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When Jerry is with us, who can stand against us?
Flossin stood precariously on the crossbeams of the Temple, a broad smile on his face. Last night he had felt fear are foreboding about travelling to the countryside to get involved in the economics and disputes of grain merchants. A fight over a woman had sealed the night as a bad deal all around.
But this morning, Flossin consulted his precious carved conduit into the mind of Jerry. Lo and behold, it looked like Jerry had Flossin's back today. Flossin knew that whatever happened today would be a sign and guidepost to guide him in the right direction. You could never trust what the Great Gygax had in store, so knowing that Jerry was with him reassured Flossin.
When Flossin came across the body of Leela, he knew that this was the direction they had to follow. And if part of the mystery meant stealing a sacred relic so be it. Life was about adventure, experience, and staying one step ahead of the Great Gygax's machinations.
Bringing his focus back to the present, Flossin quickly stepped across the beam to the net that held the crystal. With a quick motion, he grabbed the crystal. Immediately, crystal spiders came to life. Grabbing the rope, Flossin climbed, feeling alive and triumphant. He never doubted for a moment that he and his new friends would get away. When Jerry was on his side what could go wrong?
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On to Tephu! Into the Library!
Days 25-27: Amestri, Khismia, Novid go back to finish exploring the Sepulcher. The Pharasmans are ecstatic to find this tomb, as it had not been on their list. Hadia crafts a wand and Østog works on transferring spells into his spellbook from the cultists and Nebta-Khufre.
The Pharasmans let us know that they're leery of one of us wearing or using the Mask of the Forgotten Pharaoah. Since it holds part of his soul, they'd prefer that the pieces of that soul be united, so that he can make the final journey to The Boneyard. They will consider it as something that we recovered while under the Ruby Prince's permit, so that we may keep it until then. As far as where the other pieces may be, they have no information (he is Forgotten), but the nearby city of Tephu is renowned for its library. Until we can complete this, we should keep all of this secret, as the cult may have more members or informants in the city. They gift us with a small Bag of Holding to keep it hidden.

Day 28: the Pharasmans finish their great ritual that will settle the last remnants of the recent Rising of Undead and calm the populace. We cross the river to Tephu, the City of Reeds, on a boat owned by someone referred by Khismia.
Since Amestri has been to the city's library before, we proceed to an inn near the central city's walls. The Inn of the Desert Winds is a comfortable spot in the New City, known for its musical entertainments. We take two rooms for the group and one for Østog. Since we arrived around the time of the Library's 10am opening time, we head right in, and research until they close at dusk.

- We found that some of the books we should be finding, were not to be found.

Day 29: Østog had made a late night copying another spell, so he was grouchy to start the day's researching. This day, we went into the Upper Stacks, where books were literally stacked up to 60 feet from the floor!

+ We found a reference to Hakotep as "the Sky Pharaoh who rides the stars by night" with an illustration of him on a glass or crystal dais in a temple in the sky. This also indicated that he used lost Shori technology to operate his flying city.

+ There should also have been a collection of scrolls from the Sky Pharaoah's personal library, but it has been moved the Spiral Archive in the library's Inner Sanctum. That needs special permission from the city's governor, Hatti-ya Deka An-keret.

Day 30 and 31: We await an audience with the Hatti-ya, whose secretary claims she has more important matters than to grant access to the Inner Sanctum. We try to impress on her that our mission is urgent (and delicate). Hadiya returns to Wati to get another letter from Sebti, more strongly worded that our mission is important.

Day 32: We return to the Hattia's office first thing in the morning, and she will see us Right Away. Deka, a priestess of Nethys, turns us down flat, but is interrupted by a summons from Mumino-frah of Sothis {a high official in the Court of the Ruby Prince}.
We seize the opportunity to meet Her Excellency and press our case in person, on her pleasure barge. I talk us past the guards and the appearance of Amestri and Sallah are influential in winning the affection of the Fan-bearer of the Ruby Prince. She orders Deka to grant us 3 days of access to the Inner Sanctum. The orders are cut as fast as possible.

Day 33: Deka's sealed letter gets us through the large door with Nethys' all-seeing Eye painted on it, the Inner Sanctum. We are told there are guardians inside: a cuestodaemon and some invisible stalkers, who may or may not respect our permission. The door is protected by a Symbol of Fear, which sends me screaming for the exit for a while.
The daemon examined our permit, and let us enter a long hall that started to twist back and forth. In a study off of the hall, we surprised a hooded figure at work. She didn't let us see her face, but she chatted amiably once she confirmed we were not Library staff about to evict her. She led us past where the invisible stalkers usually lurked. One of these spots had a statue of a human-shaped cloud, as if an invisible stalker had been turned to stone. Suspecting Ud-jebet was really a medusa, we said nothing about that.
She led us to a deep circular well, lined with books and scrolls and tablets going down as far as the eye could see, connected with bridges and stairways made of papyrus. Amestri started about halfway down, where Ud-jebet might have seen something about the Sky Pharaoh. The rest of us started looking from the top.

+ We found the index of the scrolls received from Hakotep's library, but the indicated shelves were empty. Those were found elsewhere, bearing a Winged Pyramid hieroglyph. Some said that Hakotep wanted a Weapon to fight enemies in the sky, but only scraps remained of any descriptions.

+ some scrolls had geometric patterns on them, but any details about these Weapon(s) had been excised.

+ tablets bore transcribed lists of courtiers, and mentioned his use of Shori magic again.

+ a dusty scroll about his burial said even his tomb had wings. This referred to an Inquiry by Hakotep's successor Pharaoah Djederet II had interrogated members of the Sacred Order of the Blue Feather, a secret sect of Nethys dedicated to preserving arcane knowledge, regardless of its morality. Members of the Blue Feather had stolen Hakotep's Mask and (something) around -1560 AR, fifty years after Hakotep's death.

- the Actual Scrolls of Inquiry are missing.

{Østog personal: didn't we hear about this Blue Feather earlier, separating the Mask? Is that the cult that we've been dealing with? Are they behind Deka's refusal to let us in here? Is Deka a Blue Feather member?}

As we exited at closing time, the remaining invisible stalker attacked us. Østog had limited spells to use against an invisible foe, so it mostly fell to Novid and Sallah to defeat it. Interestingly, Ud-jebet had already left for the day, leaving her research neatly stacked at her desk. Amestri looked it over, to see that she was interested in the Uraeus Ring, an ancient artifact of the river goddess Wadijet.

{Ostog, personal: Sigrun came from Wati to visit on the 29th, and we both took in some of this Inn's famous music scene. I spent the days working on learning & copying spells, then Sigrun & I use the evenings to find other restaurants and nightlife in Tephu. I bought some new spellbooks, well-made from famous Tephu papyrus. There is an excellent bathhouse in this city, Sigrun found it while we were dealing with bureaucracy. It's getting harder to keep our secret dealings from her. In that last fight, I got hit 3 times-- really badly-- and nearly passed out. A massage at the bathhouse is called for, though none of our group should go out alone.}
Session: Game Session 16 - Saturday, Sep 15 2018 from 2:00 PM to 10:00 PM
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Down under the Observatory, part 1
(Day 22)
We go down the staircase into a big chamber, which has a reflecting pool in the center, pillars, and many statues of Anubis around the walls. Amestri thinks the Anubis statues were added later. The walls are covered in hieroglyphs. Amestri says they are the history of Nephru Shepsis, perhaps an ancestor of Nakht Shepsis. He is the re-founder of Wati, a Pharasman who led people to rebuild the city after the Plague of Madness. Hadia sent a message to Nakht, letting him know what we've found.

The next large room beyond has a small altar, bloodstained, and many curtained alcoves along the walls. There are a dozen zombies shuffling about, and many more chained to the walls. I fireballed most of the clustered zombies that came after us.

That's when 3 more of those mage-cultists of the Sky Pharaoh came in the entrance to the first room, led by a female human caster. "We are the true heirs to the Sky Pharaoh's blessing!" she rants. Khismia fireballed them, as the woman began to chant in support of her followers. A short fight later, we had captured her-- Meret Hetef-- killed her followers, and destroyed the many zombies.

The altar had a silver seal on it, of a phoenix-- the Shepsis family symbol. It had been desecrated, perhaps recently, by someone evil and/or necromantic. The zombies were a mix of pre-Plague bodies and recent captures, perhaps from the city? No one recognized them, anyway.

The next room was small, and had twin statues of marinid psychopomps, which turned out to be the keys to a trap near the door. The floor was covered in an elaborate mosaic of a starscape, matching the River of Souls.

Beyond that was a long, wide, hallway that split in opposing directions; we took the left. The first long room had many open-topped sarcophagi on biers, and 5 festrogs-- hungering corporeal undead with a nasty bite and disease-ridden pustules that burst when the bodies were struck. This fight turned out to be a long physical one.

Across the hallway was a library-looking chamber with soundproofed, thick walls. Three more corporeal undead (skeletal champions) were here, one of them holding a magical cage with a severed head in it. The head's mere appearance was ghastly and unnerving, and it shrieked a spell as we entered. Two useful spells later (Halt Undead, Silence) and the fight ended fairly rapidly.

The books on the library shelves appeared to be the Catalog of Days, a genealogical history of early Wati, at least to 2000 years ago. A large table held many volumes of the journals of Nefer-ekhu, the head in the cage. She was the grandmother and unwilling advisor of Nebta-khufre, a necromancer from Tefu.

Nebta-khufre was apparently deeper in the under-Observatory, but we felt like we needed to replenish our magic before proceeding further, and we returned to the Temple with our prisoner, the journals, and the magic cage.

Think I'll see if Sigrun is free for supper tonight?

To do tomorrow: finish exploring under the Observatory, perhaps finding Nebta? Interrogate Meret, or read the findings of the Pharasmans, about the Cult of the Sky Pharaoh.

Session: Game Session 14 - Saturday, Jun 23 2018 from 2:00 PM to 9:00 PM
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15. Session
Nachdem uns die Kunde ereilt hat, dass Restov keine Nachrichten mehr von Varnhold erreicht und uns deshalb die Swordlords von Restov damit beauftragen nach dem Rechten zu sehen, machen wir uns sofort dorthin auf den Weg.
Wir machen bei Oleg's Trading Post halt und unser Orakel befragt seine Götter, ob und wenn ja welche Gefahren uns auf dem Weg nach Varnhold erwarten, wir sollen uns vor großen Steinen in acht nehmen.
Am darauffolgenden Tag erreichen wir ohne Zwischenfälle das Gebiet Nomen Heights und wir erspähen am Horizont ein Fort, von dem wir noch nichts gehört hatten. Natürlich müssen wir das genauer unter die Lupe nehmen. Navarion erklimmt die Mauern des Fort in der Manier der Ninjas und öffnet uns von Innen das Tor. Das Fort selbst war recht langweilig, es ist verlassen, da es durch unsere Anwesenheit im Südwesten keine Gefahr mehr aus dieser Richtung droht. Außerdem hieß es anscheinend Fort Serenko.
Kurz darauf machen wir uns auf den Weg nach Nivakta's Crossing, eine mittelgroße eher heruntergekommene Stadt, aber dort haben wir ein trockenes Bett nehmen können. Begrüßt wurden wir von Sheriff Lorin Caven und nachdem wir ein paar Einkäufe erledigt hatten und eine Gruppe Zwerge für unsere Schmieden in Oakport angeworben hatten, machten wir uns am nächsten Tag auf nach Varnhold.
Kurze Zeit nachdem wir Nivakta's Crossing verließen erspähen wir einen Hill Giant, welcher irgendetwas mit großen Steinen anstellt, genauer erkennen konnten wir das nicht. Gewarnt von unserem Orakel versuchen wir uns an den einzelnen Hill Giant anzuschleichen, allerdings tauchte während des Anschleichens ein zweiter Hill Giant auf, welcher im nahegelegenen Fluss offensichtlich gerade Fischen war. Prompt entdeckt dieser unseren plumpen Fantir, woraufhin er auch den zweiten Hill Giant in Aufruhr versetzt und ein kurzer Kampf aufbrandet. Navarion wird sehr unglücklich von einem großen Stein getroffen, woraufhin einige seiner Knochen brechen, allerdings nichts, was Fantir's Magie nicht heilen konnte.
Weiter des Weges entdecken wir dann Varnhold, schon von weitem vermuten wir, dass die Stadt verlassen scheint, da wir nirgendswo Rauch oder andere Aktivitäten erkennen können.
Wir erkunden langsam und vorsichtig ein Haus nach dem Anderen, finden aber anfangs nicht wirklich viel, außer ein paar riesige Wildschweine, die sich an verwesenden Hausschweinen gütlich tun und uns attackierten, sobald sie uns entdecken. Im Brauhaus können wir ein Rezept für cheerful delver stout. Bei der Gerberei entdecken wir, dass die Bewohner von Varnhold anscheinend ein paar Zentauren getöten hatten, da sie dort deren Felle gerbten. Beim Flussübergang entdecken wir einen Chuul, mit dem Mephisto kurzen Prozess machte.
In dem Seahorse Inn entdecken wir einen Striggan, der mit gespaltetem Kopf aufrecht mitten im Raum steht. Wir erkennen, dass er durch das Buch, was er in der Hand hielt in einem Zauberbann gefangen wird, da er augenblicklich zusammen sackt, als wir dieses entfernen.
Wir entdecken außerdem noch ein Hektisch in Holz eingeritztes „Nomen“ und lesen etwas von Maegar Varn, welcher der Gründer von Varnhold ist.
In einem der Zimmer des Inns entdecken wir einen Brief von Maegar, an Maestro Pendrod, welches kryptisch von Vordekai's Island und einem Armreif auf einer gewissen Insel erzählt.
Bei den Ställen werden wir von einem Schwarm Krähen angegriffen, die mir für kurze Zeit das Augenlicht rauben.
Das nächste Haus scheint einem gewissen Willas Gundarson gehört zu haben. Er führte sehr gewissenlich ein Tagebuch von dem wir erfahren, dass er anscheinend ein Armreif gefunden habe und dass die Stadt Varnhold in einem Scharmützeln mit verschiedenen Zentaurenstämmen verwickelt ist.
Nach einer 24h Rast haben sich meine Augen wieder so weit regeneriert, dass ich normal sehen kann.
Vor einem der Häuser finden wir eine ziemlich dürre Katze, von der wir durch Magische Zungen erfahren, dass die Menschen während der Zeit der roten Sonne dem Gesang des neuen Vogels gefolgt seien, was das auch immer bedeuten soll...
Als nächstes nahmen wir uns das Fort vor, welches von weitem verlassen scheint. Navarion erkundet allerdings das Fort wieder mit Enterhaken und erspäht einen Spriggan, welches sich mit 4 Wölfen gerade an einer Kuh gütlich tut. Der darauffolgende Kampf, in dem noch einige weitere Spriggans auftauchen und ohne große Mühen niedergestreckt wurden, ist recht kurz. Nur der Anführer der Spriggans, ein gewisser Agai schafft es unseren Waldläufer nahezu KO zu schießen.
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Day 20: We pulled back fr...
Day 20: We pulled back from the house of Gaunt Cadaver to re-spell, and camped under the protection of Unwrapped Harmony.

Day 21: we fought our way through the front room again, this time against a strange zombie. In the back room, we found Gaunt Cadaver and 3 more of his odd zombies. Between the spellcasters, GC went down quickly. In the central courtyard, we defeated two carrion golems.

Unwrapped Harmony thanked us, and passed on two bits of information. One was that a figure wearing a golden mask was seen near the Marid's Caress shortly before the "ka pulse" that released the mass of undead. The figure was seen arguing with something in a brass cage. We recall that the guardian statue under the Erudite Eye had been wearing some kind of mask before it was robbed.

That figure dropped a piece of parchment: a star chart of the summer skies over Wati.

We walked to the site of the last Elegiac Compass, which turned out to be in an underground tomb. This one was newer than the Plague, and belonged to a wizard astronomer named Menket Maatya. Amestri was pleased to investigate another tomb. The sarcophagus inside the lone chamber was trapped with a fireball that nearly killed Ostog.

The Compass' frame was inside, but the crystal and the mechanism had been removed. Someone had been in this tomb, but not recently.

We returned to the Ghoul Market, hoping to ask the 3 guys hanging around the Windward Oils shop if they'd seen a gold mask in the last 5 days. Instead, we found the 3 humans dead, and a ghast lurking in the back room. The ghast we fought, suspecting it had killed its human associates? We found that the back room was a lab for the production of mummia, and the 4 dead were all members of The Fading, another drug-smuggling gang.

Next items to try:
- visit Shartizard, ask her about someone wearing a gold mask in the last week.
- re-try the lone working elegiac compass. Consider dismantling it to re-mount in some of the other sites.
- exit the Necropolis to R&R in the city, and update the Temple on our findings so far. Someone with connections inside the temple may have been sabotaging the compasses?
- re-enter the Necropolis, to conduct a house-to-house search around the tomb of Menket Maatya: can we find the rest of the Compass?
- search around the Ghoul Market: ask about gold mask, search for source of ka pulse or compass parts.
- question the lamia cult at the Cenotaph of the Cynic: gold mask, ka pulse, compass parts?

Session: Game Session 12 - Saturday, Apr 14 2018 from 2:00 PM to 9:30 PM
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