I always thought the Games would be difficult, but the trials we have to get through before we even start the games makes the games themselves seem to pale into insignificance. After the healing the Lady Druid had wrought upon me i thought it would be best to just watch the enemy next door, we knew she was bad, but I’m pretty sure the fact that we stayed where we were meant she had no idea that the Agent had outed her, just so he could gloat. Xerx’ses seemed to want to give her some attitude readjustment classes, and while I think she did deserve it, watching her could be more profitable, so I relaxed and sat back, just watching life go by, seeing all the different peoples walk, or ride by that we were saving, and they didn’t even know it. The weather had been OK so mud wasn’t being churned through the place, even though we setup near the cobbled path, lots of rain could certainly make us a lot more uncomfortable. Slowly the sun sunk down below the horizon, which then lit up the Golden Tower where indeed the Lung must lay.
All of us scurrying around, trying to get to the lung, I felt somehow lessened the the magic of what we were doing. It just seemed to be, at this moment with the stars winking into existence in the darkening blue of the sky, with the sun glinting off the tower. I slowly shook off the feelings quickly as an Officious looking Git (I do belive that would have to be his title) waddled up to us and demanded that we pay taxes, I do understand the need for taxes but I really had the feeling that we were being part of a shake down, and on the wrong side of it at that, but after a little difficulty with coming up with a name for our little store (Turnips in Time would you believe) we paid our fees and the annoying man left. I don’t know why tax man have to be annoying, but they always seem to be.
Then Disaster struck us in the Vulpine form of Helara Hopner.. A Hyena in humanoid form, after stinking scraps of information that can cause mayhem and strife. Somehow I felt less threatened by walking across the Baalgor Wastelands than I felt talking to her, and thankfully thats where our two Captains excelled. Master Azariel seemed to charm her beautifully, but even then she harassed Overkill and Xerx’ses to the point of me wanting to curse her with boils or something of the like, but she did eventually relent, but not before getting a promise from us that she could interview us the next day at her Hotel (The best in Lopania of course).
We decided that after that we should hand the torch over to the authorities and get some supplies so Xerx’ses, Caminata and I would go to the tower, and the others would get the supplies. It was fully dark now, except that the city was light by Faerie Lights (not real faeries of course, but small magical lights). The effect was enchanting, as we slowly made our way towards the tower I kept one eye out for danger but the other eye took in the splendour of the games. It looked like a real tourist trap, but that made it no less pretty. People were even still out wandering the streets as well so we blended in easily (Xerx’ses was wearing his ring of human form) even though Caminata was in wold form, people were mistaking her for a big dog. As we slowly got closer to the harbour the smell changed a little, you could definetly smell the salt in the air, as Lopania was a harbour town, and with that there is always the smell of rotting garbage, thrown casually into the water, but I guess there must of be City Ordinances about it because the smell wasn’t very bad at all. I kept an eye for any other peoples walking about, and the only ones I didn’t see represented was our furry friends from the North. I was looking forward to meeting a Wolfen, the are supposed to be a disciplined fair people, more so than us Civilised Races, and the thing I applaud about them the most is their Laws against Slavery, no man/not man can be born a slave, unlike anywhere else in the world. I must say the rumours of them eating easterner babies is concerning but doesn’t really match well with their other rumours about them. I would love a chance to study them and see if I can get some of their ideas to take root amongst the nobility back home. We came acroos various statues in front of the different venues as they seemed to be the Patrons of those Sports, despoiling the ones representing the Evil gods did enter my mind, quite graphically in fact, but we weren’t here to cause Let General Mayhem to have his way here so we continued on. It was good just to be able to walk with friends without getting stabbed in the face multiple times. We eventually made it to the Tower and tried to gain entrance and found that we couldn’t from the guards, which was no great surprise, we also found out that the Childlike Empress wasn’t going to be availible until just before the games start, which was also no surprise. What did surprise me was one of the people at the tower took me aside and told me about bribery attempts and the fact that he didn’t take any, but was sorely tempted to do so, so I gave him 2 gold coins for being honest, he did try to shake me down for more, which amused me a little but I reminded him that hanging was the best thing a traitor could hope for, and he then went back to his fellows, feeling a little insulted I think. Strangely enough he was taking the word of someone who was bribing guards as someone who must be %100 truthful and couldn’t see the fact that they are willing to break the law by bribing would be willing to lie cheat and steal. We then tromped our way back, and found our friends who managed to get hot food, I mentioned that the place they got the food from was indeed the same place that the ‘ahem’ Healer next door was going to take me, so we checked it for extra flavours, but found nothing and we ate, and Then that scavenger Hoppner came back, and Azariel charmed her with a grace I have never seen him show before, and it lit her face up like nothing else, Azariel certainly has a friend in the Hyena Lady, which i feel will be handy in the coming days. She trawled for more info and was sent off again with promises of lunch at her hotel and we finally got to go to sleep.
Which was woken up by Xerx’ses in his full form bellowing, if you have ever heard a bull bellowing imagine it twice as loud, 5 feet from where you were sleeping. I snapped awake, there was confusion and a whole heap of pointing at the healers house, so I set a globe of daylight above her tent, apparent AliBeswa and his forty redistributers of wealth were sneaking into the tent and other odd assorted peoples, I eyed the tent and thought that there wasn’t that much space in it but hey. Asher thought that a sleeping spell could sort them out, but not knowing what was against the law here we decided to not attack them, but since we were all riled up already and the fact that Asher had been telling a story to try to get Xerx’ses aware of what was happening we decided that Asher finishing the story of meeting the Pontiff wold be good, so he continued his story, I started to get a bad feeling about the tent and reached to Oathbringer and asked if she would like the enchantment of Holy Weapon, so we could se if there was any Dark Presences nearby, she declined by saying that indeed, there was a large amount of Dark Creatures nearby, and that we should go over there and rip from them the semblance of life they were imitating. I brought this up to the group and we decided enough was enough and called for the guard, and indeed they came. To get us, apparently we where more of a threat than demonic forces on their doorstep, hell they were in the living room, and they were only interested in taking us. Then and there I decided that the law enforcement officers of Lopania were followers of demons and dark forces, and the best they could ask for was a good burning at the stake. These LEO’s were actual mercanaries hired from Llorn for the Lopanic Games, I don’t remember Llorn being a hotbed of demonic activity but it must be, if these guards were more worried about bringing us in than doing something about the Demons in their midst, which they didn’t, they insisted, with hands on their hilts that we come with them. So we did, we were taken to the offices of the Demon Worshipers until we met their leader Thurgood Andress, and I immediately knew he wasn’t a Demon worshiper per se, he didn’t have enough room in his mind for worshiping anybody but himself, so his men would be just as self centered. which in a way was worse than being evil as they would think themselves good people. This Thurgood then trumped up some charges against us and threatened to execute us to try and get us out of the games, he states that it was because of what CrIsis did to him in Llorn, but I knew better than that feeble attempt to explain away his actions. The Agent had gotten to him and he was now working for the forces of Darkness. I knew that doing anything here at this moment would cause us lots of grief, especially if we killed anyone, and it seemed that Xerx’ses might do just that, and as Isis is my witness I would have helped him slay all those godless guards. We huddled and decided that leaving was the better option as I was not going to leave the artifacts in my possession to Thurgood. We used the talismans supplied to us at Sekti-Abtu to jump there. I must say all I was thinking about at that stage was how to rip out Thurgood’s heart, and send it to the Agent. The jump to Sekti was uninterrupted and we appeared in a dark room not quite big enough for Xerx’ses, so he changed into bird form and we redistributed his gear amongst us, which wasn’t much as most of it had been left at Lopania. A couple of acolytes came up to us and then ran of with much excitement, and then Lord Farenque appeared. We explained our problems to hims and he started on about how the issue was resolvable by us, but sorry by the way, forgot to mention the Empress wouldn’t be at Lopania until a day or two before they started. This seemed to push Brother Xerx’ses over the edge and he went off “like a frog in a sock” as my brother would say, but it perturbed Lord Farenque little, but did get us the Teleport scrolls needed for us to get to the Empress and explain our situation so she could do something about her Self Centred demon ignorer before we did something more permanent, and then back to the games as we had to report in our selves. So at 2am in the morning we teleported to her house, and the guards there were almost expecting to us, and The Empress was indeed a sight to behold, even at this early hour. We talked to her about our problems and she decided that to soothe Thurgood we would spend a day in Jail, and she would rein him in and if we promised to keep to ourselves he wouldn’t bother us. That was an acceptable outcome in a way, it has taught me not to trust the law in Lopania, as political expediency is more powerful than justice, just as it was in Timiro, as we were doing time for crimes of one of us had done whilst the rest of us weren’t there a goodly time ago, but then Asher surprised the hell out of all of us by getting down to one knee and proposing his allegiance to her, and she accepted, it was a moving scene, showing that all races have the ability to love if given the chance, and Good old Overkill was stomping and champing at the bit, I almost thought he was going to genuflect as well, but Caminata started licking his hand and the spell seemed to break, and it then only looked like he needed a privy somewhat quickly, but more importantly Asher had bound a tie of love from himself to the Empress, and those things go both ways, would we one day see a kobold as King of Lopan, stranger things have occurred in this world. After the Empress left us we then pulled out the scrolls supplied to us by Lord Farenque and teleported back to our camp, and the fit hit the Shan. Our neighborhood demon ignorer had done his job well, and ignored the demons and other roustabouts brought together to kill us. At this point I vowed if that little sheep bugger screwed with us again i was going to send him directly to the Gods so they could judge him, as leaving that concentration of demons unmolested in a town is a crime no matter what anyone says. The enemy thought that this was a good time to fight, so i readied my self, with a quick prayer to Isis for protection I felt the slight pressure of the Armour of Ithan spell roll over me, and I drew my weapon and raised it upon high to bring godly retribution down upon the servitors of evil, and the fight was over. In the time it took to ready myself Asher, Azariel and Xerx’ses had defanged the group attacking us, they were all sleeping on the ground peacefully, even the demons. Oathbringer had no issue with slaying the sleeping demons and while we were going on about this the Healer from next door finally showed her colours and attacked, I felt magic crush into me and start constricting my lungs, and then suddenly it was gone, and the Healer was looking at Master Charmer Azariel with complete adoration on her face. Azariel then questioned her and we found out that she had been the one (maybe not the only one as the Agent is sneaky) bribing the people in this place, and that she worshiped Bes, she also figured out that we had the Torch, and her intelligence doomed her to death. As it was such a big issue the party voted on what to do, I voted to teleport her to Sekti-Abtu so she could be put up on charges and the church could hold her, but the difficulty of doing so dissuaded the other party members and the vote to kill her passed. Overkill’s weapons flicked out, seeking her life. Black tendrils of force flew from Xerx’ses fingers and hammered any vestige of life left in her body until she was as dust. I thought of what it took to kill an unarmed foe, but unfortunately for her the magic she wielded was far to deadly for her to be classed as not dangerous, and she obviously didn’t regret her life choices to know, so I could only say a prayer for her soul and mine, and wonder how someone could become so evil that we had to kill her because she was too dangerous to let loose.
Written on the morning of the 9th of RA by Indaris Excellar