Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Lost Galmagia Session Write Ups 2.2

Aethra Chatoyant [Magic-User 1 – apprentice of a famous master / elf-sister]; Ayleton the Cat [Familiar 1 – animal familiar / ship cat of unknown port]; Oland [Rogue 1 – Spy / personal keyword not yet defined]; Brömm [Dwarf 1 – Dwarf-raised / Bonded Clockwork Guilds-dwarf]

The quartet discuss the various advantages of the customs house stairs vs. the sward ward gate, ultimately deciding to retrace their steps. Returning to the ballroom they find the doo they had spiked shut to the east had been hammered open from the other side, restoring passage into and out of these rooms. Oland pocketed the spikes and they moved east. The space contains a dozen or so fire beetles who immediately scatter – some running in circles, some back past the adventurers, some to through the open door and then turning west. As expected from the clerk’s journal this was the Ramp Room, dominated with a circular ramp that would lead to the surface were it not for the rubble up top. A closed door lies to the south, an open one to the north, but no passage further east to the hoped for East Storage Room that is supposed to have the lift down to the vault.

A cautious 10 minutes allows Brömm to confirm that the ramp and room are solid, for Ayleton to listen and sniff at the south door and hear nothing but smell canal water, and for Oland and Aethra to explore north, where the room past contains broken-to-destroyed crates, two archways leading west (behind the ballroom) and east (to parts unknown) and the door to the room holds anti-water wards. Before the pair can explore further Oland hears something large approaching from the west and the group hunkers down in the ramp room with their lantern closed.

A large male figure, stoop shouldered but with a powerful build in a hooded cloak covering a silver facemask, holding an amorpha in one hand and an oil-bowl lamp the other, enters the room of broken crates, drops to one knee before the east archway, places his amorpha on the ground and raise that hand over his head in a curved shape. That done he picks up the amorpha and passes through the arch. The adventurers mark a hundred count and then check out the room with as little light as possible. Aethra finds two runes in the keystone – ‘pray’ and ‘enter’ – and Ayleton points out the curved shape is a crude crescent moon. The figure left a scent of soap and incense. Perhaps this is one of the pilgrims they’ve been hypothesizing about. Oland notes that none of the fire beetles went east. The group opts to follow the figure, all repeating the prayer motion (save for the cat), before entering. They feel energy wash over them but nothing happens. Aethra checks the far side of the arch and sees no runes; she hopes this means if they have to flee back through that direction of passage is safe.

The passage turns out to be the Customs House Road, and spending an hour moving at a cautious pace to cover what should have been 20 minutes of walking before they hit a bend in the road – at the edges of their light it turns to the northeast while a ramp runs to the southeast off the passage. The light glistens off some sort of puddles, one coppery red and one shiny. “Is that blood?” Brömm asks. “Maybe he performed a ritual? Was the amorpha full of blood?” Aethra speculates. At 20 feet removed Brömm and Aethra hunker down in the dark and wait while Oland and Ayleton approach with the bullseye lantern giving a sliver of light. “That’s blood,” Ayleton’s nose confirms, “and oil.” Oland is able to make out two shapes on the floor further up – one a hemispherical bulge, the other a small pile of goo.

“What the hell happened here?” Brömm wonders. The cat treads around the puddle to explore the goo pile while Oland sweeps the light across the ramp, finding a trail of blood up it into a space full of crates – some sort of rest and storage space on the customs house road. Is this the east storage room? That doesn’t seem likely. Did the stooped figure perform the ritual and then climb the ramp? Ayleton reaches the goo to find it a pile of brains and skull bits knocked some distance away from the pool by something…. Oland spots a figure looming in the crates and flips the lantern aperture wide, temporarily blinding the ogre in the shadows preparing to leap at them from the cover of the crates!

Ayleton runs back to his master with all speed while Oland backpedals furiously, trying to keep the light on the ogre to both slow it and make it a clear target for his allies. Brömm prepares to throw his hand axe but never sees a clear shot; in the moment he is struck with the relative slowness of the ogre, and the writhing shapes moving under the beast’s skin. It should have easily outmatched Olands backpedaling speed, but it hasn’t yet caught up. Something is weakening the beast, which might be their only chance at survival….

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