A giant anteater-headed boy looks over the Great Wall of China

Session Five: Revelations

While Lesras dealt with the coin, the rest of the party looked to secure the cave to make sure they could rest. With the place thoroughly checked, Xaljin and Lesras took the first watch as the party slept.

As Thuradin slept, he experienced a particularly vivid dream, or memory. In the dream he was one of the two skeletons that they had seen at the fungal farm. In front of him was a soldier, whose name he knew was Furnas, who kept calling him Thuradine. Behind him masons and soldiers worked quietly to brick up the houses of the sleeping Drow.

Furnas and Thuradine - Thuradin recalled - were arguing about the morality of what they were doing when two lithe silver-haired figures caught their attention from the entrance of a nearby passage. Before Thuradine could go to attack the rogue Drow, he found himself brought to his knees by Furnas, a dagger stuck in his belly. He heard an explosion from the tunnel before he woke, Furnas collapsing in front of him. As Thuradin woke in a panic, he reached to his stomach to find a scar the size of the dagger.

After Xaljin and Lesrar’s successful watch, it was Green Foot and Cybille’s turn. The two were extravigilent after what had previously happened with the spider, and any danger quickly avoided the party.

As Xaljin passed out, stone-cold sober for the first time in a long time post-resurrection, he found himself not in a dream but in an unimaginably large library. Bridges connected bookcases to others, passages without end jolted out at angles, thousands of pieces of music played all at once harmoniously. A beautiful location usually but Xaljin was not happy to find himself here at all.

Before him stood a short well-dressed lady that looked at him, a look of contempt barely hidden through her rounded glasses. This was The Custodian, the keeper of knowledge for Xaljin’s god, Oghma. The Custodian explained their lord’s exasperation in not being able to get a hold of his mind for such a long time and asked what progress had been made in finding a stolen book title Narke.

Xaljin chastenedly replied that he’d made less progress than The Custodian would have liked. The Custodian, who had clearly expected this, explained that while Oghma was a serene and forgiving god, she didn’t have to be either of those. A book with his name and date of birth appeared in her hands. She flipped to one of the early pages, then proceeded to start to tear a corner of one of them. As she tore, a memory of his childhood came to his mind before becoming slightly more difficult to remember. Each millimeter made details more elusive. Things he remembered about it a moment ago vanished.

Details started to become tangible once more as The Custodian ran her fingertips over the tear, which repaired itself. The library started to fade as Xaljin heard her voice apologising as if being admonished by Oghma himself. To confirm that it was him, the last thing Xaljin heard was his god talking directly to him, promising to make up for The Custodian’s behaviour. He awoke to an old memory, looking in to a loved one’s eyes, in exquisite detail. He raised a hand to his face to wipe away a single tear.

The long rest over, the group got their things and continued through the tunnels. The tunnels curved round and along. Walking straight on at the first junction they came to, they eventually found the other side of the blocked passage and continued on passed. As they came to a fork in the passage, they took the leftmost entrance and followed the path until another rockfall blocked their way.

Just before everybody had the opportunity to turn back and continue down the right passage, Green Foot’s hand passed right through the rocks as she went to touch them. Lesras confirmed the illusion and the group walked through, all except Xaljin for the moment who was leaning against a wall once more.

The passage opened up into a cavern around half a mile from one side to the other. Small rocks and islands dotted the dark watery area. Green Foot took a chance and turned herself into a platypus in order to swim over to the largest piece of land on the other side of the cavern. There she found remnants of another skeleton alongside a bag containing a lot of gold. Unimpressed by the useless things she’d found, she made the trip to some of the other islands but found nothing else of interest.

Yagharek took a different approach, magically imbuing himself with the ability to fly. He flew over to the same large island and excitedly picked up the bag filled with around 250 gold pieces. An argument broke out between Cybille and Yagharek while they tried to figure out whether the gold should be shared out now or later. Eventually Cybille saw Yagharek’s side and begrudgingly trusted him to share the gold at a later date. In celebration, Yagharek made a controversial saluting gesture that was reciprocated by Lesras, leaving questions in the air for the rest of the group.

As both rejoined the party, they found Aenelis stood staring at something in the water. She explained that they had been very lucky because it contained a Water Weird, a snake or dragon-like creature made entirely out of water. She mentioned that they were usually found, or summoned, to protect something important. The party decided to not investigate further given that they had a task to accomplish, and all walked back to the fork in the road to take the untravelled passage.

Fortunately for the group, no traps had been left around as they continued round and down the path, ignoring an entrance to a room temporarily, until they found themselves in a hexagonal room. White stone surrounded them, a triumphant soldier statue stood on a dias in the center of the room. Around the edges of the room stood six statues of soldiers in different poses.

The closest statue showed a young soldier; the second, a soldier worriedly sharpening their swords before a battle; the third held their sword ready for combat; the fourth had their sword raised mid-attack; the sword on the fifth was falling from their hands in exhaustion; and the final showed a shell-shocked soldier. In front of each was a hole on the floor, the same size as the two coins.

Yagharek investigated the slots, dropping coins in each. After the third coin had been entered, the statues moved forwards aggressively, then stopped and resumed their poses one step closer to the party. Immediately realising that wasn’t a great sign, the group took a moment to remove the coins and think.

Thuradin took a moment to feel the rage of the coin, walked over to the fourth statue - it’s sword raised mid-swing - and placed the red coin in the slot. With that he turned to Lesras to enquire what emotion the blue coin was making him feel. Lesras’s paranoia was really building at this point as he backed up into the cave entrance. Thuradin caught this change in manner and ran to tackle him to the floor. Despite a strong attempt to prevent being grappled, Thuradin overpowered Lesras - inspired by Aenelis’s cheering - and took the coin for himself.

Immediately the paranoia was replaced with confusion and Thuradin started to feel paranoia fill his brain. Concentrating on the emotion he examined the statue, walked to the soldier sharpening their sword, and placed the blue coin in the slot before it. Still nothing happened, positively or negatively. Something was missing they thought, and - taking the passage between statue two and three - went looking for a third coin.

The passage looped them back to the path they were previously on, bringing them to the room they previously passed. This was the place of their next investigation. Furniture was strewn about the room, tables and chairs had been knocked over, a bookcase leaned against a wall precariously, and a dirty rug lay in the middle of the floor. A green coin was found hidden behind the supine table.

Aenelis decided it was her turn to take one of the coins but as she reached for it, the coin jolted to her right. She went for it again, this time it moved up in the air. With lightning fast reflexes, Thuradin grasped the coin mid-flight. That was the exact moment that they met a sweary ghost called Geoffrey, who had been playing with them by shifting the coin.

They watched as his now somewhat corporeal form march angrily from the room, sit in the middle of the passage, and continue to curse them out. Aenelis offered to play him a song to ease his loneliness in exchange for his help with the puzzle. The ghost passive-aggressively agreed to help if he enjoyed the song. Lesras joined in with percussion by banging the table and Green Foot apparated some sparks to entertain him further. Although it wasn’t the best performance he’d ever heard, hundreds of years by himself had made his standards drop a little.

Before heading back to the room, the group took a cursory look around the room. Cybille found a book filled with names. Upon asking Geoffrey about it, they discovered that he was a clerk prior to his death, logging the names of the people that entered the chamber to see The Blacksmith. When they questioned Geoffrey about whether or not he’d heard of a Thuradine or a Furnas, he explained that he didn’t remember names as well as he did faces. Upon being directed to look at Thuradin’s face, he immediately recognised him. He described a man who would listen to orders regardless of morality, a man that was known to torture. Geoffrey also mentioned that he used to have a thing with the Water Weird when he was still corporeal but couldn’t bring himself to see it since he died.

As Thuradin explained that the green coin was starting to make him feel nauseous, Aenelis lamented that had wished to get the coin just so she could feel something. Cybille questioned her about her life in response. Aenelis told her she had become a bit of a loner after her pod died, leaving her as the only survivor. She explained that by bringing pleasure to others by playing music, she could help relieve her loneliness temporarily.

Thuradin wasn’t the only member of the party overcome with nausea though, as Xaljin vomited drunkenly on the rug, which Lesras was currently investigating after Cybille suggested it might be a flying carpet. He detected a faint magical trace from it and attempted to channel his chi - and a bit of Xaljin’s magic - into the carpet. The carpet gave a small response but remained static. Undeterred, Lesras rolled the carpet up after Yagharek prestidigitated the vomit away.

Now back at the statue and dias, the group placed the green coin in the shell-shocked soldier’s coin slot with vague hints from Geoffrey. As they did, the dias opened, the statue tipped back, and a spiral staircase was revealed much to Geoffrey’s chagrin.

Lesras was the first down, moving as stealthily as he could, his fur aiding the masking of his footsteps. Behind him, the rest of the party was less than quiet. Irritated, he continued down the passageway until a set of stairs brought him into a much larger hexagonal room.

Tools hung from hooks on walls. Others were strewn about on workbenches. In the center appeared to be lava or slag in a brick and metal well, under which ran a small channel of water wide enough for a person to lay in. The channel ran from one side of the room to the other, entering through a hole in the wall. In the middle of the room, near the slag well, stood a 10 foot tall metal humanoid. In its hand it held a giant hammer. Eyes locked ahead of itself.

All of the members tried to get its attention and determine its nature. Aenelis took a moment, channelled her magic and reached out to detect it’s thoughts. A voice entered her mind, a voice hoping that they would notice he was in there, hoping that they could get him moving again with the key.

Aenelis explained this to the party, who managed to find a large metre-and-a-half-long key hanging on the back of one of the doors thanks to the help of Geoffrey, who hadn’t spoken to his friend, The Blacksmith, for a long time. Despite the key being particularly heavy for Green Foot, Thuradin picked it up with ease. The hole in The Blacksmith’s back was high up and, seeing his chance to prove to himself that he was still quite strong, Lesras picked Thuradin up on his shoulders so that he could insert the key. As Thuradin acrobatically swung round with the key a few times, the metal man started to slowly move. With each swing, more movement came to him until he was fully mobile. Reaching back, The Blacksmith pulled Thuradin from the key without difficulty and placed him on the ground in front of him. The party readied themselves to question The Blacksmith.