The party continues along the road toward the town, but finds the gates shut tight. There is a sign, but no one can understand the language. Chhakuk realizes that the road, while travelled, does not seem like it’s particularly busy, so Riska scouts around the walls and finds another gate. She tries to communicate with the guard but comes up empty, so the party decides to spend the night outside the village walls.
During the night, Riska asks Chhakuk what he knows about the ritual they discovered in Iora’s book. Chhakuk knows that they need someone with arcane powers to perform it and create the device. As they talk, an Elvish caravan pulls up, and Riska tries to speak with them in broken half-understood Elvish.
Chhakuk: So what’d you find out?
Riska: That elves are assholes here, too.
Come morning, Chhakuk casts tongues on Riska, enabling her to speak and understand the local common tongue. The village guards allow them in, making it clear they are not welcome to spend the night, and giving them some information about a city called Tyr about two weeks north. Riska asks about magic and temples, getting a negative response, and realizes the guard is lying about there being no magic users in town. From the cost to enter the village, the party figures out that ten “bits” is equal to one ceramic “piece.”
As they proceed through town, everyone seems to be eyeing Chhakuk and Kayl quite closely. Later, they learn that this is because metal is incredibly valuable here, and Kayl’s armor and Chhakuk’s axes are attracting quite a bit of attention. The villagers seem to cluster around a certain building, so the party enters, finding stairs descending into caves. Trapspringer also notices two halflings in conversation. They don’t seem to be arousing any suspicion.
The elves and humans are ahead of them, negotiating the price of something (70 000 ceramic for four pounds). After chatting with the elves, Riska finds out that they are trading for gold, and that a gold coin here is worth about 100 ceramic pieces. She asks about magic and the elf pulls her aside.
Magic, the elf explains, is responsible for all of the destruction around them, and is unpopular. However, there are rumors of a cadre of magic users who protect the village, and the elf dabbles in magic himself. He vaguely invites the party to accompany them as they proceed to a city to the south. The party heads to the general store and purchases a tent before leaving with the elves, whereupon Riska shows him the book of Ahm Helmok. The elf explains that divine and arcane magic are different here; arcane magic is responsible for the destruction, and most magic users are not friendly — they will not be inclined to help the party. He suggests they go to Tyr, where he has heard rumors that a group of magic users may be more helpful — albeit hard to find.
The party takes his advice, retreating through the city. Kayl is able to save them time by cutting through the rocks, and Chhakuk keeps everyone moving with his spells. The dogs are not enjoying the heat, but Iora is able to keep them fairly healed. The party chooses to force march through the desert to cut some time off their travel. Aside from some encounters with very thirsty cactuses and hungry dogs, the next few days pass uneventfully, thanks in no small part to Iora’s affinity with the desert.
Riska and Chhakuk have a conversation during the night during which Riska asks Chhakuk not to tell Marlin about her encounter with Iora (and to make sure no one breaks the next damn orb). Chhakuk is amenable to her suggestion, but voices his concern about Riska’s violent attack on Iora. Riska admits to overreacting, but points out that she feels a lack of trust from the party — that she has saved their lives and they trust her only when convenient. Chhakuk agrees that Iora responded poorly, and admits that she may not be trustworthy, but adds that Iora has done nothing but helps them. Riska is unwilling to give her word that she will never attack anyone in the party again — if anyone stands between her and something that can help Marlin, she won’t guarantee that she won’t go through them to reach it, and she does not want to give her word if she can’t keep it. Chhakuk attempts to reassure Riska that Marlin is not the only person who likes her, which she quickly dismisses, and wrangles a promise out of her that she will speak to him before resorting to violence, which she willingly offers. The two wrap up their conversation, much to Trapspringer’s relief.
The next night, near morning, a tribe of incredibly vicious halflings attacks the party, catching them off-guard and mostly unarmored. The party struggles to maintain their footing, with Kayl being knocked into unconsciousness and Riska and Chhakuk nearly following. With only two halflings remaining, they run from Iora’s vicious spells, shouting something about Ahm Helmok. Taking a chance, Riska chases them down and yanks the glove from her hand, flashing the sigil of Ahm Helmok at their leader and shouting the halfling god’s name. The halfling drops to his knees before her.
35 000 (7000 each)
Spent: One each from Riska, Chhakuk, and Iora to save Chhakuk from the thirsty cactuses
Chhakuk: For achieving his goal of speaking to Riska without it ending in disaster
Kayl: For acting on his instinct to be in the thick of battle, which got him knocked out
Trapspringer: For achieving his goal of finding other halflings in this world
Iora: For achieving her goal of not doing anything stupid to get herself left or killed
Items Found and Lost
No items found
Spent 4 ceramic pieces entering town, 15 on a tent, and a coin less two pieces buying information