It’s all agreed that we need to rest up and plan before heading into the portal. Considering my Ring of Sustenance is still functioning, I take my extra time to do some experimenting with the items I found amidst the goo that was once the Imaskari wizard. From the intricate carvings and runes, I can tell they are definitely high quality and magical… but any attempts to activate them have left me scratching my head. For all I can tell the items work … there’s just nothing happening. Hmmn… perhaps they require something I cannot provide… like a spell, perhaps?
After a few hours time Ef Utan and Lenata have woken up, so I tell them what I have discovered and my theories about their uses.
“Okay, let me try a basic missile spell and see what happens,” Lenata replies as she dons the amulet and points toward a nondescript rock. Balls of light appear at her fingertips and launch into the rock with a streak of light and a shattering of stone.
“Hmmn… interesting,” Lenata mutters.
“Do tell,” I chuckle after I brush the dust out of my fur.
“It seems that the amulet increases the strength of my spells! A mighty handy device to have, to be sure,” she answers as she gazes at it fondly.
I smile to myself as I can already tell what’s going to happen next. “Tell you what,” I say as I step next to her and put an arm around her shoulder, “I’ll give you that amulet if you let me have that weird die you found back on the Demiplane of Dread…”
“The Fist of Emmercol? It is yours,” she responds and quickly pulls the stone out of her pouch and hands it to me. “It is a device of offensive magics, so be careful,” she calls over her shoulder as she wanders off to test her new treasure some more.
Excellent! I grin and slip the Fist of Emmercol into my sash pocket as I saunter over to Ef Utan trying out the other treasure I found. “Nice rod,” I joke as he peruses the crystal.
“Heard that one before,” he snorts before grabbing the crystal in one hand and casting a spell in the other. With a flash the traditional crackling of electricity from his spell turns into licks of flame. “Curious… it seems to change the energy of ones spell to Fire. This could come in handy!”
“It’s yours,” I say as I clap him on the shoulder. “Just don’t say I never give you anything!”
When everyone has finally awoken from their much needed rest, I analyze the portal once again while the others feed themselves with rations.
It’s dark… the place is lit with many torches as slaves dig into the night under the light of four moons. Scarlet-robed monks ride in seats attached to 14ft tall clay golems.
“Okay, here’s my suggestion,” I say as I refocus on the rest of them. “Ef Utan, you and Lenata would probably have the best bet disguising yourselves to fit in with the 10th Pitt soldiers; if you can dim the goodie glow a bit, anyway.” Ef Utan nods and with a blink his shiftweave transforms into a black mercenary outfit. Lenata blushes slightly and then mutters a prayer to her god.
“Vedis and Word, you two would probably do best coming in from above. It would be too difficult trying to disguise yourselves, and besides… no one ever looks up .”
“What will you do?” Vedis asks worriedly.
“Like it or not, I’m amongst my people now,” I grin half-heartidly as my shiftweave transforms into my traditional Mulhorand temple dress. “I will make my way through the slave camps and see what I can discover before we all meet at the entrance to the pyramid they are trying to dig up. Does that sound ok to everyone?”
“Sounds like a plan,” Ef Utan agrees as he gets up to tell Takero where to bring the ship.
“As our plans go anyway,” Vedis snorts.
“All right then,” I say to myself as I work my fingers over the runes of the portal to open it and stamp my foot like the Imaskari for effect. “We’ve got a stone to find!”
The gut-wrenching effects of portal jumping have almost become second nature to me now. After a moment we land on the other side of the portal behind a medium sized sand dune and hide as a female cursing in Mulhorandi rides by on top of her Clay Golem.
“Okay, let’s stick to the plan,” I turn and whisper to the others. “We’ll all hopefully meet up at the pyramid and figure out how to get inside before the rest of them. Good luck!” The others nod and I slip into the shadows of the dunes to make my way through the slave encampments as Vedis and Word take off overhead and Ef Utan and Lenata make their way through the 10th Pitt camp.
As I slip between the tents of the Mulhorandi slaves I notice a teenage boy getting a water bucket away from the others. I take a chance to gather some information and step out of the shadows to say hello. “Don’t be afraid… my name is Kenari and I have come from Mulhorand to help free its people! Is there anything you can tell me about what is going on here?”
The young boy looks me up and down, taking in my traditional dress and tattoos. “Lady Kimrasa of the 10th Pitt is running this dig. They found the entrance to the pyramid earlier, but every time they send in slaves none of them come back.”
“What they are looking for is very dangerous… your people should leave here as soon as you can. Let me and my friends enter the pyramid, and perhaps we can keep your people and theirs from falling prey to its magics.”
“And where would we go? They circle this sphere with their great ships… we would die before we ever made it home,” the slave replies doubtfully.
“Not so, for we have destroyed the 10th Pitt ships!” I answer proudly before remembering to whisper. “You have the word of Kenari Sanura!”
" The Kenari Sanura?" a female voice asks from the shadows. Crap… I got so wrapped up in trying to help them that I wasn’t paying attention. The female walks out of the shadows to reveal a young Elven woman with bronze skin and adorned with gold. “Have you come with the others from the stories?”
I take a step back in surprise. “There are stories about us? Which ones might these be?”
“The ones the Seekers tell…” she responds then shows me her ring with the same seal that I wear on my lapel as a pin. “I am the Mithral Scarab from Galarion, and the stories of you and your friends have spread amongst the stars. If you are all here and you say that you have removed the ships, then I for one believe you. I will try and rally the others if you can tell us can we get out of here safely.”
I smile in relief and pull the vial of Dvati blood from my sash as I point towards the dune we landed behind. “Take this vial and head to that dune. Behind it is where the portal opened up when we arrived. If you sprinkle this special blood over the area, it should activate the portal and take you back to the asteroid gate. Our ship the Nomad should be circling. Signal them and tell our 1st mate Hatuk that we freed you and are helping you get home. May Ma’at guard your path, my friends.”
I place the vial in her hand and grasp it briefly before slipping back through the shadows to make my way towards the pyramid entrance. As I peer over the edge of the hole in the sand I can’t help but shudder… as it turns out they are using Ankheggs to do the heavy digging. Ugh… giant bugs…
My head shoots up suddenly as I swear I am hearing Lenata whisper in my ear. We are at the bottom of the stairs to the pyramid and have taken out the guards… hurry!
I spring over the side and slide down the sand to the bottom of the pyramid to find Lenata and Ef Utan dressed in black with guards sleeping soundly at their station. “Where are the others?” I whisper.
“Over here,” Vedis answers as she and Word come around the opposite corner.
“The slaves told me that many have been sent into the pyramid, but none have come out. Which means…”
“Which means that you get to go first, Kenari.” Ef Utan says as he claps a hand on my shoulder. “I have the utmost confidence in your skills to get us through the traps ahead. Because if you can’t, we’re all dead meat.”
Gulp. “Hey, it’s me!” I joke with a smile as I inch my way into the dank and moldy darkness.