Sunday, October 12, 2014

SWORDS OF THE FOUR TAVERNS PART II: The Pillar of Druba and the Dragon God Rue-Keska

This is a report of the second session of our Vaaran Kingdoms Sertorius session. You can see session one HERE

The party:
Gaius: A Ronian-blooded aristocrat
Uloff: A Gru Trader
Dreckergael: A human hunter who casts spells randomly when wounded

Garoff: A Gru Bounty Hunter

The party continued to the ruins of Tongasha after leaving Darios Tyrna to the tar pits. With Mangrai’s help they found the Temple of the Emerald Snake Goddess and learned the path to the pillar. The Temple was an ancient Nong Sai structure, with three massive stupas, the highest reaching about 35 meters high. The main entrance led deep underground. Inside the walls were coated in animated reliefs of ruby and emerald, depicting events of the ogre kingdom’s history. They also found  large stone sarcophagi but did not attempt to open them. On their way in the party was attacked by 7 terracotta Hasri guardians. However these were somewhat mindless and they were able to run into a hallway to create a choke point to gain tactical advantage. During the melee, Dreckergael was struck by one of the guardians and wounded enough that he turned into a badger and ran away (he has a flaw that causes him to reshape instantly when he takes two wounds). After the party destroyed the guardians they found Dreckergael in badger form and waited four hours for him to return to his normal form.

Eventually they found the pillar and it was protected by two spirits. They screeched causing the party to burst into flames. A battle ensued and the PCs evaporated the spirits using spells like Bolt of Fury. The pillar itself contained text they could not read (it was in Singh script) and was about 800 pounds. They removed it from its anchor points and collectively dragged it from the tomb, occasionally with the help of a makeshift pulley system.

On the surface they cut down some trees to help them roll the pillar to the city of Tongtel. This lengthened their journey considerably so they took the time to work out with Mangrai the translation on the pillar (this took many hours because he is blind and they had to explain each letter to him). This is what the pillar said:
These are the words of he who holds the 12 silver cities in his right hand and carries the sun upon his left like a lamp. All shall know that I am the greatest king who walked the earth because I butchered armies and cut the throat of a god.

My powers are unrivaled but now the storm of vengeance is upon you all. What I have done is right. It is truth. It is good. It leads to paradise. It is an act of mercy and kindness that required blood. That requires more.

I will seek no forgiveness from you. I will not take a single absolution.  Instead I have one gift to pass. Hear my words and watch as time shapes them into reality.

Today my body dies and the glory of my kingdom fades. Fire, smoke and demons will come and feast upon your bones. No one deemed guilty can escape. All here are doomed.

One day I shall walk again among you, but no more a king.

Alone there is but one path and upon it many things.

A legion of forgetful beggars who yearn for my crown yet cannot speak a single name.

A spear held by mortal hands lancing the heavens and one wound that will not heal.

A bursting crown of flame and gold awakening the sky as the reclamation begins.

A silent orb of neither light nor dark sings a song for all to hear:

The Serpent comes to feed once more when our time is at hand
Ten times one thousand years to pass before her feast begins
A trail of fields to harvest long the work of gods and men

No one knows but one is true and yet no one understands
Not wanting to dispatch a messenger to Gaius’ uncle Hamil, because that might attract attention, they remained outside the city and Uloff performed the spell Aperture of Po, which enabled him to create a two way gate to communicate through. Gaius knew Hamil would be at Castle Theona so they tried to center it on where his bedchamber would be and waited until nightfall to cast. Uloff also had to spend several hours creating a mechanical aperture to use in the spell.

Aperture of Po was cast successfully and they were able to both see and hear Hamil. He was pleased with their success but revealed that Castle Theona was under siege from recently united Gru and Human tribes who had started worshipping a dragon god named Rue-Keska. He also told them that the leaders of the tribes were covered in heavy scales and looked different from normal Gru or Humans. Hamil didn’t appear to be in immediate danger, though the tribes had destroyed many surrounding villages. He suggested they contact the Order of Justinian in Tongtel and make the exchange themselves. They could then go to his Archon and son Pazzer-Unzi for their payment. Hamil also offered them a greater sum if they could go to the Wangela (the place where the united tribes are from) and try to kill their new dragon god.

The exchange was made, the party was given 125,000 gold pieces worth of ingots and they took this to Archon Pazzer-Unzi who gave them payment. Because they were wounded they rested in the city for two weeks. Hamil was under siege but they didn’t think it would be wise to face the Warngel Tribes and a possible dragon in their current state.

They crossed the river into Warngel territory, going to the town of Warnula, an Orc settlement that pays tribute to Palus. They learned that the Warngela started worshipping a dragon named Rue-Keska about 7 months ago. Soon after the Darga (a Gru tribe in the south) also started worshipping the dragon and the leader of the Darga married his daughter to Belgash the Warngel chief. Asking the local Legate (an official who was apparently in charge of Wanula’s defenses) they were told that the site of worship was on top of one of the “glittering hills”.

They went to the hills and found one that glimmered in the sunlight. There they camped for three days and observed. On the third morning, a group of Warngel tribemen approached the hill entering its glen with an orc prisoner. Dreckergael followed and used the spell Hide to watch them from the shadows. He saw about 12 tribesmen who killed the prisoner and took her heart, then waited as a pair of yellow eyes appeared in the shadows. Dreckergael backed away but saw a 120 foot long snake like creature with a crocodilian head emerge to feast on the offering. He noted its features and returned to the group. With Dreckergael’s knowledge of monsters and Gaius knowledge they were able to deduce it might be some kind of Sand Dragon that had Sertori like powers.

They started formulating a plan to deal with the beast.

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