Monday, July 16, 2018

Malta Session 42: 07/12/2018 Into the Deep Vault, Defeat of the Occupiers, and Bugibba on the Mend

We catch up to our characters shortly after our first two encounters with Lete questioning Usage the cleric of Ahriman, god of lord of destruction and nihilism; about the location of Kakakombi, the enemy of Brudiphan, as well as the location of several other people of important from other cities. Meanwhile Lex uses a healing wand on the injured preparing us for the next battle. Usage continues by telling us the vaults are guarded by Bridiphan's guards and that he Usage, could be of use to us. He has no love for the occupiers. The cleric also tells our characters there is another in charge besides Brudiphan, and that individual is Rayit.

We start to formulate a plan: Lex indicates he wants to use the scroll Ta'Tabibu gave as the item he originally wanted from the vault, the name on the scroll is Shapash.

With Lex disguised as a Tengu he gains access to the Vaut and has a brief interaction with tengu who are practicing their disguises into Metas but before long Lex is discovered as an enemy and combat ensues.

Eventually, we dimension door into the inner vault and encounter a large soul ripping mirror in which Jabari and Lex fell victim. The remaining characters confront Rait and a new round of Shitans. Jabari and Lex and Usage were immediately feebleminded; Lete was then later murdered by physiological killer from Rayit.

After several gresum rounds Marco receives a name from Jabari’s bonded cloak- the name of the spirit and in his last words utters the name. This spirt was the crafter of the great soul ripping mirror, which at one time also belonged to an Egyptian pharaoh.

Rayit managed to escape, the spirit of the vault seemingly going after the woman.

Marco manages to survive and revives Carlo. Together they search around and find a mystical Rod of Vicious Ghosts that can and is used to travel to the mirror realm. Here Marco is able to retrieve the other characters, as well as the priestess Kakakombi, Hatkim, Bohenist, and unknown individuals we don’t immediately recognize as well as the real Rayit.

It is unknown what happened to the impostor Rayit, but eventually the spirit returns to the Rod; it is this Rod that Ta'Tabibu wanted. Eventually recognized as a citizen and bearer of the Rod and master of the mirror. 

By now the diversionary attack does reach us and Taboo is eventually given the Rod artifact. Meanwhile the battalion retrieves us and get us hastily out of Bugibba and onto the Bonded Mind.

Over the next week Bugibba would experience a transition back to the old ways- before the Babylonian occupiers. The city will arrange healing and the druids will arrive to heal and restore the characters. In the weeks that follow stories will spread across Malta and at the end of two weeks we are ready to disembark to Ghallis Rock and Ta' Fraben Island.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Malta Session 41: 07/05/2018 A Secret Way Into Ripae 2, An Icy Reception, and These Are The Vaults You're Looking For

We catch up with our characters at the dinner-meeting with members of the battalion readying our plans for the assault on Ripae; it is when Unt'wory arrives, he comes with not just the promised darkvision potions for our characters; he also comes with a map from Ta’Tabibu himself: a map of the vaults. A layout of vaults seemingly over our characters first point of entry into Ripae when it all went sideways and all but Lex and Lete were captured.

We are set to put our plan into motion around 11 pm and when the diversion from the Battalion at last occurs... Jabari teleports our characters into Ripae.

Our characters arrive in a terribly cold passage, walls and egress covered in a thick layer of ice; we encounter three individuals guarding an entry. When they fall we recover magical rings and cloaks, a set of keys, 643 gp., 6 potions of CMW, and magical heavy maces. Also, among these three are three scrolls of dimension door and three fire ball scrolls. 

Before long Jabari and Evagara use the Dimension Door spells to take us beyond the iced over room to the under-vaults and what seems like a tengu hatchery. From here our characters decide to head to the next level and hopefully the vault we are looking for. Our characters eventually catches up with Bosen as well as some elves, a ratfolk, an infiltrator and interrogator as well as a cleric Usage.

When the battle was over the only surviving enemy was the Cleric Usage who we saved for questioning...

Monday, June 18, 2018

Malta Session 40: 06/07/2018 We Don’t Need Babylonian Badges, Halfings of Dogtown, and Strange Bedfellows Too

We start this week’s session as our characters arrive early morning at Bugibba, under a Bugibba banner and with the Bonded Mind under the name of the Black Rose. Here we see half dozen tugs and scuttle craft ready to receive ships as we are duly hailed- everything seems normal in the bay. Closer to these helpful craft we see the symbol of Bugibba has changed with a Babylonian mark of Tiamat added. Our crew begins their tasks of preparing cargo gained from the Boxers to sell, while Sven, Evagara, Lermang, Stright, and Ahumm attend to docking duties. Beyond we see a large structure being built the ‘great dock’, a long pier to service larger ships.

Our characters inquire about trade to some local folk and are directed to an individual named Adoli, who sits under the symbol of the Babylonian faith. Carlo gains some insight in the people around us and gets the general feeling of ‘going along to get along’ between the dock hands and the new Babylonian occupiers.

Making our way we find a structure guarded by two guards outfitted in dragon styled armor as we find and then enter the establishment in question. Inside we find a businessman toiling at a desk accpmpanied with a six and a half foot tall brass task master construct with a clear marking of Tiamat upon it. Behind this brass automaton the businessman, Adoli endlessly stamps papers with a dragon-headed stamp with the word Ripae upon it. Our characters overhear some haggling over preferred trade that end results in an officially stamped document.

Our characters are next to speak with the brass construct who asks if we will be using the Bank of Tiamat and how long are we staying. We mention staying at the Gypsy’s Heart and learn that unfortunately it is closed for repairs. Adoli asks more questions about our purpose for visiting but with some sly talk from Jabari, Adoli suggests a two day stay with ‘special considerations’. Adoli suggests an old barracks to stay at and if we are truly visitors a half price writ should do. 250 in gold, 200 in gems was negotiated and after payment our characters are each given a dragon-scale badge.

Outside Adoli’s office Marco and Evagara stroll the dock sampling seafood along the way; while folk before were talkative, they do not seem so much these days. Lete however looks for individuals that perhaps are watching our group and notes there doesn’t seem to be any sense of urgency to the Babylonian occupation.

We head back to the ship to discuss our next course of action and decide to check out the Gypsy’s Heart. Along the way we find the Floating Death dock bustling with gnoll mercenaries as well as large rafts out on the water working on the bay to make it useable. Here we see Inquisitors supervising as well.

Heading into town, some of us under disguise we avoid harassing merchants with street carts and find that with the scale badges we are seen as part of the occupation. In sight of the Gypsy’s Heart we see all the outlying buildings are occupied by hostile forces and on the streets, barricades prevent a clear path to the Gypsy’s Heart. We don’t linger and head over to Dogtown to find a couple of Babylonian guards patrons as well as some familiar Halfling face. The Halflings don’t indicate they recognize us but eventually find a purpose to get close to us. While the races are being ran our characters over hear sailors complain on how this city used to be great.
The Apartments (That's Garamaldi)

Marco draws attention away from the information gathering characters with Evagara at his side and Lete at his back. Meanwhile Jabari finds a note on his person: ‘Beware Rayit. Do not stay at the barracks,’ then an address all written in King’s Tongue (to circumvent accidental reading). Our characters stay for a few more races then proceed to the address.

About an hour later we arrive at the address the halfings provided, the first thing we notice is that it’s an old apartment building once with a rooftop garden, it is walled with a courtyard. We go to a first floor apartment and are met by Metas who is surprised to see us. After proving who we are and disavowing our badges. We learn the basement of this structure is being used by a small resistance force; furthermore our characters learn that Garamaldi is in fact on the second floor and has been an asset to Metas.

We learn the High priestess Kakakombi has been converted to the Babylonian faith and Ripae has become the temple to the ‘new hoard.’ However our characters know the high priestess has in fact been replaced with a facsimile. We learn that Rayit was the betrayer; Zimol has been elevated and the Battalion has been officially disbanded and whose members are with the Fire Captain in the outskirts of Buigibba. News of Boienhiest says he has been officially bought out and relocated, but it likely he is dead. And Inquisitors have taken over the bank at Ripae and now uses Babylonian coinage.

Marcus asks if there are any open Tengu in Bugibba and learn there are none out in the open. Lex asks about people we know in the basement, we learn Img and the Flowers of Rebellion operate there. An apartment is arranged for the next few days. Lex asks if there is a plan to take the city back. Metas says there is a lot of danger in that because Inquisitors operate with ultimate authority.

Next our characters go to visit Garamaldi and we find we are not alone, there are others here too. Here, food and equipment are being traded in a small marketplace. Jabari and Lermang head to the roof top, Carlo goes to the apartment as Marco, Lete, Lex speak with Garamaldi and after some qualifying questions to assure we are all who we say we are; he is naturally happy to see us. We tell him of our capture, the trial and events that followed. We eventually bring up Ta’Tabibu when eventually Garamaldi states he does not know where Ta’Tabibu is but knows how to get communications to him. We learn Garamaldi is experiencing a number of difficulties and is being actively hunted by the Inquisitors. There is a lot of paranoia in the area these days and he believes the Babylonians may be too over confident. And if victory is to be had for Bugibba surely the Inquisitors should be dealt with along with proving the High priestess is a fraud. But Garamaldi admits he has no master plan we ask how best to save Bugibba. Lex expresses interest in contacting Ta’Tabibu with a message stating our deal is still on. Our characters decide to hunker down and wait for a response from Ta’Tabibu.

From here we all adjourn to the rooftop garden and a row of carrots where the message can be left. Eventually Jabari finds that the badges we are wearing hold some minor divination magic. Later that night Garamaldi knocks and says a representative for Ta’Tabibu has agreed to meet with one of our group at the old church of Dispater a mile and a half outside of Bugibba at midnight.

At midnight our characters head to the edge of the city; Jabari supplies Lex with a mount to carry him the rest of the way to the old Dispater church. Along with way, while there is no official curfew there is noticeably an absence of city activity. However when we reach the edge we see other groups also leaving town.
Old Church of Dispater

After making some preparations, Lex approaches and sees the church had been damaged in the past as he makes his way to the holy water basin. Eventually Lex spots an invisible person who examines Lex before searching the immediate area before another individual presents himself: from a passage behind a old pipe organ Unt'wory, a tiefling introduces himself.

Lex asks him if he was given instructions for this meeting, the tiefling indicates yes. Lex states our first run was due to Rayit’s betrayal, this news seemed well reviewed. Lex asks if Ta’Tabibu has any interest in a second meeting: yes he wants to establish connections. It is at this time Ta’Tabibu will step out from behind the pipe organ and take over the meeting.

Now that Ta’Tabibu knows it is Lex he speaks frankly. He suggests taking the meeting to an upper loft where there is a better vantage of the surrounding area. Here, Lex explains we had just arrived today and are interested in taking the city back. Ta’Tabibu concurs because as the tiefling states: nothing is the same after the arrival of the enemy.

Lex tells him of what our characters witnessed including the high priestess being copied with aid from Brudiphan. Lex believes freeing the priestess from Ripae is the best way to get the uprising started. Ta’Tabibu believes there to be 12 to 24 at Ripae and mercenaries, but admits loyalty only goes so far, they will break at a show of a strong force against the leadership. Ta’Tabibu believes the Fire Captain would serve as a fine leader should the Priestess be too far gone and is without her mind.

Lex’s request: Ta’Tabibu was compensated for three Egyptian statues? We need those. He says they are in Ripae. And after a few more questions Ta’Tabibu believes Boheheist is dead after giving up his secrets. Lex has another request of making an upside distraction in Rapae as our characters go in below. Ta’Tabibu asks for 24 hours; he is in contact with members of the battalion and with coordinated effort Ta’Tabibu can offer many diversions to draw attention away from our endeavors. Ta’Tabibu asks for his items in Ripae as well as vault #3 and would not claim any more. Ta’Tabibu will proved darkvision potions for our characters and a distraction for our characters.

If we should fail leave word in Qala on Gozo; however if we are successful the meeting place be at the docks and the Bonded Mind. There we will see what resources remain to take the fight directly to the enemy who are hunkered down at the Gypsy’s Heart.

Ta’Tabibu will plan on creating the diversions about an hour before our time to enter and hopefully draw enough attention for our characters to make the assault. Unt'wory will be Ta’Tabibu’s liaison.

Lex inquires about Hatkim and learns two nights ago two inquisitors discovered Hatkim’s hidden mansion but Ta’Tabibu doesn’t know the fate of the man; since its discovery the Babylonians have been active in the East Bay.

When Lex returns to the group we return to the apartment building Lex relays all the information of the plan with Ta’Tabibu via bonded mind so that no part of the plan is spoken in the presence of the dragon scale badge. 

The next day our Halfling contact wake us with a recounting of information we had mostly learned over the past 24 hours but offer themselves for questions; they also come with a small request for our ship. They would like a particular breed of greyhounds from a Carthaginian merchant name Bluath at a sea-moot NW of gozo (C2) or ‘monster island’. They are willing to spend up to 5,000 but don’t wish to spend more than 1,200 per pair of mated pups.

Eventually Unt'wory arrives to tell us the Battalion is interested in helping us but wants their own meeting with our characters as soon as possible. Eventually we meet with Lyeadaldbelo who admits that strange times call for strange bedfellows and he wants to verify the plan before he commits his help. Lete is reunited with friend Deled. Lyeadaldbelo offers our characters full members of the Fire Battalion and a parcel of land. Our orientation into the Battalion is a blood-brother ceremony that includes citizenship of Bugibba. After inquiring Lyeadaldbelo speaks highly of Hatkim. We also dictate instructions should we fall in battle we could declare services.

Lete informs Lyeadaldbelo that Inquisitors may have found Hatkims invisible mansion but once he hears where the Babylonians are looking Lyeadaldbelo doesn’t become concerned.

Lex asks Lyeadaldbelo about Rysywe of who tells us Rysywe operates a tug boat named the Hammerhead; Tazed, while recovering has been also been inducted into the brotherhood of the Battalion. Before departing Lete gives Lyeadaldbelo a belt of giant strength +2, a ring of protection +1, and a ring of rat fangs for his Battalion Brothers; Jabari gives a +1 short sword, and from Lermang a +1 chain shirt; Marco loans two +1 rapiers to the Battalion as well as 10 sunrods, 2 fuse granades and 7 Composite long bows +3 str from the ship.

We begin next session at dinner the next night as we receive Unt’wory’s darkvision potions.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Malta Session 39: 05/10/2018 Aulus Makes a Stand, Maven, and Gold in the Coffers of Paola

We begin this week’s session the next morning after the defeat of the undead warlord, a battle that many Boxer agents witnessed. We warn the Boxer agents that typically negotiations, ie honorable combat, with undead are not advised. However before that, Wally arrived sometime in the night and expressed interest in the great sword left behind by Para Sebek-Em-Of. Wally indicates that blades of antiquity, can sometimes be changed to other like weapons in the sword family. Furthermore the sword style surely originates from Africa. Our characters eventually ask that Wally examine at the Egyptian statuary of Sobeck and Apep for the rest of the morning.

Eventually that morning as our characters prepare to repay the sarcophagus a visit Wally emerges and while not for sure, he believes these two statues are either of a necromancer or dark priest magic that can sequester important religious people or individuals of power- old souls and store them in these Egyptian statues for later reincarnation.

Our characters head toward the Bard’s College and note a change in the city as Paola deals with the plague rats also learning that three bard’s met their end over the night. Upon inquiring our characters learn that Cian is resting after a long night but we do encounter Aulus who seems anxious to speak to our group and keen on proving himself. Aulus was also interested in speaking about the deep water Jail and the events beyond the Portal at the End of the Plank. We palaver for about an hour until our characters ultimately speak of Maven- the ghost sorcerer we are intent on destroying. He quickly offers to help and begins to gather his belongings.

About another hour later we find ourselves standing in front of a scorched ruin, formerly the Egyptian warehouse. From within the ruin we hear a metallic tapping/clicking sound; it is about this time our characters see that the intense heat from the fire melted some of the metal slag and has molded the sarcophagus to the stone floor. 

Carlo approaches the open trap door in the floor and flings a sunrod down below to see several flying metal insects. Lex detects magic while Aulus is certain that evil lies below. Carlo decides to descend first and is immediately beset by a construct swarm of adamantine insects. While down there Carlo did notice barrow mounds; Okpara Sebek-Em-Of’s armor of antiquity (+3 half plate); several Egyptian funerary items; and an area of impregnable magical darkness. Jabari sends a few fireballs down the passage; however the swarm has a high magic resistance. Finally after Carlo’s TK blasts the droning clicking sound eventually stops.

Below, despite the fire attacks there is an aura of coldness; Aulus begins raining holy water on the mounds when the sarcophagus above is suddenly moved over the opening above our position trapping us. Our characters turn our attacks at the area of darkness where we believe Maven to be hiding. When Lex finally lands the fatal blow against Maven Lex experiences a memory flash of the great sword’s former owner and that in the sarcophagus above contains one of the crusading paladins. The great sword changes in Lex’s hands to a rapier where he immediately tosses the sword to Marco.

Maven’s last action was to release the creature in the sarcophagus... above our characters a mummy awaited its destruction. However when we do finally destroy the mummy our characters sermise to truly destroy the mummy there are extra steps needed: spells must be cast in on the burial mounds below to finalize the destruction. This process advances our characters 24 hours before we make it back to the Boxers and later the Bonded Mind the following afternoon. When at the Boxers Lex speaks to Paulie about who purchased the Gold statue of Tefnut as well as two others one being a Egyptian statue of Anubis and after some discussion Paulie indicates that it was agents of Ta’Tabibu.

Recovered on the mummy was a mythril breastplate (worth 4,200 gp), +1 spear, headband of inspired wis +2, ring of protection +1, antiquity scrolls of spiritual weapon and summon monster 3 as well as 20,000 gp in busted up sarcophagus gold debris: half for the Boxers guild and the other half for Paola restoration with Aulus being shown as great help in getting Paola this much needed gold and that he is an asset to the city- in an effort to restore his reputation.

We take the rest of the day to make preparations on the Bonded Mind to leave Paola. Our characters inform Cian and Aulus that we are leaving for Bugibba. Sven expresses interest of being a crew member and is welcomed aboard after the formality of the crew voting Sven in.

Aboard the Bonded Mind are the crew members as well as Sven, Evagara, Lermang, Stright, Ahumm...

About an hour into our ocean journey, along the eastern coast of Malta, Jabari receives a magical message from Naxxar that the Egyptian fleet has been seen close to Ghallis Rock and he fears that their security is at risk.

We pick up next week near or at Bugibba with the following goals: free the princess, retrieve the Egyptian statues. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Okpara Sebek-Em-Of

Okpara Sebek-Em-Of was unaccustomed to loss.  The arrangement he had brokered had been torn apart by a strange group of adventurers from Malta. The deal Okpara had made with Rudjek would have provided The Servants of Decay two of the golden statuettes to study, the fallen Paladin now a Mummy Lord, and control over both the ghost and his ancestor The Undead Warlord Para Sebek-Em-Of who was cursed in his undead existence guarding the ghost sorcerer Maven.   Okpara doubted that Rudjek knew of his relation to the Undead Warlord, nor did he believe the slaver priest understood enough of ancient True Name magic to realize the full extent that Okpara would control the ghostly sorcerer.  In return The Servants of Decay were to have provided the slaver priest with a boat load of talents, children marked by unique magic and powers.  Now his trade and leadership was shattered across the burnt husk of the Deep Falcon and its two sister ships.  The Maltese hero’s reasons for interfering in his trade were unclear but the damage they had done to Okpara was substantial and unforgivable.  Their interference would not go unanswered.  

Monday, May 28, 2018

Malta Session 38: Investigating the Sarcophagus, Plague Rats, and the Honor of Para Sebek-Em-Of

We catch up with our characters around midnight to get a full nights rest with the goal of scouting out the sarcophagus we learned last game session remained at the Egyptian warehouse which lies relatively close to the bard’s college campus. Once in sight of the warehouse our characters see the building is being watched warily by the people of Paola and is guarded by former dock- now city guards.

Jabari steps up and addresses one of the guards, we promptly learn that Cian is inside. Our characters are allowed entrance to find Cian and Sven Jarlsson studying the sarcophagus. There is a light suppressing effect in the warehouse. Divination reveals there is a great danger within and woe would befall the individual or individuals who open or moves the Ancient Sarcophagus.

Lex explains to the Finnish clerics our battle against the warrior skeleton and that it was looking for something, Lex omits the details of the Egyptian statuary.

Lete looks up at the structure of the warehouse and suggests having natural sunlight bath the darkened room; while Carlo measures the sarcophagus as 12’ long 4.5’ wide and 4.5’ tall comprised of stonework and valuable metals and finds symbols for every Egyptian god with none holding dominance in its artistry. Towards the bottom of the sarcophagus are latches on each side. We determine the object has likely been over the past year but not more than five years and it is the only thing in the building. Ancient arcane and divine symbols predate any modern identification. Noted the sarcophagus' head points east, in the general direction of Egypt.

Jabari detects magic to find remnants of Cian’s magic; including residual conjuration magic, abjuration, all relatively recent castings as well as older negative energy magic. For the duration of Jabari’s efforts finds an impression of an evocation in a radius around the sarcophagus signifies a desecration spell casting each day.

At last our characters decide to take over sarcophagus watch for a few hours to give Cian a chance to prepare for consecrating these grounds as we hope to use Nogamon’s gift of a greater dispel magic shortly after lunch.

Jabari and Lex will wait and patrol outside, Lete will walk circles around the object, while Marco, Evagara, and Carlo also remain inside watching the sarcophagus. When suddenly the latches are found undone; we come together when after a few attempts to reattach the latches Carlo uses his telekinesis to clasp the sarcophagus secure once again. A few moments later the sarcophagus comes unsecured once again seemingly on its own accord. Does anyone read these reviews? Lex proposes there maybe someone or something in a dimensional space about the building interfering but doesn’t discover any noticeable effects. Ticks are noticed escaping from under the sarcophagus. 

Having run out of patience Carlo uses his telekinesis to move the sarcophagus to find a trap door where all the tick-like bugs are coming up from. Modern magic symbols surrounds the newly discovered trap door. Our characters surmise these magics are part of the reason the darkness is so permeating as well as symbols pertaining to what lies below the trap door. A minute goes by before the stone trap door springs out, as well as a tick swarm presents itself along with an impossibly large swarm of plague rats as well as the ghost Maven.

Our characters flee the warehouse with our lives and begin to heal ourselves after securing the door behind us; the plague rats swarms growing larger by the second. After about  a minuet plague rats begin to eat their way out of the building. Jabari and Evagara attack the rats with fire as Lete realizes they too fast heal. A solid minuet of fireballs after which we realize that these were mythic plague rats, there is still the ghost Maven, as well as whatever is in the Ancient sarcophagus.

Eventually Cian arrives to cure Jabari and Carlo’s lycanthropy contracted from the plague rats and looks at the smoldering warehouse. He naturally has concern for the people of Paola. (Those who contracted the disease are immune to the black plague.)

We return to the Bonded Mind and inform them of recent events before we eventually head to the Boxers Safehouse for a brief respite. Here Lex learns there has been a courier looking for Carlo. A meeting is arranged for the Golden Horn in the morning where Carlo eventually learns the message was from the Borg House: 'Broken Moon Monastery has been found' and a map of the Mediterranean and a 'rock' the Monastery is located. 

We catch up with our characters later that night and the dual with the skeleton warrior who expresses a desire to be released form Maven servitude. Marco fearlessly accepts the challenge and in the end defeats the undead Egyptian warrior Para Sebek-Em-Of who thanks Marco for an honorable fight; the shadows creatures perish around us and as the dust settles an old +3 keen ghost touch great sword is left behind. 

We are awarded our 8th character level and pick up next game session the next morning meeting up with Cian and Sven for an attack on Maven.


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Malta Session 37: Paola's Most Wanted, Egyptian Statuary, and The Stake Out

On our return to Paola from Zebbug we pass through the Halfling Village and meet up with the folks we saved a short time ago from the Black Druid's honey confinement, as well as displaced folk from Paola. Marco, familiar with a couple from Paola- met at last month’s Opera ball- folks known for doing business with the Egyptians. Our characters learn that this practice of trading with Egypt is frowned upon as of late and these people were thus are shamed into leaving their homes.

Lete inquiries about any rise to power or anything else that could have washed into the city when the Portal At The End Of The Plank collapsed. A woman named Afar indicated to Lete that Dom Mintoff has risen to popularity with his generous donations to the Bard College. Furthermore there are rumors of what’s called light eaters in Paola due to the fact that some magical lights have gone out in advance of some unseen horror. Additionally, further looting in Paola has been blamed on these unseen mysterious creatures. It is suspected that it is likely thieves taking advantage of the chaos in Paola.

Continuing on our way to Paola we decide to make a brief detour to the first tengu cache. When we get within sight of the tree marking the spot we see several armed and armored nondescript individuals. In an awakening action Jabari’s bonded cloak warns him through mental communication and visual means that these creatures are actually tengu of the Cold Clutch. However our characters are low on resources and decide to press on to Paola.

Arriving outside Paola as night draws near, as we pass a number of outlying ranch houses that look to now contain extended family and friends in residence; folk displaced from Paola. At the third ranch house our characters are hailed by a group of what look like dock hands who tell us they are searching the houses for escapees from the Bard College: Kasok, Rudjek and one of the Aulus- likely the doppleganger.

As disheartening as this news was we press on to Paola to eventually find a construction crew dismantling one of the iconic archways. We inquire as to who ordered this and soon learn that it was Endhin issued the order. Lex casts a detect magic and learns that while the archway is not magical it is capable of holding spells longer than normal. Marco and Lex convinces the workers to take the rest of the night off before we head off to look for End'hin.

At the Bard’s College we see an increase in security and a change in the campus lights from magical to oil lit lanterns. Eventually we are recognized and as we are directed towards the main campus we see magical detections in use and in a short time are met by Melissa and her mother Professor Mintha who usher us to a converted war room.

Here our characters learn there was an attack on the Bard’s College inciting the escape of several individuals. Cian was badly wounded and Endhin was neutralized and magically transported out to sea but survived. They have also found Rujek’s warehouse has been cleared out as well. There has also been a lot of strange unexplained occurrences throughout Paola but the attack was made by primarily Egyptians including a large number of gray warriors. 

As far as the archways are concerned the various resistance leaders agreed that archways were magical and as old as the Portal At The End Of The Plank and after long discussions they decided to dismantle the archways for future study. There was much distrust about the archway but it was Cian that suspected there was ways to track and identify folk who pass through the archway.

We eventually find End'hin using magics to question dead Egyptians, when he sees us he seems rather embarrassed. He explains he was at the Finnish church when the attack came, he felt a tug and suddenly he was falling from an impossible height into the ocean; flashes of the jailer still playing on his fears. He was eventually picked up by a ship called the Apple Baron and was taken back to Paola where he finds that the Finnish, the Egyptian and the Babylonian churches had been looted; holy symbols, logs, and religious items of value both high and mundane were taken- everything one would need to practice one's faith was gone. This was two nights ago.

Our characters inquire as to the identity of the dead priests End'hin have been speaking with. One was a priest of Apep, an Egyptian god sometimes called the snake god of darkness; and the other was a Thrall of Sobek, another Egyptian god but with a crocodile head. Both indicate under interrogation there is a ‘bomb’ or a ‘final revenge’ that has not yet been utilized in Paola.

It was getting late and our characters take rest at the Bards College. During this time Carlo has a vivid dream of being inside IL-Kataniz estate in Zebbug. Carlo clearly sees Chomson living a real nightmare; struggling as blood rolls from his eyes and nose, then suddenly a sucker lined tentacle appears and invades Chomson's head trying to farm information from the merchant about our characters. Carlo sees Chomson resisting but in the end survives the encounter but loses the fight. It is then Carlo wakes.

The next morning we learn that, for the most part, the People’s Trail has been continued since the major names have escaped. Marco, Jabari, Lermang, and Evagara head to the Bonded Mind to look over the ship and be ready to sail in a few days. Carlo and Lete make a visit to Cian and find him recovering from a negative energy attack but is relieved to see us. We brief the Finnish priest of our recent trip to Zebbug; this was followed by his first hand retelling of the attack on the Bard’s College. They came in an overwhelming force and he was unprepared. Carlo asked Cian’s feelings on End'hin and by all accounts what happened to End'hin was unfortunate but plausible. After some additional questions and sharing what we learned from End'hin we find out Cian had heard of the Thrall of Sobek but thought he operated out of Hagar Qim.

Meanwhile Lex would find his way to the Boxer Safehouse that morning disguised as usual and about a block from his destination he is spotted by local sneaks Kiley and Riley. Lex notices both attempts at pickpockets but after an attempt at a complement Lex is funally recognized and before long Lex is holding palaver with the Boxers. Here Wally tells Lex that it was in fact the Boxers who cleared out Rudjek’s warehouse and not the Egyptians. There has been attempts at recovering the items by what looks like a skeletal knight with supernatural help. Some of the items taken are a book of names of ships; personal names as well as books of renderings of people likely enemies of the Egyptians. Lex tells them about the Final Revenge and immediately Wally indicates that what Lex is referring to is a sarcophagus that remains in the warehouse. They have separated some of the loot they did obtain in a dry room and in a couple of bags of holding.

Besides the skeletal knight there was seen what is described as a dread wight gargoyle. J  Lex takes time to look through some of the stolen Egyptian items. A variety of Egyptian bibles for the different gods and were the Egyptians planned on placing priests. A dread tome detailing mummification processes; a book of monsters native to Egypt; as well as ledgers and logs, and finally information on valuables kept in Birzebbuga, an Egyptian holding town that avoided entering Malta through Paola and the Seven Churches. Finally, the book with the rendering of Naxxar also contains a rendering of Loshe and many others in Naxxar’s inner circle. Eventually Lex finds a letter detailing an entire ships hold of items they are seeking, a ship we are familiar with containing the funerary times and something highly valuable contained in each gold statuary akin to a phylactery or soul receptacle. Paulie had sold three in Bugibba and Lex learns there are two others in the safe house dry room. Lex tells Wally that some of the leaders of Bugibba are now tengu.

In the dry room there is little room for maneuvering but eventually Wally produces a statue that looks like a snake headed god *Apep and the other with a crocodile head *Sobek, a direct correlation to the dead priests Endhin was questioning. We intuit there are 13 gold statues in all one for each egyptian god in the pantheon. Besides the two statues there are other commodities that can easily be traded off; weapons, spices and minor magic.

Meanwhile Marco, Jabari, Lermang, and Evagara arrive at the docks to find some of our crew talking to the crew of the Apple Baron. Here our characters find that there was an attempt to mark the Bonded Mind with an Egyptian mark. This also occurred during the attack that saw the Apple Baron taking on survivors from the Bailiwick. The captain of the Bailiwick had a similar instance as End'hin, disappearing from the deck, and was falling from a great height into the water. The Apple Barron first found the Captain of the Bailiwick and, on its return to Paola began picking up its crew members and eventually when they were coming back- happened across End'hin.

Searching below the water line Jabari and Marco find some minor damage on the Bonded Mind but nothing major, the crew doesn’t believe the Bonded Mind was not singled out because most ships in Paola experienced similar events. After some thorough searching Jabari gives each crew member a 10 gold wartime bonus.

Elsewhere in Paola Carlo and Lete arrive at Borg house to find it broken and empty; it is clear that there was a battle here. A local citizen named Stright indicates there was a battle here the night of the attack and does not know the ware bouts of the past occupants. Carlo scans the area mentally looking for survivors. We find most personal belongs have been collected but we also find the bodies of Maas and Cral; killed by unknown energy draining. Carlo believes they may have headed to Dingli Cliffs. We decide to take the bodies to the Bard’s College before Stright offers to help as a former skilled combatant for Dom Mintoff. He takes interest in Carlo’s mental disciplines as a first level monk.

Carlo, Lete and Stright  take the bodies of Maas and Cral to Cian and learn their souls have been corrupted by negative energy drain and all that’s left is to burn their bodies. From there we head to the Golden Horn.
Para Sebek-Em-Of

Around four in the afternoon our characters reunite at the Golden Horn when Lex informs the rest of us about the Egyptian statues, the dooms day device and the skeletal knight attacking the safehouse. Our characters decide to stake out the safehouse and lie in wait for this skeletal knight that we assume is coming for the two Egyptian statues of Apep and Sobek.

At the safehouse we learn that each time the skeletal knight was preceded by a mist that settles in the area and that it just appears. While our characters wait Wally is going to relocate some individuals to other safehouses.

At around half past ten when a rolling mist begins to settle on the city block as well as several pockets of magical darkness begin to form. It dosent take long to defeat the skeletal warrior but we learn the creature must be dealt with one on one.