Chanda the Dark-Haired (KathyB) - Saabi Thief
Derori Bat Natanyu (Angela) - Shiradi Storyteller
Meheka the Wise (Ellie) - Saabi Sage, Sorceress
Menachim Bar Vidal (Mark) - Shiradi Physician
Erick Olafsson (Peter) - Orkadian Mercenary/Adventurer
(6th day of the second Ten-day of the 4th Month of the year 5997)
The Dragon-Marked continue their travels, somewhat somberly after the burial of Charom Ibn Yussef Abd-Al-Salif’s caravan personnel. The player characters discuss matters, and realize they’ve been very lucky not to encounter the Umbral Caravan, but Meheka the Wise tells the others that it is not luck that has been on their side, it is destiny. The others notice that Chanda has started to sway on her camel, and the group stops for the moment. Menachim Bar Vidal says that he was afraid of this - it’s a reaction to the bite from the desert rat that she took earlier. She’s running a fever and the group needs to find shelter as soon as possible. He can’t treat her in the blazing heat of the Aramla El-Nar. Derori Bat Natanyu and Edrick Olafsson scan the area, and it is the Shiradi storyteller who sees what appears to be a small outcropping of rock. She doesn’t believe her eyes, but Edrick and Meheka confirm this. When Derori comments that it’s impossible as rock outcroppings don’t occur in the serif, Meheka says that it is the will of Hubal and the gods.
The Dragon-Marked move in the direction of the outcropping, Edrick leading the way, while Menachim and Derori make sure that Chanda is stable atop her camel. She keeps muttering something that Meheka says sounds like a historical treatise on deserts of some sort. The characters reach the rock outcropping just as sunset arrives, and have barely enough light to make out the region. It is Edrick who leads them to a small part of the outcropping where Menachim could have sworn he heard a dripping sound - and much to the characters’ pleasure and astonishment, they see a small rivulet of water dripping down the rock face and into the ground. However, their joy is turned into alarm as a jet of smoke appears in front of them, between the rivulet and themselves, and a figure starts to appear.
Alarmed, the Dragon-Marked move back somewhat, and are barely able to keep control of their riding animals. The figure take solid form, and the Dragon-Marked see a 10-foot tall humanoid, roughly male in shape, with dark brown skin, and wearing dark purple robes and a turban from which lush black hair emerges, and a pair of purple babouche slippers. In a booming voice that causes pain to the characters [they each take 5 Damage points on a failed Willpower roll, all but Chanda, Menachim, and Edrick succeed], and the djinn (for that is what it is) continues talking in a more normal tone and volume. Meheka cautiously talks to the djinn, who tells them its name is Sereggu, and learn that the outcropping and rivulet of water are its doing, a place of repose and respite for those who come out into the Desert of Fire. If they can answer its riddle. Meheka comments quietly to Derori that it is a low djinn in the hierarchy (or so she believes), but fortunately Sereggu doesn’t hear this quiet comment. The Dragon-Marked pair tell the djinn that they need the repose of the outcropping, for one of their fellow travellers is in need of water and rest. Sereggu poses its riddle, the answer to which is “Sand”, and Meheka and Derori debate the issue for several minutes, but it is Derori who answers the riddle correctly based on an old story that she once heard. The djinn congratulates her on her success, and says that the Dragon-Marked (for it recognizes them as such) have the use of the outcropping and the rivulet for a period of one day. Meheka questions its meaning of the term “one day”, and is satisfied with it. The djinn says that if she is willing, it would have discourse during their stay about events in Jazirat at large. Meheka is pleased to agree to this, her curiosity getting the better of her, and the djinn says it will return soon and vanishes.
The others move to the outcropping with Chanda, who is quite physically weak by this point, and somewhat delirious. Derori and Edrick both ask Meheka if dealing with the djinn is wise, to which the sage responds, “The djinn may know many things, perhaps of use to us.” Derori comments that she knows many tales of mortals taken in by djinn who paid a terrible price, but Meheka assures them that she’ll be careful. Meanwhile, Menachim takes Chanda to a place of shadowy cover near the rivulet of water, and using cloths and the like from his equipment, tries to bring her fever down and has her drink some water. The Dragon-Marked feel a tingle from their Marks, but don’t know what it signifies; nothing seems to be out of order, but both Edrick and Menachim comment that they both feel much better. Setting up a smaller than usual camp for the night after tending the animals, the player characters relax and enjoy some moments of rest and relaxation in the outcropping. Edrick insists on setting up a watch, despite the others complaining, but they go along with it. Close to midnight, the djinn reappears and beckons to Meheka to follow it.
The others watch as Meheka and the djinn walk out of the firelight, and slowly fade from sight. Derori worries that the sage is going to find trouble if she’s not careful, but Chanda (who has fully recovered for the most part) asks to be brought up to date about what’s occurred since they found the caravan in the desert. Derori and Menachim accommodate her, but Derori sees Edrick looking off towards where Meheka and the djinn disappeared.
It is around dawn that Menachim, who is making some food for Chanda by the fading fire, notices Meheka walking back towards them from the same direction that she’d left. She looks tired, but satisfied. Waking the others, they gather around Meheka and ask her what happened when she departed with the djinn. She says the djinn transported her to a small tavern-like structure decorated in the Saabi fashion, with soft cushions, serving men and women with various platters of food, and hookahs of various types with a variety of spices and fruit flavours wafting from them. Sereggu, she confirms, may be a minor djinn but he is quite knowledgeable [she gained a level of History & Peoples, raising it from 4 to 5]. She tried to find out what she could about the Well of Amood, but Sereggu either knew nothing of it or was forbidden for some reason to say anything about it, but their discourse over the night was quite educational insofar as other things are concerned. It knew a good deal of the Umbral Caravan, but would only convey snippets, asking a price for more information that Meheka considered too high to pay; she refuses to tell them what the price asked was. She tells them that she doesn’t think they will see Sereggu before they leave the Repose, as the djinn has tired of their company to some degree, and that they are best to leave before the more... irate side of the djinn come to the fore.
The player characters enjoy a restful, but short, simple morning meal, and Chanda’s appetite is quite hearty during the course of it, much to the amusement and surprise of the others. Once they finish eating and refilling their water skins from the rivulet, as Meheka assures them the water is real regardless of the source, the player characters pack up. Derori and Edrick get their bearings, and resume their travel to the community of Seph.
The rest of the trip to Seph is uneventful, and even Edrick seems more light-hearted than usual, and Chanda is also in a good humour. As the characters look down from the jebel on which they stand at the community of Seph, Chanda gasps and says that there are no people to be seen in the village!
Friday night's session of Capharnaüm - The Tales of the Dragon-Marked was a highly entertaining one that had plenty of roleplaying, very little conflict per sé (other than verbal sparring and lots of witty repartée), and introduced a staple of the 1,001 Nights tales to the characters' lives. The gaming group enjoyed themselves immensely, and really loved the "unearthly/mystical" feel (Angela's words) of this session, as well as their first encounter with a Djinn.
I'm looking forward to the next session of the Friday night Capharnaüm - The Tales of the Dragon-Marked RPG campaign in two weeks time, weather and health permitting.