Session 12: In Which The Legion Finally Conquers Cynidicea
June 3, 2013 Leave a comment
Wednesday, 22nd day; 9th month (Horse); year 734
Upon returning from the Isle of the Dead and hearing of the impending Zargonian invasion, Amalaith decides that the Spearmaidens can no longer afford to cower behind the walls of their Tower. Taking her Spearmaiden henchmen and the Staff of Healing with her (despite the Legion’s reluctance to send another powerful magic item off with one of her players’ characters after the loss of the helm of telepathy and ring of x-ray vision), she heads to the Tower of Madarua to confront the High Spearmaiden Dalyaa-Nush. Calling together all of her sisters, Amalaith gives a fiery speech. Invoking her trials on the Isle of Death, where Madarua’s grace was all that stood between her and certain death, she demands that the Spearmaidens follow her as she joins forces with the Legion of the Gods Above to finally free Cynidicea from Zargon and his beastmen.
The Spearmaidens are convinced. “The season has changed,” says the next-highest-ranking member of the their order. Humbly, Dalyaa-Nush kneels and offers the green dragonbone spear that has served as the symbol of her office to the new High Spearmaiden, asking only that she be allowed to remain in Madarua’s service. Amalaith agrees, happy to have her support. As her first act, she leads her congregation to take refuge in the Temple of the Gods Above.
Meanwhile, Aisha and Milnos have a talk with Lig-Vig in preparation for interrogating their Zargonian prisoner. He tells them that, while Thrak-Sha’s fortress is built into the cliffs that stand across the lake, most of the Zargonians live in Zarakadur, a labyrinth of caverns that lie deep beneath Cynidicea. He insists that the Zargonain army will not cross the lake in boats, but will cross through the labyrinth and emerge in the old entrance to Zarakadur, an ancient building deep in abandoned ruins of Cynidicea Below. Before she dismisses him, Aisha has Lig-Vig show her where the entrance to Zargon’s lair is on their map of the Pyramid. He shows her the entrance to the Galleries that they already found, but is able to give her the brief prayer to Zargon that serves as a password to lift the magical seal on the door.
Milnos takes the Zargonian prisoner to the Temple’s torture chamber, which the Legion has never dismantled. However, the Atlantean’s intimidating demeanor causes the beastman to break down before he even invokes any Ancient Pacts, let alone starts torturing the monster. The Zargonian scout tells all he knows, which isn’t much. Milnos learns that the army is being led by their mighty (5th level) warlord, Thrak-Sha the Butcher. Thrak-Sha is a halfbreed like Lunatha-Sim, but one who the Zargonians are proud to follow into battle. He brings with him his shaman, Vig-Deth the Defiler, and his witch-doctor, Kaz-Vex the Sly. Satisfied that he has learned all he can from the captive, Milnos has him sent back to his cell.
In preparation for the coming battle, the Legion consults with Amab-Rah, their young siege engineer, and Yosarn, their tavern-keeper and steward. They learn that the Temple is large enough to be defended by 21 infantry companies — more than twice the entire current population of Cynidicea. As such, it should contain more than enough stores for their tiny force, and any refugees they can convince to take shelter there, to survive a very long siege. Yosarn confirms that yes, the Temple’s stores have been kept well stocked, and there will be plenty to go around, even without including the additional supplies the Spearmaidens and their congregation brought from the Tower of Madarua. Satisfied, the Legion conscripts a few more laborers from the Spearmaidens’ congregation. Milnos takes them, along with Amab-Rah and his ballista-building crew, the rest of his healthy henchmen, and the Telakynie, to the old entrance to Zarakadur to see if they can’t find a way to seal it.
They find a squat, decrepit public building — one dwarfed by the Temple and the other strongholds in Cynidicea. It consists of a single huge room, the center of which is a square, finished hole leading down into a natural tunnel with crude stairs carved into it. The wreckage of an ancient winch lies near a giant stone slab which appears to have once covered the hole. Milnos orders the crew to find a way to move the slab back onto the hole and then pile on top of it as much rubble as they can scavenge from the nearby ruined buildings. He then leaves them under Amab-Rah’s supervision, and the Telkaynies’ protection, and returns to the Temple.
Meanwhile, Spinello has been rounding up Cynidiceans and sending them to the main square to listen to a speech from their new king, Thojstoff the Beardless of Clan Darkskull. The barbarian tells of the vision of a cave bear devouring the heart of a sea serpent which led him to travel south to liberate Cynidicea from Zargon, and of how he must now defend it from the approaching Zargonian army. He extols all the people of Cynidicea to escape the depredations of the beastmen by taking shelter in the Temple of the Gods Above. The speech, as translated by his henchman Arther, is not terribly convincing. Only a quarter of the unaffiliated families of Cynidicea decide to take Thjolstoff up on his offer of sanctuary. The Legion decides to send their mercenaries into town to bring as many more families as they can to the Temple by force.
Before life in Cynidicea is completely disrupted, Milnos heads to the market and buys all the weapons that are available in the city. When this is complete, he and Amalaith retrieve the zargonian prisoner and demand that he retrieve as many books as he can from the Temple’s library. Confused, he agrees. Once they open the door, and he sees that the library is infested with yellow mold, however, he panics and refuses to enter. They send the prisoner back to the dungeon, and try to think of another way to deal with the infestation in the library without destroying the books. Milnos has an idea. He gathers up several pottery jars with lids, casts unseen servant twice, and then sends his unseen servants into the library to collect the yellow mold and put it in the jars. As soon as they have their orders, he closes the door behind them and waits outside for them to knock, signalling that they have completed the task. Half an hour later, they do. Milnos opens the door and finds that the mold has been scraped off those few shelves that were within spell range while he was safely outside. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of mold in the library. The unseen servants have also piled several lidded jars near the door. Milnos decides against disturbing them, instead tracking down Aisha so that she can have Lig-Vig disturb them. They have the one-armed zargonian retrieve one of the jars, then think better of the idea, and have him take it back. They lock the jars in library and decide not to play with the mold any more today.
It being late, the Legion decides to retire and continue their preparations the next day.
Thursday, 23rd day; 9th month (Horse); year 734
Simbra-Nar recovers from the injuries he received on the Isle of Death the previous day. It is, finally, the last straw for the last of the Legion’s henchmen who was with them when they first entered the Pyramid of Sabban-Ka. Speaking through his demonic familiar, the Atlantean tenders his resignation. The Legion bids him farewell, but refuses to let him take the dragonbone arms he was entrusted with. Insulted, but too intimidated to refuse, he leaves them behind.
The Legion again sends soldiers to round up more families and force them to take refuge in the Temple. They decide they have done enough to seal the old entrance to Zarakadur, and have Amab-Rah and his crew spend the day making as much crude ammunition as they can for their ballista. Thjolstoff has the Spearmaidens heal the wounds he received the previous day, and the Legion heads once more to the Isle of Death, hoping to find something to help them against Thrak-Sha’s army (and to find enough treasure to get the barbarian to 3rd level). Again, they take a smaller party consisting only of the PCs; Thjolstoff’s templars; Amalaith’s Spearmaidens; Thirleiro, the dashing-though-emasculated thief; Lunatha-Sim, the half-zargonian warmaiden; Spinelo’s devoted protector, Meldotia-Nar; Ablos-Nar, the creepy, old marshal; and Omor-Kar, the bowlegged archer/mime.
The Legion has no trouble returning to the door to the room the contains the Wheel, and they resist the temptation to open it. The investigate the many other smaller chambers that line this long corridor. The walls of one are lined with niches containing humans skulls covered with wax, as if they once held candles. In the next, the party is attacked by a wraith, which Thjolstoff quickly dispatches with his dragonbone sword. In the third, a severed human hand lying on a stone slab table scampers off into a rat-hole when disturbed. In the last, they find a small iron chest with poisoned needles secreted in the handles, which the Legion fortunately discover before they pick it up.
The chest contains thousands of electrum coins, as well as several precious stones and a couple of valuable trinkets. Thjolstoff suggests that they should take the chest and head back to the city, but the Legion decides to press on to see what else they can find.
They head down a branching corridor that ends at a door. While the Legion is checking the door for traps, a huge swarm of bats fills the corridor. Most of the party panics. In the confusion, Selexah stabs her sister-Spearmaiden Manatha-Sab in the mouth with her spear. Such a terrible time for a critical hit! The bats are gone as suddenly as they arrived. Amalaith is able to save her henchman with a cure light wounds spell, but it is a near thing, and leaves the victim’s lips and tongue a ruined mess. Selexah is devastated by what she has done.
Taking the incapacitated Spearmaiden with them, the Legion presses on to the next chamber. It is lit by bioluminescent mushrooms, and has several doors leading out. From their map, the party believes that they have navigated the perimeter of the catacombs, but that there might be a secret door leading out of this room. They split into several teams to search the locations they think might hide a secret door. There is one more team than space to search, however, so the Legion sends them to sear the center of the room. This turns out to be a mistake, as the floor in the center of the room crumbles away, dropping Meldotia-Nar into a 20′ deep pit. Fortunately, she does not take much damage from her fall, and the rest of her search team manages to jump to safety. Thjolstoff lowers a rope for Meldotia-Nar, while everyone else searches for secret doors, but finds nothing.
They head north from the room of the glowing mushrooms, along a corridor that ends at a door which, from their map, they expect to open into a large chamber. Spinello says some inspiring words, and the Legion opens the door. Beyond is, as expected, a large temple chamber. A platoon of 30 skeletons with spears and shields stands guard in the center, while the withered corpse of some strange reptile-man — a sort of hybrid, or missing link, between a sarmesk and a human — kneels in prayer before an altar and a statue of a daemonic, one-eyed toad-lizard.
At the sight of the undead reptile-man, most of the party is paralyzed by fear. The inexorable Atlanteans conjure forth a wall of polearm-wielding berserkers to shield their transfixed companions from the charging skeletons, while Amalaith thins their numbers with divine power. All the berserkers are slain meeting the skeletons’ charge, but, between their efforts and Amalaith’s turning, only 4 skeletons remain in the fight. Alas, Spinello — weilding Thjolstoff’s sword — and Ablos-Nar are unable to fell any of the remaining skeletons. Then, the reptile-priest is upon them, felling Ablos-Nar with a single blow from a supernaturally strong fist. Spinello, fortunately, dodges its cleaving blow. As soon as the creature attacks, it loses its hold over the paralyzed members of the Legion. Before they can act, however, the remnants of the undead horde succumb to Madarua’s power, channeled through her new High Spearmaiden.
Thjolstoff retrieves his dragonbone sword from the bard and proceeds to hack the cowering corpses to pieces, while the rest of the party turns their attention to their fallen comrade. Ablos-Nar’s left eye socket has been crushed by the monster’s fist, and his flesh is rotting. They use the staff of healing on him, but it has no effect. Nor does Amalaith’s curing magic. All of the physickers and chirugeons in the party attempt to bind his wounds, and all of them fail. The Legion watches helplessly, until, 10 minutes later, Ablos-Nar dies, there, on the floor of the dungeon.
After a moment of silence, the Legion turns their attention to searching the room. Thirleiro discovers that the jaw of the statue is hinged. Opening it from a safe distance using the 10′ pole causes a section of the wall behind it to lower into the floor. In the chamber beyond the secret door is a statue nearly identical to the one with the hinged-jaw. This one however has a jade eye, and an inscription in Draconic script on the pedestal. The inscription reads “Behold the bounty of the Water Lizard. Accursed be all who steal from her.”
Scattered at the statue’s feet are thousands of gold and electrum coins, two dozen obsidian stones and a black sapphire, several pieces of valuable jewelry, and five dozen two- to three-foot-long red horns — or tusks? or spikes? — from some creature that none of the Legion can identify, but which appear to be quite valuable. Also among the treasure is a red dragonbone sword.
The warning carved on the statue makes them reluctant to take the treasure, so the Legion leaves the room while Milnos sends in his unseen servant to bring it to them. They leave the statue’s jade eye unmolested, distribute the treasure, and their fallen companions, and leave the island.
They get back around noon, and spend the rest of the day wasting as much money as they can. Thjolstoff buys out Lady Morthalia’s brothel for his troops. Aisha finds a tailor and commissions a dress from the most opulent fabric he has in stock, which turns out to be a red gossamer cloth woven from the silk of giant spiders which he had purchased for the late High Priest of Zargon. Spinello commissions a memorial shrine to Ablos-Nar to be displayed in perpetuity in the brothel, and distributes coins to the destitute of Cynidicea.
They also have Dalili-Lu examine the red dragonbone sword they found. She suggests they find a scabbard for it, sheathe it, then draw the sword. Spinello does, and the blade bursts into flame. They decide to give the flaming dragonbone sword to Thjolstoff. With that, the Legion retires for the evening.
Friday, 24th day; 9th month (Horse); year 734
Energized by yesterdays haul from the Isle of Death (and the associated increase in level) the Legion goes on a recruiting drive. Despite their alignment differences, Milnos is able to recruit Mandeez, the leader of the Serpents’ Eyes criminal guild, giving him control of the remnants of Usamigaras’ congregation. Thjolstoff fails to recruit Hestmon-Zo, but Amalaith succeeds, giving her control of the remnants of Gorm’s congregation. This brings all of the strongholds in Cynidicea under Legion control, finally granting them control of the city.
All of the Legion’s henchmen remain loyal despite calamities and increased levels. Many of them have become fanatically devoted to their masters.
The Legion adds the soldiers of Gorm and Usamigaras to those on refugee-gathering duty. By the day’s end, 135 of the 190 families remaining in Cynidicea have taken refuge (voluntarily or otherwise) in the Temple of the Gods Above. Thrak-Sha’s army has not yet arrived.
PC1: Milnos-Sim – M Lv 3 Atlantean Tycoon; 6557/11600 xp; Damaged Knee
PC1: Sablain-Xee – M Lv 1 Fighter; 1877/2000 xp; Heart & Lung Damage, Severed Arm
PC1: Amab-Rah – M Lv 1 Fighter; 1190/2000 xp
PC1: Omor-Kar – M Lv 2 Bard; 1445/2800 xp
PC1: Abghai-Fam – M Lv 1 Assassin; 174/1700 xp
PC1: Ulea-Bu – F Lv 1 Thief; 74/1250 xp
PC1: Mandeez – M Lv 2 Thief; 1250/2500xp
PC1: Mandeez: Ilompha-Vo – M Lv1 Thief; 0/1250xp
PC1: Mandeez: Ilompha-Vo: Sabban-Mu – M Lv0 Carouser; -100/0xp
PC1: Mandeez: Ilompha-Vo: Gausnoc-Ret – M Lv0 Carouser; -100/0xp
PC1: Mandeez: Ilompha-Vo: Cushneah-Mi – F Lv0 Carouser; -100/0xp
PC1: Mandeez: Ilompha-Vo: Valompha – M Lv0 Carouser; -100/0xp
PC1: Mandeez: Fulcand-Tnep – M Lv1 Thief; 0/1250xp
PC1: Mandeez: Fulcand-Tnep: Elylla – F Lv0 Carouser; -100/0xp
PC1: Mandeez: Fulcand-Tnep: Zaneah – F Lv0 Carouser; -100/0xp
PC1: Mandeez: Fulcand-Tnep: Naznur-Ya – M Lv0 Carouser; -100/0xp
PC1: Mandeez: Fulcand-Tnep: Naznur-Ujua – M Lv0 Carouser; -100/0xp
PC1: Mandeez: Hoaghai-Tnek – M Lv1 Thief; 0/1250xp
PC1: Mandeez: Hoaghai-Tnek: Ilalmah-Dal – F Lv0 Carouser; -100/0xp
PC1: Mandeez: Hoaghai-Tnek: Famdok-Abn – M Lv0 Carouser; -100/0xp
PC1: Mandeez: Hoaghai-Tnek: Simlain – M Lv0 Carouser; -100/0xp
PC1: Mandeez: Hoaghai-Tnek: Fuldotia – F Lv0 Carouser; -100/0xp
PC2: Thjolstoff – M Lv 3 Barbarian; 6743/10400 xp
PC2: Arther – M Lv 2 Templar; 1594/3000 xp
PC2: Urbrec mag Esteger – M Lv 2 Templar; 1594/3000 xp; Stiff Wounds
PC2: Kennerd of Rugstowe – M Lv 2 Templar; 1594/3000 xp
PC3: Amalaith – F Lv 3 Bladedancer; 5671/6000 xp
PC3: Selexah – F Lv 2 Bladedancer; 1594/3000xp
PC3: Manatha-Sab – F Lv 1 Bladedancer; 1445/1500xp; Mangled mouth & tongue
PC3: Thirleiro – M Lv 2 Thief; 1445/2500xp; Genitals Damaged
PC3: Hestmon-Zo – M Lv2 Fighter; 2000/4000xp
PC3: Porotha-Dal – F Lv1 Bladedancer; 0/1500xp
PC3: Belatha-Ou – F Lv 2 Bladedancer; 1500/3000xp
PC3: Belatha-Ou: Soalia-Tnep – F Lv1 Bladedancer; 0/1500xp
PC3: Belatha-Ou: Poreeti-Il – F Lv1 Bladedancer; 0/1500xp
PC3: Belatha-Ou: Arcbiniah-Lap – F Lv1 Bladedancer; 0/1500xp; Damaged Right Eye
PC4: Aisha Alendi – Lv 2 Atlantean Stormtrooper; 6130/7350 xp
PC4: Lunatha-Sim – Lv 2 Fighter; 2020/4000 xp; Gruesome Scars
PC4: Lig-Vig – 1HD Zargonian; 223/3000 xp; Severed Arm
PC5: Spinello di Lombabasso – Lv 4 Bard; 6720/11200; Minor Scar
PC5: Meldotia-Nar – Lv 2 Fighter; 2017/4000 xp; Gruesome Scars & Missing 2 Fingers on Left Hand
PC5: Dalili-Lu – Lv 1 Bard; 727/1400 xp; Heart & Lung Damage
PC5: Jozez Yazimakusht – Lv 2 Telkaynie Kazevok; 2720/4000 xp
PC5:Jozez: Golej Yazimakusht – Lv 1 Telkaynie Kazevok; 174/2000 xp
PC5:Jozez: Bozek Yazimakusht – Lv 1 Telkaynie Kazevok; 174/2000 xp
PC5:Jozez: Kovez Yazimakusht – Lv 1 Telkaynie Kazevok; 174/2000 xp
PC5:Jozez: Boleg Yazimakusht – Lv 1 Telkaynie Kazevok; 174/2000 xp
PC5:Jozez: Golep Yazimakusht – Lv 1 Telkaynie Kazevok; 174/2000 xp