After finding the two dead guards in the gazebo, Vall and Zakaroth returned to base camp to warn the four we’d left there.
Meanwhile, Chrysta and I went to investigate the boarded-up temple (of Gorum, as it turned out). It had been pretty solidly blocked up, with heavy stone slabs – somebody really didn’t want people getting in, and I think I can guess why. Even standing around it made us both feel increasingly angry; I’m sorry to say that we quite lost control of our tempers. Chrysta went for me and tripped me up; I caught her in a web and backed off, and as I moved away from the temple I found the anger diminishing.
There were some guards nearby, and I warned them to stay away from the temple. Chrysta was shouting obscene things in Dwarvish (something about sedimentary intrusions? idk) and eventually broke out of the web. She came charging towards us, and Vall tripped her, whereupon she bounced down the remainder of the temple steps still yelling. Vall and the guards grabbed her and Vall applied minimal throttling until she passed out. When she woke up she was quite apologetic, and I hugged her to show there were no hard feelings.
From there we went to the gazebo. I hadn’t been there when Vall and Zakaroth first found them, but according to V&Z the slash in one of the guards was bigger than it was, and the non-spattered clear space on the floor was growing. Even as we watched, we saw a drop of blood disappear as it expanded. On experimentation we found that there was no magic within that zone.
At this point I spotted eyes watching me, down at ankle level, near one of the gazebo pillars. A little experimentation showed that casting spells made more of them appear, and we decided that this might be a bad idea. We backed away while Faye made some sort of reassuring speech to the rest of the guards.
This was when we noticed that two more guards were missing. They had been near the back of the group when we were investigating the gazebo, and as best we can tell something had picked them off very very quietly from behind everybody else’s backs.
We instituted a buddy system: guards in groups of three checking in on one another frequently, and groups checking in on other groups, so at least we’d know if it happened again – although I’m happy to say, we didn’t lose any more. Perhaps the increased vigilance deterred these predators.
We searched the adjoining house in hope of finding clues as to what was going on. It showed signs of having been evacuated in a hurry, but beyond that we found nothing of interest. By the time we finished, the troops were very jump. They reported feeling urges to leave the group and go check on things, but only when they were far away from us. Very curious.
At this point we felt a call from the temple district, and we hurried back with all the guards, to the sound of constant buddy-checks. We gathered at the temple of Iomedae. Or perhaps Iomedaes; there was a divine presence over the altar, and a human-sized avatar before it.
We described the problem, and she told us the attackers were creatures from other planes (yeah, we’d kinda figured that) which shouldn’t be able to touch ours. Then she asked us to take her avatar to the city border – but at the temple doorway she stopped, and said, “This is not our world”.
It seems the city has been somehow transported – which would explain why the atmosphere was different, and how the thaumivores were able to reach it.
Very very interesting…
She told us we’d talk further in the morning, and we spent an anxious but uneventful night in the temples. The city is shaded by high mountains to the east, and so in the morning the light appeared first in the west.
We spoke again to Iomedae, who was also channelling the other gods. They told us that they needed somebody to carry the essence of all the gods back to our world. We discussed, and almost unanimously agreed that it wasn’t going to be Faye; I’ll confess I was very tempted, but it also seemed a mite risky so we felt it might be best if it was somebody heavily armoured, and so we settled on Zakaroth.
We formed up around Zakaroth with all the guards and hustled back along the road to the edge of the city. On the way we were ambushed by six things that are hard to describe; the angles were all wrong, but I had an impression of big eyes, teeth, and claws.
I wasn’t sure whether spellcasting would exacerbate the situation, but I tried a low-level grease spell, and that tripped one. Another leapt at me and attempted to give me the haircut to end all haircuts, but I escaped with only minor scratches, and Zakaroth killed it before it could cause more inconvenience. One way and another, the other five went down, and we continued on our way.
To be continued…
Shiny points: 16 carried over, +1 for summary, +1 for “putting the ‘rot’ back in ‘erotica’”, -1 spent = 17.