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)
Sadikar tells Koomara that he doesn't know which of their enemies took Serria, but he suspects Xeneus. That said, he's extremely angry about matters. As Koomara and Sadikar talk, the trumpets sound a muted call from the palace; the city's bells reply with a mournful peal. The Heroes pay the trumpets and bells no attention.
Meanwhile, Sahauviia the Green, Mahoo of Aquaga, Calfuray, and Orgaskemisqak the Crafter talk. Going over some of the evidence, they realise that something's not quite right. Since it was Xeneus who put them onto the trail of Leus, Sahauviia tells them they need to speak to Iphios's servant again, and the group of four Heroes head for Lord Iphios's mansion.
Before they can reach Lord Iphios's house, Sadikar and Koomara come across Uncas, accompanied by a large bodyguard. When Sadikar asks to talk to him, Uncas's bodyguard interposes between his employer and the Gondwanan. Koomara calms the situation down, and Uncas wants to know if Calfuray has any news for him on matters. Koomara says she doesn't know about the Tamarac herbalist, but before she can bluff him, Sadikar (who is still fuming) interests him by saying that he thinks Lord Iphios has been betrayed. Uncas agrees not to tell anyone else, claiming that the information partially pays off Calfuray's debt. Before they can ask what that's about, Uncas and his bodyguard move off, but not before Koomara sees the calculating look in his eyes.
At Lord Iphios's mansion, the Heroes see that things are in a frenzy, and struggle to get anyone to tell them what is going on. Calfuray, talking to a female servant, learns what the trumpets and the bells signify - that the King is dead! Quickly questioning several other people, the Heroes manage to talk to two of the guards on duty who have some information for them. One of them, Beret, tells Orga that Lord Iphios has gone to see Lord Demios, and he has taken Xeneus with him and several guards. Calfuray and Sahauviia exchange glances, and the group of four Heroes prepares to head for Demios's mansion.
As the four are about to set out, Sadikar and Koomara arrive on the scene. The two groups exchange information, and realise that they were betrayed the night before, even before Serria's kidnapping. There was supposed to be a break-in at the cemetary last night, but there wasn't. The Heroes had the cemetary surrounded, so no one could have gotten in or out without one of the Heroes seeing them. Sahauviia tells them they have bigger problems. Sennesh Haburta has to be stopped, since with the King dead, Theus will become ruler. The Heroes discuss the merits of interfering, but realise that the other candidate, Eurymon, is a better choice and that Haburta's interference could put dark forces in place in Klymeus that might be difficult to get rid of later.
Sahauviia suggests that they go to Haburta's to see what they can learn and what can be done, but when Sadikar tells her that he wants her to "burn" those who took Serria, she tells him that might be difficult. The note has no obvious identification, and it will take time to track them down - time they don't have at the moment. In the meantime, she urges the Heroes to get to Sennesh Haburta's before Klymeus falls under a dark influence. Sadikar realises that he has to devote his energies for the moment to the destruction of the greater evil; personal matters have to wait.
The player Heroes arrive at Sennesh Haburta's manse, and are almost too late. As they arrive, a carriage is pulling out of Haburta's drive. Calfuray spots a frightened man peering out of the carriage's rear window, who withdraws. She quickly tells the others what she saw. The driver snaps the reins to speed up the carriage, but Sahauviia gestures, and a blast of flame explodes in front of the horses, spooking them. The driver struggles to regain control of the carriage.
Koomara and Orga sprint for the carriage. The Galacean shouts for the carriage to halt, springing onto the running board. She notices two men inside, one the frightened man that she presumes Calfuray saw, the other buried in a voluminous black cloak. Improvising, she tells them that there's swamp gas, and that the road is too dangerous and it could explode at any time. However, the cloaked man [it is indeed Sennesh Haburta] is not fooled, and casts a spell, and commands her "Down". Without another word, Koomara drops off the running board. Orga meanwhile watches in hesitation as he is struck by a dagger in the shoulder, and two figures run towards him from the other side of the carriage, weapons drawn.
Mahoo has run forward and is struggling to cut the horses free, but the beasts have been panicked by the Atlantean sorceress's spell, and are wildly plunging. Two more of the shadowy figures swing over the top of the carriage, and attack the owlman. Without hesitation, Calfuray leaps forward and uses her calming voice and a dagger to cut the horses free. Sahauviia leaps onto the other running board, peering inside at the occupants. Haburta recognises her and crooks a finger at her; Sahauviia drops to the ground as the air above her shimmers with an obviously missed spellcasting.
Sadikar climbs uo to the driver's seat, and grabs the nearest man, and attempts to throw him off the coach. Unbalanced, the man drags Sadikar off with him. Sadikar rolls, twisting his ankle as he does so, but ensures that the driver is under him as they hit the pavement. The coachman draws his sword to threaten him, and the fight is engaged. In a surprise move, Sadikar slams the coachman's head into the cobbles of the street [spending a Hero Point on the damage]; the man goes limp.
Meanwhile, Orga and Mahoo engage their combatants, recognising them for what they are - Marakusha assassins! The two are extra careful in their unwillingness to take any wounds, and using their racial special abilities, are able to defeat and kill the four assassins. Due to some supernatural effect that worries Mahoo, the four corpses turn to ash, leaving nothing but daggers lying on the ground.
Seeing no alternative, Sahauviia throws a fireball, this time right into the carriage! It erupts in flames, and a man emerges from the burning coach, his cloak in flames. Sadikar desperately grabs the figure's leg, pulling him to the ground, and as the man struggles, Sadikar slams his opponent's head to the ground, and knocks him senseless. Looking at the man's face, he sees that it is Sennesh Haburta himself. Koomara joins him, now that the spell that he placed on her has worn off, and the two of them systematically strip their victim, removing all articles of value (and paying careful attention to rings and other items of possible mystical significance). The scavenger secretes most of Haburta's goods beneath the burned out wagon, and then Koomara helps Sadikar tie the sorcerer's hands and thumbs behind his back, and gag him. They then tie him up securely so that he cannot escape.
Using magic to protect herself, Sahauviia checks the inside of the ruined carriage, and sees the still burning corpse of Theus. Calfuray comes over to see what she has found, but gags at the sight of Theus's body. Leading her away, Sahauviia spots a contingent of guards approaching the group.
Somewhat injured and exhausted, the player Heroes do not oppose the guard nor attempt to flee as they approach, inquiring what has happened. When they request that the Lemurian and Uluka drop their weapons, Sadikar, Sahauviia, and Calfuray calmly explain what the situation is, Sahauviia inventing a story and subtly weaving an Influence spell on the guards.
With Sahauviia's magic working on the guards, the Heroes are able to convince the guards that they need to enter Sennesh Haburta's mansion immediately, as Sadikar insists that he believes Haburta had kidnapped a young woman. The guards acquiesce to the request, but the Heroes say that the Klymeus guards should not accompany them in, as Haburta was a powerful mage; there could be dangers. Two of the guards are insistent that they accompany them.
The Heroes go to Haburta's mansion. The main entrance is a thick door that is locked. Mahoo listens at the entrance, and hears the sound of gentle breathing. Koomara is able to pick the lock easily, and opens the door a crack. There is a loud snarl, and then a heavy body thuds against the door. Koomara and Orga manage to slam the door shut. Sahauviia tells the others that the creature on the other side of the door is an innocent, which Calfuray agrees with, and she can put it to sleep with a spell. Cautiously, the Heroes open the door once more as the Atlantean sorceress casts her spell, and sure enough the black leopard that angrily emerges goes to sleep.
The player Heroes and the two guards enter the mansion of Haburta, the two guards going upstairs to check the bedrooms, while Sahauviia and Sadikar search for and find the study. They find a well-appointed library with many books on the history of Mestea. By the time the main house is searched, the Heroes establish that Serria is not in the above ground part of the house. Descending into the basement of the mansion, they discover an impressive array of alchemy equipment lining one wall, while a number of large, wooden chests sat near another. Absent-mindedly, Sahauviia lit the many candles that were in evidence, providing a good amount of light in the chamber. There were a series of four great chests, and the Heroes had a bad feeling about them. Koomara cautiously unlocked one of them, and a great moaning sound emanated from the open chest, which was full of bones. One of the guards reacted badly, going pale, and then ran upstairs.
The guard found Sadikar, his interest in the library all-consuming, settled in a comfortable armchair and studying one of the books with the least dust upon it; it was a history of the astrologers in Mestea, in which the location of certain tombs had been underlined. Looking up, Sadikar nodded to the guard, and reminded him to guard Sennesh Haburta with care. The grateful guard trotted out the door.
In the basement, Koomara cautiously closed the chest. The others made themselves busy as far away from the chests as they could get, Sahauviia warning Koomara to be careful. Koomara discovered that each chest was paired with a small box on the shelf behind it. She found what was ancient, expensive looking jewelry in the boxes. As smoothly and carefully as she can, Koomara removed the least expensive piece, still 1uite valuable, from each box [worth +8 Treasure in total], and replaced them in their places for the others to discover.
Lord Iphios arrived with a contingent of guards. He was distracted and distant, and even when Sadikar told him that the Heroes had solved the case of the disturbed tombs, and that Euryman could assume the throne unblemished. Lord Iphios was less than delighted. The Heroes had not been subtle: explosions, assaults on prominent citizens, in broad daylight! However, he was pleased at the crime being solved, and the guards "discovered" the boxes that were revealed to hold the burial artefacts from the disturbed corpses. This would certainly be of assistance in determining who was who among the corpses. Koomara boldly asked Lord Iphios for the promised payment for herself and her allies, and was assured by Lord Iphios that such payments would be made.
While the Heroes were pretty satisfied at matters, Lord Iphios wondered aloud if all the tangled threads from the matter had been resolved, concerned about whether the rot went deeper than the theft of the tomb bones. Sahauviia assured him that they have stopped the plot to plant a puppet on the throne of Mestea, but she also mentioned that there was still the matter of the kidnapping of Serria. Something that she promised Sadikar they would get to as soon as the opportunity presented itself, much to his displeasure. Sadikar stormed out of the mansion.
This game session wrapped up the current adventure of the Atlantis: The Second Age RPG campaign that I was running on the Friday night group. The adventure went pretty well, though as some readers of this blog entry might discern, certain questions surrounding the events were left unanswered, and there is still one "loose end" to tie up, but that is a separate sequence in and of itself. This adventure marks the end of an era for the Friday night gaming group, as three of my players will be departing for new pastures this week, and so the group will be reduced to four players for now.
This game session had a little bit of everything to it, and the players were quite pleased to get a balance of different elements of the game mechanics in this one. Kathy commented that the taking down of Sennesh Haburta seemed almost too easy. Little does she know... The players spent a modicum of Hero Points during the session, and Tom's unskilled use of Unarmed Fighting (with a satisfying Hero Point expenditure) to take down the villain was fitting, and provoked a fit of laughter in the group for various reasons. The game session also had a few other humourous moments, notably the bit where Sadikar and Koomara tie Haburta's hands and thumbs (!) behind his back. Angela explained to me that she remembered hearing how mages need to use gestures to cast spells, so tying his thumbs as well prevented this! Fun stuff! :)
I'm not sure what next week holds for the Friday gaming group, what with the departure of the three players, but I guess time will tell.