green. Maybe the undead punctured bowels - though there is no whiff of that.
Yes, Zaine did fail his Fort save versus bubonic plague - but there is a 1 day onset so he is not actually ill yet. That said he was bitten by the undead who did cause plague in the villagers, so it is very logical to assume he would be infected.
Off in the distance you can hear Pakshee running through the jungle undergrowth. There is not a hint of sound to give you a clue to Sasha's location.
Áine goes bounding after one of the multitude of frogs in the area, however her particular quarry gets spooked and jumps high, landing in an army off his brethren. The army scatters in all directions. Can Áine find the original frog she was hunting?
Now that you have slain the disease spreading undead, do you want to continue searching the farming district or head back to the artisan district?
"Likely heavier than our own." Kassata says with frank honesty. "It's the Aspis, they have the money to throw on as many merc as they need."
Aerys looks around the city with avarice, not for the treasures that most of the pirate are seeking, but for the stories - aligning her more with the faction of Pathfinders.
"We are still relying on your small band to make it safe enough for me to steal the poetry." She chuckles, "Which doesn't make it much different from when we were on the Shiv."
"Except that you aren't taking time off to fish."
Her body starts to vibrate, then shudder around him as he begins to lose control. As Zaine comes back he can feel Sasha's crossed swords digging into his stomach, hard steel between them but not keeping them apart.
Beneath him on the carpeted floor Sasha eventually makes a breathy chuckle. Her hands go down to find Zaine's arms wrapped around her. "I think this is a good way to start the day."
Sash vs disease: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (13) + 9 = 22
vry: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (5) + 13 = 181d6 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
Frog Will save: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 1 = 19
Still Not Quite a Vampire
Faith pulls Cherish, which glows softly white and displays a runic version of the scar on Faith's cheek.
"I shall have to ask you to die." He attacks the not-precisely vampire.
Despite the creature's speed, Áine tags him on the way in to attack Zaine. She follows it up with another handful of arrows replacing the creatures heart with cedar and cold iron as she drifts away from him and inbetween it and Sasha and Pakshee.
"See? Told you I was dumb." Zaine takes careful aim and fires. The bullet hits the undead riddled with arrows, even as the monster is reared back to take another bite from the gunslinger. The blasted body falls to the ground and starts to smoke. Tulip makes a sad chirp looking a Zaine like he just killed her best friend.
The body continues to smoke until all that is left are the tattered rags the undead had been wearing. As the boom from the gun fades away, the cacophony of the hundreds of frogs in the area starts up again.
Faith needs to make a Fort save DC 21 vs bubonic plague.
Perception/Sense Motive DC 30:
One frog does not start to croak. Instead the creature hops to the another tree, then a nearby roof - with un-froggy-like determination.
init, pak, sash, vry: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 21d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 71d20 + 8 ⇒ (4) + 8 = 12
Vry vs Zaine: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (16) + 13 = 291d6 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 91d20 + 13 ⇒ (17) + 13 = 301d6 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 91d20 + 13 ⇒ (17) + 13 = 301d6 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 101d6 + 9 ⇒ (6) + 9 = 15
Sash fear: 1d20 + 3 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 3 + 4 = 8
pakshee will 1d20 + 8 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 8 + 4 = 17
Not Quite a Vampire
The clouds in the western sky clear, chased away by a high wind, which allows the afternoon sun to wash over the area, the light sizzling away the seeming cloaked around the undead. The creature revealed may have once been human but now it's large form is twisted with bestial muscles and course hair liberally covers its body.
Faith casts a spell on himself, then briefly touches Áine on the shoulder. "Blessing of Destruction," he says.
Áine's arrows flare with magic & spiritual energy thumping into the skin suit creature's already dead heart.
"It was probably a foregone conclusion that I was gonna kill you," Zaine tells the man, "but it's your bad luck that I'm gonna make it hurt first."
That's a challenge.
Zaine brings up his gun and takes a quick shot. Which just barely goes wide.
The flesh around the arrows heals slightly, as the creature blurs with speed, disappearing from his spot near the barracks to suddenly appear next to Tulip, the clawed hand gently caressing the dinosaur's neck in a manner she would only allow Zaine to do. "She can be my friend when you are gone."
Then the monster's claws and teeth bite into Zaine's flesh, tearing and rending. Zaine takes 43 points of damage and consider the challenged reciprocated.
Sasha whose blade are out and ready to strike the monster in retalitation for the attack on Zaine.... instead goes pale under her tanned skin and bolts.
Followed immediately by Pakshee.
Zaine, Tulip and Sasha need to make a Fort save 21 vs bubonic plague.
Tulip makes a happy chirp-whistle, a sound she normally reserves for Zaine. She takes a step towards the sick man, the chirp dropping in tone with worry. "Ah," the man says, his smile sad, "Beautiful and a kind heart." He looks up at Zaine, "You are blessed."
He pushes against the wall that supports him, "You should run, all of you," his voice trebles, the tone jarring against your bones, "There is a monster here."
Everyone give me a Will save vs fear (DC 20) or flee.
And Round 1 actions.
Tulip will not attack her new special friend.
The man rolls to one side as you get within sight, a groan of pain breaking from his lips, "You want to keep you distance." His lower lip cracks as he smiles, a small rivulet of blood dripping to his chin. "This sickness is catching."
A phelmy cough, "That's a mighty beautiful beast you have with you all, though."
Tulip needs to make a Will save.
The journey back to the western side of the district takes time, but is done with safety. The shadows of late afternoon darken the area with the barracks building. As you look through the buildings for signs of habitation or tracks, you notice many animals in the area. The hoot of monkey's, absent in the rest of the district, is loud and the croaks of frog and toads is almost overpowering.
It comes down to three buildings that show the odd tracks that Aine found in the human village. As you approach the first - what might have once been a guardhouse, judging by fortifications and a tall tower - you see a man sitting by the door in the wash of the afternoon sun. He is limpid, the black swells at his lymph nodes obvious once you draw close.
A) Survival DC 25 or Heal DC 20:
While there are many animals in the area, you also see there are a lot of dead animals as well. Additionally, a large number of the animals show signs of sickness.
B) Perception or Sense Motive DC 39:
When you get close, the skin seems to leathery to be human, almost like it has been tanned and worn over the creature's body.
It is slight, a reaction that Aine barely catches, but Kassata is startled by Aine's appearance, having not noticed the archer's approach until Aine made herself known.
Kassata smiles at the question, "He hasn't been tarred and pillared, at any rate." She motions to a wagon that hadn't been there when Aine left. "Got some new people. Probably will send back others in a supply run."
Aerys shakes her head, "I'm just a sailor, Faith."[b] She pauses for a moment, her eyes seeking the horizon, quiet. [b]"All I am is a sailor."
A sad little smile, "Which was an attitude that was killing me, little by little." She taps the book where she is transcribing the Abendengo Cantos. "Maybe I'm not just a sailor anymore."
Despite the voluntary vocal stifling, Sasha is involved in the lovemaking. There is the small sound of confusion as Zaine slows his thrusts. Her body involuntarily tightens around him with the thwack of his hand, then again with more intent as he soothes away the sting.
By the time he is teasing her with the shift from the length of him to the teasing fingers then back, her head is down, her fingers tearing into the rugs of the tent, her body vibrating with need. The delightful torture has drawn sound from her, not the screams of the night before, but involuntary delight and base need.
Vampire on Bone Island
While Aine is able to fly off and almost immediately disappear into the surrounding environment, the rest of the team (finally joined by Sasha who successfully makes the climb after ensuring her presence with the group will not be noted by the locals) surveys the farming district. As with the other districts you've scouted, the population of boggart tribe appears to tbe centered at the spire and ziggurat. With the shallow, algae-choked lake south of the spire, the safe conclusion is to skirt to the north of the heavily populated areas to avoid conflict prior to taking on the undead, blood-drinking menance on the bone perimetered island. As such the group can follow the rise of the ridge north.
1d100 ⇒ 32
During your trek through the northern part of the district, you do catch sight of a single patrol of boggard. The entire time you see them their attention is solidly riveted to the buildings along the western ridge (beneath where you surveyed the district).
Once you get close to the island, likely using flight to counter the river that surrounds it, you can see the perimeter of the entire island is ringed by hundred of stakes driven into the ground, decorated with animal, human and troglodyte skulls. Vines decorated with smaller bones are draped between these stakes to form a crude and ineffective fence. The group detects no magic nor traps along the barrier and is able to circumvent it with flight.
At the hear of the island you find a boggard den of mud, wood, and stone. Just outside of the entrance there is an effigy shaped like an immense frog-like monster made of mud, straw, branches, and animal carcasses.
A) Sense Motive DC 20:
The boggard patrol is not actively reacting to a threat, but they all show signs of ongoing stress, as if they have been fighting truly horrific battles.
Scouting around the island, you do find out boggard tracks - all from the same feet - all of which are a minimum of a month or two old. You do see some more recent small animal tracks, but no boggard or any other type of humanoid.
B) Aine with a DC 27 Survival:
It takes you a while, but you do eventually put the old boggard tracks together with the boggard that the group encountered and killed on Savith-Yhi's large central island.
C) Detect Magic:
The effigy before the boggard den radiates moderate abjuration and necromancy.
C) Spellcraft DC 25:
The effigy seems to be the lynchpin in a wide-area ward that prevents something from entering a wide swath of land in the farming district.
"A bit of both," Osond replies. "The tribe was pulled together in my grandparent's time. Some had visions calling them here with the promise of a patron and a place to create something, other heard of the place from them and chose to come. My grandmother told me of first meeting Radiant Muse, the joy she had in a new culture growing amid the ruins of the old."
"Most of the tribe now believes her to be a god."
A short distance out of the tribe's home, the few tracks that Aine had earlier found disappear completely but she finds a number of ape tracks in the area.
Having a direction, however, the group is able to move to the ridge that divides the districts. It is a very steep climb, near impossible. But you have access to magic. From the top of the ridge you can see the now half-flooded farming district. The much smaller lake formed in the vee of ridges is shallow and algae choked. Notably the peak of a ziggurat breaks free from the green waters. In the center of the district is the familiar 100-ft-tall ziggurat, though it looks like the bottom level may have sunk into the ground somewhat, topped by the spire. Barely visible using the spyglass, on the far side of the district there is a island marked by a bone studded fence around its exterior.
On the nearer side, you see a number of stone buildings, all nearly identical.
Áine Aiman wrote:
"No." Radiant Muse says, "Humans are transitory, flesh is but a moment, but they are capable of creating beauty that lasts far longer than flesh." Her hand as she moves down the final level of the ziggurat lingers over the ancient carvings.
Áine Aiman wrote:
"Besides it's undead and drinks blood?" she continues.
"It will likely attack you should you find its lair."
Faith Dagger wrote:
Faith smiles at the Radiant Muse, but the smile doesn't reach his eyes. "We will be pleased to do this favor of assistance."
"Good." She looks at the statue near the group, it grabbing her attention again, "When you have, bring the one you want healed."
A long pause, as she it lost in the examination of the work, "Do not hurt my pets while you are in my garden."
Osond starts to slowly back away, clearly feeling the group has been dismissed.
Kassata waves her hand imperiously, giving Aine leave to scout ahead. She leans back, keeping in the shadows to prevent the reflection of the glass.
As with most of the city the prevailing winds are from the west, though fitful most days and nonexistent others, allowing the humidity to eat at your comfort.
The primary vermin in the outside of camp are snakes and rats. And monkies, which aren't vermin but act like it much of the time. There are also reptiles and other natural beasties. The camp itself is in the 'ruins' of Saventh-Yhi, near the clean water spring that you noticed in your first overview of the sites.
"An actual great white that one of the crew raised. The captain rides her in the water and wants to be able to do the same in the air." She shakes with a mixture of wonder and horror, "He's used magic to do it for a limited time, but if Besmara blesses something once, she will do it again."
"We can only hope that if a monster plys not only the sea, it would technically no longer be her concern."
Before he moves her, before she is jelly, her hands move down her thighs and and run up his, tips of her fingers playing over him until she finds something to hold. As much as the armor could protect her, the position Zaine has pushed her pants to traps her. Despite this, there is nothing but him in her green eyes.
The swords strapped to the small of her back curve around him as he thrusts in, her back arching, hands pushing against the ground with the energy, her body squeezing around him. Despite the need, the energy pulsing through her, her delight is a moan rather than a scream, her teeth biting at her lip to habitually keep silent in her fighting gear.
She points to the east, where a ridge delineates the two adjacent sections of the ancient city. "There were barracks for those who tilled the fields, mayhap there, mayhap not." She blinks twice, her attention caught by a statue near to where the group stands, a line of concentration growing on her forehead as she stares. A long silent moment, during which Osond intentionally stays very quiet.
She looks back at the group, blinking as she takes them in, after another long moment the line smooths, and she continues as if she hadn't paused, "It's stink goes to the east in that direction, at least." A pause, "Have you lost any to the blood drinker, Osond?" Her eyes still watching the new-to-her in the group rather than the tribe's spokesman.
"No," Osond says, "I have managed to cure the worst each day, so far." His tone is calm, measured.
"Very pretty," Radiant Muse says after the introductions, "if you wish for me to help this individual without crafting beauty that remains," she blinks twice, her fingers idly drumming on the metal of the bow she holds, "it will not be an alliance." She shakes her head, "We can not ally with those who do not add to the world."
She slithers down another level of the ziggurat, bringing herself into easy speaking distance. "But a favor for a favor can be done with those who are not hostile to us." She nods, clearly the words going hand in hand with her thoughts. "There is a evil which stalks my people," she motions with her free hand at Osond. "If you can stop the bestial undead from plaguing them, then I would owe you a favor in kind."
Osond checks on a few of his patients on the way out of the isolation ward but on leaving he leads you north, away from the tribe's living area. Only a short trek away there is a wide plaza dominated by a now familiar sight of a one-hundred-foot-high ziggurat capped by a hundred-foot-tall spire of stone. A number of the steps of the ziggurat has a marble statue on the corner, which accentuate the carvings which decorate the ziggurat's surface. Before you see anyone, you hear the rasp of metal against stone and Osond leads you around the right side of the ziggurat. Quarter of the way up the pyramid, you see a woman with autumn red hair working a rasp against a marble statue. While most of the statue is only a rough shape, the leg she is working on is a near perfect sculpture.
She twists as she notices people entering the space, the fluid motion of dropping the rasp and grasping a bow that was laying near to her. She pauses her action as she turns, her hand not quite making it to the quiver nestled between a pair of pure white wings. Her body rises up and it impossible to hide the emerald scales of the snakes body that makes up her lower torso what should be legs.
Her body shifts forward, undulating down a few of the ziggurat's layers with barely any effort. "You bring strangers, Osond." Her eyes, a golden brown, evaluate each of you in turn. "Which means you believe they wish no harm to ours."
The otherworldly eyes flicker over you again, a soft smile curving her lips, "I am Radiant Muse, the last guardian of Savith-Yhi. You may pass in peace, but if you wish to stay in my garden then you must be able to bring beauty to it."
Kassata chuckles, nods. "My ship is my home and anything that happens on her is mine to know."
"One of the folk who were shipwrecked with you all, right?" She shrugs, "Aerys mentioned him, but neither his personality not contributions made much impact with me."
"It would be a scourge upon the world." Aerys says.
"There well may be a god who would find such an outcome a interesting path, but," Aerys's voice drops low, as if to not be overhear by any such deity, "I've heard of a crew in the Shackles who has bequest Besmara to grant flight to their shark. I fear that would be a request granted before pirates who loot knowledge as much as treasure."
Zaine's wonder is mirrored against joy that brightens Sasha's eyes and spills down to her lips that, defenseless as he is in the moment, he sees someone who stokes his need rather than fear.
The first stroke causes her to bite down on her lower lip, a pressure released only when he draws her to him. By the third, he can feel her body shaking, her thighs fighting against the pressure that makes it impossible for her to straddle him.
Zaine Kildare wrote:
"Who or what is the Radiant Muse?" Zaine asks.
Osond motions anyone who wants to listen away from the door, then responds. "Radiant Muse is a guardian of our tribe since we first came here several generations ago and of this place for far longer than I care to think about. She is powerful, fierce, and good." He swallows, "But she is also very, very old. And very not mortal. As is the curse of many who do not walk the path of the world, she is not always the easiest to deal with."
He not-smiles, although grim amusement lights his eyes, "Much like when a powerful adventuring group wanders into your life, something to be treated with respect but also caution."
"I can, if you would like, lead you to the Spear where she lives, but my presence will do little to help you in gaining her favor." A pause, "They aren't normally with her at the Spear, but if one of her pet basilisks are there, it would anger her if you killed it."
Perception/Sense Motive DC 20:
If Aine is one of the group to move off to listen to Osond, you notice after a bit the half-elf woman has moved to the doorway to stealthily watch the group.
"Why not?" Kassata says with a smirk, "It's harder to keep her presence unknown on a small ship than a big jungle."
Ishirou does not seem particularly happy nor highly thought of in the camp, but he is there.
One eyebrow moves up a little at the request, but a small smile plays about her lips. The movement of the single finger finds moisture, her body shivering just a bit at the movement of his breath across her ear.
Her movement is hampered by the position of her pants, but she moves against his seeking finger. Sasha turns her head to brush a kiss over his lips, a cheeky grin that doesn't distract from the deeper feeling in her green eyes. "You can have me anyway, anytime, you'd like, Zaine. Fully permission and likely full participation."
Áine Aiman wrote:
Áine tries the same thing with water and a small square of chocolate, but this time, waits for the woman to come out to her. Áine breaks the bar into small squares and lays it next to her. She tastes a bit, making a happy, contented sound, then begins first to hum popular traveling songs, looking for any recognition or interest before singing them out loud, never looking directly at the girl and keeping her energy low and non-threatening, waiting for the right signals before making welcoming overtures.
Much like a skittish animal, the woman slowly breaks cover, retrieves the tasty treat and retreats - but not in the hurried frenzy of before.
Faith Dagger wrote:
Quietly from the hallway out of sight, Osond comment, "Like a curse, then. I had thought she had a brain injury beyond my ability to heal." His brow furrows then he continues, "No doubt people she will feel safer around people who she knew," a pause, the furrows getting deeper, then finally with a sigh. "It is possible that Radiant Muse could heal her."
Sense Motive DC 20:
There is no lie in his voice or body, but he is clearly worried about his suggestion.
The rum proves to be three things: florally sweet, unsurpaingly smooth, and remarkably potent.
The pirate doesn't have the natural wood sense of the ranger, but she moves through the area like a wraith - silently and without a sign of her passing. The pair gets to a hill that overlooks a bowled depression in which a third group camps. The open area of the camp makes it nigh-impossible to move in close without being spotted, but you are able to assay the space from range. They seem regimented and well organized, larger than the Mantis contingent, smaller than your own.
It takes a careful eye to make out the sigil of the Aspis Consortium on a few of the tents at the center of the encampment. It is far easier for Aine to spot a familar face: Ishirou.
Aerys shudders a little, "There are a few on both sides who'd devolve to the throat cutting. To give credit where it due, Kassata and Glaur might barely tolerate each other, but they have been working hard to isolate the intolerant from each other."
A smile, "But we are talking about pirates, throat cutting is considered a very valid means of advancement." It is slight, but a lie, as if what she says is true of many pirate ships, but not the one she is used to.
"There's even a few that seem to like each other." She tilts back her hat, "Those ones are given the babysitting job more than the guard the camp job."
Sasha smiles, "I like starting my day next to you." The honesty in the statement is clear in the utter lack of guile.
She moves her hips, letting his hands work to remove the hindering leather. "And starting the day in pleasure, I'm not strong willed enough to say no to."
Her hand slides down Zaine's belly, pausing, "But my day started hours ago, so right now it's more how do I want to continue my day, right?"
It takes a while, but the woman cautiously comes out from the side of the bed - waiting until Aine gets just a little further from the bag of food. The entire time she stalks out from behind her cover she watches the group, the food always in her periphery, but her eyes boring in, waiting for you to move.
As soon as she gets within striking distance, her hand flashes out to grab the bag of food and she is back behind her safety net in seconds.
"Are you asking if the captain's private stock is base rotgut?" Kassata says with a challenging grin.
And in regards to the scouting, "Lead the way, scout."
Aerys laughs at the wordplay, then sobers at the question, "Not so bad during the day," she says consideringly. "The captain has us trading out which of us plays babysitters and which of us are on guard duty and those on camp maintenace so that none of us get on anyone's nerves to bad." She shrugs, "When everyone is on site it can be a bit much, there are," a long breath, "a lot of people. Most of the Pathfinders are decent folk," a grin, "there's a few more like Gelik, but there are pricks on our side too."
She moves her hips as Zaine's hands move, settling them just near the ridge of her illium, just below the band of her pants. "Bother?" She considers, then shakes her head, "No." A smile, "It might get our allies grumpy if we make them wait for something they don't consider important."
She worries her lips for a moment, thinking, "No, it is important, right?" A bright smile.
Zaine Kildare wrote:
Zaine dismounts, walking around to the front of the t-rex. He takes Tulip's head in his arms, stroking her snout, then leaning over to murmur into one of her earholes. After a moment, he gives her a final pat on the snout, nodding to Osond, and following the tour. Tulip stays put.
Tulip, in deed, stays put.
Perception DC 20:
You can see little faces occasionally peeting in through the entrance where the rest of the tribe is. For the moment they are being quickly dragged away from the building where the plague-afflicted are quarantined though.
Áine Aiman wrote:
It is a challenge to interact with the woman, as she ducks behind the barrier of the bed as soon as someone is in the doorway. The only response to Faith and Aine's words is a low grunt, though she moves and her spot her peering around the end of the bed when Aine says Pathfinder. Her lips move in a Pu sound but near silently.
A) Heal DC 20:
She seems to be operating at a far lower intelligence level than a human would normally, even an exceedingly stupid human. Like all that is left is base animistic instincts.
B) K:arcana/religion DC 20:
Based on her seeming regression to animal-like intellect, you suspect she may have fallen prey to feeblemind either as a cast spell or an effect on an object.
There is a tired smile at Faith's offer, "I will take what assistance you can offer." Osond says quietly. "I'm been able to heal the worst four everyday," he discreetly points to four happy groups of people who didn't even notice the arrival of outsiders. "But it has a week-long incubation during which it spreads quietly." He shakes his head, "Even then, I'd likely have it beaten, but there is a monster that brings it, infects healthy people every week."
Osond leads the group to the northernmost building, then to Zaine, with a genuine apology in his voice, "I do not think your friend will be able to move amid the sick."
Just past the foyer, the large room has been converted to a sick room, the patients not crammed together but obviously giving some room except for a few that are clumped by choice. The scent of the sickness permeates the room, the patients all showing the same signs of extreme swelling by the lymph nodes. Many don't even seem to notice the new people entering the space.
Osond motions you past the sick, although he pauses to give water to a few, words of encouragement to others. Down a hallway then up a set of stairs, he leads you to an old stone room carved with images of a great battle between a massive serpent and a human woman. As the door opens you hear a scuttling. Inside, you see a dirty, pointed eared woman peeking above the bed that she dashed behind.
Osond stays out of the room, but to Aine, "I know only the undead came from the south. They passed through out tribe like locust, but passed quickly."
A) Heal DC 21:
The people in the room are suffering from the bubonic plague. The quarantine room is clean and following other protocols to limit the spread of the illness, although it looks like there is space for almost half the tribe given the side rooms that you spot.
B) Perception DC 20 or K:local DC 20:
You see the familiar motif of the Pathfinders on a strap that goes over her shoulder that look like it may have once supported a weapon sheath.
To give you a feeling of scale, the Tribe of the Sacred Serpent is made up 280 humans.
Osond nods, "When she came she was scared of everything, noises, shadows." He shakes his head, lines of sympathy around his tired eyes, "She was calmer when she had a den, away from all our people," he motions to the mass of people who make a quiet roar with just their speaking and activity. A young boy who was totally not trying to lay a hand on Tulip's flank freezes as attention passes past him. "But because of that, it is a little dangerous for you to visit her." He pauses, "Not because of her, she generally wasn't violent," he clarifies. "But the only place I had where she could be alone was a back room in the building I have quarantined." He motions to the building you saw him exit from.
"I could instead bring her out, as that would only expose a single person to the plague, but I don't know what state she'll be in if I pull her from her den."
From an inner pocket that doesn't bulge in the slightest, Kassata pulls out a large flask when offered the wineskin, "I always carry pirate's rum," taking a small drink and then offering the silver container to Aine. She motions to the more trampled path, "Probably the Consortium. There was intel that they had a reliable lead to this place." A shrug, "And they aren't likely to led the Pathfinders have free rein over the information here - it's just one more resource they can trade in."
She gestures back over her shoulder towards the Mantis camp, "I don't think they are going to do the frontal attack, not their style." A shrug, "Possibly try to sneak into our camp to cause mayhem and kill whoever they have determined is the most in their way, but the camp as a whole is likely safe and probably more of a danger if we run into them in the field."
"They aren't like us," a smirk, "Like me. Interested in any of the treasure we uncover. The Mantis have money, if they are here it is because they have a specific goal in mind. If we aren't in the way of that goal, I doubt we see any of them."
She gives a gentle twist to her backside which indicated, 'no she wouldn't mind one bit'. Aloud, "Everyone will know why we are late for clearing out the serpents though."
With a nod, albeit a nervous nod, the trio of guards leads the group south. Oddly, rather than going directly past the staired terraces into the plaza dominated by a 40-foot-tall statue of a warrior woman, the guards move around leading the group roundly past.
Once well past the plaza, the guards lead you back to the stoned roadway which you were on originally. After a bit you get to a wide promenade. Two groups of three large truncated pyramidal structures sit facing each other across the space. Each of the buildings is covered with carvings depicting a different form of art or craft—sculpting, painting, writing, singing, music, and dance. Numerous large fire pits smolder in the street between the buildings. Moving around the area with the normal noise that you'd expect from a sizable tribe living together is the tribe. Young, old, everyone doing the normal daily life of cooking, eating, socializing, carving, sculpting.
The opening that you pass through is lined with displays of the tribes artistry, to differing degrees of quality. When you are noted there are more than a few scream - some in worry and a number of younger ones in delight. The small group of Faith, Pakeshee, Zaine and Tulip (and any of the lurkers who may have joined them) is quickly surrounded by the young - who mostly seem to be trying to touch the dinosaur. Much to the worry and fear of the parents who try to grab them away.
As you get to the middle of the promenade a middle-aged man ducks out of northmost building. While he looks healthy and strong, his eyes are red-rimmed with dark circles beneath, suggesting he hasn't much rest in the recent past. He holds up a hand to the guards, one of whom runs over and speaks quietly to him.
He approaches the group with wary confidence. "You wish to visit with our recent guest?"
A) Sense Motive DC 20 or Any Craft DC 10:
None of the sculpting on display here matches the realism of the statues in the terraced garden.
The guards nod, "We can take you to talk to Osond." One of the other guards bumps the speaker's shoulder, motioning somewhat inconspicuously at the bulk of Tulip. After a moment, cautiously, "We have children and elderly, sick, at our home."
"Will you peacebond your weapons?" A pause, "Is your dinosaur safe to be around those who can not fight?"
There is a quick conference amid the three guards, then the same one responds, in Polygot, "We found an outsider but the day before the undead attacked. She has," he motions near his head, "pointed ears." He shrugs, "She seems touched but since she wasn't violent, Osond said we should keep her safe until her mind returns. Or until the Muse can help her."
He shakes his head, "But we have had no strangers that were alive and male."
Sense Motive DC 20:
As the trio conversed and as he spoke to you, his guard went down. If you were going to attack, he would be caught off guard.
Kassata nods, smiling at the cooling breeze. The pair of you are able the scout the outskirts of the encampment safely, so you have to extrapolate the number more than Aine would probably like.
You are certain the assassins don't have the sheer numbers your combined group has, but they definitely have a bit more than half of your own numbers.
At the entrance into the valley protecting Savith-Yhi, you find a number of resupply trails - although the one likely takes supplies to the Mantis's quickly disappears into the natural flow of the jungle, not leading directly to the encampment.
The most obvious is your own group's.
The final one is heavily tramped, not at all hidden and leads towards an encampment that is northern of your own.
She moves in his lap, just a bit. "You're just as special." Another movement. A smile.
"And I should probably get up or we might get distracted."
The majority of the group, or at least the noisier contingent of armored Tulip, armored Faith, Zaine and Pakshee. The statues that decorate the stairs and the cultivated terraces are perfect, but far from beautiful. Realistic rather than idealized.
As you get about halfway up the staired terrace, three of the guards that Aine had pointed out after her scouting move into the open with drawn bows. In polygot, one calls out, "What are you doing here?" The arrows seems to be decidedly pointed at Tulip.
A) Sense Motive DC 20:
The guards are worried, cautious but not overtly hostile or murderous.
B) K:local/Sense Motive DC 20:
Nearly all of the statues are of older or elderly humans. There are a few statues representing younger people, but they seem gaunt or maimed. The vast majority of the statues have flowers or a small amount of food placed in the hands or between the feet.
She takes a quick swig of the water as she assesses the area with a spyglass. The mahogany-haired woman doesn't seem winded, but she does glisten with perspiration.
You don't observe much of anything, the camp being very well hidden into the natural environment, but occasionally you see a flash of red as a person moves about the camp before disappearing again.
She smiles into Zaine's shoulder, her body softening against his. "I can sometimes tell when you are teasing, now."
"And I like when we play, because I know it's play and that what is between us is real." She has a happy little sigh.
Assuming that Aine is not going to go scouting the entire district
You are able to move closer to the path without a problem. From your new angle you are able to see the entirety of the daised path which is decorated by human sculptures for the entirety of the length. You just barely make out sets of golden pillars far deeper in the district because they glint in the sun. As Aine is about to head back, the slightest movement catches her eye. Although the vast majority of the statues are stone, there are a few human guards, disguised as stone watching the path.
Kassata motions to the city for Áine to lead the way. "Unless," Kassata's voice utterly serious, "you want to get the rum first."
Assuming Áine doesn't detour, the pair is able to make good time towards the area of the jungle above the city where the Mantis are lairing. From much further away than Áine's previous scouting she sees minor signs of their presence. The most worrisome for the pair scouting is the sign of warning alarms and possible deadly traps.
Aerys chuckles into her waterbag, "I would think after a long day of fishing in the sun a pleasant stroll along the garden path is a called for remedy."
She smirks over at Faith, "And," motioning at the obvious sign of faith on his cheek, "you could well stand the pricks of the flowers."
She nods, then motions to his truly unguarded self, "If you were worried about me hurting you, you wouldn't let yourself be vulnerable when we aren't doing delightfully wicked things to each other."
"Plus the only price would be if you or Tulip or Zephyr were threatened. They can't pay me with you if they want me to kill you. If it were Tulip or Zephyr, then you'd help me save them and woe be to the stupid people trying to use them as pawns." She nods, blinks, takes a bite of her stew.
A pause, "I'm not really good at the teasing part of this, am I?"
Another Day, A Snake Hunt
Heading south, you pass through parts of the 'uninhabited' district between your encampment and the human enclave. The district has a mercantile feel, with a number of foundries, shops and warehouses. Many buildings, some cracked open long ago, some left open intentionally have the mark of Abadar. Everywhere you go, you feel eyes on you, the shadows deep in the alleyways move unnaturally.
As you veer west to travel through the jungle cliffs that ring the south-western side of the lake, you catch sight of the one-hundred-foot-high ziggurat capped by the district's spear of stone. The sides of the ziggurat are carved with images of treasure, mounds of trade goods, and merchants in all manner of daily life. Even from the jungle circling high above you catch the reek of guano when the wind shifts, and see the sinkhole on your side of the structure, an sixty-foot wide opening to the blackness below.
As you look down, the air is shuttered by the roar of a lion, the atavistic primate terror momentarily freezing you, even when your forebrain knows the creature is not in striking distance.
To the south, in the human district, you can see a wide roadway that leads up from the lake's edge, turning into stairs that pass through immaculately tended garden terraces.
Áine Aiman wrote:
but also relays whatever she found in her previous foray
Áine was gone for the remainder of the undead attack night (as it will be recorded in the annals of the camp, as kept by Aerys). As she slipped slightly out into the dark, by herself, there was a bit of concern that she had disappeared during the attack. Then, when that was disputed by someone who had clearly seen her after the combat, that her solo exploration had proved hazardous and she met a foul end at the pointy end of whatever force commanded the undead to attack.
Instead, just a slip past dawn, Áine returns to camp. The undead horde came from the south, well into or perhaps past the human encampment which had been aerially scouted by Zephyr. While the lithe archer hadn't actually followed the trail to the source, she did backtrack the undead to where they emerged from the water - and where they proceeded to split into three groups. The largest group converged on your tower camp, the other two headed past and towards other targets. Likely, from other scouting done, the encampments of the Red Mantis Assassins and the Aspis Consortium, respectively.
The Sick or the Injured
About a third of the Pathfinders and a sixth of the Pirates are showing early signs of infection. The limited magical healing to purge disease is focused on the worst cases, the less affected being treated with mundane means and lower level magics to keep them healthy enough until they get a chance to be healed.
Many go to great pains to be as not-undead like as possible when observed by the warpriest.
Although Chev's absence was noted in the aftermath of the battle, none of the trackers can find signs of where he may have been dragged or carried from the camp. Which leads to a concerned, then upset, then pissed Glaur talking to each one of his subordinates. It is only in the wee hours of the morning that Glaur comes to the conclusion that Chev was missing well before the undead attack night, instead his absence having not been recorded by the team leader the day before when they left the island to return to camp.
The Day of Rest
Beyond the above, the day passes without note or trouble.
Previous plan had been to go down towards the human encampment, which would give the group a chance to investigate the origin of the undead horde. Please let me know if you'd like to take a different action.
Kassata's hands do a quick check at her waist and vest, lingering momentarily over her sword, the butt of the pistol, the pouches of ammo, and she shakes her head. "Not unless you plan on getting us lost and I need rations and rum."
A smirk, "I hope you are a better scout than that."
Aerys watches the equivocating with a single eyebrow raised, "Curse breaking can be a dangerous thing," she says with far too much sincerity. "Whatever will you do if you succeed and she wants to reward you with a favor, Faith?" The poet's tone is dry.
Sasha blinks at him, her eyes taking in the spread hands, the body between. "Even if I were an assassin, you'd have to have an enemy that would pay for your death." She shakes her head, "Don't think anyone has the right price for that."
There is a noticeably heavy guard that night, in addition to those bitten by ghouls or wights being cared for by Jask and orderlies. Armed orderlies. The dead are burned, the bodies of the few of your own allies burned separately from the undead.
The remainder of the night passes without much in the way of interruption, a single warning call that is abruptly turned to an 'all clear' when the young pirate was found to be jumping at shadows. The tense wariness carries into the next day, but doesn't stop the Pathfinders from their exploration, nor their pirate guards. Leaving you alone at the strange tower with just a minimum guard at the perimeter.
In addition to those that died the previous night, there is one missing. A younger Pathfinder named Chev.
"Yes," the Captain parries deftly, "Ideally scouts and magically observation, so that when they all die you know what you need to bring with you to get the loot."
She gives Faith a sad smile at he comment of the two-headed giant serpent, her hand automatically reaching for her belt where she no doubt carried a flask, once upon a time. Instead she grabs the waterskin off the ground and offers him a drink of only water.
Aerys counts off on her fingers, "The thing with the abattoir on the island," a pause, "which is still at large, right?"
A second finger, "The colony of vegepygmies, which seem... tribal but not absolutely hostile."
Third finger, "The black-haired woman in the overgrown manor."
A shrug, "Not a horrible list of what might still prove dangerous."
A huff of air, "Not sure if the woman or the monster would be more of a test of faith."
Sasha pauses looks over at Zaine to give him a small smile, her hand moves to touch his leg for a moment. Then, "If you are worried about your own health are there any more dangerous than assassin?" Her tone light.
Kassata eventually makes her way over to the undead bodies on your side of the battle. Her white sailors shirt is missing a sleeve, the left side dark with blood. She lets loose a low whistle while examining the remains, she carefully moves the pile of bandages with the toe of her boot. "Damn glad this thing didn't get closer to the center of the camp, we could have been overrun with the ice in your blood stillness it inflicts."
On the far side, pirates being to burn undead bodies.
"Do you think they were just let loose or set on us in particular?" Glaur asks when he gets closer, his face a mask of blood from a gash on his scalp.
Ghasts and Mummy and Wights
The battle all around you in the night rises in cacophony, the fires flaring up to balance the advantage of the dead. A shatter of bones, a pained scream.
Zaine turns his attention on the ghasts, firing at one of the undead. He destroys one that has been made extra crispy by lightning.
Tulip drops her prey and grabs another ghast. This one squishes with a nauseating bile that breaks free when Tulip rends into flesh. She drops him, destroyed.
Áine's arrows begin tearing through the remaining undead. Two more of the ghasts fall to the onslaught.
Faith and the Hound Archon continue to work on their Synchronized Beatings routine, with mixed success, but enough to destroy the final ghast.
Looking around the camp you see dead and injured. The few remaining undead are being surrounded and destroyed. Most of the still bodies had started this night as undead, but there are a few dead from amid the living.
Sasha slumps against Tulip in the lull, her sun touched white skin pallid, her breathing heavier than fighting would normally account for. The outsider summoned by Pakshee moves avid the injured, laying a healing hand on each. [Ooc]If you are injured you heal 3d8+7 [/dice]
Across the stained courtyard, you see Kassata and Aerys move from fighting back to back to help dispatch the final undead. Jask, his old skin still lit from the energy he channeled for most of the flight, moves amid the injured, he uses mundane means to patch most, reserving the few healing spells for those more greviously injured. Glaur moves from undead to undead, making sure they will stay down, getting the living to help.
Ref vs Bralani, GGG: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (19) + 8 = 271d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 111d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 166d6 ⇒ (6, 6, 2, 3, 3, 3) = 23
Sasha: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (7) + 16 = 231d20 + 16 ⇒ (6) + 16 = 221d20 + 11 ⇒ (4) + 11 = 151d20 + 11 ⇒ (8) + 11 = 192d8 + 2 ⇒ (1, 4) + 2 = 7
ghasts: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (18) + 15 = 331d20 + 15 ⇒ (5) + 15 = 201d20 + 15 ⇒ (16) + 15 = 311d20 + 15 ⇒ (4) + 15 = 191d20 + 15 ⇒ (2) + 15 = 17
g1 destroyed -28
Ghasts and Mummy and Wights
A roar from the far side of camp, maybe a cheer.
Zaine takes a deep breath, taking careful aim at the mummy. The bullet slams into the dried body, there is a poomf. There is a puff of powdery something from the hole and the undead falls onto the ground.
Tulip squawks and chomps yet another ghast. Already blasted by the bralani's electricty, Tulip spits it out after it stops moving.
With the mummy destroyed, Áine's arrows swarm into the wights like a barrage of angry Hornets. One of the wights falls, destroyed, and the final one has an arrow sticking out.
Faith squints at the mummy, down on the ground. "Let's try this again," he says, indicating the final wight. Faith and the Hound Archon attempt to time their blows better against the wight. The pair, working together, utterly destroys the final wight.
Another blast of electrity from the outsider, the energy engulfing three of the remaining ghasts.
Sasha's goes back to hacking at the ghats around Tulip.
At this point you are facing 5 ghasts.
After again being unable to get to the large meal represented by dinosaur's bulk, they turn hungry glares onto Sasha, Zaine and Faith to a lesser degree.
Ref vs Bralani, GGGGWW: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (15) + 8 = 231d20 + 8 ⇒ (10) + 8 = 181d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 201d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 71d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 116d6 ⇒ (4, 3, 2, 4, 4, 1) = 18
Sasha: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (10) + 16 = 261d20 + 16 ⇒ (11) + 16 = 271d20 + 11 ⇒ (4) + 11 = 151d20 + 11 ⇒ (6) + 11 = 172d8 + 2 ⇒ (1, 8) + 2 = 11
mummySlamvFaith: 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (12) + 19 = 312d6 + 13 ⇒ (2, 6) + 13 = 21 MUMMY ROT
wightsSZ: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (19) + 18 = 371d20 + 13 ⇒ (10) + 13 = 231d20 + 18 ⇒ (10) + 18 = 281d20 + 13 ⇒ (9) + 13 = 22
ghasts: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (18) + 15 = 331d20 + 15 ⇒ (20) + 15 = 351d20 + 15 ⇒ (15) + 15 = 301d20 + 15 ⇒ (15) + 15 = 301d20 + 15 ⇒ (14) + 15 = 291d20 + 15 ⇒ (19) + 15 = 34
mummy -30, -43, -71
Ghasts and Mummy and Wights
The sounds of the rest of the battle fade, not because it fierce battle has slowed, but just the immediacy of the fight within your own quadrant has taken precedence.
Zaine shakes off the fear, clearly frustrated by his momentary lapse. "You're paying for that," he growls at the mummy.
Zaine fires at the mummy, but apparently he's more rattled than he appeared the shot almost goes wide.
Tulip chomps one of the ghasts tormenting her, killing the one previously injured by Zaine's bullets.
Only a single one of Áine's arrows hits the mummy.
Faith and the Hound Archon both swing on the mummy, the Archon following up with mighty snap. But even with the two holy warriors flanked the undead, neither lands a blow.
The windswept creature summoned by Pakshee's magic, moves to a better angle on the fight, walking on air as easily as the ground. This time they summon lighting which tears through most of the enemy combatants. The electricity proves a better weapon than the blast of violent wind.
Sasha's turns her blades on the wight that drained her, finishing it off after the electrical blast.
At this point you are facing 1 mummy, 2 wights, and 6 ghasts.
Again the mummy manages to slam Faith the blow jarring. Faith takes 21 damage and must make a Fort DC 19 vs mummy rot.
With one of their number falling the wights redouble their efforts, both managing to land a single blow on Sasha and Zaine. Sasha and Zaine take 11 damage and 1 negative level each.
1d20 + 19 ⇒ (4) + 19 = 23 One of the ghouls manages to get a lucky bite in past Tulip's armor. Tulip take s2d6 ⇒ (5, 6) = 11 damage and must make a Fort DC 15 vs 1d4 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2 rounds of paralysis.
Ref vs Bralani, GGGW: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (20) + 9 = 291d20 + 9 ⇒ (5) + 9 = 141d20 + 9 ⇒ (12) + 9 = 211d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 223d6 ⇒ (2, 3, 5) = 10
Sasha: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (3) + 16 = 191d20 + 16 ⇒ (10) + 16 = 261d20 + 11 ⇒ (16) + 11 = 271d20 + 11 ⇒ (2) + 11 = 132d8 + 2 ⇒ (8, 4) + 2 = 14
mummySlamvFaith: 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (11) + 19 = 302d6 + 13 ⇒ (3, 2) + 13 = 18 MUMMY ROT
wightsFSZ: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (3) + 18 = 211d20 + 13 ⇒ (1) + 13 = 141d20 + 18 ⇒ (17) + 18 = 351d20 + 13 ⇒ (19) + 13 = 321d20 + 13 ⇒ (16) + 13 = 292d6 + 1 ⇒ (4, 5) + 1 = 10
ghasts: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (18) + 15 = 331d20 + 15 ⇒ (5) + 15 = 201d20 + 15 ⇒ (7) + 15 = 221d20 + 15 ⇒ (15) + 15 = 301d20 + 15 ⇒ (14) + 15 = 291d20 + 15 ⇒ (15) + 15 = 301d20 + 15 ⇒ (12) + 15 = 27
mummy -30, -43
Everyone is sickened for several minutes.
Áine takes a quick snapping shot at the wight that moved up and attacked Faith.
Ghasts and Mummy and Wights
You hear an impossible roar, donosaur rage but rattling, a broken echo of Tulip's. The silence of sickness held in allows for the distinctive tear of flesh that is the feeding of the undead.
Zaine is momentarily paralyzed with fear.
Tulip squawks in obvious displeasure, and shakes the ghast in her jaws. The undead creatures break and crack until it moves no more.
Only a single one of Áine's arrows hits the mummy.
Faith and the Hound look at each other and gag as the putrescent stench of evil fills their nostrils.
Faith and Cherish dance with the undead. But sickened as they are the mummy's dried leathery skin protects it.
At the back of the group an androgynous figure appears - slender with a elven cast to their ears, the wind blows around it obfuscating it from view. They gesture with their hands and a scouring blast of wind slams through three ghasts and a wight. Only one of the ghasts is truely scoured by the wind fully.
Sasha's blades flash as she moves to put herself between the paralyzed Zaine and the uundead.
At this point you are facing 1 mummy, 3 wights, and 7 ghasts.
This time the mummy's slam manages to beat back Faith's armor both mundane and magical. Faith takes 18 damage and must make a Fort DC 19 vs mummy rot.
The wights are unsuccessful in attacking Faith and Sasha, except that Sasha thurst herself between the sword wielding monster and Zaine. Sasha takes 10 damage and 1 negative level.
As Tulip worriedly checks on her still rider, the ghast's attacks scour only her armor.
Kassate take Áine's hand, but doesn't actually put any weight on it as she jumps down. A pause, and a wry smirk, "You won't hear this from me often at all, but you can have the lead."
"Are there jobs that would worry you more than assassin?" She grins over at Tulip, "You know I tried to be a dinosaur wrangler but that was only for the lovlies already at the citadel."
Sasha: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (17) + 16 = 331d20 + 16 ⇒ (16) + 16 = 321d20 + 11 ⇒ (8) + 11 = 191d20 + 11 ⇒ (18) + 11 = 293d8 + 3 ⇒ (1, 6, 3) + 3 = 13
mummySlamvFaith: 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (9) + 19 = 282d6 + 13 ⇒ (4, 3) + 13 = 20 MUMMY ROT
wightsFSZ: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (1) + 18 = 191d20 + 13 ⇒ (1) + 13 = 141d20 + 18 ⇒ (7) + 18 = 251d20 + 13 ⇒ (8) + 13 = 211d20 + 13 ⇒ (3) + 13 = 16
ghasts: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (20) + 15 = 351d20 + 15 ⇒ (19) + 15 = 341d20 + 15 ⇒ (7) + 15 = 221d20 + 15 ⇒ (14) + 15 = 291d20 + 15 ⇒ (9) + 15 = 241d20 + 15 ⇒ (17) + 15 = 321d20 + 15 ⇒ (9) + 15 = 241d20 + 15 ⇒ (9) + 15 = 24
Sasha Will: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 3 = 23
You can't really pay attention to any part of the battle but that before you, but you do hear things. The shot of a pistol (not Zaine's), a resounding cheer from a group of Pathfinders whose battle song lightens your heart even from the length of the campsite, the dizzying blast of light around the old cleric as the undead get close to the pirates he stands behind.
Zaine blasts a nearby ghoul and with a muttered command, reloads the gun. The stench that rolls out from the damaged undead proves that the ghouls are actually ghasts. And resilient undead, as the once-charau-ka snaps it's teeth.
Tulip surges forward, her jaws closing over a ghoul. The muffled squawk is indignant enough to indicate that she doesn't enjoy the taste. The once-human ghast's reek rolls out from her mouth, likely making the inedible morsel very tempting to spit out.
"Not food, girl," Zaine says to Tulip.
From her elevated perch Áine snipes away at the sword-wielding wights. While one of her arrows misses its mark, the three she lodges in one brings it to the ground to be trampled by the rest of the horde.
Faith pulls out his new dagger and introduces her to the most dangerous-looking undead. "Her name is Cherish," he says, "and I do."
The hound head gives Faith a look which seems to say less talk and more action, and the humanoid body attacks the same undead. Faith's new blade cuts through the cloth-wrapped undead to the dessicated body beneath. The Hound's weapon does not fair as well.
Back from the press of the fray, you hear a familiar chant, but her spellcasting repretorie is depleated from the foray into the military zone.
Sasha dives into the melee of ghasts, both of her swords soon marred by blood and putricence.
At this point you are facing 1 mummy, 3 wights, and 7 ghasts.
The mummy's slam is barely deflected by the magic Faith imbued in his armor.
The wights' sword attacks against Faith, Sasha, and Zaine are all thwarted by armor.
The ghasts mob Tulip, her armor standing up well to the multitude of attacks. Except from the ghast in her jaws. (1d20 + 19 ⇒ (12) + 19 = 31) Even Zaine's quick reflexes in the saddle can't protect her from that vicious blow. Tulip takes 2d6 ⇒ (3, 3) = 6 and must make a Fort save DC 15 vs 1d4 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2 rounds of paralysis.
Everyone must make a DC 21 Will save or be paralyzed by fear for 1d4 ⇒ 3 rounds.
Everyone must make a 8x DC 15 Fort save or be sickened by the smell for 1d6+4 min.
Note: Sasha rolled a natural 20 on her will save but failed 2 of her Fort saves. She is sickened for 6 rounds and if combat is still ongoing will have to roll vs stench at that time.
Campfires Following Military District Exploration
Zaine Kildare wrote:
"Oh yeah. This place is lousy with sea monsters."
"We have sea monsters in the lake." Quietly under her breath, likely not intended to reach anyone's eyes, "Besmara bountiful blessing, of course we have sea monsters in the bloody lake."
In the Dark, In the Night, Just Past Midnight
Zaine expertly swings himself into the saddle, drawing the musket from his bandolier.
A muscular human with the head of a sheep-herding dog appears next to Faith. Faith nods to the man/dog, says, "Evil this way," and heads off in the direction Mercy came from.
Handle Animal DC 20:
Tulip is carefully watching the dog-man, trying to figure out if he is in the food or not-food category.
Áine's carpet slices silently through the night air above the lead person in the group, cloaked in shadow.
Just as Faith and his extraplanar friend get to the edge of camp, chaos breaks out all around. From three sides masses of undead burst from around buildings, the ones on the south side dripping lake water. The undead are a mix of all the creatures you have heard inhabit the ancient city, plus the more mundane animals of the jungle. On the north side, near where Kassata calls out order in a voice well-trained at sounding over combat, there is a t-rex skeleton larger than Tulip. On the south the water logged undead includes a giant fish zombie. Nearer to the group the undead are all human-sized. A serpentfolk wrapped in ancient brown cloth, undead with flesh drained of blood, bone white in the night and the familiar stench of ghoul.
K: religion DC 20:
Although the undead on the other sides of your encampment are larger, the ones near to where Faith instinctively moved are the most dangerous.
Campfires Following Military District Exploration
Zaine Kildare wrote:
"Don't go swimming."
Kassata's attention perks up, "Something that will hinder people doing water for the camp?"
Faith Dagger wrote:
Faith smiles, and leans back, and stretches. "If we are clearing the city too fast, I am happy to fish for a while." The tone in his voice says that he is 95% joking.
Glaur takes a bite of his stew, "If you wanted to bring in some fish while Kildare works on his ammunition, I'll volunteer to cook it." Another bite of the stew, reluctant.
In the Dark, In the Night, Just Past Midnight
Áine is the first one out, she and her carpet slipping through the impassable arrow slit in the large room she claimed as her own. Faith and Zaine - along with companions human and not - make it out of the first floor entrance not long after. All around, you hear people sloughing off sleep, pulling on clothes grabbing weapons.
The shrill whistle comes again, a closer, heralding a pale Mercy, running as fast as she around the buildings, "Dead."
Panting as Kassata and Glaur arrive on scene, "Lots of them." She swallows, "Flesh eaters, one of them got Joe, one touch and he couldn't move."
Zaine Kildare wrote:
Zaine nods. "Don't need my opinion then," he says agreeably. "I imagine the quicker we get this place cleared out, the fewer problems we'll have, though expecting a lost city in the middle of a jungle to be safe is probably wishful thinking."
"True," Kassata nods, "if you kill all our possible enemies it will make it much easier on my people." A pause, then with a serious note in her voice, "If any of you do see anything that will keep my crew whole, your opinions are something I would like to hear."
"We've only had two days to scour the city on the island." Glaur says into the pause, "And while I'd normally want us to finish assaying an area before moving on, we don't know if the detente brokered with the vegepymies will hold." He looks at the group, "What do you think, should we keep on the two areas at once or cut back to just the one district." The red-haired Pathfinder considers the fire for a while, "Probably the vegepygmie's area first, in case the treaty fails."
Perception DC 10:
Much later that night, a bit past midnight for those who keep track of such things, your sleep (or contemplation of the night) is broken by a whistle.
Kassata taps the map where the Assassin camp would be. "I do remember that they were mentioned when we first arrived. No," A slight smile, "none of my scouts have noted signs of them."
She taps another area, "They have noted fires here just today. That's likely the Consortium."
"I'm a girl of the sea," Kassata temporizes, "but it wouldn't be my first time stalking through a jungle."
Distractedly Sasha drops Tulip's meal, keeping herself away from the dinosaur's sharp teeth, even as she croons to the predator.
"Oh, I'm pretty sure it's the same stew from last night." A pause, "If you want something different then you'll have to convince one of Glaur's people to take over the kitchen. Kassata's chef volunteered to be on the resupply run and won't be back for a week or so." She kicks off her boots and settles onto another cushion. A taste of the stew, "This is better than pirate gruel."
"The first pirate ship I was ever on, the cook's food was only edible because she drowned it in rum. It was one of the worst things you'd ever eat, but they did since it keep them drunk all the time."
"I have some scouts posted around camp," Kassata says, motioning slightly to the second fire with pirate discussing the shadow of the monster, "it's the groups going out there," she motions to the island, the vegepygmy jungle beyond, and sighs, "they keep splintering, which makes it very hard to ensure none of them are being jumped by a snakehead or something worse."
To Zaine, "The scouts here have whistles," a hint of smile, amusement dancing in her eyes, "So they can sound a warning before they get eat."
She considers, "The predators that are likely to attempt to strike out at us, I can't do anything about the ones we run across in the field."
Sasha looks in his direction as soon as the curtain moves, two bowls of stew balanced on one arm and a bloody something held in the other. Tulip is watching the dead, bloody thing with intent. Sasha eyes stay on Zaine, a smile perking her lips, the green of her eyes intensifying. "While I was away," a disappointed huff, "lots of watching the water and waiting. More waiting. Carefully examining little waves to see if they turned into my monster." Her eyes move up to met his, "So a lot of nothing."
She lifts her hands a bit, Tulip's eyes follow the movement, "So food. Zephyr is having his outside."
Áine Aiman wrote:
"Temple to Ydersius." Áine mumbles,
The Pathfinder straightens a bit at the mumbling then turns to Jask asÁine flits off. "Right. So do you think the Azlant here worshiped Ydersius too, or the Zura cult that was from here just took over their temple?"
Áine Aiman wrote:
"What did it look like?" Áine perks up.
Zaine Kildare wrote:
Zaine watches Aine scamper from campfire to campfire. "That looks exhausting," he decides, settling down with the pirates.
The pirates, who have taken up the guard duty for the camp and the explorers, move to make room for Zaine and Sasha. Then the whole log gets cleared to give the pair space as Tulip squawks behind the gunslinger. Mercy, looking at the hit and gone Áine, raises her voice to answer the question then drops it back to the conversational range it had been. "I didn't see it, but I heard it roar from further off, sounded like a lion."
The male pirate, "It was silhouetted against the sunset," he admits, "And it was the oddest thing because it just looked lopsided, the heads didn't look matched, one was close to the body and another was big." He shivers a bit, "I was glad we only saw it from afar."
Áine Aiman wrote:
Áine settles down at the edge of the light, cross-legged, meeting the auburn haired woman's eyes briefly and giving the pathfinder a nod as she does so, "I'd tend to agree. I mean, we've made the areas we've explored safer, but it should by no means be considered a walk in the park."
Glaur comments wryly, "If you weren't making so many areas 'safe'," his nod acknowledges that they aren't truly safe, "then I wouldn't feel the need to split up my people so much."
He sighs, "I know it isn't the wisest course," he directed this mostly at Kassata, "but power abhors a empty space. If we have people in the area, we might get a clue when something moves in to take that power, if we don't then we'll be blind to that and it well could make the area just as dangerous as it was before our stalwart adventurers made it 'safe'." He motions towards Áine, a motion that also takes in the trio with the dinosaur and Faith.
The night, despite everyone's worries, passes peacefully. So does the next day as the stalwart adventurers take their first day off since the arrived in Savith-Yhi. Outside the tower the heat of the jungle day grows oppressive, but the thick stone of the tower and maybe something more of the ancient construction keeps the interior comfortably cool, even in the worst of the heat and humidity.
She nods, "When you explored the island district, they only had the two of the bridges actively guarded, which means they didn't expect a force from this side."
"There was little sign of any of the other type of creature's your aeril survey has found." She considers, "In the creature's lair, the one that had the man prisoner, there were bodies, but that was more like a predator going out and taking specific prey, there was no sign that the boggarts swim across the lake and try to take resources from the serpentfolk, which would be a worry in places in the Shackles."
He might not feel the soft kiss Sasha brushes over his lips a few minutes later but he does smell the food when she returns, hours later. Although if it weren't for the welcoming chirp Tulip makes then even that might be doubtful.
Jask hands out stew and healing with an equal hand, including a bowl for Tulip. Around the fires you can listen in on a multitude of conversations.
"Have you seen any signs of the gods worshiped by the Azlant here?" Jask asks one of the young pathfinders. The young woman considers then holds up a hand in a maybe gesture, then speaks "I've come across a few sigils that look to be Abadarian, but not much else." She pauses, then asks, "I think Glaur mentioned that you all found evidence of a Zura cult on that island, right?" Jask nods, "Built on the bones of the serpentfolk, yes." The old man sighs, "Once when I was in Osirion, I heard a rumor that Nethys ascended to godhood as a replacement for a much older deity of magic." He smiles, "That would be a lost secret worth finding."
Another fire, "I don't care what you say, Mercy, the creature had three heads. Something like that means we need to shore up the defenses on this place or someone is going to end up dead."
Yet another fire, "If you break up your people into smaller groups, then we need more guards, Glaur." Kassata, her temper obviously a bit up at an extended argument.
Kassata grins, "I'm not the hero that you sound to be, bright eyes." Her eyes rake the city, "The treasure is the important thing," she shrugs, "money lets you do things you just can't otherwise." Her grin softens into a smile, "But there is a story here, one that would be interesting even if the wealth were stripped bare."
Her eyes sharpen, "And questions, why is there so little push from one area to another. On the island in makes sense, the snakes were guarding the bridges, but what about the other groups you've heard of?"
"Many questions means there is likely many answers."
Sasha winces, her underthings only half pulled on at the question. He hears the almost silent movement of her towards the bed, then quietly, "Just to the edge of the lake. I'm going to take the Shiv spyglass and see if I can spot the lake creature I think I saw yesterday."
She brushes a soft kiss on Zaine's lips, "It might be something nasty like a mosaur or spinosaur, but it could be something else that we could live alongside like a plesiosaur or mokele-mbembe." There is an excitement at the possible discovery clear in her voice.
Once it is clearly apparent that the giant ape-demon hybrid is dead, Zephyr lands on a nearby plinth. He squawks at Tulip.
Much later, having to trek across the length of the military district wending through buildings, Pakshee and Sasha arrive. Pakshee starts with checking Faith for wounds. Sasha bumps into Zaine's leg with a smile, "That was a perfect shot, Zaine."
The Military District has been conquered and it is a safe place for your Pathfinder allies to research (barring new developments).
A few hours later when you get back to the home base tower (now quite well identified by the tents and slight fortifications set up around it), the sky is the purples and reds of sunset. You are greeted first by the heavy meaty aroma of stew then by calls from the assembled groups. Jask stands up, the lines of his old face deepening, "Bloodstains? Are any of you still injured?"
Gelik grins at the old cleric's question, "That means you must have found something more interesting than a hag in a house!" The pristinely dressed halfing rubs his hands together, "What was it?"
Kassata's voice is warm, humor edging the words, "Before I convince you a pirate is the best of all possible lives," a beat, "because it is," a bright grin, "what do you think you want now that you are here?" She motions to the ancient, remarkably well-preserved city around them.
Aerys makes a face at almost the exact moment, following it with a nod, "Wretched."
She taps the big book at Faith's question, "The Cantos... the very end is eluding me." She shrugs, "I'm not planning on abandoning her on the shoals of the Shiv, but rather than give in to the temptation of re-working the earlier chapters... again... I decided to follow someone's advise and know when my work is complete."
She pats the scroll case at her waist, "The last chapter is here and maybe getting everything else not only finished but beautifully finished will," she flourishes with the feather of the pen, "inspire."
"Have you found anything here to inspire your faith, priest?" Aerys asks with a self-amused smile.
There is a soft smile on her lips as she stops fighting the pleased exhaustion of her body.
Sasha wakes early, only hours after the pair finally slept. She tries very hard to slip out of the bed without waking Zaine.
She might have succeeded if her moving hadn't changed the warmth of her body on his into the bite of the pre-dawn chill.