[AP] Zharillia Campaign Report - 3.8.12 Second Perspective

Zharillia Campaign Report 3.8.12
Courtesy of the amazing +Jason Biggins
[Transcriptionist’s note to the reader: the following is all that is
known of this particular entry.
Neum E’bemmi, Royal Librarian for Xuean Uqu-arus (23rd Lord-Protector
of Sitherath), at some point after the year 1484 (common calendar)
discovers a previously unknown volume among the collected works.
Suspected to have been the grimoire of a minor occultist, no other
primary sources of information are known to exist concurrent with the
date of this entry with any mention of this individual. Over time Neum
became obsessed with this book and its author, eventually amassing
every known scrap of information in his retirement from public service
(1503). The picture he was finally able to assemble is said to have
shocked even a harden native of the City of Courtesans such as
Witnesses to his very public act of vandalism – setting fire to his
former trust, the Royal Library in Sitherath – and his very messy
suicide – laying prone in the path of the clockworks in the main
square, crushed between a pair of brass sprockets – claim that Neum
was raving incessantly about demons, horrific rituals, and “pink
clovers”. Later investigations found no further clues as to the
initial cause of his distress (the librarian having destroyed his
personal papers prior to his rampage).
Unknown at the time, a young maiden standing under the clock tower
during the incident discovered a scrap of paper that had fallen from
the Neum’s pocket at the moment of his demise.
The bit of paper contained the following:]
After a week of intense study (and the outlay of no small portion of
my newly-won fortune) my new found tutor, Oxnard, aided me in gaining
a truly unique gift: a Night Owl familiar! Shimmering jet-black
feathers. Piercing, glowing blue eyes. Seemingly no real fear of
daylight, truly a feat for his breed, but certainly not his favorite
time of day {and who can blame him…the best julliber buds are not
picked until the twin moons are full in unison, nor does daylight aid
one recovering from a previous night’s drinking}. Thus it has been a
very dry, sobering week…to say nothing of wondering about the envy
Zenatos may yet be harboring for such a prize {he bares closer watch
and the usual “inducements” to loyalty…and thus more bribes to the
blonde wench downstairs to continue her flirting with him}.
Also after our last adventure it has occurred to me that holding the
secret of the machine-bear lair close may actually be a better
solution to future endeavors. Some place nearby which we can use to
base our adventures from could be…“enriching” later on. Especially
if I am able to obtain some more…“unique supplies” with which to
conduct experiments into new areas.
During our return to the keep this time around, we discover some
standouts among the mercenaries we acquired from our “benefactor”:

  • Alexander “De Rutabega” Manning, Worst Explorer Ever, Dabbler In
    The Dozen Languages, Hero Of La Mantcha!, fighter from parts
    unknown…and his rather attractive Zimbabwean {what/when/wherever
    that is} wife
  • Rubro, a monk with savage fists of fury & might
    Replenished and rested we decide to return to the lair of the wretched
    machine-bears with our new companions, in the hope that they can lend
    some much-needed resources to our adventures.
    Having explored the northern & eastern doors, we opted to proceed
    through the unexplored area to the south. What we found inside was
    both shocking and amazing: a library – quite clearly a room of
    scholarly (and magical) research. However it was, unfortunately,
    completely blasted and burned to a cinder. Nothing, not a scrap of
    paper or tome, appears to have survived. Of particular interest was
    the symbol carved into the center of the room: Shorgoven’s Ward, used
    extensively in demonic summoning rituals, which normally serves to
    protect the caster against that which is summoned. In this case the
    caster was either out of their depth or something went horribly wrong
    after completing the ritual.
    The charred remains of the room attest to their incompetence.
    Also among the remnants was a warding circle with the word “Elsbreath”
    inscribed within it. {further research needs to be done for the
    purpose of this additional protection.} Of much more worrying concern
    was the set of footprints burned {BURNED!} into the ground outside
    the circle.
    Proceeding with haste and not wishing to upset my companions, I said
    nothing and we proceed to search the room. A door at the southwestern
    end led into a more puzzling room.
    A small room {practically a walk-in dressing suite for a minor noble}
    filled with copper pipes – some leaking a smelly green slime. {A
    quick test of sample materials showed the substance to be
    ‘ecto-plasmic slime’, a truly nasty acid-based substance able to
    dissolve nearly anything but glass into the same sort of slimy
    substance…truly not to be toyed with, thus I sent Zentanos to
    collect a sample in some of his glass containers for further
    experimentation…given its power I need to make sure the sample is
    secured at the earliest opportunity.} Some of the pipes are warm, some
    very, very hot. At south end, a large pipe, hollow in the middle, a
    draft coming out of it. One of our new companions hit upon the idea of
    poking inside the hollow area with a wooden stick and discovered a
    hidden catch, releasing a secret door into another room…a treasure
    room, as it turns out.
    Inside were found two locked chests: one made of stone, one of a
    silvery-blue wood with banding. We poked and prodded them for traps
    and nothing happened. Our monk friend, Rubro, was able to break open
    the wooden chest with his fist – and failed to notice a contact
    poison applied to the surface. His arm began tingling and he fell
    gravely ill, but my man Cal tended the wound and stabilized the monk’s
    condition. Inside, the chest contained “loads and loads of silver”.
    Brandon’s man, Maynard, smashed open the stone box and found more
    silver. Realizing our good fortune, we elected to remove the haul and
    return to the keep {vouchsafing it with our trusted banker, Chulin
    [Transcriptionist’s note to the reader: the word “trusted”, while
    included in this version, had been scratched out heavily in the
    Ever the inventive sort, Brandon recalls our supply of blankets and
    sacks in order to secure the chests without exposing ourselves to the
    possible poison(s). However, as our luck would have it…
    Upon re-entering the “pipe room” we notice the floor is now full of
    snakes – large, slimy, gray-green pit vipers. We would have preferred
    to by-pass them altogether, but the cramped quarters and the risk of
    exposure to leaking slime made combat a foregone conclusion.
    Fortunately there were no serious injuries {Cal having already used up
    his particular medical abilities for the day} – doubly lucky in that
    pit vipers are so very, very poisonous, even among reptiles – and we
    dispatched them soon enough. Not wishing to waste such a rare
    resource, we placed the snake corpses into the blankets around the
    chests {an extra precaution to dissuade the mercs from getting too
    curious} and headed back out.
    In crossing back into the library we must have set off some sort of
    trigger which caused four “mechanical men” with “stinky sticks” {some
    sort of pungent, sticky residue which could easily incapacitate our
    most-hardened warriors} to attack us. These automatons appeared to be
    made of snow-wood {quite unique among such artifices…immune to many
    different elements} and came out of nowhere…obviously stored in
    hidden alcoves along the walls. Some of our troupe were hit with the
    nasty goo {on my next trip back to the lair I must remember to have
    Zentanos collect a sample} and sudden panic sets in {as well as some
    projectile vomiting}. Armed only with my daggers and feeling
    overwhelmed by our trials, I decided to test a theory and risk my life
    {truly a rush of the humours!}: with all my wizardly manner I stepped
    forward, and in a clear, commanding voice, demanded that the “men”
    cease their attacks and return to their areas immediately…and so
    they did. {A sudden shudder ran through me as I thrilled to the notion
    of commanding this “army”…and a moment of fear struck me as I truly
    wondered if my spirit may have been previously vouchsafed by some Dark
    Force, unknowingly, of course, and perhaps was merely saving me for
    some future horror…I cannot say that the notion has yet passed from
    my thoughts.}
    With that we were able to flee unmolested from the strange caverns.
    The mercenaries were instructed to break camp and avoid the load of
    “dangerous snakes” if they valued their lives. We took a separate
    wagon with the loot and headed back into town. Past the watch guard
    and right up to the banker’s door…off-loading the treasure directly
    into his vaults {after counting out the sum three times and ensuring
    his requisite percentage, of course.}
    It was decided that given the haste of our trek (all of eight hours,
    all tolled), we should rest, recover, and indulge a bit while planning
    our next move. While a tidy sum, it is hardly a life-altering
    fortune…thus plans need to be made to secure the future and plot our
    next few moves.
    On this particular point I have been pondering a good deal of late…
    [The entry stops here.
    Transcriptionist’s note to the reader: in spite of the unfortunate
    circumstances surrounding the demise of Neum E’bemmi, notions of a
    dark conspiracy surrounding these works should not be given any
    credence. That the young maiden who discovered this entry was
    eventually tried, convicted, and executed in her own village several
    years later for attempting to resurrect the worship of the
    demon-goddess Lel-lathuu, should have no bearing on this historical