Sunday 17 July 2016

2 Yarthmont: Into Cynidicea

Stepping over the corpse, Broneslav entered a short tunnel. The air was cooler in here and felt like a balm to his cracked skin and dry lips. He stumbled slightly, but righted himself and continued forward. As he moved forward he saw a crossbow in the wall facing the door. I was unloaded, but looked large enough to have fired the bolt in the corpse's chest. Turning a corner he was faced with another stone door. The dust in the corridor was thick at the sides, but disturbed in the middle, footprints evident in it. This tunnel was used. Warily he drew his sword and unslung his shield as he faced the door. Pushing hard he opened the door flinching slightly in anticipation of an attack that did not come.
Tier 1
The room in front of him was about forty feet on each side and contained three bronze cylinders, each about ten feet in diameter and reaching from floor to ceiling. In the centre of each cylinder, facing him as he entered was a door. Broneslav entered the room. The door swung shut behind him. Seeing nothing else in the dusty room, he opted to try the door in the central cylinder. Opening the door, he could see a ladder in the darkness of the cylinder. It looked like it was possible to go both up and down here.

Tentatively stepping onto the ladder, he started climbing and soon found himself in an enclosed space with a speaking tube and a number of levers. It was possible to look out from here. The view confirmed what would have been obvious were he not so exhausted; he was high above the desert inside on of the statues on top of the pyramid. With no way to go from here but down, he began to descend the ladder until he saw a light below him. He continued to descend. Perhaps here lay help.

Saturday 9 July 2016

24 Flaurmont - 2 Yarthmont: Cynidicea

The sun was already baking the day when the caravan left Parsa for Sulba. It was well-provisioned and Arnulf had ensured that Broneslav had a djellaba to wear instead of his warm Karameikan clothes. Dressed appropriately, Broneslav found the heat more bearable as the caravan set off. It would be a week before they reached Sulba, so he determined to learn as much as he could about managing caravans through the desert. If he was to join the Torenescu trading firm as a fully-fledged merchant, this sort of knowledge might come in handy.

The day stretched on and one sand dune began to look much like another as the caravan followed the desert trail. Broneslav found himself dozing off in the saddle, despite his resolve to learn what he could. He only really awakened when the caravan stopped, which was regularly because of the need to water the beasts.

When night fell they camped in tents carried on one of the wagons. The night was colder than Broneslav expected but at least he had his Karameikan clothes to keep him warm.

The next day they set off again and once more Broneslav found himself dozing in the saddle. Suddenly he there was a shout from up ahead. He drew his sword and prepared to fend off attackers, but soon realised that the attacker they faced was not one that his sword could deal with. The guard at the head of the column was pointing to the south from where a wall of sand was approaching.


The caravan erupted in a flurry of activity as the guards and teamsters drove their mounts harder. Ahead lay a rocky outcrop that might provide shelter if they could reach it in time. But the sandstorm descended on them before they reached it. The shouts of the others were drowned out by the roar of the swirling sand. Broneslav raced like the others and stopped when he reached a sheltering outcrop. He could see none of the others around him because of the blinding sand, so he settled in for the duration of the storm.

What felt like hours later, Broneslav opened his eyes and blinked in the calm. He and his horses were half buried in sand, but the rocky outcrop had prevented them from being fully taken by the storm. he brushed himself down and stepped out to look for the rest of the caravan. Blinking in the strong sunlight he realised that he was alone. The others had been taken by the storm or found somewhere else to hide. Worse yet, the entire landscape had been changed by the storm. Dunes had shifted and there was no sign of the trail!

Checking his packs, he had water for a day for himself, but little enough for his horses. Likewise, he only had preserved food for himself. The horses' supplies were on the wagons, wherever they were. He would have to find his way back to the trail and the caravan, if he was to survive. He waited until the evening, as the sun began to cool, and set out.


The horses had collapsed the day before. He had not found the trail and had been wandering for three or four days. His own water had run out a couple of days ago and he was out of food too. He knew he would not last much longer, but a stony hill up ahead looked like it might at least offer shelter. He staggered onwards. As he got closer, he realised it was not a natural feature. It was a ziggurat. It was surrounded by ruined buildings, stones half-buried in the sand that tripped and hindered even as they offered hope. If this were a city, then there must have been water her at one point. Perhaps there still was. There was no sign of a well in any part of the city that he could see, so Broneslav turned his attention to the ziggurat.

It was five storeys high, and was topped by three statues, each 30' tall. That on the left was a strong, bearded man with a balance in one hand and a lightning bolt in the other. The middle statue was of a winged child with two snakes twined around his body. The third was of a woman holding a sheaf of wheat and a sword. A ramp ran up its steps to the top of the highest tier, where the statues stood. Broneslav began to climb. If nothing else, he might be able to spot a well or oasis from the top.

As he reached the floor of the highest tier, he realised that there was a hidden door to the side of the ramp that now lay open. The door was blocked by the remains of a Hobgoblin with a large crossbow bolt in its chest. The bones had been mostly picked clean, but the state of its tattered clothes suggested it was only a few weeks dead. He climbed to the top and looked around but could see nothing of help to him. Returning to the door, he prepared to step inside.

Saturday 2 July 2016

11- 23 Flaurmont - The Road to Parsa

Keeping to a brisk trot, Broneslav made good time and caught up with Arnulf Armbruster on the night of his first day's travel. He handed over the parcel and Arnulf was delighted with the magical, jewelled songbird that Sindar had sent him. Looking Broneslav over, he came to a decision.

"I'll give you 100 gold to join the caravan as a guard. You look like you can handle yourself, even though you're a bit young, and I'm inclined to trust you because you got this bird to me in one piece. What d'ye say?"

What could he say? Broneslav agreed immediately. The caravan would afford him some protection, even as he guarded it, and who knew what might opportunities might arise for gaining fame and reputation along the way. Still, it was not going to be a short trip. They had ten days' of travel through the hills, and then the desert roads might be easier, but the heat would mean that they had to travel more slowly anyway. Ah well, that would give him time to just relax a bit, unless they were attacked along the way.

With mountains towering up on each side, the caravan followed the trail over the hills and through the passes between Darokin and Ylaruam. There was no noticeable change when they crossed the border into Ylaruam, but as they descended through the foothills, the air became warmer and the plants changed. They stopped shortly before descending the last of the hills to the desert plain below.

"This is the last watering hole before Parsa. Make sure all the barrels are filled," said Arnulf to the teamsters.

Broneslav helped out as they piled the wagons with water. It was not a long journey to Parsa from here, but an accident could leave them stranded without water if they were not careful.

With the barrels full, they descended into the desert and began the trek to Parsa. It was only a day's ride away under normal circumstances, but the baking desert heat slowed them to a crawl, and it was two days before they saw the town's walls. Arnulf led them through the gates to an inn that he frequented. After the journey through the desert, it was a blessed relief to be within the cool interior of one of the mud brick buildings of Parsa. With a twinge of regret, Broneslav realised that they would be leaving all this in the morning to trek once more through the desert. With this in mind, he chose an early night over pursuing whatever fleshpots Parsa might offer.