Sahauviia the Green (Kathy Bauer) - Atlantean Sorceress
Mahoo of Aquaga (Nick Roberts) - Ulukan Scout
Sadikar al Tarnufeh (Tom Robinson) - Gondwanan Scholar
Calfuray (Joanne Clarke) - Tamarac Herbalist
Koomara Hadansi (Angela Marsh) - Galacean Scavenger
Orgaskemisqak (David Matchuk) - Lemurian Craftsman
25th Du'uzu, Year 506 Second Age (SA)
Needless to say, the player Heroes don't. Sadikar al Tarnufeh and Mahoo of Aquaga go back to the barracks to talk with the guard, McKell, who actually is in command of Cleon and Pellos's contingent of the Klymeus guard ranks. McKell is unimpressed with Pellos's quitting, stating he's done this before and that he's always returned. Having some trust of McKell and needing some advice, Sadikar and Mahoo tell him much of what's happened during their investigation, and McKell suggests that they follow Leus, and then follow the man that he leads them to.
Come the early breakfast hours, Orgaskemisqak and Calfuray go to the Temple of Olokun to check on the man that Orga had beaten the night before. They learn that he is dead, but not from the wounds inflicted by the Lemurian: some evil creatures invaded the temple the night before and slew both the stranger and a sister attempting to defend him. The two Heroes talk with the only living witness, an old sailor named Hectius, who was no stranger to heavy drinking. From the description that Hectius gives them - black, white-haired, with evil-looking eyes, short and slim like dancers, wielding short knives - Orga is able to identify the assassins: Marakusa, one of the cults devoted to Ba'al, legendary warriors, and only found in the forests of Gondwana. Someone in Klymeus has hired them as assassins, and they are faultless trackers. Calfuray asks Hectius if he knows what language the name "Sennesh Haburta" is in, and he recognises it as Hyperborean. They both realise that they need to find Sadikar and talk to him about the book he found.
Sahauviia the Green and Koomara Hadansi pay another visit to the scholar Aragato, and the Galacean manages to pressure him into giving them more information. He is extremely reluctant to do so, but admits that Sennesh Haburta is a Hyperborean sorcerer who is manipulating Theus, an astrologer of little talent. With Haburta's push behind him, Theus is climbing the rungs of power in Klymeus quickly, and he is now one of two prominent candidates to succeed the king, who is ill and not expected to live long. Agarato also mentions that the stolen bones of the ancient astrologers of the city can be used to fuel powerful magic. Haburta needs to be stopped before he gains political power as well, and Sahauviia and Koomara realise the bones must be recovered. That said, Sahauviia tells Koomara that this might not be as easy as the scavenger thinks it will be - the Hyperborean seems to have some powerful allies and dark forces to draw upon.
That afternoon, the player Heroes meet up again at two o'clock as scheduled. The puzzle facing them seems to have come into focus: Sennesh Haburta must be stopped. Orga wishes to see Theus, but Sadikar reveals that Theus has been gone from his home for some time. Koomara asks Sahauviia if she can see Aragato with her. Sahauviia demurs, saying Aragato is already frightened and in deeper than he wants to be. Koomara gives a snort of derision: Aragato is likely to be a target of the Marakusa, and he may as well surrender what information he has before all is lost. And she has other suspicions. The sorceress agrees to take her to see Aragato, and the Galacean confirms her suspicions - Sennesh Haburta is no Hyperborean, as there are no sorcerers of power from that land. However, there is a cabal on Thule, although she believes he may be from Jambu, and his intent is clear: to rule Mestea through his puppet, Theus.
The Heroes make plans to enter by force or by stealth the home of Sennesh Haburta. They each have some preparations to make. Koomara decides to pack a "bolting bag", a sack with the necessities to flee Klymeus at a moment's notice. Sahauviia makes some plans of her own, contemplating how she can counter the sorcery of Sennesh Haburta. Mahoo confides in Orga that he believes perhaps they should not involve themselves, as this is a political matter for the people of Klymeus to deal with. However, the Lemurian tells the Ulukan that while he doesn't understand humans very well, it is their duty as Heroes to deal with the darkness over Klymeus (and perhaps all of Mestea, if Sennesh Haburta gets his way). Mahoo says that while he doesn't disagree on premise, he will "defer" to Orga in this matter. Calfuray comes upon Koomara preparing her bag for flight, and the two have a talk about what it means to be who they are. It is the Tamarac herbalist who convinces the Galacean scavenger of what has to be done and that it is "the right thing to do". Besides, she tells Koomara, she trusts the Atlantean sorceress to deal with whatever surprises Sennesh Haburta may throw at them.
Meanwhile, Sadikar receives a note at the inn. Folded inside the paper is a lock of hair that he immediately recognises... He grabs the fellow who delivered the note, one Podimus, slamming him up against the wall. When asked, Podimus explains that one of the nameless urchins who hangs around the inn gave the message to him. Regaining his self-control somewhat, Sadikar apologises to the man, and rushes out after grabbing his weapons from his belongings. Rushing out of the inn, he is spotted by Koomara, who demands to know what's going on; he tells her that Serria has been kidnapped, and then he shows her the note: "Do nothing until tonight. Speak to no one. Be at the Royal Observatory at midnight." He curses the name of Sennesh Haburta, but calms down once more with Koomara's strong, Tharshi hand on his shoulder. She tells him that they need to talk to the others, but Sadikar grimaces at her. "Don't you understand? Lord Iphios has been betrayed!" he tells her.
Last night's session of Atlantis: The Second Age went pretty well, and the players accomplished what I expected them to do. The surprise kidnapping at the end of the session was one that I had planned for the week before, but the player Heroes' paths last week didn't take them where they needed to be for the purpose of the kidnapping. Tom told me after the fact that he didn't see that coming at all, and that there's going to be hell to pay! <evil g> Little does he know!
That said, I need to wrap the adventure up next week or the week after at the latest, as three of my players will be departing for greener (i.e., better paying!) pastures. Looking forward to gaming next week. Can't wait to see the expression on their faces when they realise the truth of certain aspects of the scenario. (And yes, Kathy, I know you read this blog!) :)
Still, it'll be sad to see the three players go, notably Tom, but such is life. For now, just gotta look forward to playing these last one or two sessions with the Friday nighters. *sigh* Memories... :)