Reason Unborn

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Summary

  • Evil GM DevilishSmile.jpg: Jeff Church
  • Time: Winter 810 WK
  • Day: Wednesdays
  • Level: Low - Medium
The Party
  1. The Lady Hope De Winter - A petite white clad courtier (calls herself a spiritualist aka Evil Necro). Human female.
  2. Koffi – A male Gnome Evil Binder and his Golems
  3. Zanak - A young human male pirate who likes to acquire pretty dresses. He engages in Healing and being a Evil Mind Mage
  4. Vladimir – A young human male with an contagious iron disease - Evil Mind Mage and party scribe.
  5. Melco – Pretty boy human, Evil Celestial Druglord - with a variety of interesting skills
  6. Falco – A male human Evil Shadow Celestial - with a variety of interesting items
  7. Elenna - A shy human female, not very pretty but quite practical. Studying to be an Evil E&E.
Employer

Voice of Reason and The Lady Temperance

Met the rest of the party in one of those spartanly furnished guild meeting rooms that the guild seems to favour. Its almost as if they think by making us uncomfortable we wont doze off and will get whatever needs to be done over with quickly. I dont know any of these people and there is no reason to believe they would have heard of me either as they are all more experienced than I. As they have all adventured together before I expect they will have some basic level of cohesion and a pecking order of some sort. Frankly, we are a motley bunch which suits me just fine. No white hats here sticking their noses into everyones business, so I think we will get along just fine.

After some verbal fencing the party introduce themselves, mainly to me, being the new kid on the block. Turns out we have no front line fighters other than perhaps the Evil Binders Golems for whatever they are worth. We will have to be careful and avoid front on assaults. Sneaking and backstabbing will be the order of the day, which suits me just fine. We have a blast mage of sorts, Falco the Evil Dark Celestial has some weird multi-target spell I dont yet understand which sounds very useful. Basicly the rest of us are what the guild would label Support Mages. It remains to be seen if any of us deserve the label Sneeks. Melco, the other Evil Celestial is an experienced (Rank 7) Military Scientist so thats a big plus in our favour. We cant agree on a party leader so we decide that Falco and I will share the role until Elenna shows up late and votes for Falco.

Mission Brief

The party employer Voice of Reason is bought in. He appears human, looks to be of Eastern/Kinlu descent, but with a deep purple black skin, long single white braided hair, wearing unusual ornate colourful enamelled ceramic mail - with many toggles, ties and totems. He is some sort of Rune Mage but a non-standard one.

Since the departure of the previous Seagate party, turmoil has wracked the The Lands of the Minzu.

  • The memory of the Minzu Ancients continue to fade.
  • Without the Ancients' beneficial and stabilising influence, war is raging in many parts of the Lands.
  • In the last two months, throughout the lands of the Minzu all births of sentient creatures have stopped – including Sister of Reason’s unnaturally extended pregnancy.
  • Zombies walk the streets of the imperial city (and elsewhere).

As solutions have been desperately sought, Voice of Reason has received a Prophesy of the Tiles:

The Elder summonings of the primeval blood foe grip hard the Profound of the Ancients
Seek the Tower - they open the sea-gate of change
Seek the Spirits lingering beneath the great pyramid – keys they will hold
Seek the Wind folk on the steppes – doors they know

The Imperial Mandarin Lady Temperance has once again sent Voice of Reason to seek the assistance of the Tower to attempt to resolve these mysteries.

  • Although they were not fully successful, The Lady Temperance would prefer to re-employ those that came to the Land of the Minzu a year ago A Loss of Reason
  • To be accepted, Voice of Reason (VoR) will have to do a Reading of the Tiles for any new candidates.
  • Successful party members will travel by portal with VoR to The Lands of the Minzu to start their investigations.
Pay

10,000 sp each. Money already deposited in the Guild vaults. We are advanced 1000sp each to spend as we see fit. We are each provided with either a Rank 5 or 10 Gutbuster, 2 Standard Guild Healing Potions (10 point) and a rank 10 Quickness Potion. VoR also provides some sort of Greater Enchantment for each of us with mixed results, and a pearl that we swallow which allows us to speak and understand Erelaine (the native tongue).

Lady Hopes' Divination
Spinning circles, eternal cycles.
Wood feeds Fire; Fire creates Earth; Earth bears Metal; Metal collects Water; Water nourishes Wood.
Cease to commence, commence to cease.
The Profound circles and cycles, spins and spirals, shifts and switches - no end
Far summonings grip The Profound of the Minzu – they tighten their grip and the void beckons

Deep and meaningful it is. We all nod sagely and pretend we understand more of the future.

VoR takes Vladimir aside for a Tile reading and determines that he is The Emperor Tile. Nobody looked very surprised at this.

1st of Frost

Portal to Trouble

The next day, after VoR instructs us in some sort of purifcation ritual, we all sit around while he performes some sort of Tile Ritual that involved placing his tiles in a complex pattern which opens a portal to a windswept temple on top of this hill which is peopled by these bird folk, human (slaves?) and some sort of simian creatures. As we land in what are obviously their nests, they arent too happy to see us. In the distance is a purple cloud which seems to be the focus of some concern for the bird folk (and the party which had been attacked by it in their previous visit). Fortunately for us, the bird folk are attacked by a third party who the party refer to as the gargle spitians and once VoR establishes communication with the bird folk we quickly ally ourselves with them against their attackers.

The gargle spitians arrive on the back of this giant scorpion like monster with 3 giant maws where its mandiples and pincers would normaly be. Their casters quickly dump some chaos cloud on the party forcing us to scatter and attempt to blast us with a chaos beam attack which we dodge. Falco does whatever it is he does and most of the opposition disappear. We quickly kill or drive off the rest as their casters summon another cloud to cover their retreat. The bird folks queen is down wounded, her handmaidens fled and most of her human and simian slaves are dead. Just as we think we have the situation under control four pink gargoyal like creatures with long tenticles emerge from the mist and some of the dead attackers are animated against us. They attempt to grab us and fly into the air, presumably so we be dropped to our deaths. The Evil Binders Combat Golem proves too heavy for them to lift and he smash one to the ground. A second grabs Melco and slimes him with some foul goo rending him unconcious as it lifts him into the air.

Fortunately Zanak's Mental Attack swats the creature out of the air and I quickly slay it before it can recover. The last pinky grabs Falco and almost flies off with him but another golem cuts him down with one blow for its axe. By now Lady Hope has the lesser undead in hand and is plotting world domination. Elenna finally quickens us and it seems she is got the hang of this evil lark as she leaves it till after the fight is over......

The Lord Cock Adolpho and Lady Hen Eltono Joan

Its about now that that the bird folks Top Cock arrives and he doesnt look too pleased to see us. Fortunately we have just about finished healing his Queen and further conflict is avoided. As he is clearly in charge we quickly renegotiate our fragile alliance till at least after we have dealt with the approaching purple cload which is raining acid down. After some discussion we persuade Top Cock and his troops to bombard the purple cload with bolders from the air while we attempt to missile and spell it from the ground. Zanak quickly finds that attempting to Mental Attack the creatures in the cloud leads to madness but fortunately as he is alreay a complete loon this has little effect other than he lies down for a quick snooze. The aerial bombardment saves the day and the purple cloud crashs in the town along with its dead passengers. There is much rejoicing, quickly followed by looting.

Our stock with the Top Cock has skyrocketed once he realizes that we too can fly and that we have defeated the purple cloud as we promised even if it was their aerial bombardment that eventually won the day. A quick discussion before VoRs communication spell runs out and we learn that Airians (that's the bird folks) have recently reoccupied this hill top (the Royal Roost) having been driven off it by LHHB. They know of the temple but avoid it, perhaps their priests will know more. The Airians are The Chosen of Ahura Mazda – who represents all that is good (Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds). Ahura Mazda wages permanent war with Ahriman, a power of unspeakable repulsiveness. Ahriman aims to devastate the universe by filling it with pure evil. The Airians believe that both LHHB and the 'gargle spittians' are agents of Ahriman.

Oh and I forgot to mention that LHHB attempted to subvert the party into assisting some of his minions escape from the temple into the Lands of the Minzu while VoR was busy doing his ritual earlier. Most of the part don't think this would be a good idea despite his promises of rewards.

The Ark of the Chosen

So we wander up to the temple to see the priests to see if they know anything useful before we head off to the pyramid. Turns out that while the high nest was being attacked by one force (that we defeated), another force was attacking the temple and stole the bird brain's most holy artifact, the Ark of the Chosen. They killed most of the priests and dragged the golden chest (DONT OPEN IT!) off to the forest. Fortunately the remaining priests can detect the Ark but the enemy are doing something that is interfering with the priests location so something must be done quickly. Somehow we end up being the ones that have to go into the jungle and recover this artifact. Beats me as to why this is as we are not getting paid. Anyway the High Priestess Isolde gives us some Lightning suits which will protect us from the effects of Taint which contiminates the area where the Ark is being held and after some discussion we head off. The bird brains deposit us safely in the infected jungle and we hack our way towards where the Ark is suppose to be.

As we approach the Ark we are attacked by this woman's head with spider-like legs and a bunch of animated hands. After an exchange of spells, the creature(s) are driven off (the hands seem able to mimic our spells back at us) and we charge into the clearing which is now filled with mist. Luckily for us the summoned golems are in the front as they trigger some sort of explosive trap(s) and are destroyed. The rest of us are mostly unharmed and we find the Ark of the Chosen sitting there covered in resin and inscribed with runes. We grab it and bug out, reaching the bird brains city safely. There follows a long discussion about what the party should do to "fix" the Ark but as its not our problem I mostly doze. Fortunately for us the priests take the Ark off back to the temple where they start some sort of ritual that involves lots of bird brains singing lots of meaningless dribble which precogs indicate ends favourably.

The Lady Is Mad

In the mean ime the rest of the party think it will be a great idea for Lady Hope to talk to some spirits in the hope they will tell her something useful before they drive her mad. Yeah, you heard me. Talking to these spirits drives you mad. I think they are all crazy and wander off to find some food and drink as its been a long hot day slugging our way through the jungle. I am not entirely sure of the outcome except it involves Lady Hope going mad and the rest of the party mugging her before she can do anything to hurt herself or them. They drag Lady Hope back to the temple where the priests and inhabitants are still doing their ritual over the Ark. Turns out the singing dissolves the resin covering the Ark and drives off Lady Hopes madness all at the same time. There is much rejoicing. OK some.

And so to Nest ...

It's getting dark so they feed us and we head up the hill to the high nest to get some sleep. This is quite an honour as they still tend to think of us as slaves. We are given the two nests furtherest from the royal nest in which to sleep.

2nd of Frost

Oh and before I forget. We had some visitors early in the night. A couple of Kobolds snuck into camp to have a word with us. They wanted to know what had happened to their friends and family whom had accompanied the party the last time they where here. Turns out that the party had murdered most of them apart from two that had got seperated and never seen again. They took it very well I thought.

The Taint Strikes Back

Some time later in the last watch we are attacked by 3 gargle spitians and their symbients, some spider like creatures (that have webbed the area around us making it difficult to escape) and something that rains missles down on us from above, but I can't make out what that is in the mist. They seem to have concentrate their attacks on Falco and Koffi (An excellent plan) and mostly ignore the rest of us although Zanak ends up trapped in some Webs of Taint??? or some such thing until Lady Hope and I pull him clear, which is just as well as the webs seem to be draining him. Falco has made most of them go away again depriving us of loot and the pleasure of killing them. We drive the others off into the mist which blows away shortly later and I sit down to watch Falco die from the poison dart sticking out of him but unfortunately the Waters of Healing mends him. I wonder if there is any connection between the gargle spitians attack and those Kobold that we talked to earlier......

I went back to bed as its been a long day. Related to me the following morning by Malco. I thought about editing it but I was too busy laughing.

"Zanak feels the effects of the Taint and we see a tentacle grow from his arm - he has a 3rd arm. Koffis leg is Tainted and wants his leg amputated. Lady Hope prepares Petite Mort and then goes deaf casting. Recasting which then does not work. I start to ready my battleaxe as Zanak says get me to the chest (Ark of the Chosen). Lady Hope begins to cast and starts to sneeze. I swing and the axe sinks into Koffi and the leg is cleaved off. Lady Hope casts Petite Mort and Zanak keels over. Bill (the golem) whallops me and is then called off. Koffis leg is still alive and twitching - the leg gets burnt. We rush off to the priests at the entrance to the temple. Lady Hope says that some of the heroes that returned the ark need healing as they are Tainted. The avians start chanting, Voice of Reason gets Wild Healing ready as well as a Waters of Healing. The chanting increases as Lady Hope casts. The spell works and Zanak is concious - the Taint is on hold - Wild Healing begins to repair Zanak and he is still Tainted. The cheif priest says need more to chant to remove the Taint. A ritual - the Calling of Heroes is needed, a ritual that is the most powerful for cleansing. They speculate that it may bring the End of Days (Zzzz...).

The ritual involves unveiling the ark. What could go wrong with that! (Precog - touches the ark and the result is not good. Now I know they are dreaming). Zanak is still pinned to the ground with sticks. They move Zanak to within 20' of the ark. The Taint is still there and is not going away. The chanting is keeping the Taint at bay. The chanting increases as the ark opens and 3 multi coloured glowing eggs appear which float up and head towards Zanak - the colours join to form a white cleansing light. Zanaks body goes crystaline then shrinks into an egg sized bump. The eggs are carried to the ark as it closes with Zanaks egg outside. Zanak then stands up holding an egg - white robes and looking pure.

Lady Hope and Zanak talk - is is now a hero of Azura Mazda. He has lost the ability to cast but can cure the Taint. He is indestructable... almost. He is the embodiment of law, order and goodness - and he cannot lie. Zanak is in fact a levitation egg with an illustion of Zanak holding an egg. The End of Days is coming soon, to a tavern near you. Zanaks mission - law and order. The avians are excited."

Off to Temple

After breakfast and an hour of egg jokes the party buffs up and flies off to the pyramid in the rain. We are accompanied by Guido (an undead priest and guide) and Delicate Deer (Human slave and translator) A ball of Taint flies out of the jungle and narrowly misses Falco. The step pyramid is on an island. The top step is 200 feet by 100 feet with 2 temples on top. The left hand temple is to Tillock Tempong and the right hand temple is for Left Handed Hummingbird. A 25 foot hole separates them. After some DA's we land on the top step.

We look for traps, wards or curses - we find nothing. We determine from paintings that Left Handed Hummingbird - born of the sky (banished there) and Tillock - torturer - collects the tears of children. Jewels and a screen are visible. The area is low mana and Falco checks for physical traps.

We look at the hole/pit - its deep and a dark hole, 250' deepish. Guido (undead priest guide bird) collapses, we think his spirit has left him.

Falco casts light and lights up the cavern which appears to be below ground level. In the centre a Black pyramid glows in a shifting red light, spikes on its surface, red symbols crawling slowly across its surface. Its written in Minzu script.

Lady Hope and Koffi hop on the flying carpet to decend to the bottom. Part way down the flying magic fades and Lady Hope and Koffi are left hanging from the ropes, Bruno the Golem drops into the darkness, hits the pyramid and is smashed to pieces. They scramble down and fix the rope so the rest of the party can climb down. Some DAs get fired off.

Pyramid sucks and stores mana - nature of magic

Da - ground - no answer

Da - pyramid - energy drain as you get closer - necromantic counter - release of energy if destroyed.

Da - red lines - the glyphs - endless scroll of names - names + spiritual escence - effect of destroying ? appear to be indevidual true names.

Lady Hope tries to talk to spirits - it does not work as they are not spirits. The pyramid is a container and the spirits are on the inside and can not be contacted says Lady Hope. Its about then that both ends of the party are attacked.

Ambush at the Temple

INCOMMING !!! - 6 Gorillas with spikes on their sholders are rushing us on the top of the pyramid. 7' High and 600lbs, with insectoid arms. At the same time a giant mosquito flies by the black pyramid to attack the group below. There is some reverberation in the air - 3 large (2 hex creatures) advance around the black pyramid. Some sort of giant ant/praying mantis, 2 red and 1 green. They have a reach of over 15' and the party members on the roof are easy targets. 2 Gorillas also close in below. Two Ahriman Assassin Demons lead the attack on the upper party. Missiles and blows are exchanged, spells are cast.

The upper party quickly (we had quickness) overcome their opponents in spite of my nearly being dragged off to hell by a death curse from killing a Ahriman Assassin which manifested as 5 large moray eel like creatures reaching through a rift. Despite my near miss with the death I find the time to grope and slap Delicate Deer about in a vain attempt to stop her screaming. At this rate I'll have to find something to stick in her mouth. Fortunately I am well equipped for such emergencies.

The lower party found it heavy going as they had no quickness and were faced with severe clouds of acid and lots of small biting things. Zanak and Falco rushed to thier aid as they could both fly, leaving the rest of use to climb 200 feet down a rope. Turns out Zanaks idea of flying was somewhat suspect and he smashs into the black pyramid below triggering something nasty. Lady Hope, Koffi and Falco overcome their opponents but Lady Hope is dying, Zanak is unconcious and things are looking grim. The bodies of their slain opponents have crumbled to dust and whatever Zanak has triggered is now killing them all. They decide to bug out but are overcome by waves of pain and death. Voice of Reason volunteers to fly down on his effreet and attempt a rescue and foolishly we let him. It goes quiet below.....

What happens next

Lady Hope, Koffi, Falco, Zanak and Voice of Reason are all dead. However all is not lost as they meet up with the spirits of those whom have been sacrificed in the past by being cast into the pit to dash thier life out on the black pyramid below. Turns out that the red writing on the pyramid is the manifestations of all these victims. Anyway, they hatch a plot to release the party while the spirits distract the evil guardian of the pyramid. This gives us about three minutes to find a way to break the pyramid which is really just a big soul-jar. Smash, crackle and pop the pyramid is destroyed, the plug is removed and all the surviving spirits get released and go where ever spirits go. The party flee back up the shaft to avoid the angry guardian which is driven off by Walls of Light. Some discussion follows about what to do next. While this is going on I spot someone flying towards the party on a cloud of feathers accompanied by a couple of eagles. This is Bird of the Jungle whom the previous party have met before. He has come for Delicate Deer(she was from his village and had been enslaved by the bird brains but given to us as she was useful as a sex slave) and we reluctantly agree she is free to go. Bird of the Jungle agrees to assist us search the pyramid and track down its angry guardian but wants us to deal with the Taint that is spreading down in the jungle.

A quick explore

A quick poke in the debris near the now ruined black pyramid reveals 2 magical daggers and 5 crystals. DAs reveal the crysals can be ground into quickness dust and one daggers wounds cannot be healed and the other has some dagger-cloud effect.

Two rooms lead off from the black pyramid chamber with a channel from the pyramid into each room. One of the channels has been ruptered some time after the pyramid was moved here as the ground settled and a large crack opened up. We think it was from this crack that the bug creatures emerged to attack the party earlier. We cross the crack and search the room beyond it. It is the same dimensions as the black pyranid, has a throne in the center and a channel (ruptured) leading back towards the black pyramid. The walls are covered in pictures of LHHB ( Minzu Chang Cheng Temple Mosaics) being worshipped and the usual blood and sacrifices. A door leads to a corridor which leads to an exit in a ruined building nearby. We return and search the room on the other side of the black pyramid. When we open the door we release a large blast of mana which causes some of the spells the party knows to go off randomly, fortunately without too much effect as they are mostly buffs. A similar room is revealed except the walls are covered in paintings of the god Tlaloc, another evil death god. I'm sure we will get along just fine. I sit on his throne and my minor wounds are healed. The door leads to a similar ruined exit. We leave and after a Limited Precog decide not to climb down the crack and go bug the bug people. The party fly back to bird central and Bird of the Jungle flies off with Delicate Deer and friends.

We visit the High Priestess, argue about where we are going to sleep the night and discuss what we will do tomorrow. Both communities want us to deal with the Taint as does egg head but then he is possessed so his view is Tainted. We spend the night in the priests quarters of the temple (they are after all mostly dead or zombies). The night passes uneventfully apart from Zanak sleepwalking (egg-floating?) and muttering Have you seen my penis?

3rd of Frost

We discuss over breakfast what we are going to do and after an hour or so we decide that we will fly to the sink hole on the east side of the Tainted area and see if we cant find a connection between the sink hole which seems more heavily Tainted than the surrounding jungle and Taint Central. We power up (for what its worth as some of us have forgotten how to cast some of our spells including Falcos Shadowform) and fly into the jungle, descending near the sink hole. Zanak flies (and I use this loosely, more like plummets) down the sink hole and disperses the Taint. Now he can see where the Taint is leaking into the water through cracks in the earth on the western edge just below water (nearest Taint Central). We resolve to break down the barrier and follow the underground passage hopefully to Taint Central.

So a quick Moulding Elements, slap a jelly fish on the face and up the tunnel we go. A few tunnels and chambers, the odd affectionate tentacle or acid amoeba later and we are in this dead-end chamber with an odd living wall. We Mould Elements past the wall and there is a flood of Taint, which might have been embarrassing but we have the mighty egg to protect us from all things Taint related. Some large eyes form in the living wall and I can feel stirrings from the scattered brain nodes of some creature we are about to enter. Falco time slips the eyes and once the Taint flow dies down a bit we enter the next chamber which seems to be some sort of Taint disposal reservoir. There are blood-sucking leeches a couple feet long swimming amongst us and a living ceiling which either deposits Taint or sucks things up from the Taint pool in which we swim. We position ourselves beneath one of these apertures and sure enough we get sucked up and deposited in the chamber above like a pile of wet rats up a drain pipe.

We find ourselves in a roughly hexagonal shaped room with a couple of exits. Floor, walls and ceiling are all living and there are pods with various creatures of Taint within being bathed in Taint and in various stages of development. The mighty egg can detect Taint Central and we quickly move through a number similar chambers before we find ourselves in a large oddly shaped chamber with Taint Central at its centre and its walls lined with dozens of Taint creatures in pods. These look almost fully developed and we quickly move closer to Taint Central to DA and poke it. Things are stirring on the ESP so we quickly position ourselves around Taint Central and lash it with DA. It appears to be a device of some sort sitting on top a living organism that controls it. The organism seems to control the amount of Taint that exits the device in some manner we cannot determine. Cranial Encysters work nearby, shifting Taint creatures around pods and doing other Taint maintenance tasks. The sleeping organism that we are in is awakening and we quickly decide to cast a bunch of spells at the Taint Control Organism as the mighty egg attempts to seize control and shut down Taint production. I nearly backfire as I attempt to overcome its scattered but mighty intellect with my Mental Assault, Elenna slows it successfully as Lady Hope attempts Petit Mort but it seems Taint never sleeps. Then the Taint Control Organism suddenly disappears and we realise with horror Falco has time slipped it and the shit is about to hit the fan. Walls of Starlight get cast as eyes and teeth begin to form in the walls and floor all around us. The Taint Device suddenly goes uncontrolled and rapidly doubles in size as the might egg attempts to stem the flow and shut it down. The rest of the party start dealing to the eyes and teeth, those that aren't casting are singing for all we are worth just as the bird priest taught us as we bash and smash in the vain hope it may do some good.

Well it turns out that the mighty egg isn't everything he's cracked up to be. The Taint Device doubles in size again and egg-head finds himself inside it humming furiously. But like the little boy attempting to plug the leak in the dyke by sticking his finger in the hole eggnog realizes he has no penis and explodes. As the rest of the party stand there stunned apart from my good self calmly picking fist sized chunks of diamond from our ruined flesh and sticking them away for good keeping. The rest of them recover from stun just in time to realize that we are up Taint creek without a paddle and standing in shit up to our eyeballs. It goes dark...

What happens next

Our eyes adjust and those of us that had been here just yesterday (Falco, Lady Hope, Zanak, Koffi and VoR) explain that we are red, blue or yellow words located in the Track of Chaos. We look about and discover purple words circling menacingly. They look hungry and start clustering together. Suddenly they merge, start to form sentences and close in. The party quickly decides to merge into one sentence which takes bit of jiggery-pokery before it's completed. It seems actions are a function of will and we quickly combine, form limbs with silver swords and hack the purple words up.

We find a pipe that leads somewhere and decide to follow it after tying it in knots. Could this pipe have delivered Taint to taint device? It seems to be shrinking, maybe we have closed it off successfully. We travel for some time along the pipe until we spot some opening that appear to lead out of the darkness that surrounds us. We decide these are portals to various Lands of the Minzu as there seems to be one for each of Fire, Water, Earth, Wood, Metal and Air. We leave the pipe and head towards what we determine to be the Air portal and a humanoid shape emerges from the darkness.

She introduces himself as Shotan, Shaman of the Mongol People and tells us that she has been waiting for us. She explains that there had been several good years for her people as they had thrown off the yoke of the other Minzu and there was much looting and prosperity. But then the births stopped and dead started rising and all the Minzu quailed in terror. After some time the Shaman gather and decide to seek out the source of their terror. They do some sort of dream-walk similar to what Lady Hope does when she Spirit Walks and visit those planes that they can travel to. Eventually they decide that something has invaded the Life Plane and draining the life force from it, preventing new births and the dead from going to their final rest. She is currently dream-walking and tells to go through the Air Portal and he will awaken and join us. She cautions us to remain still and calm while making this journey. Anyway it's a breeze and we find ourselves in a bright wide open plain, standing in a stiff wind. And guess what, it turns out that according to some prophesy or other some strangers are going to turn up and put things right. Now who do you think that might be? Bags not!

Up the River of Life without a paddle to be seen

Shotan escorts us to the nearest place that the Life Track intersects and we open the way and step through. We are still in our multi-armed combined form and find ourselves in a tunnel, which we quickly determine leads either upstream or down. The walls of the track are lined with kelp-like structures and aquatic-like creatures move amongst it. It's kind of like being underwater but without the water. We move upstream for some time when suddenly we are attacked 2 large and 6 small Ahriman shadow demons with halberds that have emerged from a shadow track that has suddenly opened nearby. We decide to combine all our attacks on one of the larger demons whom seem to be attempting to chop us into our individual words to be swarmed by the lesser demons. We hack furiously at left-hand large demon but our attacks are clumsy and it successful separates Lady Hope for the rest of us and the lessers close in on her. We decide to try again, except for Zanak who splits himself off from the rest of us and 3 lessers zero in on him. Our attacks are more successful and large demon we have been attacking is sorely wounded. Lady Hopes attempts to rejoin us have been unsuccessful and we decide to rejoin with her. Zanak in the mean time is slashing furiously and doing his own thing to no avail. We rejoin with Lady Hope then finish off the wounded demon. The second large demon eventually goes under and we quickly slaughter the lessers. We reluctantly allow Zanak the Splitter to rejoin us and carry on up stream. I spy a cupid-like creature hiding in the life-kelp and we decide to approach it. It is some sort of Life Essence and has been in hiding from whatever has been going on. We persuade it to accompany us. We continue upstream for some time passing amongst others a Track to Alusia. Hopefully we will be able to find our way back to here once we have completed whatever it is we have to do.

Sometime later we come to a Wall of Taint completely blocking the Life Track. We can see Life Essence being diverted by the wall into another Track that has opened on the far side of the Taint Wall. Lines of Taint lead from the Taint Wall into the Track of Taint which is being held in place by 5 large hand-like creatures with claws dug into both the walls of Life and Taint Tracks. Cranial Encysters move around maintaining this foreign invasion. So we are standing there next to the Taint Wall when we become aware of another presence. A clay golem is standing nearby with a smirk on his face, which is something you don't see everyday. Turns out he is Bill, one of Koffis missing golems from the previous trip to Minzu and he is now sentient. He has been in contact with Minzu shaman and Spirits (don't ask me how, I suspect he has just discovered alcohol). Anyway the Spirits tell him that they can block the Life Flow for a short period of time so we do whatever we need to do to break the hold Taint has on the Life Track without us being swept down the Taint Hole. The Great Sponge aka Zanak says he can disrupt the Taint Wall briefly allowing us to pass through it. We will attack the 5 Hands and Claws of Taint and attempt to destroy or dislodge them. We decide to remain joined together to start with and see how it goes. Bill will fight at our side even though this places him near Koffi whom he seems to dislike. We direct the Life Cupid to do what it can to bolster our Spirit Wall, which after Sponge Bob is the weakest link in our plan.

So we call on the Spirits, sing our songs, Sponge Head disrupts the Taint Wall briefly long enough for us all to pass through. The Life Cupid gathers Life Essences and Bill starts walloping Cranial Encysters while we use our silver blades on one Hands and Claws of Taint. It's about then we find out that our feeble attacks in this form just don't cut the Taint and quickly come up with a Plan B. Zanak and I will attempt to take control of one. Lady Hope, Koffi and Malco will use a Greek Fire Grenado on a couple. Falco, Elenna and VoR will hose the other two down with Blackfire. Bill will swap recipes with the Cranial Encysters and we will all watch nervously as the Spirit Wall begins to bulge. This plan seems to be going much better as I dominate the feeble mind of a Hand and Claw and get it to release its hold on the Track walls. Two Hands and Claws are burning nicely and two shudder under the Blackfire assaults. The Life Cupid feeds Life essence to the failing Spirit Wall and this strengthens it briefly. The Koffi phrase decides to turn his Petrification Ritual into a spell and cast it on the undamaged but frightened Hand and Claw, evoking phrases of ridicule from the rest of us. Turns out the Gnome is mightier than the Egg as they somehow pull this off, although I am at a loss to see how this helps us, but it does. Two Hands and Claws get their fingers burned and are destroyed, one scuttles off down the Taint Track as instructed, one succumbs to the Rain of Blackfire and blows. Can we destroy the petrified Hand and Claw before the Spirit Wall breaks.....

Damn right we can. We destroy the last Hands and Claws of Taint and the Taint Tracks connection to the Life Track is severed. There is much rejoicing. OK, some, as the Spirit Wall collapses and we are all swept down the Life Track by the flood of Life Essences. Have we succeeded only to be swept away and reborn as toads and newts? After a few nervous moments we manage to reform our sentence and the sentence is: Zanak is an egg with the brains and a backbone of sponge. OK, that wasn't the sentence, but it could have been.

So our quest completed we split up and go our separate ways. The Alusians make their way back to the Alusian Track we had found earlier. VoR returns to the Land of Minzu. Bill goes to the Great Mud Hole in the Sky. The Life Cupid gets swept away and as we have no life line, suffers a life sentence. Zanak, driven crazy by his experiences embraces Ahura Mazda and starts speaking in tongues. We quickly squeeze the loot out of him while his brain is scrambled and do a loot split. Its been an interesting three days and we resolve to never let Falco be party leader again........

Here ends a true and accurate account of our adventures on the fringes of The Land of the Minzu.

And if you wish to dispute this then you should have been Scribe!

Quotes

Quote from Koffi
They’re all b@$t@rd$
Quote from Zanak
God. I don't have a penis anymore.
Quote from Falco
I think Zanak displaces the Taint. He arrives and it leaves voluntarily.
Quote from Lady Hope
Its a life sentence. (In relation to our Spirit Wall formed of Spirit words)
Quote from Elenna
Your all quickened. (Usually as we were standing over the smoking corpses of our attackers).
Quote from Malco
I'll just cast a Wall of Light here. (I think he's afraid of the dark.)
Quote from Vladimir
Your all mad, and Zanak is just plum crazy.
Quote from Voice of Reason
Your all mad.

Housekeeping

Magic Rk Effects Dur Elenna Falco Hope Koffi Melco Vladimir Zanak
Enchantment var Covers Magic and Magic Resistance 14 20 13 16 13 16 14
Shadowform 15 +32 Def, +16 Def in close 8 hrs
Mindspeech 6 Communicate over 210 ft 70 mins
Spectral Weapon 10 +11 SC + 4 DM may harm insubstantials 15 mins
Witchsight
Shadow Wings
Quickness


Treasure Split and Loot

To be resolved