Session 20

The villagers of A-ka are gathered on the beach when you return several hours later. Injured A-kans are tended to under the palms while the able-bodied help search for those missing, including Mela and Sim. Wota is organizing efforts to dig out those lost in the landslide and guard a newly revealed cave system. He explains that the villagers are eager to leave Kal aboard the Parnish ships docked in the southern bay and admits that the villagers have discussed turning you in for the bounty, but were convinced not to by the elders. Mela’s body is found in the late afternoon, leaving everyone accounted for except Sim.

You offer to watch the new caves through the night. A few whispers, scrapes and hushed footsteps raise your guard, but the evening passes without incident. In the morning, you confer with Wota and agree to collapse the tunnel entrance after troglodyte tracks are found near the entrance. A large bomb is concocted with components from the town’s stores and the cave is sealed with a roar.

The A-kans have elected to sail south, around the rocky horn of the mainland, and join the Parnish in the southern bay. There is a grudging consensus that information concerning your whereabouts will remain secret. You help the villagers prepare for departure and watch as the overcrowded vessels disappear from the mouth of the cove.

With A-ka empty, you hide some of your more valuable belongings and secure the skiff. You decide to try and find Sim. The familiar climb to the top of the ridge leaves you at the top by noon. From tracks at the crossroads you can tell that Sim is near, you follow and find Sim hobbling, wounded. He seems distant, certain of the villagers’ deaths. He watched the retreat from the lifepool and does not agree with the elders’ decision; refuses to call Parn home. He is certain your information will be extracted from the villagers by torture if not greed. The rest of the conversation is muted, rushed. He is in a hurry to join the Atavash and disappears into the underbrush after goodbyes.

You lunch near the base of the newly risen dragon statue and decide to see what damage the earthquake may have caused to the lifepool. Several of the buildings have collapsed and a large portion of the climb has tumbled into the sea below. The once-beautiful veranda is now a ragged, unsafe mass of tile and roots. The lifepool is still filled and its chamber intact, though it can only be reached by a short climb over the marble balustrade.

From the lifepool, you see the cluster of A-kan ships headed south and east along the coast. You also spot what looks like lit torches being carried through the nearby jungle, along the switchbacks on the eastern face of the ridge. The group traveling the Waystone Market path is making good progress and will arrive at the nearby crossing within the hour. You opt to stay and see who it is.

Is it the Atavash? The Seravash? You are surprised to see eight azer warriors in full battle raiment enter the clearing at the feet of the dragon statue. The azer claim the statue as their own, in the name of Ikari, Lord of the Mountain, and order you to retreat. You resist and combat ensues. The disciplined azer close ranks, but the magic of Sasha’s Marriage Knife is summoned and, perhaps in response to the presence of the fiery, extraplanar beings, shatters the line. You easily defeat the remaining azer and acquire some fine weapons and armor, along with a new enemy.



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