Midnight at the Oasis

January 22, 2012

In which the party enters the Dragon's Bowl

One of the dwarf slaves the party freed, Boldris, claims to know how to get down into the Dragon’s Bowl and offers to lead the party there. The night before the party is to leave Dalworth and his band of rebels, Flik is pulled aside by Dalworth and told to keep an eye on Alanna, who the half-elf suspects means him harm. Dalworth, later that morning, confronts Alanna and admits that he was part of the group that hunted down and killed Alanna’s extended family. However, he’s unsympathetic — he points out that the party has blood on its hands as well (do they now intend to go to Nibenay to comfort all the widows and orphans of the caravan guards they killed yesterday?) and that it’s unreasonable to assume Alanna’s family never killed anybody either. He gives up the names of his associates — Callia, a mul poisoner (location unknown); Shathrita, an elementalist who’s now a noble in Raam; Macletar, a sniper in Tyr; and Nanuven Silenteye, a goliath who organized the group and received the job from their employer (location unknown) — just as Serge sneaks up with a dagger and slits his throat. Alanna stabilizes Dalworth to keep him from dying, but leaves him scarred to remind him of the pain he caused her.

Over 4 days, Boldris leads the party to an Urikite mine, knowing there’s a partially excavated path down into the Bowl. However, when they get there, the mine workers and templars have been slaughtered by ankhegs, giant ants, and other insects. Boldris directs them to the path down and leaves them. The party climbs down the sheer rock face and safely manages to get to the bottom.

Upon landing, the party is attacked by ankhegs. As soon as the party drives them off, a swarm of insects clouds the skies, followed by a female mul, Enora, who is wearing nothing but insects. She says she is the guardian of Lake Pit, the body of water in the Dragon’s Bowl, and demands to know the party’s intentions. Flik and Mardukai attempt alternately to flatter and intimidate her, with no success. Enora senses the party does not intend to defile the land under her protection, and agrees to lead the party to Samarthia, which she is aware of. She exacts as her price Mardukai’s youth — placing a curse on him that ages him 20 years — and sends some of her insects to lead them on the 3-day journey to the enormous glyph that will take them to Samarthia. She also warns that the glyph, which only appears under the light of the dawn sun, requires the tears of an innocent person to activate.

Over the course of their trip to the glyph, Flik guesses that Fortari might be the “innocent person” they need — Fortari admits he’s never killed anybody (and has been too sheltered most of his life to do anything truly terrible), so Flik begins insulting him and collecting his tears. The party eventually arrives at the correct spot, and sure enough, the glyph is enormous (the size of a football field). When the dawn sun arrives, Flik pours the tears on the glyph. Storm clouds immediately form overhead, raining down warm, radiant drops in a deluge that completely obscures the world around them.

When the rain disappears, the party finds itself in a much more temperate environment, in the ruins of an ancient city. A golden palace is far off in the distance, and the buildings are overgrown by sickly purple vines. Standing in front of the party are two statues — one a flawless human-looking man holding a sword and a lightning bolt in his hands, and the other a bestial, armored, tusked man with six arms, a different weapon in each hand.

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BentonSancho

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