The Cabin Sessions

Sessions Index

The Road Home - Prologue

This is a summary of action taken via email by various characters and the party in general as they prepare for their trip back to Ume.

Early in the Month of Galanesh (Hot Time)

The overwhelming vote was to take the "safe" land route through the Compact borderlands to Gap, then pick up the caravan route south through the Burning to Ume. With that in mind here is some general information you've picked up from your stay in the Iron Hill Inn in Seaway.

First it is obvious that most of the locals know who you and your party are. Between stories about your mithril and the tale of the scuffle between Thyme, Bo, Nyota and the local toughs, you are generally treated with respect. The Dwarves are courteous and you have established yourselves in two semiprivate rooms in the Iron Hill.

The road south is fairly well maintained, but not heavily patrolled. The Compact maintains a series of watch towers along the road, and there are a couple of fortified inns along the way, but there are long stretches where camping is your only recourse. There are intermittent patrols by Compact forces, but problems do occur along the route.

Zippy fell into a discussion with a local caravan master (Tagros Aust), who regularly runs small caravans southward. He mentioned seeing some signs of a fight at one of the campsites along the trail (a large fire, and several broken weapons). He hasn't heard of anyone gone missing though.

Fasheen discovers there are several laborers and craftsmen who travel up and down the Seaway/Gap road, performing minor tasks at the various inns, watchtowers, and small villages and mining encampments that are found along the road.

One night while he is wandering the the Manar quarter of town, Zeb stops off for a drink in a local tavren (the White Eel). When he mentions he's headed south the old codger sitting by the door asks if Zeb is going hunting for more mithril "in them old tombs". Zeb is intrigued and asks him what he's talking about. After a few drinks Droven tells a story [see below].

Those that have been to Gap (Fasheen, Zippy, Nasir), can tell the rest of the party a bit about it. Gap is one of the main entrances to the Dwarven underground strongholds. On the surface it is nothing more than a vast fortification nestled between two great cliffs. Visitors and caravans are only allowed into a very limited portion of the city. The place bustles with activity as caravans from the north and south bring in food stuffs and depart with iron and steel. Though lodgings are cheap and plentiful, they are not particularly luxurious, and taverns are expensive, aimed at stripping passing groups of their currency at minimal cost. There are often caravans departing Gap, and should the party desire it they could likely hook up with one for the trip south. Fasheen and Nasir may actually run into family at Gap.

Droven's Story

During the Second Age (before the fall of Zulos, over 1500 years ago), a cult sprang up among the Dwarves and Gnomes of that time. These races have always venerated their dead, and one can often find shrines to Umekai (known as Agim-zul to the Dwarves) in Compact cities, generally near family tombs and important burial sites. The cultists, who referred to themselves as Makul-Zul (roughly the Guardians of the Void) took this one step further and began to worship the dead.

In time the cultists sought the guidance of those now dead, speaking through mediums who claimed they could establish contact with the fallen. These mediums gained greater and greater influence throughout the cult, and eventually replaced the more traditional priests. Of course this placed the mediums in an ideal position to influence the cult's followers. One priest in particular, Magron Kirtan, used this influence to set himself up as something of an oracle, claiming he spoke with the voice of Agim, the first of the Dwarves created by Somai.

Magron directed his followers to build a great temple beneath the foothills of the Zokaines (he and his followers were treated as outcasts by more civilized Dwarves). There he held court and the cult turned to darker ways. They began to come forth in the night and steal food and supplies from the surrounding villages. Over time theft became raids for prisoners and in particular, children. Several local lords attempted to stop the predation, but to no avail. The cult's headquarters was well defended and guarded by fanatics. Over time the villages nearest the cult's dark seat were abandoned, and the land grew wilder. Travellers often disappeared along the nearby roads, and dark shapes prowled the jungles.

This state of affairs continued for years, and the circle of abandoned villages grew. The rest of the cult, tainted by the reputation of Magron's followers, fell into disfavor, and members either vanished or recanted. There are some scattered accounts of members of Makul-Zul being tried and executed, but most say the majority of the cult's followers joined Magron in secret, taking their worldly possessions with them.

Now the funny thing about a cult that drives off its neighbors is that it tends to disappear from the records. After thirty or so years of raiding and kidnapping, cult incidents dropped off because their was no one left to raid. Though the area around the cultist's stronghold had a dark reputation, people gradually crept back into the area. Finally Thrant Dusal, the third son of a minor lord, decided to seek his fortune in the heart of the cult's former realm. He and seven companions ventured into the heart of the dark lands.

Three months after Thrant and his companions ventured into the foothills, a single dwarf stumbled into a village late one afternoon. Few recognized Thrant, for he was in terrible shape. When he left the village in the spring he was a hale Dwarf of perhaps 50 years (roughly 30 in human terms). The emaciated figure that stumbled into the villages appeared to be over 150 (old even for a Dwarf). He bore hideous scars and wounds, and though he was treated by the village priest of Eria, he died shortly after his arrival. The nameless priest checked through his belongings and found a journal, which he studied, then immediately burned. None know for sure what was written in the journal for the priest never spoke of it, but most say it told of a vast tomb beneath the hill of Makul-Zul, filled with the riches of all the cultists, who had joined those they worshipped in death. Some also say it spoke of guardians who still sacrifice the living before the altar of Agim-zul presided over by an undying Magron Kirtan. To this day people do not venture into the foothills of the Zokaines south of the road to Gap.

Middle of Galanesh

Fasheen and Zippy have been spending some time speaking with the local merchants, trying to find a group you can hook up with for the passage south. It seems most traffic from Seaway consists of relatively small caravans (6-16 wagons/carts) heading to Gap, mostly carrying various sorts of dried fish, wood products from along the coast and exotic jungle products (hides and herbs). Most travel slowly using oxen or water buffalo. In fact you have noticed a distinct lack of horses in the city, likely due to the heat. The following merchants/caravan masters have opportunities that match up with your travel plans (assuming nothing happens):

Nasir and Father Bo approach Candela (the ancient Dwarven woman you spoke to when you first arrived) about any faster groups that travel the southern road. She indicates the only groups from the Compact sends out along the road are reprovisioning caravans that make stops all along the road (even slower) or the heavy wagon patrols that do not travel with others. She says she'll keep an ear out for anything that might come up, but basically says "don't hold your breath".

It is FREAKIN HOT! Seaway is almost on the equator and you are passing through the hottest month of the year. Fasheen wagers Benik he can cook an egg on Benik's shield, and wins. The heat is probably the reason there are so few caravans headed out too.

Early in the period a massive storm hammers the coast for three days, bringing high winds and heavy rains. There is little damage in your area (Dwarven construction eats hurricanes for breakfast), but a significant portion of the Manar quarter is damaged (though quickly repaired -- light construction is easily replaced).

Things the party notices about various other members:

Zippy is spending most of his time in typical Zippy fashion, hanging around taverns (where he feels right at home), wenching, drinking and having a good relaxing time. He and Thyme spend a few evenings out in the streets where Thyme does a bit of illusion magic for the kids.

Thyme has a really spiffy set of new gloves and boots. Some sort of black hide with silver thread worked into some elaborate pattern.

Thyme has also taken a private room in the Iron Hill, mumbling something about Nyota's snoring and "research".

The innkeeper, Blevin Tresk, seems to be on good terms with Thyme. Must be a bribe in the air somewhere.

Thyme also shows around a set of four books he purchased from a local merchant. They're in really bad shape, and in code to boot. Thyme seems to think they may be of historical or magical significance. He seems willing to get other people's opinions, so if anyone else want's to study them, let me know.

Late in the third week, Nyota and Benik are walking down the hall near Thyme's private room when they hear Thyme cry out "OW! FUCK!" Benik moves to check on Thyme, but Nyota reminds him that Thyme left strict instructions not to disturb him while he was doing research. The pair report what they hear to the rest of the party, and later that night Thyme joins the group with his left hand heavily bandaged.

[Can you tell who has waaay too much time on their hands from the above?]

Towards the third week of the month, Grimwold, the smith who is doing the work on the magic items for the group, begins to approach those who are receiving the items and arranging meetings with them at his workshop. He forbids anyone else from coming along, and the three party members that go refuse to talk about what happens.

A couple of other minor rumors/items of local interest:

Several party members have been warned about wandering the dock and Manar areas of the city, particularly alone. Apparently there are some pretty fierce mugger gangs that prey on the unwary along the waterfront. Specific mention is made of the "Cutters" and the "Blades" or "Left Hand Blades". Apparently local gangs.

One of the merchants Fasheen talks to mentions he came across what looked like the scene of a fight along the southern road, just north of the Blackwater Bridge (I may have mentioned this before).

Zippy hears a few stories about a burial ground that lies beneath the jungle somewhere nearby. Most of the stories seem to revolve around the typical "restless spirit haunts the streets of the city at night theme", though one story mentions a huge shadowy thing that was seen crawling into the sewers one low tide. One of the locals said it was probably just a deformed beggar, cause everyone knows they live in the sewers.

The party decides to invite the three mercenaries to join them on the way south. Culia and Micon agree, but the third takes his leave, indicating he wants to ship out and get some sea time.

The evening of Thyme's accident above (actually the 31st), the following happens:

As Bo focuses the healing energies of Eria upon the wound he feels a fierce drain on his energies...


An explosion of electrical energies envelops the pair.

You hear Thyme cry out OW! FUCK! (again) right before he passes out.

Bo manages to keep his feet, but just barely. He is shaken and feels as if he has been completely drained of energy (which strangely enough, he has - no more spells today). He looks down at the fallen Thyme and notes that the burns on his hand seem, if anything, worse.

While Thyme takes a nap, Bo examines his "magic" books and concludes they are probably captains rutters - navigational maps and charts for sailing. He is quite amused.

The party collects a number of pack animals (a mix of mules, horses, and camels), and Benik discovers a really beautiful warhorse tucked away in a local stables. The story (as told by Linka the stable master):

You aske Linka about the horse and its owner and she answers "Oh THAT monster. He used to belong to a local bully. Why the fool owned a horse I don't really know, but he did. Anyhow he got into some sort of legal trouble with a local Compact agent he did. The idiot decided to issue an arena challenge and the agent accepted. Course what Fotak (that being the bully boy), forgot was that by arena rules the challenged can name a champion. Devon did, and him being in tight with the Compact Guilds and all, he named Drevin Stark." Seeing your blank looks she continues "Ah you ain't from these parts are you? Drevin be champion for the Compact council. Let's just say he ain't never lost in the arena here." She smirked. "He didn't lose against Fotak either. Anyhow in the end the deaded Fotak's possessions all fell over to the agent, but about that time he died (some say poisoned by some of Fotak's friends). His property and Fotak's all got caught up in some legal battle in the Compact council, and I ended up keeping this bloody horse until the council decides what to do with it. She shrugs "At least they pay regular. You may want to ask around, they might be willing to make a deal for him. Gold's easier to keep than a horse."

Candela uses her connections with the Compact council to get him a deal.

Late Galanesh

The party tries to negotiate with one of the caravan leaders with the following results:

Assuming Fasheen and Zippy are going to carry out the negotiations with Zeb and Nyota doing some translating. You meet at the Fallen Warrior, a reasonably clean tavern in the center section of the city. Things seem to be going fairly well until you tell Mato that you have 10 people in your party. He expresses the reasonable opinion that he doesn't need that many guards, and can't support them along the way and still make a profit on the journey. When you mention you're going to be travelling with 20 mounts he stares at you like you're deranged. He rattles off a stream of Manarian at Nyota and Zeb, then gets up and storms out, obviously unhappy. A few of the people at other tables are laughing, but they turn back to their own business fairly quickly.

Zippy turns to Nyota and Zeb and asks "What did he say?" Nyota says "He say "If you want to be guards, be guards, but I not be providing food and fodder for you to run your own caravan! Quit wasting my time.""

A brief attempt at getting getting the merchant to return is futile. He's really pissed.

The party meet with Syton (another of the caravan masters) and he agrees to allow the party to travel with his group for safety. No pay involved.

About now everyone notices the three party members with new weapons are carrying:

On the matter of Thyme's fried hand, after consultation between Nyota, Bo, Nasir and Thyme, the four decide an attempt to dispell the magic imbued into his hand is the best course of action. For safety's sake Nasir and Thyme remove themselves to Thyme's private room with instructions to come running if the party hears something. There is some brief chanting typical of spell casting, then a faint flicker of greenish white light under the door.

After a brief pause Nasir opens the door and says "I think that did it. Thyme saids his hand hurts much less, and the wound looks like a normal burn now." Nyota moves over towards Thyme and looks him over while fingering that queer two bladed spear of his, then says "Yes, spirit is gone. You have banished it to where it came from Nasir. There still remain some energy in hand though. Maybe bad idea to try and heal with magic for now.

Benik has indeed been spending quite a bit of time with Culia and Micon, though his ideas that they want to join up with his order may be a bit overstated. He is right though that one of the pair can actually cook pretty well (I believe it's Culia). As he says, "If you had to eat half-raw roots and meat for months in a jungle village you'd learn to cook too!" Both men show some aptitude for the sword, though they are better with spear and knife. The trio spend quite a bit of time around the arena, and Benik even fights a few (friendly) duels. Generally the three come home dusty and tired, but seemingly happy. Benik has been stopping off at Linka's stable since the horse was discovered and spending a bit of time with it (you suspect that's where all your apples have gone too). Oh, and Benik offers up 100 gold to help defray costs of mounts and provisions for the group.

Thyme's hand is feeling better, but reexamination by magical means show some lingering magical traces around the site. Even another dispell magic does nothing to eradicate these, and the magical types agree that waiting a bit longer before trying a magical heal is probably a good thing. Nasir is tending the wound in a more mundane fashion.

On his daily trip to Linka's stables, Benik notices a few new mounts in the public stables and discusses them with Linka. He asks her to reserve them for the party and she agrees to hold them until Benik can return with the rest of the 'experts'. Together the group decides to buy 1 more mule, 1 more horse, and 2 more camels (215gp total including stabling til your departure). You check out the other two stables, but neither has anything that looks tempting.

You realize you need to start getting your provisions organized. A quick perusal of the marketplaces shows a fair amount of dried rations available (chiefly dried fish, and an unleavened bread made from a local root). For variety there are some dried fungus steaks available from the Compact merchants (pretty standard Compact underground fare). If anything is scarce it is horse feed, but Syton (the caravan master you'll be travelling with) assures Fasheen there is some good pasturage along the way, as well as adequate water supplies and some game as well.