Episode 30 : Agastar Strikes Back
 

In the morning light some people noticed as we were rising that the sand about our hillock was moving. Five creatures were coming through the sand toward us. Those that could fly took to the air, Serra Ibin Raaviat sat on the magic carpet, the halfling and Fez hid below the walls of the old fort. Then the creatures burst forth from the sand. Tentacles reached into our compound. Brother Hameth cast a spell and failed. Serra Ibin Raaviat using the Wand of Fire Balls cast a fire ball at another. Grimwold Mindbreaker floated down and cut the bonds of the Wartroll.

Two tentacles now wrapped around the chest of a sailor. Harry Mata struck another creature in the face with bloody fist. Vernon Zarck let loose with the Serpent Staff of Mahaaran. Bang a fire ball. Another pair of tentacles wrapped around a sailor, and constricting his head fractured his skull. Blue Bigfoot swiped at a tentacle causing damage. Sven Strong-Arm races up to one of the creatures, trips and falls flat on his face right in front of its beak. Svall Strong-Arm races to his aid, he raises his axe high into the air and has a pair of tentacles wrap themselves around him so that the only sight of him left is two arms sticking into the air holding a two handed axe.

Again Brother Hameth spell fails and moments later so does the next one as well. The sailors try to hack and slash back at the tentacles. Harry Mata goes almost fully defensive and knocks all the tentacles directed at him away. Vernon Zarck goes bang, a fire ball engulfs another creature. Boom, a Serra Ibin Raaviat's vacuum goes off. Brother Hameth casts sleep and send one of the creatures into a slumber. Blue Bigfoot chops at the tentacles near him, damaging them. The tentacles wrap about another sailors head and again fracture the skull, rendering him unconscious. Bang, goes the Serpent Staff of Mahaaran, again a fire ball. Another set of tentacles wrap around a sailor, snap, snap go the bones in an arm and a leg, he falls unconscious.

Brother Hameth casts sleep at the next creature and is successful, another gone. Tentacle concentrate on Harry Mata and Blue Bigfoot, who both go defensive and knock them aside. Brother Hameth's next spell fizzles. Grimwold Mindbreaker has taken control of the Wartroll, it stands and draws its swords. The Wartroll attacks one of the creatures and with a series of blows sends it unconscious. Harry Mata likewise hacks into his creature. Brother Hameth cast sleep again and the fourth creature falls unconscious. The Wartroll then makes short work of the last creature as Vernon Zarck puts a stun cloud over its rear. We examine the carcasses. They are a form of squid. Serra Ibin Raaviat asks Fez if you can eat this sand squid, the answer is no.

Serra Ibin Raaviat attends to the wounded, using her healing spells, she knits together fractured bones. We retrieve Svall Strong-Arm from the tentacles of the sand squid. When he comes out he is covered in sucker marks. Sven Strong-Arm says, "Now you are not the most beautiful man in the world, I am!". We remove the beaks of the sand squid, they might be worth something. We roll the carpet up and head toward the port city of Karmalier. At the gates of Karmalier the guards just very conveniently look the other way as we approach and then enter without challenge.

Moving down the road we come to the main square where there are about forty horsemen mounting up. They are armoured and armed for a fight. They are equipped with composite bows, scimitars and lances. Across the main square at the docks we see the Ibn-Fatwaani being loaded up. Serra Ibin Raaviat has a closer look at the men on the Ibn-Fatwaani but she does not remember any faces from Middleburg. Vernon Zarck inquires, "Where are the soldiers going?". "I'll ask that woman food vendor over there.", this is exactly what she does. The woman speaks of there being reports just coming in of a vampire to the south that has murdered a number of people in a village. The soldiers are going to investigate and deal with the problem. Grimwold Mindbreaker notes that two of the men mounting up are not soldiers. A quick mind typing reveals that they are priests of Agastar.

Blue Bigfoot is now at the food stall, "Kebabs for twenty please.". The woman replies, "You like hot?". The halfling nods. She dips the kebabs into a hot chilli sauce, the kind that makes flies die on contact. Serra Ibin Raaviat inquires as to when the Ibn-Fatwaani is sailing. The woman says today, this afternoon.

Harry Mata and Vernon Zarck approach the gangplank of the Ibn-Fatwaani. "Hail.", says Harry Mata. The Easterner at the top of the gangplank is bare chested and headed. He is dressed in flowing silk pants and little more. He looks at Harry Mata and Vernon Zarck and spits hitting about halfway along the gangplank. Meanwhile locals continue to go up the gangplank carrying barrels and other materials. Vernon Zarck said, "Excuse me sir.", the sailor spits, "Can you tell me where this ship is going.". "To sea.", is the only reply. "What is your next port of call? We are looking for passage on a ship out of here and would like to book passage on this ship.". The sailor spits this time landing at the edge of the gangplank. "Look may we speak with the Captain?". "You captain.", was the response followed by a spit. "He's all yours.", said Vernon Zarck turning to Harry Mata.

Serra Ibin Raaviat cast an illusion that made her appear male, she then went up to where Harry Mata stood. Harry Mata said, "Can we speak to your captain, dickhead?", the sailor spits, this time landing at the edge of Harry Mata's foot. Then the Wartroll comes over and joins the three at the bottom of the gangplank. Grimwold Mindbreaker said, "Trouble?". Serra Ibin Raaviat said, "Can we see the captain my good sir?". The Easterner stands, "Just a minute.", and walks off as he is doing so Serra Ibin Raaviat says, "No, no. Don't eat them yet.". A couple of minutes later an Easterner in a flamboyant costume appears. Grimwold Mindbreaker cast mind typing and gets 14th level sailor.

The Easterner says, "Right what's happening?". Serra Ibin Raaviat said, "We would like to book passage.". "No, trolls on the ship, we have animals, they won't like the smell.". Grimwold Mindbreaker said, "Troll don't mind animal smell. Troll rich.", holding up a small purse. The Easterner Captain said "Its not worth the problems of having a troll on the ship.". The Wartroll replied, "Troll will wash.". Grimwold Mindbreaker cast presence and detected four sailors on the top deck, four below and the demon compass. The Eastern Captain said, "No. That is final. We are busy gentlemen, I have work to do.". The Eastern Captain leaves and returns down stairs.

The Wartroll leans on the docks on both his two handed troll swords. The first mate who has returned to his former position now looks down with a cutlass across his knees. Grimwold Mindbreaker asks, "When are you leaving?". "Within the hour.", and he spits on the gangplank. We collect our sailors and start to head out of town. We enter a dark alley, Grimwold Mindbreaker is about to draw the wand when Harry Mata notices high above on a rooftop two figures. "We are being watched, up there on the roof.". Grimwold Mindbreaker said "I suggest we leave town and head back to our hillock.". As we leave town the guards stationed on the gates turn away from us and we exit without hindrance. The guards do however note the halfling, the troll and ignore the woman.

As we get further away from the port city, Serra Ibin Raaviat notices two figures drop from the walls and merge with the sand. "We are being followed.". Now back at the hillock we see that vultures are now pecking at the remains of the sand squid. Grimwold Mindbreaker and Vernon Zarck have both cast fly, invisibility and presence and are headed back the way we came hoping to catch a glimpse of our pursers. Without going very far at all Grimwold Mindbreaker detects two presences just below him. He stops and quickly indicates to Vernon Zarck were they are, "I have the one on the right.". Vernon Zarck looking down can see the depression of the sand where the men are as they crawl along and a hazy dispersion of the atmosphere just above the crawl marks. Grimwold Mindbreaker pushes Vernon Zarck away and heads for his man.

Grimwold Mindbreaker approaches closer and closer only to have his man leap away, then at the edge of his presence spell leap away instantaneously again. Vernon Zarck casts stun cloud on his opponent. The man is stunned in the mass of crackling electricity. Serra Ibin Raaviat having cast detect invisibility notices the second man and she pulls out her Wand of Fire Balls and begins to pan to her left. Vernon Zarck casts shock bolt on his man, Brother Hameth casts sleep on him and the halfling fires an arrow into him. All unfortunately for him are successful, he collapses in the middle of the stun cloud. Serra Ibin Raaviat fires her wand and the flash of fire illuminates the second man, his bow which he had drawn and prepared for firing, is turned to charcoal instantly and falls as dust to the ground.

Harry Mata fires into the smoky outline of the second man and hits him. He then vanishes in the smoky haze. The second man, using leaping, leaps away. We give chase but he is gone. Returning to the first man we find that he is well and truly dead. The man is clothed in a black garb and has wrapping wrapped around his entire body. When we undo the wrapping we reveal a westerner. The man must be a Nightblade, the assassins that come in the night.

Grimwold Mindbreaker decided that we would be going to the Congress of Animalia for a while. He opened the portal and we stepped through. We were to spend the next three days at this place. During this time Grimwold Mindbreaker cast intuition and dream.

Grimwold Mindbreaker cast intuition and opened a portal into the wyvern cave on Pentyce Island. The leader wyvern was busily talking in wyvern to nine other wyverns on the cave floor. The new wyverns were black in colour, were they came from we do not know. These wyverns did not have saddles or harnesses so it was not the tame wyverns of the wolf clan. Grimwold Mindbreaker cast mind typing on the wyvern leader and got back that it was a 35 th level Wyvern Mage. Mind typing on the black wyverns returned 15 th level wyvern.

Grimwold Mindbreaker cast presence and detected the wyverns and also a presence from the treasure pile a statue. A mind typing revealed that the statue was a 22 nd level human healer. As he mind typed, the statue cried out, "Help, help.". Grimwold Mindbreaker remembered back that the voice was familiar, it was the same as the voice of the girl in the sword justice. A screeching began below and two wyverns flapped up to Grimwold Mindbreaker. He turned and raced into a narrow fissure at the back of the cave leading into the underground village below. Grimwold Mindbreaker raced down the stairs. He turned and saw the leader wyvern disappear into the portal. He could also see that from behind the portal appeared as a shimmering mist. The intuition ended.

Grimwold Mindbreaker cast intuition and opened the portal. He stepped behind the portal and entered the shimmering mist. He stood on one of the planes of Hell. This happened each time he tried. It might be a random plane of Hell but it was definitely Hell.

Grimwold Mindbreaker did dream. His dream was to be of the safest place in all the planes for our group. Before he dreamt he smoked some of the herb from the Temple of Wendinni, this enhanced his dream considerably. His roll was 745 on a d100, not bad! Grimwold Mindbreaker rose from his body and floated east, across the sea, across Haarn, across the mountains, across the sea and through the veil to the world of Myzios, land of the minotaurs.

Grimwold Mindbreaker floated across the continent below, across the sea, across the islands, across deserts, a very large mountain range, across another sea and through the next veil. He continued on across a very very large and mountainous mountain range, past a white dragon, past a mountain with a temple, past a forest, across a sea and through the next veil. He raced on across a cold frozen mountain range, across a frozen forest, across an icy sea and through the next veil. Grimwold Mindbreaker entered the plane of Hypersol, he crossed a forested mountain range, across a sea, a Viking ship in sail, across a huge castle perched on a mountain the home of a giant or titan, across a mountain range, a temple set on top of the mountain with a throne upon which was sitting Axraam, God of War and Punishment. Grimwold Mindbreaker passed through the next veil.

Grimwold Mindbreaker slowed and headed north. Through the mountains and along the valleys, the sound of bagpipes wailed, he pasted over Celtic type villages, all men in kilts, and headed north now. The air drew cold and the sea frigid. Rising up Grimwold Mindbreaker saw a mountain in the sea, its head capped in clouds, he raced to it and into a cave that lead through the mountain into the interior. The interior was that of a long extinct volcano, hollowed out with a lake formed in the crater. Grimwold Mindbreaker went down the atmosphere was warm and pleasant the lake warm and alive with fresh water fish. There were caves about the lake going in Grimwold Mindbreaker found a labyrinth of tunnels, negotiated them all and stood looking over the lake. The mountains name was, Mount Lathcarron, the safest place in all the worlds for us at the moment.

Grimwold Mindbreaker cast intuition and tested if he could open a portal to Mount Lathcarron. He did this with ease. Standing on the surface near where the druid underground tree was he cast mind typing, it returned race tree spirit, level 112, profession druid.

Grimwold Mindbreaker did dream. His dream was of the Nightblades that attacked us in Karmalier. He sat on a windowsill, looking down a hall. The prince of Middleburg walked by into a room, Grimwold Mindbreaker followed. Inside were sat the upper echelons of Middleburg's military. They were all discussing the Crayg Rydorsson group, the halfling, Garack and that Eastern woman. Two priests of Agastar nodded in agreement. The scene changed, Grimwold Mindbreaker was in the dungeons, he was standing in front of a group of individuals with blackened faces and black outfits, illuminated only by poor candle light. Only one face was unblackened, that of the Nightblade we had killed outside Karmalier. There were at least a dozen men, each were given a piece of parchment. The dream ended.

Grimwold Mindbreaker did dream. His dream was of the Ibn-Fatwaani. The ship was ploughing the seas heading south. Its crew consisted of the nine sailors that Grimwold Mindbreaker had detected earlier in Karmalier. The dream ended.

Grimwold Mindbreaker cast intuition. He opened a portal to Zandhurst the Astrologer's Gate of the Nameless Ones. The portal opened in a eastern treasure chamber. The floor was littered with gold. Standing in the midst of the treasure chamber were three poles, topped by spheres, lightning arced from each, met in the centre and arced to Grimwold Mindbreaker who was jolted by the shock. A second arc then began to form between the poles when Grimwold Mindbreaker broke the spell.

Grimwold Mindbreaker cast intuition. He opened a portal to the royal treasury of Middleburg. He was immediately faced by four guards, one pulled a rope, ringing a bell, three shot crossbows at him, with flaming arrows and there were four viscous warhound, in leather and studded collars dashing at him. The bolts hit him, he cast mind typing and it returned human fighter 6 th level, before he cancelled his spell.

It was now three days on and the druids had gathered outside in their gazebo celebrating one of the rites of the coming spring. As we dined near the apple blossoms, Grimwold Mindbreaker picked up a presence behind him where no one should be. Serra Ibin Raaviat at the same time glancing over at the sailors table saw a flash of movement as someone dropped from the wall onto the grass. Serra Ibin Raaviat said, "Hey someone's coming over the wall!". Brother Hameth plants his face in a bowl of jelly as Serra Ibin Raaviat's arm swings over his head and she cast jolts and sends it arcing into the man. Grimwold Mindbreaker casts subjugation on the second but the spell fizzles.

Svall Strong-Arm gets up and points at the man who just dropped. Brother Hameth looks down Serra Ibin Raaviat's still out stretched arm and casts sleep and drops him. Serra Ibin Raaviat looks for a second man. Blue Bigfoot jumps up onto the table sticks his foot into a chicken, slips and spins around, he try's to get the chicken off. The second Nightblade has his bow ready, aims at the now stationary figure of a halfling removing a chicken, is about to fire when Grimwold Mindbreaker cast subjugation again and subjugates him. His orders are now protect Grimwold Mindbreaker, he slowly rests his bow. Svall Strong-Arm races at the downed man, Brother Hameth calls out, "Don't kill him.".

Thunk! An arrow slams into Serra Ibin Raaviat's side dropping her to the table. Thunk! An arrow hits a druid in the back throwing him forward onto the table. Both arrows came from directly across the table. Serra Ibin Raaviat cast illusion and rolls off the table to the floor, the illusion remains above, spurting blood and withering. Vernon Zarck cast shield. Sven Strong-Arm stands up and races to his woman's side to stand over her and fight. Brother Hameth sees a movement in bushes to his right casts a spell but it fizzles. Blue Bigfoot slides across the table, chicken still on his foot, onto the bench and races out into the open looking for a target.

Brother Hameth again cast sleep at the man he spotted this time he is successful. The bushes part as a body falls backwards through them. Blue Bigfoot catches a glimpse of bush movement and races toward them as an arrow flies from Grimwold Mindbreaker's subjugated Nightblade into this mans leg.

Brother Hameth starts to rise when an arrow slams into and through his hip. He cries in pain. Vernon Zarck sends a three times shock bolt at the archer, whom he located in a tree opposite, lighting the man up. Vernon Zarck's snake bites the first man to drop. Serra Ibin Raaviat tries to look around for targets and slams her head into the bottom of the table top. She is momentarily dazed. Brother Hameth is still agonizing with the arrow in his hip, he snaps of the tail of the arrow and crying out with pain pulls the arrow by its head all the way out.

Vernon Zarck, using leaping, leaps to the man in the tree, the man in the tree, using leaping, leaps down. Using his Nightblade magic, he uses leaving. A blinding flash and smoke appears where he was and he now appears, racing to the halfling from behind. He, using leaving, leaves again, more smoke and light. He is now directly behind the halfling, who is unaware. The halfling knows that he must immediately close the gap between himself and the other Nightblade in the bushes, so rushes on as fast as his legs will carry him.

Grimwold Mindbreaker's subjugated Nightblade aims at the Nightblade behind the halfling, is about to fire when his arrow shatters and he has to disentangle himself from his bow. The Nightblade behind the halfling swings his dagger at the halfling skull. The point penetrates through the temple, the halfling drops dead to the ground. The halfling's spirit rises but lingers watching event unfold. Serra Ibin Raaviat cast vacuum above the halfling, a flash of light and a puff of smoke signal the Nightblade's leaving. A second flash and puff of smoke signal the second Nightblade has awoken and has left the scene also.

Both Nightblades, using leaving, leave through a hole in the inner wall, then cross to the outer gate, and off into the forest. Vernon Zarck follows in hot pursuit, but looses them completely. The druids look over at the halfling, "There is nothing we can do for him in the time remaining.". Serra Ibin Raaviat looks at the arrow she had removed from her side, a bluish taint remains, she cast poison lore. She knows what poison it is and how to cure it, luckily it is not instantaneous. Grimwold Mindbreaker ordered his Nightblade to strip. He does do. Serra Ibin Raaviat says, "Give me the antidote to the arrow poison.", Grimwold Mindbreaker repeats the words. The man hands over a small veil with a pinkish liquid inside. Serra Ibin Raaviat goes to the downed Nightblade and removes his antidote. Brother Hameth says, "There are three people hit, you will have to find a third dose.", as he drinks from the vial.

Grimwold Mindbreaker to the Nightblade, "Remove everything which you can use to kill yourself, now!". The man removes a false tooth, removes four beads from under his fingernails, and finally removes a small vial with needle from his anus. Brother Hameth says to the druids, "Fix the halfling, now!". "There is nothing we can do not in the time remaining.". "You have to be able to do something, do it.". "We can't, do anything.". Brother Hameth thinks will I pray very hard to Synvaarna, he starts but pauses, he thinks I want his brain, and he stops. Brother Hameth whispers, "Shame about that.", and waits. Serra Ibin Raaviat says, "Well waste not want not.", and slams a sacrificial dagger into the halfling drawing out some fresh blood.

Grimwold Mindbreaker says, "Is there nothing you can do?", to the druids. "We have no healer of high enough level to cure that amount of damage to the brain.". "Where can I find someone who can, or where can I find someone who can cast lifekeeping on him.". "For lifekeeping you want a Temple of Lumina.". Grimwold Mindbreaker opens a portal to the Temple of Lumina in Tornburg. "Take him through quickly.". Two druids grab the halfling and race through shouting, "We need a cleric who can cast lifekeeping.". A startled one appears and cast the spell lifekeeping. This gives the halfling six hours to find a cure. The halfling who was just about to float off stays around and tries to gather the coins in the fountain to no success. The cleric directs a boy to run off and get his Holiness, he is the only one who could even attempt the spell cure major brain damage.

Vernon Zarck floats into Tornburg invisible and hovers near the Temple of Lumina. He sees a few minutes later a delegation from the Temple of Agastar arrive. A noble warrior leads this small group and enters the Temple of Lumina. "I understand you have a halfling here.". His Holiness goes, "Yes, that is right, we have stabilized him and I am in the process of preparing a spell to correct the damage.". The noble warrior says, "In Agastar's name it is a pity that the damage was too great for you to heal and the halfling died.". "No it is not, I can heal him, it will just take a couple of hours more preparation.". The noble warrior pulls out his dagger, thrusts it into the original wound in the side of the halfling's head and swishes it around. "As I said, in Agastar's name it is a pity that the damage was too great for you to heal and the halfling died.". The Priest of Lumina looks aghast.

"This halfling was a member of the notorious Crayg Rydorsson group of terrorists. The body is to be removed to the Temple of Agastar, Now! If you have any questions or further comments direct them to the High Priest at the Temple of Agastar or The Prince of Middleburg. In Agastar's name, go in peace.". With those words the halfling's body was put on a stretcher and taken off to the Temple of Agastar. Vernon Zarck watched from on high.

Blue Bigfoot watching from above saw all this and again felt the slender cord keeping body and soul together begin to fray. He sat by the fountain and watched the coins at the bottom. Someone threw in a gold coin then another, then a whole stream. Looking over his shoulder Blue Bigfoot saw a vast pot of gold coins, filled to the brim, the coins just spilling over the lip and splashing into the water. Blue Bigfoot caught a few, then some more and as the gold pot moved away he followed faster and faster as the pot of gold lead him away.

That evening the two druids returned from Tornburg and reported that although the Priests of Lumina did all that they could the halfling passed away. Vernon Zarck reported what he had seen as well. Brother Hameth said, "That can't be right, they should have been able to cure that wound after they had stabilized him. Where is the body? He, err, had something he wanted me to keep for him.". Vernon Zarck said, "I don't think that was quite the case, now was it?". Serra Ibin Raaviat said, "Yes, now where is the body, where are his possessions, they need to be passed onto next of kin.". The two druids replied, "Err, the body was taken away to the Temple of Agastar. Any questions are to be directed there.".

"Agastar! Agastar!", cried Grimwold Mindbreaker, "That bastard! I'm going to destroy the Temple of Agastar for this! It and Tornburg are going to be laid to waste. I can do it, I'll just open a portal. The Prince of Middleburg is going to get a taste of this as well. They are going to regret they killed that hobbit!".


So ends the Black Rose Campaign
{at least for the halfling}

 

 
(c) 1997 One Night in Middleburg Rolemaster Campaign Journal by Ross Stopford  
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