Opelenean Nights II


Session Twenty Seven

In the aftermath of the victory against the chimera, the Fated were in a benevolent mood. Ethlyn decided to try again with the nearby mountain giant, and brought him a tribute of a dozen mountain goats and a newly-composed song. These efforts were warmly received, and the mountain giant agreed to leave any humans in the area unmolested provided the party brought him a dozen sheep each month.

After dispatching a cave bear that was resident near Krak al-Shidda, the Fated decided they should return to their explorations of the Howling Emptiness. By the 27th of Esevelen, they had reached the now-familiar oasis a the north-eastern edge of the Emptiness. The strange, ululating oasis again plagued their sleep, but they were otherwise left alone.

In the morning, they set out following an old trail to the south. It was the height of summer, and the Fated suffered greatly from the scorching heat and withering dryness of the desert. By the time the trail led them to a small oasis, they were in no mood to trifle with a flock of giant desert birds interrupting their rest; they slew them unceremoniously.

On the 29th, they began to explore the area nearby. They were cautious about the heat and made sure to return safely to the oasis by nightfall. During the cool evening ours, they were set upon by a flight of seven ichor hawks, condor-sized raptors with blood-ripping talons. Six of these were slain, while one was charmed into servitude by Senef. Sayyid, Senef’s python totem, had a savage dislike of the hawk, but apart from hissing and venomous looks, he tolerated its feathery existence.

The next day, Senef used shamanic magic to speak with the hawk. He learned of a “stone nest where the sun rises” and “a home for night criers where the sun sets.” The Fated felt the stone nest sounded promising, and headed east. After a brief skirmish with a nomadic pack of gnolls, the party came upon a cairn of stones rising about a dozen feet from the rocky ground. Suad advised that such cairns often marked tombs below. While the rest of the party began a thorough search of the surrounding area for some secret entrance into the tomb, Ethlyn sunbathed and amused herself by toppling cairn-stones. This inadvertently opened up a hole into the very tomb the rest of the band was off searching for.

The tomb below dated to the Zaharan era, and was guarded by several deadly traps and a dozen berserker skeletons. After the traps and skeletons were defeated, Suad magically detected a secret door to the tomb’s inner sanctum. A terrifying poltergeist within paralyzed most of the group with fear, but Sapphira slew it with her magical spear.

The party carted the various treasures and grave goods within back to the surface on the 31st of Esevelen, then set out on the 32nd for the “home of the night criers,” which they had by now surmised to be some sort of bat caves. They soon came upon a limestone promontory rising from the waste, its weathered face dotted with cave openings. The caves were home to a vast swarm of bats, and thick with guano – except where smooth trails had been burned through the guano by some creature or spell.

It turned out to be a creature, or three creatures rather: enormous slugs, each spitting a vile acid that could melt stone and flesh. This hideous monsters put up a vicious fight, but were eventually slain. Mahmud and Sapphira distinguished themselves by heroically leaping from a cliff to cleave down into the slugs, while Rakh was bold enough to actually tear into them with tool and nail.

After dispatching the giant slugs, the party ventured deeper into the bat caves. They were stunned to discover a gaping pit that  seemed bottomless. Zoya dropped a torch into the pit; its flame was gusted out by a draft, and she did not hear it strike bottom. An expedition downward by rope saw no bottom after 50’. The Fated decided to knot all of their available rope together to form a 350’ length. Rakh, trusting to Imran, volunteered to rappel downward. At 300’, no bottom was in sight, but he could see the faintest evidence of cave openings in the otherwise sheer surface, another 50’ or 60’ down.

Was this a pit to the Nether Darkness? Or merely an unusually long shaft? The Fated knew they had to explore further. Senef used his shamanic magic to grow a pair of wings, and began flying his comrades down one by one, depositing them each on the lip of the nearest of three visible cave mouths.


It was hair-raising work, for at any moment something might have soared up from the pit… but nothing did. Once everyone was deposited in the cave mouth, the Fated proceeded inward. The cave within held a great etched copper bowl, sealed with magical runes, 7’ in diameter. Translated, the runes read: “Sealed within the Child slumbers until the Time of the Awakening.” Suad recalled ancient myths, spoken only in darkness, that the children of the chthonic gods had been sealed in copper bowls in the deep places of the earth.

“We should flee,” said Rakh, his faith momentarily overcome by a flashback to that he’d endured the last time the Fated had awoken something dire. “Coward! No wonder your people are a slave race,” said Ethlyn. “Open it, Suad!” The mage obliged, his magic unsealing the ancient bowl.

The creature that emerged was a true Child of Nasga, its beautiful androgynous face attached to the sinuous body of a giant snake. Its sibilant whispers enthralled the party and might have doomed them all with its mesmerizing dance …Had Balen not webbed it and Ethlyn not beheaded it with her lightning sword.

Within the bowl were great treasures, including a large black sapphire, seven wrought gold bracelets, two maps, a brooch, and a grayish, smooth orb. Ethlyn recognized the orb for what it was: a crystal ball. She gazed within to see how her city, Cynidicea, fared. To her horror, she saw that Cynidicea’s surface had been turned to rubble, its soil salted, its irrigation shattered. An army of thousands of Imperial legionaries encircled its ziggurat, and was pounding it with siege weapons. A final assault could not be more than a day away. Sapphira responded to the loss of her city immediately: “Just as my people died in your service, so too will I die in your service!”

Still, Ethlyn was in despair and wanted no further part of the crystal ball. Balen claimed it and commanded it to show Kirkuk. He saw the once thriving town in ruins, its buildings torn down. The rubble of its wrecked structures had been collected and piled into the sacred Well, sealing up the underwater grotto against whatever lurked within. Next, Balen commanded it to show one of the Thrassian mummies the party had fought in the grotto.

The ball showed an image of a stepped pyramid in a wasteland. At its summit, a struggling human captive was shoved onto a stone altar, where Amur-Sin, the Thrassian mummy king, tore open his chest. Black energies seemed to radiate around the king, as if he was absorbing the life energies of the slain sacrifice. Next to Amur-Sin, the bandit chief Yasir al-Achmed looked on, his face passive and unreadable.

“Things just got intense,” said Ethlyn.

archon wrote: The next day the party resumed its search of the foothills. Their boredom turned to panic when a great winged creature soared high over head, and down towards a herd of goats wandering the Al-Baki. There were flames and human-like screams (aaaaaahhh) and then the creature  carried away goats in each claw. After the creature had passed, the party replenished its supplies of food by gathering up some fresh-cooked mutton.

Nit: mutton == sheep?

Edited by Thomas Weigel to not call the “quote” function.

Well, thank you for answering my musing self-question "does anyone read these reports?"

As far as the goat...mutton... it tasted very good.


Read them and look forward to them. It’s a great journal - your pc’s certainly earn every bit of the treasure they take. :wink:

Dedicated reader here as well.

I read them, too. I think that actual play reports don’t generate a lot of comments because there is nothing in them to argue about…

Ok, I’ll admit that Grim Fist is my favorite, but I look forward to tales of Opelenean Nights, as well. :slight_smile:

The campaign reports are the first things I read.

Session Twenty Eight

Turning from the crystal ball, the Fated investigated the two maps they had found in the serpent’s bowl. The first map pointed to a sandy plain in the Howling Emptiness a dozen miles away. It read “Where the lonely pillars lie/stretching upward to the sky/rests that which does not die.” The second map seemed to lead towards an avenue or ancient road, and carried the text “might heads of jade/mark the holy promenade/buried below seek what you wish to know.”

As was their wont, the Fated quickly decided to investigate these maps. It took three days of travel to reach the location on the first map. En route they handily dealt with a marauding lion and a small warband of ogres. On the 2nd of Agitelen, the pillars were in sight – and it was a most impressive sight. Each pillar was 10’ in diameter at the base, tapering upward to a point 30’ to 60’ above. The pillars jutted out of the sand at obtuse angles, and, on close investigation seemed to each be made of a solid piece of material. Ivory.

This was quite unnerving, and the Fated decided to use magic to investigate. Suad cast a divination to reveal any secret doors, while Mahmud activated his marvelous medallion, which allowed him to see the invisible. He was shocked to note a dark-skinned horned efreet hovering over Ethlyn’s shoulder. (As a reminder – back in Session 18, when Ethlyn was restored to life, she began to see a tiny efreeti, with little red horns, on her shoulder. The creature introduced itself as “Mustafa,” and said that its master Dahaka had taken an interest in her. No one else could see the creature at all, and Ethlyn was unsure whether she was going insane or she truly had acquired a demonic familiar. It has since plagued the young bard with evil hints and dark whispers.)

When Mustafa saw Mahmud gazing at itself, the evil efreeti reacted promptly. “Ethlyn,” it hissed. “The paladin has gone mad! He will attack you! He comes to kill you!” And, unfortunately, Mahmud did charge at Ethlyn, shouting “DEMON!” Chaos interrupted in the party. Ethlyn ignited her lightning-sword to ward off the paladin. Mahmud drew Cyclone of the Four Quarters. Balen hurled a web to entangle the two comrades, but Ethlyn’s lightning-sword ignited the webs, burning them all. Shikra wove a hypnotic pattern to mesmerize the combatants, entrancing Ethlyn and Mahmud. Unfortunately Mustafa took the opportunity to attempt to slit the throat of the mesmerized paladin. Rakh espied the danger when he slipped the medallion of detection around his neck, and warded off the evil mini-efreeti. Shikra dropped her hypnotic pattern so that Mahmud could dispatch the efreeti, but Mustafa instead convinced Ethlyn to flee! The bard raced off weeping tears of betrayal and hate, disappearing into the desert sands, with her henchwoman Sapphira guarding her flight.

The rest of the Fated looked at each in stunned silence. Balen was the first to regain his cool. “Well, should we check out the pillars then?” he asked. “We have to rescue her,” said Mahmud. “She’s possessed by a demon.” Under his fearless leadership, the adventurers mounted up on their camels. Senef granted eagle eyes to Barnabas (Sharik-turned-Shikra’s toad-turned-bat) and the keen eyed bat quickly spotted Ethlyn. Riding swift camels, the party quickly caught up to Ethlyn and subdued her. Mahmud seized Mustafa by his tiny throat and choked the life out of him – or perhaps that was caused by Shikra’s spell. In any event, the efreeti vanished in a puff of sulphur, and Ethlyn collapsed in agony, her life force partly drained by its death.

When Ethlyn awoke, it was as if a great darkness had been lifted from her. The young bard spoke of her goddess, Ianna, again, for the first time in weeks, and her songs were again light and airy. Everyone was relieved as she accompanied them back to the strange, toothsome pillars.

“I think these may be the teeth of some great beast,” said Suad. “We should almost certainly leave, for fear we might awaken it.” “Typical cowardice,” said Balen. “Maybe it’s a weapon for our use!” Senef decided the only way to know for sure was to consult with the local jinn. He conducted a shamanic ritual. “Is there treasure here,” he asked. Yes. “Is the creature to whom these pillars belong still a threat?” A presumptive question – what if the pillars didn’t belong to a creature? But the answer was Yes. “Is the creature more powerful than the Thrassian king we awoke?” Yesssss…

Meanwhile, Ethlyn, somewhat oblivious to Senef’s disturbing revelations, had taken out her lightning-sword and was slowly slicing into the largest of the pillars. She had….just…managed…to…get…a…deep…..cut when the ground began to shake for hundreds of feet in each direction, as if with an earthquake. “It would be wise to flee,” said Suad.

Flee they did, back to the nearest oasis. The next day, they decided to investigate the other map. Their trip, on the 4th of Agitelen, was unfortunately delayed by a terrible sandstorm that drove them back eastward. They were fortunate to find cover near a rocky tor for the worst of the storm, but were forced to return to the oasis by day’s end. At the oasis they found a dozen camels dead, torn apart by the savage winds.  They feasted well.

On the 5th of Agitelen, they finally reached the terminus of the second map. This proved to be a strange promenade of massive jade heads, each 8’ to 12’ high, vaguely humanoid but with bizarre proportions and strange, misshapen headgear and helmets. At the far end of the promenade, the heads formed a circle, giving the overall formation of statues the outline of a lower case i. The promenade was home to a hive of giant scorpions. Knowing the terrible poison these creatures carried, the Fated unleashed all of their magic and dealt with the creatures quickly.

Heading to the “dot” of the “i", the adventuers realized there was some sort of granite or sandstone layer beneath their feet. It took several hours of sweaty work to sweep away the sand and dirt, but they eventually uncovered a stone disc carved with runes: Next to each of the statues was a name engraved in gold inlay, and scriptures calling upon visitors to “Ask that You May Know.” Mahmud knew the names: They were old names of the chthonic gods. Suad noticed the disturbing stains and scars near each statue, and knew this to be a place of sacrifice. “Even you all must be able to see the foolishness in trifling with this place!” he said. Suad, Senef, Mahmud, and Rakh retreated from the disc. Mahmud called back, “Our duty is to fight evil, not poke it in the eye!”

The rest of the  group was less cautious, or perhaps more greedy: At first intent on carving the gold inlay from the disc, they found themselves instead ritually cutting their flesh to give a blood offering to these dark, chthonic gods. Shikra went so far as to summon berserkers and have them kill each other in the gods’ honor. Then they asked…that they might know.

Balen asked: “Where is the Carnelian Idol?” In the Tower of the Worm. Ethlyn asked “How can I avenge Cynidicea?” Butcher the Butcher. Zoya asked “where can we easily access lots of treasure?” The endless shaft. Shikra asked “What awaits us in the endless shaft?” Utuk Xul.

The reference to the Tower of the Worm caused some confusion amongst the group – it sounded familiar but no one could place it. Eventually Shikra remembered. “We found Vilstin, that fat and somewhat smarmy rogue trapped under a pile of skeletons in the Zaharan tombs beneath Kirkuk. Vilstin claimed to be a henchman of the Swords of Imran, the famed adventuring company. Remember he said he was leading his party into the Tower of the Worm on the far side of the Desert of Desolation when a magical trap teleported him to the bottom of this pit of bones!” (This happened in Session 21). Balen gazed into the crystal ball and commended it show him the Tower of the Worm – and behold, it was revealed! The tower seemed to have been made from the petrified body of an enormous purple worm, so large that a dragon could safely slumber on its summit. “I don’t think we’re ready for that yet,” said Rakh.

As far as Utuk Xul, Ethlyn knew the tale, but when she recounted it, no one felt better. “The great hero Eranth Bellos came to Opelenea during Al-Sindor’s great crusade. Here he met his friend and companion, the wonderworker Ishmerai ibn Bakr. Together they fought alongside the Prophet to Opelenea against the Efreet Pasha that the desperate Zaharans unleashed on the land. In time they were victorious. When Pazar sunk and Moradask was sacked, many ancient books of Zaharan lore came into their possession. Ishmerai became enthralled with a tale he read in Zaharan myth, supposedly told to Uragasi by the ancient dragon Krios. It spoke of an undying wyrm called Utuk Xul, who slumbered in a bottomless pit in the Howling Emptiness, with treasures and wonders from an age undreamt of.  Pride and greed inflamed, Eranth and Ishmerai departed for the Howling Emptiness and sought out the Endless Shaft thinking they could destroy Utuk Xul. But they were never seen again, and Al-Sindor wept for the loss of his friends.” “I’m not sure if that counts as ‘easily accessible treasure,” said Zoya, bitterly.

The party decided to instead explore a rocky ravine they had spotted the day prior. This narrow, rocky valley was pierced with foul fissures and grim cave mouths. Zoya went ahead to scout out the largest of these. A few moments later she came running back, screaming “avert your eyes!” But it was too late. A huge centipede emerged from the cave, its scores of legs quivering, one sickening eye glistening with a baneful light. Balen caught its eye and was instantly paralyzed, as were Dornethan and Sapphira. Shikra saved everyone by conjuring an illusion over the creature’s eye, masking it. This allowed the fighters to safely approach and dispatch it. Even after it was dead they kept attacking it – Ethlyn kicked it over and over, and Mahmud seemed to enjoy stabbing it in the eye repeatedly. Perhaps the Fated were taking out frustrations from a bad day, perhaps it was simply the exaltation of victory over a long-dreaded foe. (Damanos, the antiquities dealer in Alakyrum, had warned the party back in Session 11 of “a great centipede, with the power to mesmerize those who gaze at it, which haunts the Howling Emptiness.”)

It was by now the 6th of Agitelen, and the party decided it was time to head back to Ber-Gathy to see what their sage, Ishmech, had learned. This was a week-long journey plagued by predatory bands of killer birds and giant lizards, all of which the party evaded. En route they decided to stop by Krak al-Shidda to check on their stronghold. They were rather…annoyed…when a band of a dozen nomads met them not far from the stronghold. “I am Ibn Achmed, lord of Kral al-Shidda,” said their leader, a long-haired well-muscled fighter. “To pass by this road, you must pay my toll.” “I am Mahmud, paladin of Imran, and I pay no man a toll, least of all a man who claims my castle as his own. I challenge you according to the rules of the desert.”

“Hah! Weak city-dweller. I have never cut my hair because I have never been defeated,” said Ibn Achmed, drawing his sword. These were his last words before he was defeated. Afterwards, Ethlyn cut his hair and presented it to Mahmud. Clutching the dark scalp, Mahmud turned to the demoralized nomads. “I have defeated your chieftain! Therefore I am your chieftain! Do you swear fealty?” Much swearing of fealty ensued. (Mahmud rolled a natural 12 on his reaction roll!)

The Fated and their new allies arrived at Ber-Gathy on the 13th. Zoya snuck in and met with Ishmech, the sage, who shared his findings about the Oasis of the White Palm. Most importantly, he had located the fabled Oasis, deep within the Desert of Desolation. As Zoya was leaving, a dusky-skinned man of noble visage confronted her. “Are you Zoya of the Fated?” he asked. Alarmed, she denied even knowing the local language. “I am Abdullah al-Rassan, last survivor of the Swords of Imran. I need to speak with your party.”

Zoya excitedly brought him to meet with the Fated. “My friends,” said the mage. “My henchmen Vilstin told me of your glorious deeds, and of the unjust fate you now suffer. I am your ally in what must come next. My adventuring company, the Swords of Imran, sought out the Tower of the Worm hoping to learn of the star gems and staff of ruling, through which Opelenea can throw off the Auran tyrant and restore our ancient traditions. Sadly, all of our number were slain in the Tower, all save me. But I did succeed in discovering the location of the first star gem and the staff of ruling. It lies in the pyramid of Amek in the Desert of Desolation. Can you bring me the star gem and the staff? I will be traveling to Alakyrum to build the network which will usher in the new era… the Patriarch of the Great Mosque is with us, I assure you…”

Morale soared among the Fated! No more jade statues in the desert. No more 60’ high teeth of underground monsters. No more undying scary dragons or evil lizard kings or howling emptiness. Just a wizard with a quest to get an artifact to defeat an evil lord. Praise Imran.


Session Twenty Nine

After a brief and decisive discussion, the Fated decided they would head into the Desert of Desolation to pursue the quest given to them by the sorcerer Abdullah al-Rassan. Before setting out into the Desert of Desolation, Zoya checked in with the ruffians she had hired in Ber-Gathy. Two of the three had interesting tales to tell.

Bathsheba, said “a little town up north refused to pay its taxes to the Empire and so the Butcher sacked the entire place. Killed all the men and sold all the women and children into slavery. He had the bladedancer who lead the renegades crucified in front of the Palace. Apparently she died screaming for some queen to come rescue her.  Butcher said that if this “queen” showed up he’d free everybody, but she never did.”

Kavus reported “I hear a caravan out of Kemesh vanished near the Howling Emptiness. It was holding harem girls for the Butcher’s pleasure and he’s furious it hasn’t shown up. He’s blaming Kemeshi raiders but their ambassador says it’s Besherab nomads. I hope we don’t get into a war over harem girls. They’re plenty of pussy for everybody in Alakyrum.”

In light of this information, Zoya tasked her ruffians with finding the location of the Cynidicean slaves, and left the ruffians with access to enough gold to purchase any they discovered. Meanwhile Mahmud sent ten of his twelve nomads back to Krak al-Shidda, keeping only the two strongest, Wazir and Umar, as bodyguards. Finally, Ethlyn hunted and slew a lion in a glorious sacrifice to Ianna.

On 13th Agitelen (mid-August in the western calendar), the party was en route to the Desert of Desolation. It reached the Oasis of Sidi Hakeim on the 14th, and the oasis of Bou-Farfa on the 15th. Along the way, the Fated slew a thirty-foot long two-head serpent. Suad identified the monstrosity as an amphisbaena. Their travels on the 16th were blessed by the sight of a flight of lammasu, creatures sacred to Ianna – Sapphira suggested this was because of Ethlyn’s sacrifice.

At sundown on the 16th they reached the oasis of Oued Taal. This was the last caravanserai before the Desert of Desolation, so the group stocked up on all available supplies. The next day they entered the Desert itself. During the Zaharan Empire, this region had been the fertile satrapy of Sule, but devastation wrought by war, weather, and land use had gradually reduced it to an arid wasteland. They began heading south-east towards the alleged location of the Oasis of the White Palm and the Pyramid of Amek.

The first peril that the Fated encountered was a dreadful basilisk. The beast might have petrified them all had Senef not raised an obscuring cloud to block their site of the creature; they slew it blindly, but safely. Later that day, Barnabas, the bat, reported seeing a statue rising from the sands to the north. The Fated decided to divert to investigate the statue.

The statue, half-sunken into the ground, bore the visage of a noble Auran. He clutched a tablet obscured by sand. It read: “My name is Al-Sindor. O Zaharans, look upon the wreckage of your great city of Pazar, and despair! Great your magic once was, but now your empire is in ruins. Imran be praised.”

“Did this guy build a statue of himself after destroying a city just to commemorate how awesome his victory was? Best prophet ever!” said Shikra. “Imran be praised,” said Mahmud.

As Mahmud paused to admire the great prophet of Imran, there was a terrible sound of stone shattering, and he plummeted out of sight. He had fallen into a sunken vault, some 100’ below, saved from death only by the vast pile of sand that had accumulated within. His magical medallion revealed that there were huge spiders lurking in the ruins at the western end of the vault. The rest of the Fated hastily joined him below and destroyed the spiders.

Afterwards, the party approached the western ruins. They seemed to be some sort of ancient temple. Past the entrance were archways north and south, while westward golden doors gleamed in the torchlight. The doors bore no handle or fixture, just strange writing. What the writing said was “Do not disturb the vanquished one within. He is the treasure that must be kept.” How this was translated into Common in the minds of the adventurers was “within…is…treasure”. They knocked open the door.

In the room beyond they could see a massive brass lamp, 3’ at its base and 4’ high, sealed with lead, seated upon a high altar. Between them and the lamp were a series of 6 huge statues, arranged in three sets of two on the north and south walls. Between the nearest pair of statues hung a transparent blue curtain. “That must be the prison within which Al-Sindor sealed the efreeti pasha!” said Suad. “Let me consult the jinn” said Senef. “If the Star Gem of Zahar is here, it may be worth dealing with this foe!”

The jinn were forthcoming with answers. “Is the Efreeti Pasha that fought Al-Sindor imprisoned within the bottle?” Yes. “Is the Efreeti Pasha more powerful than the Child of Nasga we fought in the Endless Shaft?” “Is the Star Gem in the bottle?” No. A harsh argument ensued over what the Fated should do next. The argument ended when Rakh stepped forward into the blue curtain. Instantly, the poor Thrassian was frozen solid – not dead, but in a state of suspended animation. Senef was able to dispel the magic of the blue curtain, and the party pulled the Thrass-icle to safety and slowly warmed him up. He was largely unharmed, albeit in damp spirits. Sadly his enchanted axe did not survive the defrosting.

After camping out for the night, the party returned to the sunken temple of Pazar. A red curtain now shimmered between the second pair of statues. Suad was able to dispel this, but a yellow curtain immediately manifested between the final pair of statues. This proved impossible to dispel. Ethlyn decided to ignite her lightning-sword and try to cut down one of the statues. This proved…unwise…. As she was instantly blasted by a stroke of lightning. The lightning burned off a finger and melted her lightning-sword. “My sword! My sword!” she screamed, looking at the charred ruin of her finger.

The Fated decided to explore the rest of the temple to see if they could find a way to bypass the last curtain of energy. After a few hours of searching, they found fragments of writing in an abandoned library. These seemed to have been instructions to some sort of priestly order, requiring that the priests ensure the safety of the brass lamp every moon. Following the instructions allowed the party to approach the brass lamp safely, but they decided to wait until the morrow before disturbing it.

On the 19th of Agitelen, Senef greeted dawn with a divination: “What shall happen if we open up the brass lamp?” No genie can stand before the Cyclone of the Four. So reassured, Senef informed the party that with Cyclone of the Four Quarters at hand, he believed they could defeat the Efreeti. This faith was extended when Balen shared what he knew of the origin of Cyclone of the Four Quarters. “In the 7th century BE, mages in the City of the Phoenix grew concerned about trusting their fate to the Besherab of White Palm, as Al-Sindor had planned for. So they bound together fire, wind, sea, and air to create a scimitar, Cyclone of the Four Quarters, with the power to slay genies. The four entrust the blade to a warrior known as Shaddad. His killing spree curses the blade, and it was buried with him.” [Note: The Fated had discovered Cyclone of the Four Quarters by sheer chance while lost in the desert. See Session Ten].

Convinced of their ability to defeat the Efreeti Pasha, even though Al-Sindor had bound it rather than destroy it, the party unsealed the brass lamp. Immediately the flaming visage of the great genie emerged, a towering giant the height of ten men. Mahmud, with Cyclone of the Four Quarters in hand, hurled forward and began inflicting great wounds on the Efreeti Pasha. It responded by calling down elemental fire… in a moment, Rakh, Androcles, Sapphira, Senef, Balen, and Ethlyn were dead. Mahmud was, of course, unharmed. But before he or the other survivors could strike the genie again, it flew off on winds of flame.

The survivors – Mahmud, Shikra, Suad, Zoya, Ceara, and Dornethan – strapped the charred corpses of their friends onto their camels and sadly set off for Khaibar, the nearest town. They were so dispirited that they did not even stop to investigate the Zaharan tomb they discovered along the way.

Reaching Khaibar on the 21st, the Fated met with Achmed Raisul, a cleric of Imran in the Mosque of the Great Holy One. Mahmud explained what had befallen the party. After hearing the preposterous tale, the cleric concentrated deeply on a strange medallion. He nodded, as if confirming the truth of something, then excused himself to commune with Imran. When the cleric returned, he looked aggrieved. “Imran works with the tools at hand,” he said. He then produced the Mosque’s most sacred magical item, a miraculous ring, and used its power to bring the fallen back to life at full strength. After thanking the cleric profusely, the party decided its next step would be to wreak vengeance on the Efreeti Pasha.

Balen brought forth the crystal ball and commanded it to show him the Pasha. The crystal revealed an image of a purplish rock wall. At the wall, the Efreeti Pasha kneeled before a raven-haired ageless beauty with dusky skin wearing the archaic garb of Old Zahar. “Navana…I am released.” [In Session 11, the party had learned from the archmage of Alakyrum that a sorcerer-priestess named Navana created the Carnelian Idol. She had then vanished, but was allegedly alive and would one day return.] 

I went looking for part of the story, and this entire thread was borked. I think I’ve fixed it.

Thanks! Just finished part one a couple days ago, and I was horrified to discover that part two was unreadable. Really enjoying the session reports.

Re-un-borked the thread. Seemed to be tied to a specific case of the quote function.