Bread and Circuses

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This adventure takes place on the plane of Iska in the Mithrian Portal system.

Summary

Adventure: Bread and Circuses
GM: Helen Saggers
Session: Summer 809 wk
Night: Mondays
Location Bernards place in Ellerslie.
Level: Medium

Party:

Employer:
Hammād ibn Rašīd
Mission:
Find out why no grain ships are arriving in the capitol.
Pay:
15 lbs of gold for the party, plus... to be negotiated with employer.

Scribe Notes

The party

  • Menolly – blond female elven pacifistic Earth Mage and her two canine pets (the monkey apparently got killed)
  • Sauros – weedy human male cartographer, linguist and Necromancer (party leader)
  • Aqualina – short dusky-skinned human Water Mage, wearing only a length of fabric (two lengths thank you - A)
  • Grizelda – female giant Wiccan mage, and Master Chef (scribe)
  • Sooty – elven male Fire mage (military scientist)
  • Lizette – pretty red-headed human Namer, known to be the blondest redhead on Alusia

1st Meadow 809

After the Guild Meeting we gathered in the green meeting room (it seems that Guild Security have chosen to redecorate - again). The young man who is our employer was our employee last summer – our translator, Hammād ibn Rašīd, the grain merchant’s son.

Apparently, grain shipments had been failing to arrive for some time. The ships went up the Slaver’s River, and did not come back. Now, the granaries were getting low. Which means that people in the city would soon begin to starve. For solving this problem we would receive 15lbs of gold, plus salvage. Hammād has been at the Guild and is now a beginning Air Mage.

Sau Rus offered to make us pigeon wings so we can fly. This will make getting around much easier, and only Aqualina did not seem to like the idea. It is more of a problem that we cannot wear armour with them (at least I had something I could use - A). We organised party leader, military scientist and scribe, and arranged to meet when everyone had sorted out greater enchantments and such like. Menolly wanted to go down to Slippery Rock to get some skin change pelts. I wonder if I should learn that spell.

  Lizette: “Does anyone else resurrect?”
  Sau Rus: “I can get them up again, but people refuse to call it resurrection.”

3rd Meadow 809

It was after breakfast on the third day when we finally got started. We took the Khoras delegation’s portal to the Sea of Grass, then we used the Pasifikan Portal system to go to Pasifika. We flew to the Trading Post, and found it to be much more fortified than it had been. Aqualina left a message there, for her tribe. We then flew to the portal to Paleolithica, went through, and then flew to the island where the portal to Frigidia lies. There we camped. Aqualina caught some eels, and I fried them up with some roots. Sooty said the most peculiar things, and then had a headache.

  Lizette: “We can stop the pain and then resurrect you later.”

Watch Order:

  1. Lizette, Sauros
  2. Grizelda, Menolly
  3. Aqualina, Sooty

4th Meadow 809

After we purified, Menolly made Armours of Earth and Strength of Stone on Aqualina and I, who volunteered as front row. Sooty cast something to protect us against the cold. I made them restoratives. Thus prepared we went through the portal and into the cold of Frigidia. To make matters worse the glacier had moved, and there was ice blocking the way. Sooty contrived to bind the ice and move it aside, muttering, “My ice, my ice…” He really has lost it.

We went directly west, until we hit the wall, and then turned south, until we found the tunnel. I wondered aloud what kind of a Power the people of this offended to bring this Ragnarok upon them. Sooty explained that in fact there are four sleeping dragons here – and they need to be disturbed to take away the eternal winter. We went past a big circular portal, to the right, and up the cliff (I slipped, but was not hurt). Then through a tunnel and so to the bridge – the jungle-like rope bridge which does not look like it belongs here. Sooty cut off the cowbell, and dropped it into the chasm. It becomes evident that Aqualina does not like heights. (Evident? I told you right from the start - A) There was more narrow tunnel, and finally a red rock cavern with a building. We went inside, and Sooty incanted to great Mithros.

It was cold and dry one moment, then hot and humid the next. We were in a jungle, and had safely arrived on the plane of Iska. We took flight, looking for the great wide river we called the Slavers River. Finding it, we flew upriver until we found a village. Picking a large field, we landed… to find ourselves in a field of cut sugar cane.

We went through the field towards the village as Hammad wanted to talk to his cousin. He, his cousin that is, had been watching the river to see if any ships were going past. When we got there we found a man, with skin much darker than Aqualina, on the roof with a spyglass. Hammad spoke to him in the native language, something similar to Aribie, and discovered that no grain ships had been through. The situation was indeed getting desperate as local stores around the coast had been utilised to keep the capital city going and those stocks were getting exhausted too. No grain meant no flour, no flour meant no bread. Also, and this might be worse to some people, no grain meant no beer.

One hundred miles up the river was another village and it was known that ships had got that far and returned. However, any attempts to go further had caused disappearances. And it wasn't confined to ships. Even land based travel going up there had resulted in disappearances.

We were able to find out that, up the river from the village at the 100 mile mark, the river split in two. The left branch went into the forest but the right went past the immense grain fields. The plan so far is to fly up river a bit then we utilise every scrying method we had to try and find out what has been going on.

It was just after noon so, while Sau Rus and Menolly settled down to scry and map for a couple of hours, Aqualina and I went fishing and came back with some flat fish. After that, we flew off and went looking for the slavers we had encountered. Sure enough, we found their boat parked at the end of the jetty in the reeds near the palm trees. The better fliers landed on the jetty while the rest of us landed on the pond (Lizette was aiming for the jetty, got her line of approach wrong and ended up in the muck - A).

After drying off, we walked to the gate in the outer edge which Aqualina was able to open. Inside were fields, and in the distance we could see workers. The dogs started barking and Sooty called out to announce our arrival.

Eventually some people came out, the thin human we had met before, along with some guards with crossbows. They have had no problems with losing ships but they don't go past the large town. Some of their friends go further but they use the north fork. So the problem is upriver of the fork on the south branch. There are rumours in the large town of a lack of trade from the south branch.

We left, and headed for the town. Landing on the road, we walked into the town. There was a ditch and a bank - and a gate. As we entered we got stared at and the children hid. Most likely the wings.

We headed for the docks where the inns are and chose the better of the two, one one that doesn't smell as bad. No boats, so no travellers, so we're the only customers. This inn has good stairs so I sleep upstairs on multiple pallets. Lizette gets into warm water while Sooty freezes a mug of ice. It steams, then freezes a stone which fractures into many pieces. There is good fried fish and bad cabbage for dinner. We sleep, we watch, we sleep.

5th Meadow

(White Lotus Day) We had pottage for breakfast, made preparations, and used the crystal balls to map some more. We spotted one more village on the other bank about halfway to the fork and a larger town on the fork itself.

We fly to Forktown , a couple of miles up the northern fork. After landing Sau Rus countered the wings of Iben and Aqualina and they went into the town (after I changed into the krakenskin armour - A). They learned that boats that don't go as far as the first village come back, those that go further don't. People have come from there seeking help We have parrot for dinner then Aqualina and Iben get parrot wings (so it was back to the two piece and sash - and I'd like to see Lizette carry off this look - A).

6th Meadow

In the morning we use the crystal balls to look at the river just before the second village, about 30-40 miles from Fork Town up the south fork, and we see a line of something across the river. Looking closer we see a line of boats roped together across the river - an obvious blockade. At each end there was a camp of about ten tents, occupied by military looking types. Looking at the second village itself we observed a shanty town, full of people doing not much.

The plan was to fly further up and land somewhere between the first and second village. That would bring us closer to the ship bridge Menolly seemed rather keen on the flying bit. Apparently she wants to learn to fly rather well so she can teach her dogs to fly. Upon hearing that, Aqualina made some sort of comment on flying pigs ... which lead into a discussion of magically enlarged flying war boars.

About mid morning, we flapped into the air and headed for the designated point. It was decided to land in the river. The river banks were lined with trees and, beyond that, were thorns on wasteland. The river itself, near the banks, was covered with reeds. I landed first, in an area near the reeds .. with a big splosh and deeper than I thought. So I splashed my way to shore (assisted by a buoyancy - A). Aqualina went for a deeper area of the river and stayed in the river until everyone else was down.

While I went fishing for crabs and crayfish, Aqualina summoned a water elemental and sent it up the river to check out the area under the ship bridge. Lizette and Menolly set up camp while Sau Rus and Sooty watched for crocodiles. All I managed to catch were small crayfish ... reminded me of yabbies.

The elemental returned and reported that it had found the boats tied together and a lot of bad stuff .. a kind of dead slug stuff (something like sea cucumber slime? - A). Magic had been involved in its creation but it was native to this plane. And it was poisonous, as Menolly determined. This stuff, according to Lizette's divination, was the exudate of a giant slug, a poison becoming more poisonous as time went on - and we had been swimming in it. Aqualina was poisoned and, since Waters of Healing didn't work, but Sooty was able to cure it with Healer skills (I had been bracing myself for a Cleansing Flame - A) so that told us it was a low ranked artificial poison. We decided not to eat those crayfish...

Sau Rus used a crystal ball to divine the future if we decide not to intervene and it wasn't good. There were dead cows and bits of boat floating in the river and the forest burning in the background.

That evening, I made stew from our rations and settled down to read the runes:

  • What is the relationship between the slugs and the guards? - A futile effort to stop their spreading.
  • What was the purpose of the slugs? - To create an army
  • What was the intended purpose of the army of slugs? - To bring joy, prosperity, sunshine, and wealth

The answers seemed to indicate that the guards were there to try and contain the poison, but Sooty (and I agree - A) thought it was rather odd. Why hadn't warnings been sent out then? And I must admit that third reading sounded unlikely enough to be a backfire

(While she was doing this, I was keeping watch up a tree ... which led Sau Rus to comment that I was 'roosting'. - A)

7th Meadow

Night passed - and it was gruel for breakfast. The cartographers did their thing and discovered that the grain fields were just fifty miles further up the river. The village was somewhere between deserted and abandoned and the grain fields were planted but untended, especially since there were cows in there just wandering about. That was enough to get us flying there to investigate. As we approached, Sau Rus detected some undead under a house.

We landed. Aqualina did so in a cowpat. (I faceplanted in a cowpat - maybe I'd better sign up for more flying lessons at the Guild - A). There were dead bodies about, dead from days to weeks, some of poisoning, most of dehydration. The undead are a bunch of zombies in a house. As a safety precaution, when I let them out for Sau Rus to control, the rest of the party took to the air. To our surprise, they turned out to be zombie dogs. Sau Rus controlled them and the rest of the party came down (In a second cowpat - A).

The zombie dogs had been made by magic weeks ago, specifically by an uncolleged ritual called "Create Zombie - for the Greater Goblin God" by a goblin. They had been inside a hut with a two doors on opposing sizes. Sooty's theory was that the dogs had chased a villager inside the hut through one door then, as the villager ran out the opposite door, both sets had been slammed shut, trapping the dogs inside. Scratch marks on the inside of the doors and other evidence made this theory plausible.

Aqualina summoned a water elemental and sent it up and down river. Meanwhile Lizette was left alone with three zombie dogs to divinate them. They had been zombified four weeks ago. Menolly examined the cows and discovered that 'they were a little bit poisoned'.

The water elemental reported that the slime was thicker upriver. It hadn't seen any actual slugs but it had only gone 10-15 miles. The slime wasn't affecting the elemental but it was just 'icky'. Meanwhile Sooty chopped up the zombie dogs. We determined that there were not enough bodies - around seventy people were missing from the village.

Aqualina summoned another elemental and sent it upriver with the instructions to return if the slime concentration suddenly dropped off, indicating it had passed the point where the slugs are... or after 100 miles... otherwise we could be waiting for a very long time.

Meanwhile much talking to various birds and animals was done. Ibin told us that the goblins live in the desert beyond the grainlands. There were no actual slugs here, just the goop in the water. I talked to a cow, which told us that, one night, there was much yelling and the people left on a boat, no idea which way though. A dead cow was found, which had died of blood loss.

Night arrived. Finally, eight hours after the elemental left, it returned with the news that it had reached the hundred mile mark and the river was thick with slime up there. It was floating on the surface and covering the rocks. It had even brought back a sample which was carefully passed on to Lizette .... who had forgotten why she wanted the sample. We used it to determine that the toxin was potent for months. But if the slime was dried, the potency duration dropped to days.

8th Meadow

Early that morning, we flew all the way down to where Ibin's cousin was still watching for boats, and left a message to be passed on if we didn't return from our next planned expedition and the girls went shopping for supplies ... with Lizette's money. I purchased foodstuffs for the journey, mainly lentils, rice, something called couscous, spices including cumin and saffron, and a couple of chickens. We then flew all the way back to the abandoned village - a six hour trip each way. Aqualina was definately getting browner in the sun. (Not dark enough to pass as a native though - A). The chicken were turned into dinner.

One of the crystals was used to obtain a precognitive vision to ascertain what would happen if we went to the garrison by the boat blockade. It looked like the crystal was confused as first they didn't point weapons at us, then they did. Still ... a good sign ... we weren't attacked on sight.

9th Meadow

We began before dawn, with our magical preparations: Waterbreathings (21 hour duration - Aqualina got a triple), Armours of Earth (+22 DEF for 5.5 hours), Strengths of Stone (Endurance +9 for 10 hours) and Strengths of Stone (Strength) on everyone who needed them, including Menolly's dogs/mice. Sau Rus's wings were due to fall off so he removed them from all of us. Then - at my suggestion, since I not want to walk thirty miles along marshy crocodile-infested riverbank - Aqualina created a boat and used a Mage Current to send us quickly downriver towards the barricade. On the way, Sau Rus and Sooty created a salamander in a box trap.

As we approached, we saw men waving flags, probably signalling the garrison. Then we saw small boats being launched in our direction. So we beached the boat on the bank. Ibin spoke to the troops that approached and learned that there was a quarantine and they weren't letting anyone out to go down river. Their leader was upriver, the Caliph in a large city. They had been arresting anyone who came up river. They also had sick people here and they were about to send the worse case upriver to the quarantine camp. So Sooty offered to heal them in the name of the Guardian .. using Cleansing Flames as a ritual. Hopefully that should impress them enough to allow us to continue investigating. Sooty cured the worst affected person first to prove that it worked, and later did his ritual on the captain and two of his guard sergeants.

He told us that the Caliph's city was located about two hundred miles upriver, at a fork with a tributary. Sickness was spreading the river from there but it was more prevalent up the tributary. Lizette and Menolly discovered that the guard captain had a rank twenty geas on him to maintain the quarantine and not to let anyone go. Which explained why they were being so inflexible, and not issuing any warnings. He had to check the wording of his orders to determine what he should do with us.

  "He's covering his rear?" - Aqualina
  "No .. More like covering his geas" - Sau Rus

Finally we were informed that we were going to be sent to the quarantine camp .. with an armed escort. We explained about the poisonous slime in the river, showing them our samples. The captain commented that that explained why his guards at the inland wells weren't affected. So we recommended that they strain all the water that came out of the river and to use well water whenever possible. As we left with our escort we saw them starting to collect linen from the washing lines and stretching it across their water barrels.

That afternoon, we were sailed upriver and finally arrived at the quarantine camp just after dark. After being marched through the village we finally reached the camp. It once was surrounded by a fence but had quickly outgrown it. At least a thousand people were here and none of them looked well ... not even the guards. Upon arrival, a clerk handed Ibin a paper with a barracks number on it ... more like a patch of ground on which we had to construct our own shelter.

Ibin and Sooty went to find the people in charge. Apparently there is some division into tribes and along guild lines. The rest of us set up camp and I prepared dinner.

  Sooty - "You are what you eat - if you eat something tough and inedible like Guild "C" rations"  
  Lizette - Can I quote you on being a "C" class adventurer because you are what you eat?"

Sooty cured one of the leaders while we served them dinner. After it finally worked, we explained about the water and how to prevent the sickness.

10th Meadow

Breakfast then collected firewood. There was a line waiting for us when we got back, for Sooty to cure. We decided not to ask how much Ibin was charging.

Wells were dug while Sooty cured people. A diversion had also been arranged by the cured families and we were able to slip out, with the help of Walking Unseens. We walked about three miles upriver and camped.

There were strange creatures in the dark. Hyenas Menolly said. Thought about getting a bolt into one as they were so noisy (She wasn't the only one - A).

11th Meadow

Aqualina made a boat and we sailed upstream on a mage current. We passed the uninhabited village we visited before and carried on. There was a village every fifteen miles or so. Sau Rus cast detect undead at each one but didn't get any results.

Eventually, 120 miles up, we came to a broad bend in the river. On the inside of the bend was a rather larger village - and there were people here. They seemed rather surprised as we came into land - and they were looking decidingly sick. We asked for the headman but he was too sick so we went to his house. I soon discovered that the mana level here was low, so this is more a town than a village. Once there, Sooty cured the headman while I made dinner in the native style - a fish stew with saffron and rice.

12th Meadow

The headman was awake and better. Apparently people from the next village upriver, on the desert side, had come here. Many had died from the poison and from undead. We asked to talk to someone from the next village and we were told of someone four doors along. They told us that the undead had come from the hill where they had been buried. Only the recent bodies had been animated.

So we headed up the river to the abandoned village. There were no undead there so we headed for the burial hill. No undead there either. From what we could tell, they had left ten days ago.

I tried reading the runestones with the question "Where are the majority of the zombies created in the name of the Goblin God been gathering?". The answer was "Under the bed, on the roof, in the closet." Wierd.

Dinner was ready and we watched the night.

13th Meadow

In the morning, we used the crystals to look at the city. The docks were empty of ships and only a few people were lounging about. No blockade and no cargo. A wall could be seen between the docks and the city itself. The gates were closed and there was a shantytown outside. Nobody was approaching the gates, nobody was walking around. If there were guards then they must have been under the canopies. There were a few dogs, no livestock, and the river looked mucky. The market was sparse with very few people buying and selling.

The palace was located on a hill by the main river. Gardeners could be seen in the grounds. Palace gates were shut and washing was on the line. The interior was scryshielded as was the gatehouse.

  Lizette - You can get decaffinated restoratives? 

We headed upriver at speed, as Aqualina had done something really wierd with the mage current (would you believe a triple effect backfire? - A), and openly approached the docks. While we tethered the boat, the people on the dock continued lounging in the shade. As we approached the river gate, the guards got their act together and Ibin talked to them after bowing and such. They are here to stop looting and keeping people in so they didn't have any objections to us actually entering.

Once in, we headed for the palace. All the houses we passed were walled and gated. We saw some stray pigs and chickens on the way past some boarded up shops.

  Sau Rus - Small rabid creatures only attack McLeods, a well known fact. 

Eventually we came to some fancy gates. Ibin knocked on them and a guard came out and looked at us - significantly. (I know a DA when I see one - A). We looked back and learned he was a blacksmith, earth mage and good with his scimitar. After some talking we were led to the next person.

The next official had courtier and illusionist. After a lot more talking, a bribe, and more waiting, we got to see the next one up the chain, an E&E merchant. More talk, more bribes, and we are told that the Caliph will see us in an hour. So still more waiting.

After divesting ourselves of all our weapons, as per their request, we are led into a large, airy, shady audience chamber. A lieutenant was with the Caliph and three or four invisible people were also in the room.

The Caliph wanted to know what we wanted so, through Ibin, Sooty told him. He told us that he had sent military healers up the river and had not heard back from them as well as sending a message across the desert to a capital city. This city uses aqueducts to bring water from up the main river. Finally, after appraising him of the current situation, we obtained a writ to travel.

There were no zombies here yet and, four generations ago, the goblins lived further down the valley but had since been pushed back. Now they raid caravans in the desert.

On the way out, Sau Rus attempted to detect undead and found none. Meanwhile Aqualina waterproofed the travel writ. We walked back to the docks and back to the boat.

  Grizelda - "Undead chickens do NOT lay eggs."
  Sau Rus - "I don't know. I've never tried."

Once in the boat, Aqualina started summoning her elementals. As she did, Sau Rus and Menolly mapped the area upstream. It took Aqualina all afternoon to get a pair of elementals. Once they were both there, she sent them up a branch each with instructions to return if the slime level dropped off.

The one sent up the main channel came back quickly having found that the poison diminished after the backwash. Up the tributary, the goop just got worse and worse. That elemental finally turned back after reaching the waterfalls in the mountains. There was more goop than water .... and no fish.

14th Meadow

In the morning, Aqualina made the mage current and we headed up the tributary. We stopped at the first village, 15 miles up. It was empty, no people, no undead. At the second village, 30 miles up, we found living people. They looked fit and might be military. Ibin, Sooty, Lizette and I went into the village. Most of the military persons carry on, but some swagger out to meet us. We told them about the goblins and the undead. Sooty think this lot might be bandits.

The third village appeared empty and abandoned. And so it was. So was the 4th village and the fifth. We stopped for lunch by the sixth while the cartographers did their thing. No undead detected so far. They could see a ford further up and there were two more villages between us and it. A closer view showed animal pens on one side, but no animals. Trees were on the other side. No bodies and no boats.

Lizette was hoping for some undead to divinate so Sau Rus created an undead goat. However it really wasn't much help so Sau Rus had it jump over the side. The last we saw it, it had been dragged under by a crocodile.

There were live people in the next village and they turned out to the military force, at least what was left of them. They're looking for food class rations. We could see a dozen of then, but there could be more. They told us that the soldiers, 25 to 30, who went looking for the undead hadn't returned. They had also brought the sick villagers here from next village up. Only herders lived further up the river from the ford.

It was decided that they should evacuate back down to the city so Aqualina ritually made three boats while Sau Rus made the paddles.

Night passed - nothing unusual happened.

15th Meadow

In the morning, we waved goodbye to the fleet. Instead of taking a boat, Sau Rus did his ritual to attack pigeon wings to some of us while Sooty firewalked Menolly and her dogs. During that, he went numb for eight days. On the way up, the last village was checked but no undead was detected.

  "I can command that many men" - Sooty
  "I can raise that many men" - Sau Rus
  "I can count that many men" - Lizette

From the tracks that were found, it looked like the army went into the desert.

Further up, we reached the ford and the crystal viewers saw that the river split up as it flowed out of a set of canyons and cliffs. The sludge was mostly coming from the middle canyons. Those that could fly took to the air and they spotted burnt out boats in the river but still no sign of undead. The boats looked like they had been deliberately fired. So Aqualina and Lizette went out to have a look at them.

  "I'd rather you created a longboat" - Grizelda
  "You use your culture, I'll use mine"  - Aqualina after creating an outrigger canoe.

The boats looked like they had been cast adrift and sunk. Lizette did some DAs on them and the last magic to impact was fireproofing. Each boat was 15ft wide, 20ft long and there were three of them.

Another five miles up and discarded belt buckles, swords etc were found. The place looked like a battlefield.

Finally we reached the canyons. They narrowed as we progressed and the tops were rough. Sooty did some rather scary flying in the canyons but he found people and animals down there. Menolly ran into them but Sooty was able to ensure she got through the zombie horde safely. We were looking for ways to wash them down the river but Aqualinas admitted she did not know the flash flood spell (something I should remedy - A).

Finally we flew off to the side a few miles and landed on a plateau.

16th Meadow

In the morning we woke and argued some more. There was a river of zombies a hundred feet below in the canyon. Sau Rus attempted to control a group of them and got a fight going.

we followed the canyons upriver past a cliff. The canyons continued but there was no water. Sau Rus and Sooty landed. Sau Rus checked for undead, which there were, while Sooty climbed down a hole and found the river was coming out of holes in the cliff - and it was full of sludge.

So we landed, we prepared, we landed again. Sau Rus made the wings go away from Aqualina, himself, and I so we could put our armour on.

  "I think we just proved that Lizette likes living on the edge" - Aqualina, after Lizette deliberately landed near the edge of the cliff.

We then climbed down and went into the tunnel. It was wet and slimy. The fresh slime was only days old. After a while, we came to a junction where there was water with slime and just slime. We went up the one with just slime, which was fresher, and eventually it joined the water. After about 250ft in we reached another junction, one wet, one dry. The dry turned, went up and into a chimney. We went back and up the other tunnel.

After 70ft, we came to a waterfall - with a bunch of zombies waiting for us. We defeated them quickly, mainly due to Sau Rus controlling most of them. Then we discovered that the Forbiddance that Lizette had put on top of the waterfall had backfired and was not against zombies but humans (I banged my nose on it - A). Fortunately it was not a high rank and, after a few minutes, it went away.

We came to another waterfall with a bunch of zombies - which Sau Rus controlled - all except one which we beat up.

Finally we came to a big cavern. Mostly here was a big pool, and a lot of zombies on a ledge on the other side.

  "They're elementals, not Lizettes" - Sooty.

Sau Rus caused some zombie in-fighting while Sooty was trying to catch them on fire. Then arrows started flying at us from somewhere in the dark. Aqualina set up a line of geysers along the ledge and the zombies started retreating. So, after waterbreathings on those who needed them, we headed through the pool and onto the ledge. In the pool we spotted white things with tentacles which DAed as cave crayfish.

The archers turned out to be goblins with bows. So they got shrouded in fog. Aqualina and I charged after them and discovered that, around the corner were a LOT more. So we backed off and regrouped before preparing for a fire assisted charge.

Sooty and I attacked along the high road. After ploughing our way through a small horde of goblins - who insisted on closing and grappling me. Meanwhile Sau Rus and the others dealt to a somewhat larger horde of zombies on the low road, many of which were controlled by Sau Rus. The ways met and beyond that was a pool fed by a waterfall. The pool was full of slug stuff - which didn't last long when Aqualina put a waterspout in there. Beyond that was a temple facade, a giant statue of the goblin god, an entrance, a bunch of hobgoblins and, thirty feet up on a parapet, were goblins with crossbows.

  Stupidest Adventurer - Lizette for attempting to fly in a 50ft cavern occupied by a water spout.

By the time we had dealt to the goblins, the hobs had disappeared, leaving a fair bit of loot behind. We couldn't figure out how they went away.

I collected the loot while Lizette managed to hurt herself nastily. Menolly said that the altar had a Call Master on it - they must have persuaded their master to teleport them out.

The slugs in the pool had been pulverised by the waterspout but there was still a lot of slime about. While we cleaned up and secured the temple, Sooty decided to attempt to summon a Guardian and persuade him/her to clean up the mess. To do that, he decided to travel to the nearest temple, along with Ibin, in order to retrieve required information. Meanwhile the rest of us retreated downstream and outside to one of the canyons.

The water in the river was still very dirty with bodies floating in it. Someone suggested retrieving the bodies so Aqualina attempted to summon an elemental to do the task. Unfortunately, it went wrong, and the elemental arrived enraged and started attacking Aqualina who ended up getting pummelled. I interposed myself while Sau Rus had zombies pile on it. Finally Lizette banished it, but not before getting muscle spasms. Menolly set to work fixing those. Aqualina sulked for a bit while we waited for Sooty to return and do the summoning in the goblin temple.

17th Meadow

In the early hours of the morning, Sau Rus came out. He borrowed a crystal and looked for Sooty, who it seemed was sitting on a mesa in the desert. Sau Rus went to fetch him and they returned after lunch. Lizette and Menolly would be busy healing, and divinating, until the next day. Meanwhile we entertained ourselves by watching zombies that were controlled by Sau Rus ripping up uncontrolled zombies and vice versa.

18th Meadow

Sau Rus put wings on us and we flew to the Caliph's palace. Ibin comes out with a number of papers authorising the removal of the blockade and release of ships. I spent time learning the local cuisine with the Caliph's chef. Menolly, Aqualina and Lizette went shopping while Sooty went to the temple.

20th Meadow

Two days later, we went to the blockade and sorted everything out. Then we went downstream with a Mage Current for four days (along with a flotilla of ships - did that make me an Admiral of the Fleet? - A) and thence to the capital.

24th Meadow

Back through the Mithrian Portal to the one of Frigidia. Sooty had Lizette divinate the portal. There were bones littered around the place - Plane of Origin Omega (mostly). We then made our way to the next portal annd thence to Paeolithica. There we unfurled our wings, flew to the Alusian portal, and made our way homeward.