Amaranthia

Session 48

Zarjasz al-Ulaq, August 17

Mudu is a peculiar entity, some sort of construct, but lacking in a physical form beyond light. It is intelligent, sentient, but utterly lacking in emotion, even an urge to self-preservation. It did not even make a move to defend itself as the marut attacked it, mistaking it for Bennura.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Before the other groups arrived, we asked it questions about the prophetic mural. It explained that the mural depicted The High Host, a race of Celestials called the Halbiru being freed of their prison and laying waste to the world, as a halbiru “youth” sings “The Void Song”. If, Mudu reasoned, our companion was the singer depicted, he must be a halbiru himself. I never really believed that he was an elf, as he sometimes claimed…

Any questions asked of Mudu seemed to only raise further questions, and my head is still spinning from the revelations he imparted. The High Host seek the Pure Breath, which is a power drawn from Ruby Mountain. The Pure Breath is the power that transformed Bahamut into a god from whatever he was before. I wager many would find that statement sacrilegious, but Mudu does not seem to be capable of lying, meaning it is either mistaken or absolutely correct.

The other groups, wearied, joined us. Mudu welcomed all to his floor and declared it to be safe from The Guardian. We were welcome to use this as an opportunity to rest, which all of our groups appeared to need.

This is when the marut attacked, their thunderous fists simply passing through the entity’s form. Fortunately, none were injured, even though the marut continued attacking after it became clear their attacks did nothing.

Mudu explained that it is not Bennura, but it is a part of the ancient scholar, specifically his wisdom and knowledge. The Guardian is Bennura’s courage, and a third part, The Dread Reliquary, Bennura’s desire, dwells at the lowest floor of the fortress-temple. Bennura cheated death by dividing himself between these three constructs, in order to ensure the survival of Zarjasz al-Ulaq.

It is the third part, the Dread Reliquary, that acts as a lynchpin to the other two. To complete their mission, the Marut will need to descend to the lowest level and destroy it. However, much to their chagrin, none of the other groups were prepared to continue as of yet. Though our contract does not protect one group from accidentally endangering the others, it does prevent knowingly endangering the others. In our current state, continuing would mean death.

The groups, primarily myself, Asha Druj, Bacarhim Zdadegan, and Lady Laracroix, discussed our strategy for proceeding. According to Mudu, the floor below ours holds a deadly threat, an Adav Nejmakohn—one of the creatures we encountered beneath Tamba Khoya—but also holds Bennura’s forge. Now that Cashara has been restored to her proper place, that floor can be unsealed, and we shall have to brave this fearsome foe in order to see Sehera’s contractual interest completed.

Meanwhile, the Al Haddid Jalut group and Lady Laracroix will brave the seventh floor, which holds a wild collection of savage natural lifeforms, in an attempt to reach a seal. Asha Druj’s group will attempt to reach a second seal on the eighth floor. We will join Asha’s company when we are finished on the sixth floor. The marut will split their number. Efarmostis Berit will accompany us, to both the forge and the eighth floor.

By undoing these seals, we can access the ninth floor, where the magical engines that drive Zarjasz al-Ulaq lie. The only access to the lowest floor, the vaults containing the reliquary, is through this engine room.

We go their not only to satisfy the Marut, but other contracts as well. Asha Druj’s group seems quite keen on seeing the engine room, while Mudu indicated the Cintanami is kept in the vaults. Unfortunately for Al Hadid Jalut and Lady Laracroix, Mudu claims the Philopher’s Stone is not housed here. Indeed, he indicated that the Philosopher’s Stone does not exist in a physical sense. It is a concept, a chaotic, unknowable magical formula. However, both groups hope that some more information on this formula is housed below.

If the Philosopher’s Stone does not exist, we cannot give it to Chalazias. Though we never intended to surrender its power to Chalazias, we had hoped that knowledge would provide us with the key to halting his plans. So far, this information has not presented itself. We have learned too that Umaran Comashio was a student of The Nameless Philosopher, the only known mortal to comprehend the Philosopher’s Stone. Comashino has seen the Al-Iksir, and thus it seems unlikely that a ruse will work.

Fortunately, it we may have help. Syla has requested to join us on our return to the Dread Pirate’s fleet. She seems to know more about Chalazias than she has let on…

Our groups separated and slept as best as we could on the hard floors.

August 18

All groups arose and readied themselves in what I assume was the next morning. Mudu repeatedly warned us that we would not be safe from the Guardian below this floor, but this knowledge did nothing to deter us. While the other groups descended the great staircases to the floors below, Mudu unlocked the sixth floor for us.

The sixth floor proved as devoid of life as the rest of the fortress-temple, but was cluttered with broken furniture and equipment. The Adav Nejmakohn contained within for so many centuries had long to rage, and left little unaffected.

Then, to our surprise, a voice began to speak to us, bright and sarcastic. After much confusion—for this was clearly not the feared Star King—we realized the noise came from Feng’s bags. He had, at some point in the previous day, found a gold-coated kenku skull lying on the ground and had picked it up.

It was this skull that now spoke to us, revealing himself to be The Nameless Philosopher, or rather the consciousness of that fabled alchemist. This peculiar entity sought to dissuade us from our path, as it was aware of what awaited us on this floor. The Nameless Philosopher prattled on, speaking at great length to Feng about the Fireborn and the Frostborn, for he had been his time’s Frostborn. He had, apparently, found some way of breaking the usual cycle of these entities and that had allowed him to discover the Philosopher’s Stone.

We may have to surrender this head to the other groups as, if it still contains the formula, it is, essentially, the Philosopher’s Stone. Hopefully, before then, it can provide knowledge that will help us diffuse Chalazias’ scheme. Unfortunately, nine centuries as a disembodied consciousness have also rendered it a little off…

The Nameless Philosopher warned us that the Star King was coming, so we went on, following its directions towards the forge, until we found a suitable room to battle…

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Session 47

Zarjasz al-Ulaq, August 17

Indira took cover behind a sarcophagus and the rest of us moved into position to tackle the two massive stone golems. Incredibly durable, it took a tremendous effort to whittle them down, durability we were only able to match thanks to Lyr’s healing magic. During the fight, several animate mummies shambled out of the darkness towards us. Lyr was able to destroy them with the power of her faith, but their appearance prevented us from outmaneuvering the golems.

The battle won, we investigated the peculiar dais at the other end of the room; the platform held five sarcophagai, four that had contained the mummies and a fifth of different construction, which was still occupied.

The body within was skeletonized, but resembled an efreeti. I did not know efreeti have skeletons. It wore a crown and was clearly an honored corpse. But, from the magical inscriptions around it, it may have been an honored foe.

It seems we discovered the remains of Izznaar-Al-Sara, once king of The City of Brass, the being that cursed Dendera, sought to possess Feng, and destroyed the Great Library. We had understood that he had been transformed into the thing we have encountered by attempting to reach Ruby Mountain, so what exactly these remains are and what they are doing here is a mystery.

We continued on, finding a vast chamber filled with more sarcophagi. We crossed this chamber cautiously and found another room, containing a statue of Yadisunu, standing over a large basin, containing posed and mummified corpses, enacting religious stations of Bahamut. The vapors emerging from the mouth of the statue seemed to be affecting some of our party, so we sought to leave quickly. Faced with two doors, Lyr cast a spell of augury and told us one door led to danger. We took the other.

We passed through another large catacomb until we encountered an unusual door, massive and fiercely inscribed with various iconography. Within was a smallish chamber containing a statue of Tiamat. Before her were two blocks of incense and an inscription:

“The Dark Ocean Of Scales seeks to claim the stirring child
The pure breather descends with pillars that each
Shall burn one year to blind the fangs of the reviled
To overcome she, The Salt of The Abyss, those of faith we beseech
Let not the pillars burn or remain of any trace
When the Herald is born, let not the breath touch her face.”

This was no prayer any of us had heard and the wording was peculiar. After investigating the room and finding the other door was sealed, with no visible means of opening, we reasoned this was a puzzle. If each brick of incense was to burn for “one year,” but both were to burn by the end of “nine months,” we reasoned out a method of burning the incense so that both would be consumed in three quarters of the normal time. In three quarters of an hour, both bricks were gone and the door opened.

On the other side, Lady Laracroix and the water elemental Cashara were dispatching a stone golem like the ones we had encountered earlier. Though our group was tired and in need of rest, Syla urged us to continue on with them quickly.

We learned that Cashara is one of four elemental weirds who dwelt in Zarjasz al-Ulaq. When Bennura sunk this fortress-temple, she was trapped outside. Her absence may have been partly responsible for the current condition of the structure.

We descended to the next floor and encountered one of her fellow elementals, who urged Cashara to return to her pool as quickly as possible.

So we pushed on, escorting her through darkened hallways until we came to a conjunction. The great, multi-winged construct that had attacked us burst through the ceiling, threatening to destroy us all. I distracted the thing as the others ran past and was nearly blasted by a powerful beam shot from its eye, an attack I probably would not have survived.

At this point, the other parties arrived and entered the fray, holding back the eye. Evidentially, they all knew the purpose of Cashara already, and had neglected to tell the late additions to the expedition.

We found Cashara’s pool, but some sort of creature, like a humanoid mass of poison, had fallen in. It was extracted magically and Cashara shed a transparent membrane, sinking into her water with profound relief.

We heard the fighting down the hall cease, and lights on the wall began to glow.

We continued to the next floor and saw a magnificent fresco, depicting an apocalyptic scene as the world was burned by angelic fire. Standing amidst the destruction was a figure unmistakably similar to Nessisus. A legend read:

“Dread the Herald of the Spider, face of the false light which wreathes the doom that shall break the crowns of the stars. He is the singer of the void song which silences the wind and lays the willful asunder.”

In the next room, we encountered a spectral figure, who introduced himself as Mudu

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Session 46

Zarjasz al-Ulaq, August 17*

An explosion of air from the portal, as if a protective field being broken, afforded us a window for attack. We rushed in, engaging the clockwork horrors in fierce combat.

During the fight, somebody came to our aid, hurling a magical dagger from the cover of invisibility. With this mysterious assistance, we soon cut down the constructs. Our assistant revealed herself, one of Lady Laracroix’s party, Syla Dhalnios.

Syla had been separated from the Lady in the chaos above. Using her powerful invisibility cloak and ability to move on the ceiling, she evaded the constructs and found a room containing a magical furnace, the source of mechanical menaces. She saw a significant door in that room, but it was so swarmed with constructs—and blazingly hot—that she did not want to press forward alone. Two ducts led into the room, supplying the furnace with air; following one of these led her to us. She had destroyed the barrier channeling most of the elemental air into the duct, hoping to disrupt the furnace’s operations.

We agreed with her assessment that the furnace must be destroyed or the constructs will keep coming. Surely the other parties are facing a similar struggle against their endless numbers. Stopping their ability to repair themselves will open the way for all. (Hypothetically, if there is more than one furnace on this floor, this may even help guide the others to our path; for we will create break in the pressure these things exert on us all.)

Syla set off to find the other portal and we ventured to the furnace room, racing through rooms filled with constructs. Now that we knew for certain that the things were repairing themselves, we did not bother to fight them, we simply pushed through.

We found the furnace room. The furnace itself was a massive cauldron, inscribed with runes and filled with molten metal. The room was filled with the metal insects. Most were the weaker electrum constructs, but there were also several of the stronger gold and platinum ones. One appeared to be made of adamantine, a king’s ransom of metal.

We planned our actions. The heat in the room was lethal, so we were to wait for Syla to succeed, but the things noticed us first. We tried to shut the door, but it was dissolved by a blast of magic.

After several tense seconds as the things swarmed towards us, Syla succeeded. The air in the room changed almost immediately, the furnace rapidly failing as its ventilation was cut off. An air elemental summoned by Indira carried the casks of gunpowder we took from the Ushtarak, depositing them by a base of the furnace. A fire elemental summoned by Feng followed, igniting the casks. The powerful explosion shook the room and broke the leg of the furnace, which fell, destroying most of the horrors with molten metal.

The adamantium horror, among the survivors, hit me with some sort of fearsome magic, a weakness filling my bones, my breath coming short, before it passed. I knew that I had avoided death by the narrowest margin. Having revealed the magnitude of its threat, we focused on the adamantine horror, destroyed it, then made good work of the remaining things.

When destroyed, the horrors collapse in on themselves in a tangled, rapidly cooling mess of metal that would be difficult to salvage. We had thus far left behind these large lumps of metal to evade pursuit, but adamantine is so rare, it was not to be passed on. While it still cooled, Dendera and I hacked off as large a piece as could fit in my bag of holding.

Syla joined us and, as there seemed to be little advantage in holding our ground, we ventured on.

Through the door were stairs descending to the next floor, so down we went. The halls below did not share the maze-like construction of the previous floor, and we were led to a single door, behind which we heard the stomping of massive feet.

Indira slipped inside to investigate, finding a catacomb patrolled by golems. As she wound through the large room, she found some peculiar sarcophagi and an open coffin, holding a body wearing a crown. Before could investigate further, she had to hide from the golems, but accidentally made some small noise. The golems alerted to her presence, she fled the room, her pursuers headed towards us…

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Session 45

Al Haddid Jalut Encampment, August 16

Today, Dendera and I were wed.

Today, I met my new son.

It was all a blur, but scattered throughout with crystal clear images. Dendera, resplendent. Dendera, alive in a way I’ve never seen before as she was reunited. Lyr, covered in paint.

I’m not sure how I can ever encapsulate today.

August 17

We awoke fairly early and breakfasted with Al Haddid Jalut. The tension and excitement in the encampment was palpable.

Eventually, the signatories of The Contract gathered. The time had finally come for Dendera to use the Khatam Mahib Ghaza.

With her first wish, Hashtaram emerged from the ring and the desert erupted. In a chaos of trembling earth, the desert opened up, then erupted. Amidst a torrent of sand, Zarjasz al-Ulaq erupted from the ground, or, more accurately, a portion of it. A large, squat, domed tower, wrapped in spinning bands of ensorcelled metal. It stopped for a moment, then began to sink again. Quickly, Dendera recovered herself and shouted the second wish. Hashtaram stopped the spinning fortress, then became whole, no longer tethered to the ring.

He gloated in his freedom, refusing to unlock the doors, claiming that was not covered by the second wish. Considering his response to the first wish was hardly “safe,” for several were swallowed by the desert in the confusion, his recalcitrance should not have been a surprise.

Asha Druj, clearly expecting this sort of difficulty, strode forward and attempted to bargain with the efreeti. When her request was predictably rebuffed, she held forth a ring, with a single, skull-like stone, and intoned a wish for the doors to open. A light arced between the ring and the efreeti, who wailed horrifically. The patter of his spent ashes on the sand was simultaneous to the sound of Zarjasz al-Ulaq’s great doors unlocking.

The marut led the way, easily opening the doors, followed by the group from Al Haddid Jalut, then Lady Lacroix’s party, ourselves, Asha Druj’s party—it seemed wise to put Lyr in front of Druj, so she would not have to glare, boiling in rage, at Druj’s back—and finally Eframostis Barit.

A massive staircase led down, beneath the surface of the sand. Going was slow, for all, save the marut, were drawn to the writings and engravings on the walls. Al Haddid Jalut will find years worth of study in these walls, I suspect.

We eventually reached an antechamber, with another massive door that could not withstand the marut. Through this door was a great chamber, so vast that even Lyr’s brilliant light could not catch all the walls. Uneasily, we trekked across this expanse in the wake of the marut.

At one point, I happened to look up, and beheld a titanic symbol of Bahamut, a great eye wreathed in wings. But this was no inert statue, for the thing quickly sprang to motion, descending on us and blasting beams from its eye. My shouted warning saved Lady Lacroix from a beam, but the floor beneath her fell away. The signatory groups scattered.

As we approached a wall, with more great doors, the floor fell beneath us and we tumbled into a room below. The fallen floor tiles then tumbled back up the wall, sealing us in. Not a chance collapse, but a trap.

Within the room lurked several large mechanical scarabs, which attacked us. We quickly destroyed them, but many more were coming. We fled into another room, much like the one we had just left, carved our way through more construct insects, and raced on through connected rooms.

A faint noise and strange character to the air our only guide, we found ourselves at a large chamber, filled with the metal fiends and a stable portal, apparently to the Plane of Air, the source of the breathable atmosphere within this fortress.

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Session 44

August 13

As we left Cressida and Kahmuth, we detonated the powder magazine. Amidst the titanic explosion, Cressida rose to the sky as a giant, feathered serpent, and—amplifying her voice with magic—proclaimed the death of Keergai’im to all in earshot who could still hear. It was an impressive entrance.

Rana helped us return to our camp and we settled in for the night

I was quite insensate at the time. After the rush of battle died down, I was left to confront what had happened to me. While undressing, I received a great shock.

Though Lyr’s magic had healed my wounds with minimal scaring, my chest was another matter, it was emblazoned with a fresh, angry scar, a circle. The meaning of this to me was clear, it was a symbol from Pelor. Lyr seemed quite amazed by it and also feels that this is a sign. But of what?

I slept, though my dreams were fragmented and troubling. Dendera says I kept her up most of the night, turning and thrashing, but there was a deep undercurrent of concern to her remark.

August 14

In the morning, Rana had left us. Feng informed us that he had departed shortly before the sunrise, that he would aid Cressida for a time before continuing to follow the mandates of his god. I hope our paths cross again as friends.

Walking, the Al Haddid Jalut camp was a few days away, for we had been forced to abandon our camels and most of our gear to avoid detection. As we sought to avoid the Ushtarak camp, which was still in chaos, we made our way across the desert, following Dendera’s advice, in the hopes of heading off a supply caravan.

As luck would have it, we did see one, and waved it down. As we approached, however, a great rumbling came from beneath the sand and a massive purple worm erupted from the ground, attacking the caravan.

We rushed in to assist. It made a grave mistake when it swallowed fleet-footed Sehera, who dealt a tremendous blow to it as she cut herself out. Between Feng and Lyr’s magic, Indira’s arrows, and Sehera’s desperate gambit, I barely got in a single blow before the beast was dispatched.

Though I was foremost relieved to see Sehera alive, if stinking and acid-burnt, in the back of my mind, I could not help but feel dissatisfied, to think that, as of late, I have not been able to hold my own, to contribute to our efforts in the face of danger. Why would Pelor save me? Lyr says that her magic is Pelor acting through her, but is that truly the case, or is it just power granted, to be used at her discretion? While I am not one to decry the strength and generosity of my friends, the debt I owe Lyr—who has snatched me from the jaws of death on at least three occasions now—is one I can never repay if I live a thousand years. Or do I owe that debt to Pelor?

The caravan-master, Teanko, had survived the fight and, grateful for our assistance, gave us time to explain. She had not heard of the tumult at the Ushtarak encampment and declared there was no need for them to continue on their path. They allowed us to accompany them back to their base of operations.

Curiously, this was not the first purple worm attack on a caravan. These beasts are not normally a threat to the surface, for the mindless creatures typically dwell far below ground. Something has driven them to the surface. Perhaps whatever geomancy Al Haddid Jalut is using to restrain Zarjaz al-Ulaq is causing this.

For the rest of the day, as we helped compensate for the wounded and slain caravaneers, we kept our eyes alert, in case any more unpleasant surprises lurked beneath the sands.

Al Haddid Jalut Encampment, August 15

At around noon, we arrived at a flat, dry, salt lake, a peculiar feature to find in the middle of high desert. The area was home to an abundance of large tents and equipment, the encampment of Al Haddid Jalut.

We were led to a particularly grand tent and presented to Bacarhim Zdadegan, Arajnord of Al Haddid Jalut. After making an introduction, Dendera explained why she had come back, showing the ring in triumph.

We explained that, in recompense for assisting Dendera to bring the ring, we too wished to join the expedition. A strange being, a singular construct, or construct-like entity, identified as Efarmostis Berit joined us, presenting The Contract we had to sign. Other parties were involved in this expedition, and the contract sought to preemptively settle any conflicts.

An addendum was detailed for Dendera, allowing her to rejoin Al Haddid Jalut if she used the ring for two specific wishes.

Reviewing the contract, we discovered the identities of the other parties. Two were not a surprise: Al-Haddid Jalut themselves and the party of Lady Sisi Laracroix, the primary funder of this operation. Both seek the Philosopher’s Stone, with Lady Laracroix seeking to use it once, then to give it to Al-Haddid Jalut. This will be a problem, as the wording of the contract was such that, under no uncertain terms will we be able to abscond with it unfairly, at least until the contract’s term of amnesty expires a week from the expedition.

Another party were “the Marut”, a name that meant nothing to us. They seek to determine if Bennura, legendary creator of Zarjaz al-Ulaq, still lives.

The final was worrying coincidence, for it was none other than Asha Druj and a party. They wish to study the inner workings of the legendary fortress. It seems a reasonable cover, but I have trouble believing this madwoman is not after the Philosopher’s Stone. She has already shown she is willing to do anything to further her goals. Lying on a contract seems like child’s play compared to some of the things she has done.

Lyr was, understandably, unwilling to enter into any sort of contract with Asha Druj. We took a moment aside to discuss this, eventually persuading Lyr that there was no other option in this case. We need to proceed with our plan, as uncertain its end may be, in order to preserve the life of the Effulgent One. Visually agitated, she ultimately conceded.

We signed our group in under Lyr’s name. Formally, we seek the Cintamani, a Peloric relic which is rumored to lie within the fortress. If this relic is not the Philosopher’s Stone, it is ours. If it is, Al Haddid Jalut has prior claim.

My hope is that the Cintamani is the real artifact, not the Stone, and that the relic may help us stop Chalazias’ mad plan. Even if both are real, perhaps we can trick him into believing the Cintamani is the Stone, and it will allow us to stop him. It is still a risk, for I imagine he is as capable of perverting the relic’s magic as he is Noza Oda’s. If there is no Cintamani, only the Stone, or they are one in the same, we will be faced with a serious problem, but I still see no other way out of this, despite weeks of pondering.

If we had been able to use the Khatam Mahib Ghaza, perhaps we could have stopped this months ago, but that is behind us now.

If the Cintamani is real, perhaps this is why I was kept alive, to guard Lyr until she obtains the relic.

Sehera signed on separately, she is a party of one and seeks to unbind the Karabelataniec and its duplicate from its former wielders and bind them to herself. Her ownership not only of Keergai’im’s blade but of an exact duplicate raised eyebrows, but signed to the contract, there was naught any other could do.

Contract signed, with Efarmostis Berit as both arbiter and enforcer, there was but one thing that needed doing before the expedition, for me to wed Dendera.

My head spun. I knew this was immanent, but so soon? We had not settled on a date. Dendera, being unsure what awaited us at this encampment, had tended towards “we’ll see” and changing the subject whenever it came up. And, I think she just wanted to see my face when she said the word “tomorrow.” I think I kept my composure, but I saw that twinkle in her eye, the closest she usually ever gets to laughter.

We were escorted to our tents—I have one to myself—then she separated from us to see to her own business and we went shopping. We sold off some loot, bought new clothes and a few other goods. I was fortunate to find something suitably elegant in human size. I’m sure my mother would decree this totally inadequate for a wedding, let alone my own, but it will have to do.

We joined a communal meal and got our first look at Asha Druj and Lady Lacroix. I mingled, attempting to gather some information, but soon found myself surrounded by what must have been every man in the camp. They began chanting, strapped me to a chair, and carried me of.

Everything is a haze after that.

Later, the others filled me in on some details of what happened with them.

Lyr was the first to leave the meal tent. Still distressed at the contract and the presence of Asha Druj, so close but out of reach, she was totally unready for one of Druj’s party to whisper something in her ear. Recognizing someone trying to start a fight, Feng escorted Lyr out and back to the tent.

They were enjoying “an innocent puff of his hookah,” as Feng innocently described it, when the men found him and dragged him off. Alone, Lyr finished off Feng’s entire supply. It was not simply tobacco…

Indira described a disconcerting experience of being watched and discovered Lady Lacroix’s half-elven son, Alophin, staring at her with more than usual interest. So intent was he, that Sehera recognized her discomfort and escorted her from the tent.

Sehera had previously been pulled aside by Eframostis Berit, who asked to meet in private, so, with Indira, stealthily made her way to the meeting place.

Berit was waiting for them there. He cautioned them that he suspected the Marut would break the contract after meeting their goals. They, like him, are beings called “Inevitable”, the inhabitants of the plane of Nirvana, also known as Mechanus. Their mandate: to seek out those who break the laws of death. In the cosmic accounting of Mechanus, Bennura’s soul remains unaccounted for. Berit was unsure why the Marut come for him now—perhaps Bennura designed his fortress to keep them out as well as the rest of the world—but he suspects more is at work than simply their typical mandate.

If the Philospher’s Stone is what it is, it has the potential to circumvent the same rules the Marut embody. They will not be willing to leave it be and will be willing to break the contract to destroy it. He suspects they will endeavor to not leave any survivors of such an attack.

He made an agreement—a rider to main the contract—with Sehera for mutual support in the face of such a breech. I wonder if he approached Sehera because she was to not have interest in the Philosopher’s Stone. Aside from Asha Druj, that is, who as I said, is hardly without subtextual interest in the Stone.

As they left, Alophin was waiting for Indira. She did not share his words.

On return to the tent, they found Lyr insensate, speaking only in vague mysteries. Could she have entered an oracular state? I suppose only time will tell.

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Session 43

August 13

With Rana accompanying us, we continued on our journey, for despite his admonitions, we could not turn back.

As we rode on, we told Rana of our journeys, which helped him open up to us about what he knew. He told us much about Arsalan who, as a man, had been his brother. Now, he had become something else. Not even Rana is sure what he has become, nor who he serves. Rana had been hunting Arsalan for years, since he murdered Rana’s family.

In a strange coincidence, Rana’s wife was named Shesel Arnvara, the same name as Cressida’s birth mother, though Rana was not Cressida’s father in her native kaf. I can only wonder what strange fate brought us all together. Why the six of us? Why those twelve individuals? (And Creature.) I wish Maisha had traveled with us for a little while longer. I would’ve liked to ask her more about Anansi, how he seemed to know what was happening, what may have happened to him since.

Questions for another day.

Rana seemed strangely interested in Qessab, and warned us that Arsalan may have a particular interest in the ettercap, that Quessab should be kept alive. Lyr has resolved to contact it tomorrow.

August 14

When Lyr contacted Qessab, she received only a terse, aggressively ungrateful reply. Hardly a surprise, though Lyr seemed insulted. I’m always amazed that one who has witnessed such horrors can retain so much innocence.

I hope it doesn’t eat anyone, and stays alive. If its destiny is oppose Arsalan… well, we will need all the help we can get.

August 15

Tomorrow we will reach the territory of the Ushtarak. Unfortunately, we still have very little in terms of plans; though both Dendera and Rana seem confident we are headed to Keergai’im’s camp, we cannot scout too far ahead. Even as a vulture or some unremarkable bird, Cressida may be spotted and identified as a threat.

August 16

When we saw warning signs for the camp, we diverged from the path and found a rocky bluff. We dared not venture closer during the day. We would not be coming back this way, so we fed and watered our camels and set them off towards the camp. I had some hope they may prove to be enough of a curiosity to be a distraction, that perhaps scouts would be dispatched to find traces of the riders, lessening the guard for our ingress. At the very least, they would fall into the hands of Al Haddid Jalut. (Or the zythu might eat them…)

Dendera felt confident she would be able to talk her way past the guards, but she would not be able to get all of us through. Of course, sneaking past wouldn’t address the problem of Keergai’im and rescue Khamuth, but we reasoned that she could at least scout around.

After nightfall, we moved as close into the camp as we dared, and she and Feng, disguised, infiltrated the camp.

And so, we wait. It has been some time now, and I grow concerned…

Later, Dendera and Feng described their experience. After a tense excursion into the camp, they were granted entry into Keergai’im’s tent. An old woman investigated them, seeing through Feng’s disguise. Though Keergai’im seemed to take their “warning”—that the existence of the second Karabelataniec was evidence that Al Haddid Jalut was poised to betray him—into consideration, he was not grateful, imprisoning the two of them.

With Cressida’s assistance, they dispatched their guards and escaped. As Cressida created a distraction in the camp, Feng and Dendera found the powder magazine linked it to the the Key Disc, and teleported back to us.

They explained that Keergai’im had Khamuth in his custody and was planning on enacting some sort of ritual. He had thus far been unable to procure an heir, and was turning to desperate, dangerous measures.

As a group, we made our way to the magazine, borrowed several casks of powder, and, following Creature, descended upon Keergai’im’s tent.

As Rana erected a field, protecting us from reinforcements, we engaged Keergai’im, who was accompanied by several guards and powerful retainers. Lyr threw up a wall of blades to control the battlefield. As Sehera and Dendera tied down Keergai’im’s daleel, Dashkano and his two massive lieutenants, I rushed forward to handle Keergai’im, who was firing upon us with a Tereshal firearm.

Like a twisted mirror of Cressida, Keergai’im’s shaman transformed into a frost-breathing, many-headed beast.

After this point, my recollection of the battle becomes hazy. While pulling back from the melee, needing healing, I left myself exposed and the beast struck me with a powerful breath weapon, freezing my body, tearing it into thousands of lifeless pieces.

At least, that is what I recall happening. The next moment, I was lying on the ground, alive and intact, Lyr standing over me in a nimbus of brilliant sunlight, her mandala burning into my mind.

Later, she explained that the spell she cast healed me at the last possible second, before my spirit could flee, as if repairing a shattered bottle before the water had time to leak out. I died, but I did not die.

Cressida joined the fray as a giant serpent, occupying the hydra long enough for the others to defeat her, then turning their full might on Keergai’im. Even though Dashkano, who had fled the battlefield, returned with reinforcements, they were not enough. Cressida wrapped the warlord in her scaled coils and Sehera loped off his head.

Though he had apparently been slain, Dashkano rose up after the battle and surrendered, revealing himself to be a doppelganger, who had infiltrated Keergai’im’s camp for reasons he would not explain. Though vexingly vague, it was clear he was no threat—and we did not have the time nor stomach for further conflict—and we allowed him—it—to flee.

Khamuth was frightened and confused and we were yet again reminded that, in this iteration, she did not know Cressida, but she seemed grateful enough for the rescue.

Dendera was shocked and a little disgusted to realize that Keergai’im’s firearm belonged to her husband Mubariz.

As we made ready to leave, Cressida informed us that she would be staying. Though saddened, we were not particularly surprised. Her reason for journeying with us was achieved, and somebody needed to ensure the vacuum left by Keergai’im was not filled by someone equally bad. As a parting gift, I gave her the magic gem I wore. The time ahead will be difficult for her, and hopefully the magic of this artifact will help protect her from manipulation and treachery. Though the Zythu are new to imperial politics, they seem to be fast learners.

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Session 42

July 30

After the battle, we explained what we had learned to the guards and remade camp in a better position in case the falmohib infiltrators had allies ready to retaliate.

July 31

In the morning we prepared to leave, but we knew it would be difficult to get Lyr away from the camp, an understanding that was reinforced when it was revealed that the woman she had treated had recovered her faculties. Somehow, word had escaped the tent and the gathered, thirsty people thought that a cure had been discovered and was being withheld from them.

After talking to the woman, I assisted Lyr in documenting her discoveries about the nature of the affliction. It seemed that, in addition to causing the woman to become younger, it caused her to simultaneously perceive all the possibilities of her life, all the “what ifs” and missed chances and avoided events played out in her mind. Perhaps ingesting a piece of the Ruby Mountain caused this by connecting her with the kafs in which she led other lives, overwhelming her mind.

Lyr sent a magical message to Barlan, explaining the situation in as concise detail as we could while imparting a sense of urgency. Hopefully they will be able to send help quickly and by magic or the consequences of this could be dire. It seems unlikely the contamination in the water will quickly fade and the people here are very close to rioting.

If we were not on such a crucial timetable, I am sure Lyr would have demanded to stay and help these people, but this had to be a lower priority that stopping Chalazias.

While the others readied the camels, Lyr and I snuck out the back of the medical tent. Feng transformed himself with magic and went out to speak with the crowd. We were successful and got away from the camp quickly and unrecognized. We waited up the road some distance, half expecting to see an eruption of flames, but Feng was somehow able to talk his way out of the situation; he teleported to our side and we continued up the Road of Peace.

Late that night, Lyr reported an unsettling sensation, as if she was being watched. We saw no sign of trouble, but remained on careful watch all the same.

August 6

The last several days have been entirely without notable event, so I have cut those entries for the sake of narrative. We have settled into a steady rhythm of travel. Cressida and Sehera are absolutely in their element; the rest of us are handling our circumstances with varying dignity but so far there have been no difficulties that could not be solved by periodically changing our marching order to give each other some room.

When I remarked upon this to Sehera one evening, she something peculiar; Feng has not started a single fruitless quarrel since Muhqhayim. Has the firebird abandoned his favorite hobby? We decided it best to not ask him about it, lest we tempt fate.

This afternoon, we diverged from the Road of Peace and have begun to delve into the Sheel Khali Desert. At this time of year, even the living desert has been largely overrun by the sand as plants and animals sleep as best as they can beneath the soil to weather the fearsome heat. Going is slow and will likely grow more challenging as we head into dunes but the camels are bearing up well. With a steady supply of water and food and the occasional burst of divine magic to refresh their weary muscles and to ward off saddle sores, the well-trained beasts seem willing to march on forever.

Lyr has periodically reported the same sensation of being watched, but with no sign of trouble there is little we can do. Feng noted the possibility that someone was scrying on us, but we have no capacity to shield ourselves from this to any meaningful degree.

Late this afternoon, Cressida reported seeing a solitary rider paralleling us to the south. Perhaps this individual was the cause of Lyr’s concerns?

Feng and Sehera waited for nightfall and ventured into the desert to find our follower. Later, Sehera described what happened. As they neared the rider’s camp, following the faint glimmer of his campfire, they felt an ominous presence and discovered fresh tracks in the sand, like the prints of a lion of massive size. An odor of brimstone clung to them. They followed the tracks and realized the mysterious creature was circling them. Feng sent up magical fireworks and, when we saw these, we quickly rode to catch up.

The thing was gone by the time we arrived, as was the mysterious rider.

August 8

The rider has continued to parallel us and Lyr has again reported the sensation of being watched, though we have seen no more sign of any giant lions. We try to go nowhere alone; Feng has taken to periodically riding atop Cressida—transformed into a giant eagle—in case our mysterious friend makes a move or some other trouble appears.

When I went into the tent tonight, Dendera was lying, unconscious, with a needle and a vial of dark liquid beside her. When I could not rouse her, I called Lyr, but Dendera bolted up and vomited violently outside the tent, the contents of her stomach corrupted by something black and vile.

She had explained that she had injected herself with fermented Mind Flayer blood to temporarily give herself powerful telepathic abilities. She had contacted an ally in Al Haddid Jalut and marked the place the group was camped on our map. I had known she was not sure of their exact location; I had no idea she would do something like this to find out. After ensuring that she appeared to be otherwise unharmed, we embarked on a frustratingly circular argument.

I wish she had told me before doing this. She needs to learn that not every detail of her life needs to be a secret.

August 13

We are getting close now; according to our map, we should reach Al-Haddid Jalut—and the Ushtarak—in a matter of days. Dendera says my Tereshal is better, that I have moved from hopeless to sounding like a brain-addled child, but she smiled when she said it, so… progress?

At about midday, Feng and Cressida spotted riders waiting in our path, four anari apparently, and descended to greet them. Feng says that they spoke of thanking us for our help against the falmohib and gave him a talisman they called the Eye of Penitence. At this moment, one of them was struck by an arrow; the mysterious rider had caught up to them and called out to not trust them. Feng surrounded himself and the anari with a wall of flames. When we saw the flames in the distance, we rode hard to catch up.

Feng described a man, who called himself Arsalan El-Chalen Al-Velom, walking through the flames, unharmed, and threatening them, stating that Feng’s destiny could still be met if he was in the thrall of another. At this time, the anari revealed themselves to be Lamias and attacked Feng and Cressida. Their initial assault was brutal, Arsalan demonstrating great and deadly power, but Cressida was able to fly her and Feng out of the wall of fire. Unfortunately, the lamias’ magic enamored Feng, causing him to drop the wall and freeing them from entrapment.

By this time, we had dismounted and encountered resistance outside of the flames; a great, demonic lion, a jarilith was turning its attention upon the mysterious rider. Sehera raced after the beast, savaging it with her scimitars. When the flames vanished, the rest of us engaged the lamias; here too, Sehera struck more than her share of killing blows. She is truly in her element here in the desert.

Meanwhile, Arsalan proved to be more than any of us could handle. He seemed untouchable and it looked as if he would eventually whittle us down to nothing when Lyr, calling upon the might of her faith, struck him with her mace, causing him to bleed.

This seemed to unnerve him—he seemed to not realize that he could be injured and he retreated from the field of battle. Before he left, he spoke of a “master” whom he served. It seems we have attracted yet more unwanted attention.

The rider revealed himself to be Rana Tutwaiaf Al-Ghalan, the anari who helped us in Mazooz and ordered us to destroy the Eye of Penitence before we talked.
He had been following us since the oasis, though he was cagy as to whether he was following us or using us as bait. He cautioned us not to proceed on our path. It seems the Ushtarak have transformed their society, absorbing or wiping out other tribes and staking out the territory surrounding Al-Haddid Jalut. Rather than simply serving as guards, Keergai’im has much grander ambitions.

Though Rana told us this to caution us, the knowledge makes me certain that we must strike him down while his power is raw. The zythu are tolerated by Raqaejah because of their nomadic culture; though many regard them as little more than bandits, their decentralized nature keeps them from being declared as both a significant threat and a suitable target. If they were to band together under a leader as aggressive as Keergai’im, I can see little future other than all-out war.

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Session 41

July 25

As planned, we made it out of the city early in the morning, not too long after sunrise, and started on the Road of Peace. With the sea winds blowing inland, the weather was pleasant and we passed the first part of the day in peace. Little traffic was headed along the northern path and the open roads allowed for us to keep a good pace.

We mostly traveled in silence. Indira seemed more distracted than usual; I noticed that she and Sartaj had avoided each other in the morning. We did not pry, as much as we would like to. It took Lyr quite a bit of readjustment to find a comfortable position on her camel—xamuss-sized camel saddles are essentially saddles made for human children and not necessarily made for long rides—but she eventually made it work and spent most of the day studying scripture. Dendera and I began to crack into my Tereshal primer, Feng studied his spells, and Cressida and Sehera spent much of their time scouting ahead, largely unnecessary on this safe length of road, but both had been very eager to leave the confines of the city. Sehera is slightly more accepting of using camels this time around, but it’s obvious to all that she would prefer to use her own power; relying too much on the beasts wears her temper down quickly I fear…

July 26

Today, we began to encounter significant southerly traffic, forcing us into single file and often off of the path. With the city closed off the other day—and with it much of the southerly traffic—the road was now clogged with merchants doing their best to make up for lost time and get into Akkarid as quickly as possible for the feast days.

We seem to be adequately stocked for our journey, though we have yet to encounter the fiercer weather of the deserts. I have heard that portions of the Road of Peace pass through sandy desert, which I fear will put our preparedness to the test, but for now it has largely been easy travel.

July 27

In the middle of the day, we passed through Da’hamis. As our camels were still fresh, we passed through the bustling city without event, save for purchasing a few small supplies and some snacks. As Sehera was quick to point out, we are working against a deadline. From here, the Road turns north, into the desert.

The roads have continued to be crowded with south-bound traffic; traveling in single file stymies conversation, so I have been attempting to teach myself the Tereshal alphabet. My tutors ensured that I was familiar with it as a child, but taught me little of the actual language, so most of those lessons are long-forgotten.

July 28

Today was a largely uneventful day of travel. The Road continues to be quite busy, as caravans attempt to complete their journey before both the feast days and the peak temperatures of August.

Periodically, the subject of what to do once we find the Philosopher’s Stone comes up, but frankly there are so many unknowns we have been unable to do any more than speculate. Feng occasionally suggests allowing him to use it and “see what happens” and it is somewhat disheartening that this is the closest we have been able to come to a workable plan. Lyr has also reminded us of conflicting reports that suggest that what lies in Zarjasz Al-Ulaq may be the Cintamani, not the Stone. If it is, then this whole situation may be Pelor’s will.

I will leave the theological conundrums to Lyr. I’m having enough trouble recognizing the difference between an “E” and an “M” in this blasted alphabet.

July 29

The heat of the desert is oppressive. With my cloak and the shade of a parasol, I am kept safe from the brunt of it, but the camels are not so lucky. Fortunately we do not have to restrict their water or I would fear for their health. As it is, we must pause a few times a day to give them a drink.

As we sheltered from the peak sun today, Cressida noticed something strange in the desert some distance away from us. She said she had found several suspicious bodies in buried in the desert.

After some debate, we decided to go check it out. Buried to the necks in sand were several bodies. At first it seemed as if they had been mummified, but they had clearly were recently buried. On closer examination, their flesh had been flayed off their heads, probably by some sort of swarm of insects, probably summoned by magic.

It was a grisly sight, but we learned little from this. Sehera felt that this was confirmation that this was a waste of time. And, in fairness “watch out for murderous wizards” isn’t much of a unique lesson. I still maintain, however, that this knowledge might prove useful. And if not, we have only lost a few hours.

At night, however, a powerful, cold wind began to blow, that grew stronger through the night, abating suddenly in the morning. An ominous omen, perhaps.

July 30

Today we reached the oasis village of Muhqhayim. It became immediately clear that something was very wrong. The area was overrun by guards and caravans and the people seemed ready to riot. The oasis was closed off.

We learned quickly that the oasis had been tainted. We had enough water and did not need to stop, but it was clear to me that we had to do something, even if some of the others felt we could move on.

Lyr volunteered her services and learned that some sort of curse had been set upon the water that was causing people to rapidly age in reverse. One woman, one of the first to be stricken but a few days ago, had been a grandmother but now had the body of a teenager. The process had, apparently, destroyed her mind.

It seemed that any humanoid that drank the water was stricken by this effect; it did not seem to affect beasts, but few were willing to risk it.

As this was transpiring, Indira shared some water with a young boy, who whispered rumors to her that there was more to this effect than it seemed…

Dendera was having her ears talked off by a strange old man, apparently a resident of the village, who shared some local ghost stories that mostly seemed uninformative. However, he did mention that sometimes locals left offerings for the spirits of the oasis at the center of the shallow pool.

While Lyr created enough water to give to the elderly and children, we ran across Sifu Ling Huo. He cagily admitted to following us, but would not explain how or why.

We were granted access through the blockade around the oasis and Sehera and Indira walked out over the surface, using the magic of Sehera’s Sandals of the Light Step. When she noticed a suspicious glimmer near the center of the water, Indira dove in and found tiny red particles, like the dust of a ruby, were throughout the water.

I brought one of these back to Dendera, who was still talking with the strange old man. We redirected the old man’s attention to Cressida—still in beast form—since it seemed the only way to break his conversation, but Creature immediately began to his and snarl at the man. None of us had ever seen him react in this way to a stranger who was not an imminent threat. In the momentary confusion, the old man disappeared.

Dendera confirmed that it appeared to be a fleck of ruby. There was nothing obviously magical though about the water or the ruby. It seemed strange to me, that these fines would be ruby. I couldn’t help but think of the Ruby Mountain stones that we have repeatedly encountered.

As Feng spent the afternoon in conversation with Ling Huo, we investigated more and found little. While Sehera had a brief encounter with the mother of the child Indira had met, I heard a tale that some had seen an Anari on a nearby ridge. We went to investigate and found some recently-planted Anari brush seedlings buried in the sand. We couldn’t be sure what that meant, however, for the reasons the Anari plant are many.

That night, we made camp near the water, a short distance away from the delayed travelers. After night fell, the three individuals we had encountered earlier, the child, the woman, and the old man, approached our camp, clad in robes not unlike what the Anari wear, only in black and silver. They taunted us, put on twisted masks, and attacked. The woman, with a gesture, caused the sand to swallow up Dendera to her neck. The child spat forth a swarm of carnivorous locusts. We had found the source of the bodies we had seen earlier. The old man radiated evil, but Feng quickly cast a spell that paralyzed him.

As Feng sawed off the old man’s head—their bodies were imbued with dark magic, making their flesh strangely resilient to harm—we battled the other two. The child called forth more locusts, but was taken down by a barrage of magic. Indira drove the remaining swarm into confusion with her Stormfire Ring. The woman seemed more resilient however, and our blades seemed to do little against her and her sand magic kept us at bay. Even after Cressida transformed into a giant feathered serpent and constricted her, it required our combined efforts to hammer her down.

Lyr summoned the guard by casting a spell of daylight as we searched the bodies. On one, we found a peculiar mithral file and half of a ruby, a Ruby Mountain gem…

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Session 40

July 24

We examined the remains of the dragon and the salamander, verifying that they were indeed dead, then examined the dozen or so large pots that Xea’s minions had been placing. They were packed with about a gallon of alchemist’s fire each, doctored to be even more explosive than normal. Spaced out properly, it would have been easily enough to send the building crashing down.

I rushed to get the guards, giving me a moment to catch my bearings after the battle; I was still furious at myself for letting the dragon’s breath weapon affect me like it did, and didn’t particularly want company.

Outside, a large crowd had begun to gather, though it had only been a few minutes since we entered the building. The sight of so many guards arriving, in the wake of the two earlier attacks, must have been an unmistakable clue to all in the area. I found the most senior guard and told him about the explosives, though I gave him few details about anything else that had transpired, save for making it clear that this was not an attack from the Plane of Fire.

I went inside, retrieved my companions, who had filled a bottle with blood from the dragon and prevented Feng from messing around with the alchemist’s fire too much, and we got out of there quickly. They had found another brass tablet, but this one seemed blank, and so we needed to investigate it further.

We got some falafel and made our way back to my uncle’s house.

The others had not yet returned from their tasks in the city, only Barlan, Lillian and Abu were in the house, the other servants had gone home due to the chaos. However, there was an additional guest, Feng’s sifu had returned, and he took Feng aside to talk. Feng did not share details of their conversation, but fortunately Ling Huo had brought with him a new spellbook for Feng. This was something of a relief; I had been concerned that this problem would not be solved before we headed into the desert, for Feng had not asked for our help.

We found Lazar in Al-Mhuqtebel; he had been attempting to destroy Kage Okosa’s black sword but had so far not been successful.

He examined the brass plate and verified that its magic seemed unfinished; exposure to heat only caused a jumble of letters to appear briefly, then fade. However, he discovered that, if he concentrated while blasting it with fire magic, he could cause messages to appear. Whatever note Xea Rashidi would have left at the scene had existed only in her mind.

Fearing that she might not have been working alone, I found Barlan and explained the situation to him. After some thought, it occurred to him that another prominent target could be the famous Serpent Market of Akkarid. It seemed to fit the previous pattern and Xea’s personality so well that I had no doubt he was correct. I gave Abu a note to have delivered to a local magistrate—an administrator of the city guard whose name I recalled seeing on formal notices in the markets—and gathered my companions.

The city was still in chaos, but life was resuming some normalcy. Travel restrictions between districts were being lifted and, though there was still much congestion, we were able to make good time to the Serpent Market, arriving in the late afternoon with, hopefully, a couple hours to find any sign of collaborators.

Lazar had given me the name of the merchant to whom he had sold Seb Rashidi’s blood, and so I found him. As it turned out, this merchant was directly in the employ of Arunar Thandantis, the Vizier of Markets. My note had been passed to him, and he was waiting for us. I suppose sapphire dragon blood is a rare enough thing that our destination would have been easy enough to guess…

He spoke mysteriously and I quickly realized he knew exactly what had transpired. A member of the Ordo Clavis, Thandantis, likely had enough contacts within the city guard that, as soon as he received my note, he likely also was given a full description of our actions at the theater. He assured me that Xea Rashidi was, as far as he knew, working alone. He encouraged me to distort the truth of the tale, leaving out any connection with the Sodalitas Comperio, and paid me for the dragon’s blood… and our silence.

Of course, it is not my problem that Barlan already knew everything that transpired and might share that knowledge with the Provost and the royal family…

The fabulous gemstone that we were paid with would have been a challenge to actually sell, but Dendera knew of a Tereshal jeweler and gem trader who would be able to handle the exchange. It was a good lesson in Tereshal etiquette to observe the elaborate ritual of negotiating such a large exchange.

I was able to pay back Indira for her loan in Sefet and to pick up a few additional supplies for our trip.

After the sun set and the market was not destroyed, we headed back to my uncle’s house for dinner. Our friends had returned; they had succeeded in protecting the Mashket, but were somewhat cryptic about the experience. Claudia felt it was Fazia’s story to share, and she was off on her own, as usual.

We discussed our travel plans some more, and divided up some of Thandantis’ payment, giving some to Ramal and Lydra, some to Sartaj, and some to Maqsood and Lazar. I’m not entirely sure what Ramal and Lydra are going to do in the next few weeks. I think Ramal wants to get back to his work and I’m sure Lydra would accompany him. Sartaj will stay in Akkarid and obtain what help he can from the Radiant One and any militant orders of Pelor that he can get in touch with. Lazar and Maqsood seem to be fairly content to remain in Akkarid, and will keep doing what they can with Al-Mhuqtebel and to aide Claudia and her family.

We shall travel along the Road of Peace for a time, then we will need to delve east into the Sheel Khali Desert. Dendera still has a contact within Al Haddid Jalut; the group has found a way to halt Zarjasz Al-Ulaq in its course through the desert, but is unable to access it; the ring should solve that problem for us. Dendera also expects the Ushtarak to be nearby.

Over desert, conversation turned to casual topics, and I took the moment to finally properly propose to Dendera. She said yes. The reaction from some of the others was priceless.

She also gave me a fine gift for my birthday, an enchanted scabbard, worthy of Nesr.

We made it an early night. We are going to try to leave the city at dawn, so we can get a good distance from the city before the midday heat. It will be good to be on the road again.

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Session 39

July 24

We defeated Xea Rashidi and her minions, that’s the important part. I… don’t really know what else to say. I’ve been, it sounds kind of silly, but I’ve been wanting to fight a dragon since I was a child, but…

I’m just glad none of my friends got hurt when I wasn’t there.

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