The next parts of our adventures were recounted by the Great Narrator thusly:
The adventurers pressed forward, making camp in the caverns. With little between them and their potential pursues, the party could not help but stop and rest as exhaustion, thirst and hunger overcame them.
At least a restful night could be had in one of Tip’s rope tricks.
Moving on, hoping to find the light of day or some form of sustenance, the companions followed the only obvious passage in this grim, dead Underdark.
Finally the group found some signs of life: piles of offal and quasi digested filth riddled a cavern opening. Amra smelled it first, then the others saw the rotting scatological piles. Somewhere beyond could be heard the rushing of water. Could this be the salvation the party sought? Food and water to strengthen them for the journey forward.
The discovery was met with concern when, from behind, a horrid, blood curdling scream was heard. Could this be Netherese pursuers? Undiscovered enemies? The party did not want to find out…
Creeping through the cavern, as best one can with the beacon of a torch, Arnold (once called ‘the lucky’, but may come to be known as ‘he who stumbles into every bad situation possible’) disturbed the garbage-pile-nest of a young Otyugh. Surely this must be the source of the massive piles of offal and detritus! The fight was on.
As they say “all that glitters is not gold”, so it can be said that “one small Otyugh can’t be responsible for all that shit”. When battle was joined, and the baby Otyugh was put down, with prejudice, it’s cries of pain and lament awoke it’s humongous mother. As Uncle Reggie Brandyken would often say: “The only thing ornerier than a crying baby, is it’s Momma.”
The party emerged victorious with Shuiba having suffered the only serious wounds, but the filth-covered Otyugh was surely diseased, so Amra used his magics to slow the progession of malady, and could only hope for a bit of luck that Shuiba would not be afflicted with sickness.
With food in their bellies (from the fish pond that fed the Otyugh) and their waterskins filled, finally the worst must be over?
Pushing forward the party finally found the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. A water-filled, skeleton-strewn, slug-cavern with an opening in its vaulted, cavernous ceiling. All would have been un eventful except for a very tempting pile of treasure in a back corner. What would have been a very peaceful escape turned into acid burns, salt lines and near drownings mixed with wild riches as past adventurers had lost their battles with the two giant slugs that occupied this area, and left behind treasures they carried.
Amongst the treasures, were 3 Ivory statuettes of little goats.
I did relatively little to inflict damage upon the slugs. I was pleased, however, with the discovery of the Ivory Goats!
With Tipwill’s and Amra’s magics the party emerged, finally to fresh air, sand and a ruined caravan beset upon by dire scorpions of wicked intellect, and a near-dead caravaneer. After the ensuing battle to save the Denezeir, Shaffar Al-Hjeez, the party found itself partially blind (as Tipwill and Liam succumbed to the poisonous blasts of wolf-sized scorpions) and sapped of strength (as Tipwill and Shinzu succumbed to the strength-draining poisonous tails of warhorse-sized scorpions). But they now had a new friend, who swore his life to his saviours, and they discovered they were indeed in the Anauroch.
I had been careful not to get too close to the beasties, and indeed hid stealthily among the rocks for much of the time. However, my sling had delivered quite a few heavy blows, bringing down two of the creatures.
It also had to be said how shadowy everything was. Even at midday, the sun was partially blotted out by veils of misty obscuration. At night, all was black: no stars could be seen in the skies above. The triumph of the Shadowvar had changed the very world itself.
Gaining trust in her new companions, Shinzu had revealed more of her tale, and the quest Xian Go had given her. To recover Memnon’s prison-mirror, the Tesseract Mirror, open a dragon door and return 100 years in the past to stop Ashton of Arn, former companion of Tipwill and Arnold, from returning the Crown of Amaunator to Rhyster’s Matins, and so end the Netherese blight upon the land.
urviving their encounter with the Scorpions, but badly hampered by two blinded party members, the party pressed forward at the urging of Shaffar, their new ally.
Harnessing their magics, the party conjured mounts to speed them through the desert, making for the Oasis of the Great Wyrm. As the shaded sun set, the companions decided to rest despite Shaffar’s urgings to continue, for he was deathly afraid of the Shadow Sand Storms that could catch them unawares.
Resting the night in the dark barrens of the Anauroch, the companions arose from Tip’s Rope Trick shelter and were set to beging the new day when Shaffar’s fear were given life. A Shadow Sand Storm swept in with unearthly speed from the horizon. The Arcane Storm bore down on the party and the Tortured Shadow Spirits that resided therein wailed their hungry cries. Unsure what to do with their blind companions, the party stood their ground, while Shaffar begged them to run.
This was not entirely as I remembered it. We indeed tried to run—but there seemed little point running with two blinded companions only able to stumble, not to mention my own slower pace. Tip had been in the process of conjuring us fast mounts as the storm hit us with surprising speed—almost as if it were alive.
Shadowy claws ripped at the adventurers draining the very strength from their corporeal forms. Battling valiantly, the emaciated, drained emerged triumphant. As the last of the hungry Shadow Spirits’ force was cut off from this world, the storm disipated, and all was calm again.
Amra’s magicks delivered strength to the battered party as the very force of nature itself filled the companions with vigour.
With more urging from Shaffar the group pressed on, making for the Oasis of the Great Wyrm.
Shaffar led the party in a song he taught them. The song of soothing he called it. An ancient dirge in the language of the Bedine, Shaffar insisted this would keep them safe as they traveled across the waterless plain before them. Despite rumblings in the ground, and great vibrations that shook the sands on the parched landscape, the party traveled unharmed to the edge of the Oasis.
The oasis is a place of salvation for the desert dwelling Bedine. A small caravan encampment was set there around the Oasis. Merchants making their way to the Black Road or returning to Shazuul pass through this Oasis in the plain of the Great Wyrms.
Here, it must be said, I got us all in some trouble…