A Veyshanti Sort Of Arrangement

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Log Info

  • Title: A Veyshanti Sort of Arrangement
  • Emitter: Karl
  • Characters: Arissa - Sorcerer 3, Naerick - Bard/Fighter 2, Brynn - Bard/Fighter 2, Wilma - Fighter 3, Garthos - Fighter 2
  • NPCs: -
  • Place: From Alexandria to Veyshan!
  • Time: April 2011
  • Summary: A Veyshanti family hires some adventurers to carry a 'jar of ashes' to the family's ancient burial ground...
  • APL: 2
  • Encounter 1': 3 Small Water Elementals, CR 4
  • Encounter 2: 1 Imp, a number of level 1 Ifrit Sorcerers, CR 4

The contract that was posted at the Explorer's Guild seemed simple enough; a Veyshanti clan that had emigrated to Alexandria needed the ashes of one of their dead returned to their ancient family burial ground. Unfortunately, said burial ground was a day's travel into the Dune Seas, so they needed some adventurers to ensure it made it there past the dangers of bandits, scorpions, and worse things that inhabited the exotic and sandy regions therein...

"We have already arranged for a ship," said the man who posted the notice, Ghanim, a portly fellow with an elaborate and colourful turban perched atop his seemingly hairless head, his eyes sparkling with a vitality that belies his rotund frame, "And an escort once you arrive - you will just be security, of course, it may not be a dangerous journey at all! The risk, however..." A claywork jar with golden script inlaid beneath the bright glaze was handed over, some two hands in length and broader at the bottom than the top, sealed with a silver stopper. "And please, do not disrespect my sister Bara'ah by opening it."

The ship that left the Alexandrian harbor with the group is a small but fast affair, with striped white and red sails that billow in the winds as it cuts through the Inmost Sea towards the exotic shores of Veyshan. The captain's a bare-chested fellow with a braided beard and a cheerful laugh, with tall tales aplenty to share, and the sun is high in the sky, the salt spray filling the air with its scent and the wind warding off the day's heat. The weather is fair and the ocean sparkles like diamonds.

Hopefully nobody gets sea-sick.

On board ship, Brynn feels at home. She's out on the prow most of the trip enjoying the spray of the sea and the wind in her hair. She was raised by a fisherman who took her out to sea quite often and so she enjoys this part of it all. Though, as she's out there, she thinks back... Finding the posting was like the will of the gods. Finally! She'd have a chance to meet some heroes and learn their tales. She could fight by their sides and make them immortal in story form. Granted, the stories would -have- to be over the top and exaggerated, but that is how one tells tales of heroes, right? So immediately, she signed up for the trip, placing her blade at the discretion of the employer. Heck, she had no idea who she'd be working with, but she figured that she'd learn what she needed to learn in time! And so, back to the ship where her pretty smile spreads wider now than it does most times, feet adjusting to the rise and fall of the deck with ease. It's obvious that she belongs aboard a ship at sea.

Having made his round of introductions to those he has only now met, introducing himself as Garth or 'Numbers' (and having nodded with a cheerful smile to Arissa, whom he's already sort of acquainted with), Garthos is now spending his time on deck, sitting on one of the heavy crates and staring out into the nigh-endless waters. He's gotten a little queasy a couple times, but nothing terrible. You see, he's travelled on speed-barges down rivers and rapids before, but never on the open sea. It's fascinating to him!

Naerick catches some contract on the wall of the Explorer's Guild, heh, sounds like fun, might give some muse ideas to sing about someday. He straps on a pack and readies himself for the travel to the harbour for the travel. He climbs aboard and takes a seat giving a nod to the people that must be joining the group "Good day" he says offering greetings to people that follow in.

Arissa was very patient with the job description, offering an understanding reply: "Of course. The depths to which people can fall... targeting even the remains of the departed... you can't risk that. We'll see this through."

Aboard the ship, she's a similarly warm and patient passenger. Garth's smile is quickly returned, and she opts to stay around him for some of the trip... she has questions. "Will you be in Veyshan simply to complete this job, or do you have your eyes on anything else while you're there? If it's alright to ask." Oh, gods. A boat. Not even an airship, but a puddle-hopper - not that Wilma's stupid enough - anymore - to say that outloud. For most of the trip, the oversized dwarf is as near to the pilothouse as she can manage. Not for her are the sprays of waves, or the salty breezes that fill the sails. And at the mention of desecrating the urn, she just grunts. "We'll be gettin' her there." The friendliest of souls, she isn't.

"No, no plans 'cept this." Garth says to Arissa, shaking his head slightly, scooting over to make her room on the crate he's claimed if she wants to sit, moving that overlarge sword of his aside, too. "Might decide to stick around, though. Never seen the place. Hear it's kinda hot o'er there, though." Yeah, a LITTLE hot.

Glancing back from her spot on the ship's prow, Brynn's blonde hair is caught by the wind and billows about her. She takes a moment to study her erstwhile companions and then strides back towards them. "I be Brynnhildr Eriksdottr." she announces. "Unt you vould be?" Yes, she has a rather thick accent, and is dressed more for the cold of the north. She'll likely be removing layers of furs once we get to such a hot place as the Dune Seas.

"I think it do be fair sailing from here to the coats of the sandsea," Captain Brum calls back in cheerful tones from where he mans the wheel, his baritone voice carried by the winds, "Why, it was in weather like this that I outran the entire fleet of Charn, in fact! I had their Emperor's daughter on board, a fine thing, I think she fancied me, fleeing her tyrannous father..." The tale goes on, completely improbable as it is, and occasionally one of the crewmen call out a good-natured question about the tale to spur him on. "How did we deal with the dragon? Well, obviously, we aimed out course for the Wyvern Rocks..."

Naerick nods "Naerick" he says to Brynn, "looking for inspiration" he jokes as looks around the people on the boat with him. He is sure to keep his bag with himself, a little cautious about being around newer people. He looks out over the sea and smiles ready to enjoy the breeze as they travel.

Arissa replies to Garth, "I wouldn't know... this will be my first time there as well." She's quick enough to return Brynn's introductions, with a soft and warm attitude. "My name is Arissa. You can think of me as an agent of the heavens, if you'd like." She's not much interested in Brum's story thus far, as meeting her peers on this job is occupying her attention just fine.

Oh! Tales of heroism and the like! Brynn is enraptured. After she's introduced herself, she turns her attention to the Captain, "The Wyvern rocks?" she asks, hoping for a bit more detail on the events that transpired, or events that he at least -claims- transpired. In fact, she was about to go into finding out who could do what, and who was good at various things, but she's totally fascinated with the story instead...

"Wilmaethina Poraj Stonesmasher - but if you're callin' me anything other than Wilma, you'll probably not be finishin' up 'til after whatever you're needin' me for is come an' gone," Wilma grunts from her spot in the slight shade. Despite the fact it's hotter than a smith's physique, the dwarf keeps to her armor, running a 'stone over the edge of her greatsword - and half-listening to the Captain's tale with a bit of a smirk.

Garth, having already introduced himself before, just nods and grins at the rest quite happily as they do so as well. He nods to Arissa as well. "Should be interestin' either way." he tells her. "Why y' ask, though? Y' got somethin' else to be doin' out in the desert save this?" he asks her, curious. "If y' don't mind the askin'." he adds after a moment. He's half-listening to the tale, obviously well-aware that its authenticity is... well, not fully there, at best.

"Aye, lassie! The Wyvern Rocks. So named because they're as sharp as a wyvern's tooth, and they spread out to touch one another like wings in places. So we made for the rocks, hoping to lose the great black beast if it couldn't see us from above, and..." There's a sudden lurch as if the ship had hit something, and the sweep of the waves past the ship halts abruptly. Brum grunts as he's slammed chest-first into the wheel, and the goblin that's up in the crow's nest tumbles out with a shrill scream - catching himself on the rigging just in time, swinging above the deck's surface.

"What by the Leviathan's thundrous coils was that? Why are we stopped?" The question from Brum is a good one. The sails are still billowing in the wind, after all...

"Ve hit something... bottomed out, but this is the open sea!" exclaims Brynn as she rushes towards the nearest railing to peer down over the side. As she does so, she draws sword and axe... pointing her blade down at the water, "Vhatever it ist, it ist obviously vithin the vater. "Doest anyone see anything?!" she calls out as she searches the water for whatever it may be.

Garthos very nearly falls on his face in a clatter of metal. He stops himself. Instead he falls on his ass. Because that's much better. There's a clanging of weaponry and armor. He picks himself up, not bothering to dust off, and grabs his sword in one hand. Glances up at the sails. Glances down at the water. "Say, Arissa... how big can fish get out 'ere?" Garth asks her. She's the spellcasty type, she knows these things. Right? RIGHT?!

Naerick flings forward some trying to catch himself as they slam to a stop. He glances towards the front of the ship wondering what it is that could've cause this sudden jerk forward. He glances over to Brynn and reaches to his rapier drawing it in hand and standing to his feet. "Wha'd we hit?" he says not wanting to get too close to the edge, just in case there was another sudden jolt.

Arissa makes a tiny laugh at Garth's questions about her plans. "I am looking into a few things, yes. We'll see how that goes. I...!" She cuts off as the ship lurches, jolting in place... and mindful to stay on the center of the deck, well away from the rails. After a moment to gather her composure, she smiles and gives a very calm but vague answer: "It could be massive. Even the size of this ship. Or we may have struck barely sunken wreckage, or any number of other things... please stay on your guard." Nevermind that he clearly already is, with his sword in hand.

Wilma is already seated - however, the sudden lurch-and-stop as her almost slicing into her arm, as the wetstone goes sliding off the edge of her sword. "If we've gone aground in the middle a'the ocean, I'm able to climb the tallest bloody mountains!" as she gets to her feet, bared sword resting tip-first on the deck.

"I've bottomed out many a ship, lassie--" Brum bellows, which may not be the most comforting thing to hear from one's captain, "--and that wasn't bottoming out! I didn't hear any breaking of wood, either, and if we'd hit something, we'd have taken some damage... someone get Crewman Treelee down from that rigging before he pisses himself all over the deck!" As he's shouting orders, he's stepping forward to scowl down at the water as well, searching for signs of something down there...

...and then those who are looking see something. The sloshing of the waves against the ship's sides is growing rougher, splashing upwards... and then staying there, in tendrils of glistening water, several waves crashing right up the sides of the ship towards them, gaping mouths appearing in the water with a roar like the rising tide!

Naerick stares at the tendrils and gaping mouths appearing at the edge of the ship he Holds his Rapier up and says "C'mon guys!" then breaks into a song, his voice has a deepness to it, with only a slight rasp, he begins a tale of slaughter to give morale to the people with him. The song is about being surrounded on the battlefield and hacking through the mess and making it out triumphant.

GAME: Brynn rolls 1d20+5: (13)+5: 18 GAME: Brynn rolls 1d8+4: (7)+4: 11

What does one do when a monster appears in their face? Well in Brynn's case, she brings her father's sword up and slices at the beast's tentacles as she spins back, using her axe to ward off any retaliation. "The vater itself attacks!" she exclaims, taking heart that someone could take the time to be musical at a moment like this. Even if to her, it's just noise, she understands the concept and it still manages to inspire her.

Wilma's eyes widen at the sight of the mouths coming out of the waves, and immediately heads towards Brynn and her bit of the ship. "What the hells?" Sword is thankfully out, but this dwarf doesn't even try to charge. She can't swim well, after all - and charging for waves, well. Call her paranoid!

GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+2+4+1+1+1-1: (11)+2+4+1+1+1+-1: 19 GAME: Garthos rolls 2d6+9: (12)+9: 21

GAME: Karl rolls 1d20+5: (17)+5: 22 GAME: Karl rolls 1d20+5: (11)+5: 16 GAME: Karl rolls 1d6+3: (3)+3: 6 GAME: Karl damaged Garthos for 6 points. 17 remaining.

"Swords work on these fine, yeah?" Garthos asks Arissa, stepping between her and the gaping maws of watery doom like the wall of muscle and armor he's supposed to be. He takes a balanced stance, sword in hand... and soon as one of the beasties slides over, he brings the weapon up and over his head, shouting his fury as he swings it with insane force. The blade goes through the watery shape, leaving one big, big cleft in its semi-mutable form.

The waves crash over the side of the ship like the hungry tide, only to be met with the steel and valor of the warriors aboard. The strike fron Brynn's blade is returned with a wat'ry psuedopod that lashes out her way, but she deftly sidesteps it - less lucky is Garthos, the mighty blade-wielder finding himself crashed upon by the fierce tide itself, or so it seems, battering and smashing him in his armour, even as the one that he struck bubbles away to sea-foam on the deck, spilling slick underfoot.

Arissa reacts oddly to the waves 'coming to life' on the deck. She smiles, eyes glazing over as her hips begin to sway from side to side as Garthos takes position in front of her and hacks water apart. "As you've seen, they certainly do!" She begins softly 'singing' in Celestial, a white circle forming on the deck... magical runes moving slowly within it.

GAME: Naerick rolls weapon1+1: (20)+6+1: 27 GAME: Naerick rolls 1d6+4+1: (6)+4+1: 11

GAME: Brynn rolls 1d20+9: (1)+9: 10

GAME: Wilma rolls 1d20+9: (12)+9: 21

Obviously Naerick's attack caught Brynn off guard. She has her sword and axe out, and was spinning as she prepared to swipe both at the elemental in her face. When it suddenly falls apart from a stab wound. She's a little confused for a moment before she spies Naerick and then snorts before turning to run towards the other enemy. Of course, her boot slips on the fallen elemental and she's barely able to keep herself on the ship.. weapons in hand.

GAME: Wilma rolls 2d6+7: (7)+7: 14

GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+2+4+1+1+1-1: (5)+2+4+1+1+1+-1: 13

Wilma had just almost gotten to where Brynn was facing off with the element. And what does the dwarf find?! Sea-foam! Cussing up enough to storm - though please not now! the dwarf turns, and heads towards the other one. Unable to give forth to her rage and charge across the slippery surface, the be-armoured dwarf swings her greatsword into the mouthy seafoam - injurying it slice, at least if one is to judge by how deeply the blade went in, and came back out.

GAME: Karl rolls 1d20+5: (13)+5: 18 GAME: Karl rolls 1d6+3: (1)+3: 4 GAME: Karl damaged Wilma for 4 points. 31 remaining.

The elemental surges back as Wilma's blade cleaves into it - evading, thusly, the next attack that comes for it - and then crashes forward with the roar of the sea on the rocks against the last one that injured it, battering into her, her eyes stinging with the salt of its attack!

Naerick follows up with his song, moving over towards an elemental flourishing a thrust with his Rapier as he presses the blade through the creature. He slides the blade back and gives it a second flourish as he watches the elemental come crashing down into the sea foam.

Garthos lifts his weapon, and is about to swing it when Brynn goes into what looks to him like a very odd Aesir dance. "What the...?" he goes, and in his confusion, the next swing of the greatsword isn't quite as well-aimed as the last. It slices nothing but thin air. He snorts. "Do seas do this often? Attack ships, I mean?" he asides to Arissa.

GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+4: (10)+4: 14 GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+4: (15)+4: 19 GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+4: (18)+4: 22 GAME: Arissa rolls 1d4+3: (1)+3: 4 GAME: Arissa rolls 1d4+3: (4)+3: 7

Recovering from her wet deck slippage, Brynn mutters something darkly in her native tongue before she looks over towards Garthos, "Be ye alright?" she asks. "Do you require a healing chant?" she adds as she heads his way, making sure to keep her footing now.

Arissa's incantations move the circle near the remaining elemental, bringing an eagle into the world! It looks mostly normal, though the feathers atop its head are gold. It lets out a screech, then begins pecking and cutting away at the waves, dispersing them! The bird, seeing no other obvious threats, then just stands around pecking a bit at its feathers, trying to shake the water out.

Arissa doesn't immediately answer Garthos, instead speaking in Celestial to the eagle (not that it understands regardless), "(Thank you.)" Then her eyes return to normal, and so does her speech as she responds to the question. "They can. But you're not automatically safer on an airship either... the skies themselves can manifest in similar fashion to attack you. Is everyone okay?"

As the last of the elementals spills away as foam and slickness on the deck, there's another sharp /lurch/ of the desk - that sends the poor goblin watchman tumbling to the deck with a pained squeak as he hits - as the ship begins to move once more, and the captain has to all but lunge for the wheel to get her back under control. "Whoa, there! Whoa, Mermaid's Kiss, where do you think you're going, girl-- alright, alright-- I think we're free of whatever the bloody hells that was!"

There's some superstitious mutterings from the crew, a few coins tossed overboard to the Devourer. The sea rising up to devour you is supposed to be a metaphor, after all!

"Yer kiddin'." says Garthos to Arissa, frowning a bit over her words. He sighs, rubs at his temples. The AIR can attack him. That's kind of depressing, really. "I'm a little banged up. Ain't TOO bad, but..." he answers Brynn. He lifts his shirt, showing that he has a rather large bruise that is also bleeding somewhat from where the elemental struck him. It's roughly equal to the average swordblow, perhaps a bit worse. Wilma sways alarmingly when the ship returns to its previous course, before shaking her head and -carefully- heading back towards the pilothouse. "Don't know, don't wanna know - as long as they're not draggin' me overboard, I'll be fine." As for the salt in her eyes - that's not an injury! It's not even a fleshwound!

GAME: Brynn casts cure light wounds. GAME: Brynn rolls 1d8+1: (8)+1: 9 GAME: Karl damaged Garthos for -9 points. 23 remaining.

"I don't usually make jokes, especially about things that can harm others." Arissa replies in a soft, pleased tone. The eagle vanishes in a flash of white light after several more seconds, while Arissa starts to retrieve a wand... then reconsiders as Brynn approaches Garthos instead. In light of that, Arissa simply stands quietly.

"Ach. I've seen bruises like that before. They can be painful.." and she reaches a hand out to lay it gently upon the bruise as she begins chanting a soft sound from her homeland. There's no real -words- to it... just the rhythmic chanting before the bruise begins to fade. "There.." she remarks, "Angoron be at ye side Garthos." she adds before pulling her hand away. "Well, it looks as if ve be under vay again." she says with an approving nod.

Naerick smiles and holds his rapier as he finishes the song "Well I think we make a nice team" he jokes looking as Brynn heals Garthos. As the ship begins moving again he takes a seat once more keeping his sword at the ready just in case there were more of these creatures on the way to where they are going.

"He always is, I should hope!" exclaims Garthos, poking at the newly-healed skin experimentally. He's a fellow Angoron fan, see? "Y'got some talent there, both with the magic and the blades." he says to Brynn, grinning. "Thanks." His next words address all of the other adventurers, as he sheathes his sword: "That was a job well done, yeah." He gives Arissa, who's nearest to him, a very, VERY gentle clap on the shoulder.

Arissa blinks as Garthos casually - albeit lightly - lays hand on her. She gets over it almost immediately, smile returning. "Everyone did well... and thank you. You didn't need to place yourself between me and the elements themselves, but I appreciate it."

"That's bein' one of the jobs of us folks with more brawn than brains," Wilma calls out, "At least for long enough for you to be pullin' an eagle outta your bag o'tricks."

The next hours of the journey pass peacefully enough, if uneasily as the crew (and likely the adventurers) keep glancing overboard, and some flinch at every particularly large swell that crashes to the ship's side. enough to splash over the deck.

Captain Brum's tall tales have even been silenced by the ominous occurrance. Why would the elementals attack the ship, after all, and on a oft-traffic'd route at that? The crew don't out-and-out accuse the adventurers of having something to do with it, but it lingers under the subtext of things.

Before long, the odd, fan-topped trees of the coastline come into view with a call from the goblin above, and the Mermaid's Kiss is pulling into the harbor of a small, cluttered little town that's a far cry from the tales of the grand cities of the Golden Coast... but then, the Golden Coast is on the other side of Veyshan. Clay buildings half-built upon one another clutter around the small harbor, the lanes and aisles filled with colourful awnings and stalls, and even as the gangplank is lowered, the shouts of merchants can be heard from the markets. Turbans and loose, flowing garments seem to be the norm, and great, shaggy humped beasts clump along here and there burdened down with bags and packages like draft horses. The salt air of the sea mingles with the scents of the city in a unique bouquet.

"Battle, heroes, and magic. A classic combination." begins Brynn. "Now, if ve had any mead, it vould be even better!" She grins to Garthos and shakes her head, "Mein fater taught me the blade... this sword be his before he gifted it to me." she adds before heading back towards the prow to keep a lookout up ahead. She does however get a good grip there so that if there's any sudden stops, she doesn't dive in the drink so to speak.

Naerick watches the waves and turns to Burm as they come in contact with the coast. He looks down and shrugs "Well I guess we are here?" he asks to no one in particular standing up with his blade, sheathing it as he prepares to board land.

"Is just the way I was taught back home - if y' wear armor and use a blade, y' outta protect those who don't." Garthos answers Arissa, shrugging lightly. He retakes his previous seat on the crate, unsheathing his blade and beginning to clean the saltwater from the metal so it doesn't corrode it. "Gives y' breathin' room so y' can blast the enemy, yeah?" he adds, with a grin.

The burly, tattooed man spends the next hours thoroughly cleaning and oiling the weapon, twitching only slightly when waves crash against the ship's hull. Once they arrive at last, the greatsword is once again sheathed, and he stands, stretching, ready to be off the boat - though he isn't running down the plank or anything.

Arissa makes another tiny laugh at Wilma's remarks. "I'd prefer it if you didn't describe them as 'tricks'... but you meant no offense." As the plank is lowered, she waits for the others to be along with them and then speaks up in a more serious tone. "Our employer was not entirely forthcoming with us. /Don't/ open the urn, even with what I'm about to tell you. That urn is magical... very powerfully so. Whatever task we have been sent on is not ordinary. It would probably be best if you don't let on to this knowledge to our guide... please be discrete."

"I didn't?" Wilma asks, a bit bemused as she trundles down the plank to the docks, keeping an ear on the conversation. There's a bit of a grunt at the information, before she turns to spit on the dusty walkway they're on. "Figures."

"And deceipt and double dealing. This has all the hallmarks of a fantastic adventure. It vill be a tale for the ages." admits Brynn as she climbs down from the prow and heads for the gangplank. "But I must admit to curiosity... vhere be the guide vs vere intended to meet?"

Naerick glances over to them and shrugs, giving a look to the other magic-user of the group, the non bard one. He tries to find this Guide that apparently everyone else was trying to find "It's odd, where could he be."

Garth immediatelly gets a sour look from Arissa's revelation, but that might as well be from the heat and sun for the casual onlooker. "I hope y' can tell us more soon, I really do. I ain't keen on potentially causin' some trouble here by bein' a scapegoat in some bastard's plan." he whispers back to Arissa and the rest, but then steels himself and goes to follow them off the ship.

As they make their way off the ship, there's a bit of a commotion from near the foot of the docks - a trio of burdened camels are being led by a surprisingly pale fellow, almost bone-white in skin tone, who's arguing with some official-looking fellow and gesturing up the docks towards the party.

"There's no need to worry," Arissa remarks to Garthos with a warm, pleased demeanor. "I wouldn't let any of you walk into something that can't be handled. It will be fine." Beyond that, she seems mostly content to stay with the group for the time being.

A nod to herself, and Brynn simply walks towards the man with the camels... the one who was gesturing towards the party. But what she says might not be exactly what anyone expects. Her words prove how little of the world she has really seen, "What in the name of the gods, are -those-?!" she inquires, pointing at the camels.

Wilma eyes Arissa for a moment, then snorts again. "Well, given the fella's pointin' at us, I'm thinkin' it's the pale-skinned one with the weird.... horses. Huh." The dwarf pauses for a moment, then shakes her head. "Torn between wishin' Karl was here, or bein' glad he's not - depends on how those beasties got that way."

Garthos chuckles. Arissa's so... motherly! It so doesn't befit her! Or maybe it does. But he's amused, anyway. Not in a bad way, though. "Just like I ain't lettin' any water demons try eat you, eh?" he asks, but doesn't seem to expect an answer. He's happy to walk at her side. He, too, eyeballs the camels. "That's an ugly beast if I ever saw one." he mutters. Shaggy, smelly, disproportionate, awkward-lookin' things!

Naerick glances at the Camels with a curious eye, his mind takes a bit of information in to possibly use in songs sometime. He listens to Brynn ask what the camels are, just shrugging as he adjusts his backpack. "I wonder if that's our guy"

"I don't care if they aren't allowed out on the pier, I am not leaving the camels with you, you thieving son of a flea-bitten-- ah! They are here!" A dismissive flick of the albino's(?) wrist sends the man with the scimitar walking away with a glower at the adventurers, and then he spreads his hands with a broad smile, "You are the fine folk that Ghanim sent, yes! With the delivery? I hope your journey was a fine one - ah! These are camels! Much better suited for travel over the sands. Watch your hands. They bite. And spit. They are ungrateful, horrible monsters of beasts, but very good for travel. I am Dabir, your faithful servant, my good folk." A quick bow, and he straightens, pale blue eyes sparkling, "We have the supplies for many days in the sand sea if anything untoward occurs, have no worry.

He didn't take a breath /once/ through all that.

One of them bites me, we'll see how it tastes after being cooked." mutters Brynn as she narrows her eyes to stare at one of the camels. "Me blade vill bite back indeed." she mutters. "But, ve are here, ya. Vhere are ve headed?"

Garthos just crosses his very muscular arms. He lets the more charming and easy on the eye people do the talking. Gods know there's plenty of those in this group! He listens to the explanation. There's a pause. "Oh, I think I've heard of these before." he says. "The hobs call 'em..." And here he says a word in Goblin. It roughly translates to 'Evil Bastards'.

"Honestly, you don't have to worry about that... whether it's the elements or demons or devils... I won't be defeated." Arissa looks a bit embarrassed by the topic, but drops it as their apparent guide moves to greet them. She return's Dabir's bow with a slight curtsy, her smile nowhere near as wide as his but nonetheless present. "It seems as if you've tended to everything already then. Thank you." "... an' the Gray was a lovely, excitin' place to live in." Wilma? Negative and grumpy? Never! "Well-met, Dabir - I don't suppose that's includin' ale?" she asks rather hopefully, before eyeing the nearest camel. A dwarf on a camel. Yes. This will end well.

"Very poorly," Dabir informs Brynn sadly, "You will have to trust me on this. I think sometimes that they were placed here upon Creation to humble man, knowing that while he is their master, he must suffer their smelly, obnoxious indignities at the same time. No ale, I'm afraid, but plenty of water!" One of the camels stares right back at her, slowly chewing something in its massive, shaggy maw. As he's curtsy'd to, he clasps his hands and bows again, lower this time. "So! Yes, we must travel out from town, to the burial grounds of old where Ghanim's family are interred. You, ah--" There's a pause, and he looks nervous, "You do have the jar, yes?"

"Be not vorried." offers Brynn as she reaches to jiggle one of her skins. "I brought vater, unt some mead. Vithout mead, no journey ist vorthvhile." she adds with a grin. Then she looks towards the beasts and shakes her head, "I hafe never seen such ugly animals... ve -ride- these?"

Naerick stares at the Camels. " Yeah, do we ride them, or what do they do?" he says not braking the curious gaze.

Garthos cranes his neck, tipping his head to the side to look at the camels. "Looks like it would be uncomfortable to sit on whichever way y' turn it, really." he says. He's HOPING they're not gonna have to ride those things. Otherwise, though, he's letting talkyfolk talk. He's the guy with the large sword.

"Oh, no-- I mean, I suppose that you could, but they need to carry our food and our water," Dabir says with a slow shake of his head, "My coin purse is sadly small or I would have bought horses as well, or riding camels - a thousand pardons, my lords and ladies, but we shall have to walk. Still! A brisk walk in the desert will do you well. Strengthens the ankles, or so I've been told by men with ankles the size of tree trunks, and so, I believe them." Hands clap together sharply, and he smiles broadly across his pale features, "But--ah. The jar?"

Wilma is half torn between relief she doesn't have to ride one - and horror that she's expected to /walk/. In heavy armor. In the burning sands. She's heard the stories. She knows! "Hm? Oh, aye - unless the lass here mixed it up with the mead."

When last we left our intrepid heroes, they had travelled across the Inmost sea on the decks of the Mermaid's Kiss, listening to the tall tales of Captain Brum... at least until the sea itself rose up, elementals crashing over the deck to assault them like the tide smashing to the rocks for reasons as-yet unknown.

Now they stand upon the docks speaking with the oddly pale-skinned camel driver that calls himself Dabir, his hands rubbing together as he looks hopefully at them as he waits for the presence of the jar they're carrying to be confirmed before setting out from the cluttered clay buildings and colourful draperies of the sea port at the edge of the sandsea. The trio of filthy, shaggy camels that stand beside him are laden down with packs and supplies, and as the adventurers watch a monkey scrambles up the side of one of them, grinning with white teeth at the gathered, a tiny red fez perched upon its head.

Garthos is still doing what Garthos does best - looming. There is quite the number of more negotiation-savvy individuals in this group, and he's allowing them their moment of proverbial fame. Hugely muscular arms are crossed over his chest, and he looks down at the ratty camel driver. "Ya seem rather excited about the whole deal." he asides to the man, casually. He deffinitely Does Not Like This very much. He spares the monkey a glance, but that's more or less it.

Wilma doesn't have the jar, at least, not at causal glance. Brynn gets a bit of a smirk, however, before her attention is grabbed by the scampering monkey. With a fez, of course.

"Right, vater." Mutters Brynn as she shakes her head, "One cannot survive on vater alone. One generally needs at least some small amount of mead to make life vorthvhile." That said, she demonstrates by moving one of her waterskins about and unstopping it before lifting to take a swig of her mead. "Anyone else vish some?" she asks afterwards as she lifts it off over her neck and holds the skin out. She has two others with fresh water, ready to go.. but this one is the truly important one. Mind you, she's almost written the camels off, and is ready and willing to retaliate if they should try to bite or spit.

GAME: Wilma rolls Sense Motive: (14)+1: 15

You paged Wilma with 'While he seems a little anxious - possibly because he's asked three times and nobody's answered him - he doesn't seem at all being dishonest.'

"Given that your employer has also employed me, and that he is paying me a great amount of money to ensure that you arrive at your destination... /with/ the jar," Dabir observes, his hands spreading a bit to either side and then coming together in a sharp clap, "So if you can confirm that that /have/ the jar, my friends, we can be on our way, yes?"

The monkey, noticing that someone is looking at it, gets up on its hind legs and does a little kind of dance. It's wearing a tiny beaded vest, too!

Arissa makes a tiny laugh to Brynn's lament and offer. "Thank you, but it simply wouldn't do for me to have something like that... you keep it, it seems important to you." She has something she deems important in this weather as well, pulling out a gyroparasol - a fairly widespread if expensive gnomish invention - and unfurls it over her head. The monkey gets a warm look from her, then she looks to the others as the jar is mentioned again. "I don't have it on me." Her investigations about it were entirely possible to do while merely near it; magic is handy like that.

"Jar's safe and sound, don't ya worry." Garthos assures the man, and well, he does believe it is. "So I'm good to get goin' when you are." he finishes with an amicable grin. He's never seen the desert! New experiences! If only he knew they don't tend to be terribly pleasant, even with the right supplies. "What Head-an'-Shoulders says. Your dancer?" Wilma grunts a bit, nodding towards the dancing fez-monkey, shifting rather impatiently from foot to foot, giving a dark glance at the desert sky.

"You do understand, I hope, that I can't simply... take your word for it," Dabir points out with a polite clearing of his throat, "I'm certainly not going to travel that far out into the sandsea and not be certain that I'm actually delivering the merchandise. Not only would it be a waste of my time, and yours, but I would not be paid, and more than likely for breaking my contract my head will be removed by a very large headsman's blade. We are very serious about contracts, here in Veyshan, you see." A pause, and he glances to the monkey, "Hm? No, not mine. It must be--just, anyone's. There are many monkeys here." Back to the others, brows raising hopefully towards the edge of his turban.

"You most certainly -can- and vill take our vord for it. Had ve not been hired to deliver the package, then ve vould not have known to seek you out. Ya?" asks Brynn before she continues on. "Ve take all the same risks that you take, venturing out into the desert. Ve vill be at your side. So vhen ve tell you that it ist vith us, you vill understand that ve give you our vord that it ist. Now, ve shall get moving, ya?" she asks, trying to kind of pull the diplomacy by simply not accepting any answer other than the one she desires... trick.

GAME: Brynn rolls diplomacy: (15)+7: 22

"You seem like lovely people, but I need to confirm, yes? The worst /you/ will suffer is that you will not be paid," Dabir says with a sigh, one hand raising up to rub against the side of his neck, "The worst /I/ will suffer is that my head will be removed from my shoulders. Please, my friends, can we simply take care of this matter? I am bound by my word, my oath, and my contract."

Wilma hangs her head for a moment. Then, without saying anything, goes fishing in a pouch for a bit of jerky - then moves towards the monkey, shaking the dried meat at the fez'd one.

The monkey lets out a cheerful 'yeep' sound and leaps onto Wilma's shoulder, clambering along her arm and reaching for the piece of dried meat.

Garthos remains silent. Anything he says... or does... would probably be kinda bad and going against Arissa's earlier request. He glances at the heavens-blessed sorceress, then once again at the monkey as it crawls on Wilma, but otherwise decides to keep to himself for the moment.

Arissa begins browsing through her materials on hand, and blinks. "Hmm? Strange..." She digs through a little more, then produces the urn in question. "I believe this is what you were concerned about?"

"Let's get on our way, eh? I feel like an egg on a stove out here." Garthos complains, glancing up at the clear skies and OH GODS scorching sun above. "By the way, how long have you known that guy?" he asks Dabir. "Our employer, I mean." he clarifies.

There was a level of suspicion that was stirring in Dabir's gaze as he looked between the adventurers -- and then the ornate jar is produced, and he relaxes with a sigh of breath. "There we are. Excellent, excellent. I was beginning to wonder if you were the couriers at all..." He brings up a hand to take a hold of the camel's reins, "Keep it hidden and safe, eh? Come! Let us go, there is sand awaiting us, and... sand, and... more sand, and really I'd rather get through all of the sand as swiftly as possible."

And, turning, the camel driver moves to lead the way through the city, surrounded by the barking voices of merchants beckoning at the foreigners and the scents of an exotic marketplace. The monkey is still on Wilma's shoulder, nibbling meat.

"Of course." Arissa returns the urn amongst her various things, gyroparasol held overhead to ward her against the heat as she follows the guide's lead. "Are there any other matters we need to tend to before leaving?"

Garth scowls a little bit. He... really doesn't like the guide's choice of words there. He does follow along, though - he can't walk away now, can he? And besides, this place is fascinating! The sights! The smells! ... Ugh, the smells. Stupid camels.

Wilma has an companion! How odd - at least, if the glances given to the monkey are to be taken. However, as long as a mob doesn't head after the small group, well, she'll occasionally feed the pest a bit of a snack. "Sand is that annoyin' out here?" She trungles a handful of steps, "I can actually be seein' that."

Apparently, Brynn didn't argue it. She didn't refuse to show the item since she didn't -have- the item. She was busy sipping her mead and eyeing the monkey as Wilma fed it dried meat. As Arissa produces the Urn, she narrows her eyes and mutters something in her native tongue... shaking her head a bit. Something about not trusting this guide... but she proceeds to follow the party for the moment...

"Oh, yes," Dabir replies in long-suffering tones, "Oh, yes, it is. Out here, sand can kill. But have no worries, all shall be well! I have acquired a brace of potions which should protect you all from the worst of the heat, if you like," the guide offers, slapping the side of one of the packs that's bulging with flasks, "Help yourselves! Our employers, may Fate smile upon their fortunes, have paid for them."

The train of camels and adventurers - along with Wilma's new monkey, since the longer she feeds it the longer its staying - reaches the city gates, and Dabir steps over to the guards to show them an assortment of paperwork. And out before them, they can see an endless sea of sand leading off into the distance, piled in dunes and blown by the wind like tides.

"By Angoron.." mutters Brynn as she sees the sand out of the gates. "It -ist- a sea made of sands." She shakes her head, having almost forgotten about the urn now. But the potions seem suspicious to her too. "Vhat ist in these?" she asks.

GAME: Arissa casts Detect Magic. You paged Arissa with 'It's a bunch of Potions of Endure Elements!'

Arissa regards the supplies with quiet chanting, and after several seconds of this odd display... she smiles. "They'll be more than adequate for our needs. Thank you very much." She takes a share of the potions, drinking one as they step outside the city and then puts her gyroparasol away.

"Ye've made a friend." Garthos asides to Wilma, grinning in friendly fashion at her and her fez-wearing fuzzy companion. She's totally blending in now! At the offer of potions, he glances Arissa-wards, but once she's had one, he takes one as well, raising it as if it were a mug of ale. "Bottoms up." he says, and drinks it.

"You got an extra there, by chance?" Wilma asks, before smirking at Garthos, "I'm not usually bein' all that good with animals. That's usually bein' other folks thing."

"They are Marvelous Mendev's Miraculous Mixtures! They will keep the sun from you," Dabir states cheerfully as he returns, tucking away the precious paperwork in a pocket and reaching over to pull a flask from the pack, uncorking it and downing it as well with a salute to the others. As the potions go down, the heat of the sun begins to fade from everyone and the general atmosphere becomes much more - bearable. The emptied flask is tucked away in the pack again, and he leads the way out through the gates, "And onward, then! Watch your footing, the sand can be quite treacherous at times... and oh, there're a few spare, if something happens!"

"Maybe best shoo him off. Doesn't look like he'll last long out... there." Garth says to Wilma. He does hand her a potion, though, helpfully. "All that fur and all this sun can't possibly be good, eh?" But they'd have fried monkey for dinner? Nevertheless, he's ready for the trip, especially with the potion taking effect.

Well, when i n Alexandria... or so they say. Brynn shrugs and lifts one of the potions to knock it back like it was a shot glass full of some desirable drink. Her face screws up a bit afterwards, and she lifts her mead to wash down the aftertaste of the potion. The effects are enjoyed though and she corks her mead skin before slinging it once more and pondering whether or not to walk or ride one of those foul beasts.

Arissa keeps toward the general center of the group for the time being, willing to march along. She's trying to stay alert... there is a lot on her mind right now, as she's pretty sure that something is up; she just needs to piece together all the details in time for it to matter.

A dose lifted up, ends up only being half-drunk - then Wil's giving the last bit of a swallow to the monkey. Well, why not? That done, however, and it's time to walk - though there's a constant figet, as the dwarf checks various weapons and pouches.

"They say that it was a long time ago that the seas of sand were born... the rulers of the djinn and the efreet warred upon one another, they say, and the land was blasted into one of heat and endless winds," Dabir regales them as they travel, the line of burdened camels led along behind them as they travel away from the town and into the seas of sand, "And deep within the desert, they battle still, warring for control of this land for reasons that no mortal remembers - perhaps that no mortal ever knew..."

And out into the desert they go, hours passing of travel. It takes some time before the adventurers can tell where the 'road' is - it seems almost like sand itself, but it's beaten down, packed from travel long before, and Dabir seems to know where it goes. The monkey seems happy to travel on Wilma's shoulder, and that dribble of potion seems to be enough for the little beast.

Alternating between water and mead... more water than mead in reality, Brynn falls silent. She may not trust the guide, but she's at least letting her ears soak up his stories while her blue eyes flit about the sands to keep wary for potential threats. After all if the man warned them to keep the urn hidden, he likely expects someone to try to take the thing...

"Ya gonna name him?" Garth asks Wilma about the monkey while they walk, grinning. He has to talk - otherwise, it's kind of boring. At first, he would glance around, curious, but... the marvels of dune upon dune upon dune kind of become lost after the 30th sighting of the same thing. His other question is to Dabir, and isn't related to the tale he'd been spinning earlier: "Ya known the guy that's payin' us very long?"

Arissa speaks up, "But it's not the djinn and efreet you worry about on today's trip, is it? You're more worried about matters in the here and now?" She is otherwise keeping decent pace with the group, a light smile showing despite the topic at hand.

"Uhm... probably. Maybe Karl? Has got the hat down, well, lackin' the feather, but I'm doubtin' feathers work well here. What sort of beasties are we likely to be runnin' into?" The questions come from left and right, but that one is from Wilma.

"Oh, no, my dear lady," Dabir looks back, flashing an ivory-toothed smile from his pale face to Arissa, "All sane men and women worry about the genies when they're in the desert. Just look ahead..." He sweeps a hand forward, and as if by magic, over the next dune some ruins come into view - stone pillars and walls half-buried in the sand beside the rough road, "They say this was once a grand city. Now? Mere remnants rising from the sea of sand... and my family has been in service to theirs for many generations, my good man, generations unending. I do not ask questions, I merely worry for their pleasure."

The monkey cheeps happily, seeming to enjoy the new name it's given, tugging at Wilma's hair a little bit and scrambling up to balance on her head, the tassel of its fez bouncing around a little.

"Guess you're naming him after a friend, huh?" Garthos asks Wilma. He's big, but he's no dunce, so even though he's not had the pleasure of meeting Karl - the original Karl, that is - he follows along with the conversation. "But it's a good name, either way. Or he seems happy with it, least!" the burly man says with a smile, watching the monkey use Wilma's shoulders and head as a playground.

At Dabir's answer, Garth just... gives Arissa a glance. Are we still going with the subtle, that look asks.

"Sobering," Arissa quips as they see the ruins. Garth's concerns are already on her mind as she speaks up again, "A little strange, though. Are you concerned they will come after us on such a routine... sentimentally important since we're carrying the remains of the dearly departed, but still 'routine' task like this?"

Genies and the like... Brynn listens intently, content to let everyone else do the chatting. For the moment she is out of her element and she knows it. If not for that potion, she might be distinctly less comfortable than she is right now. One hand rests on the pommel of her sheathed sword out of long habit, but she moves along with everyone else. Granted, she's expecting that at any moment, she's going to be jumped by whatever these... genies might be.

"Well, at least a drinkin'companion. I'm still owin' him a beatdown though," Wilma admits, looking rather peculiar. An oversized dwarf, sharp pointy things in her hair, and a monkey on her head. Despite the fact she's more interested in the monkey and the conversation, she's had enough experience to keep her eyes moving over the dunes of sand and the like, occasionally deliberately kicking at a bit of sand.

"Who can know the ways and motives of the geniekind? I certainly would never dream of thinking that I could. I would not ask questions of such folk," Dabir says with a slow shake of his head, the remnants of the ruins rising up around them like spears of sandstone covered with faded, sand-worn sigils and carvings that are no longer distinguishable. "We but hope that they remain pleased with us and stay out of our way. There are many other dangers, of course. Wandering tribes of bandits, scorpions the size of cities..."

GAME: Arissa rolls Perception: (11)+1: 12 GAME: Wilma rolls perception: (7)+3: 10 GAME: Garthos rolls perception: (8)+3: 11 GAME: Brynn rolls perception: (3)+4: 7

Arissa makes a short single syllable of a laugh. "What a sad way to live, constantly in fear that they might make your other cities into little more than ruins. One more problem for me to tend to..." Despite her remarks, she continues to press on.

Glare of the sun reflects off the sand and makes Brynn's eyes water more often than not. The heat isn't getting to her, but the haze and the fact that she's not used to the way the heat rises off the desert... that really is. "How far are ve travelling?" she asks.

"Sure, bandits, but... why would anyone want to steal a person's ashes?" Garth asks Dabir, shrugging his rather wide shoulders. He's just about up to his very tall head with the mystique. Something stinks with this deal, and it ain't just the camels, he's more or less sure of it.

"Folks are bein' weird. An' there's still those who'll grave-rob," Wilma points out, rather grumpily.

"You can as much stand against the geniekind as one could stand against the sun and the wind..." Dabir raises his hand in a helpless getsure, "...but we do not live in fear, my good lady, far from it. We thrive here in the desert despite all..." He's silent for a moment, glancing to Garthos, then sliding his gaze over the desert as if looking for something. His voice becomes hushed, "It is a matter of politics. You see..."

He's cut off, abruptly, as there's a glint of diamond in the air -- and five missiles of force cut through his chest in a heartbeat's time, shattering his ribcage and sending him to the ground in a splattering of blood, a ragdoll tossed to the sands. Ahead, five figures have emerged from behind the ruins, bare-chested figures with red skin and horns spiralling from their heads, scimitars in their hands. One of them steps out into the road, bringing up a hand that crackles with flame. "Surrender the jar, materials!"

Arissa rolls initiative: Roll: 11 + Bonus: 2 = Total: 13 You roll initiative for Ifrits: Roll: 6 + Bonus: 3 = Total: 9 Wilma rolls initiative: Roll: 13 + Bonus: 1 = Total: 14 Garthos rolls initiative: Roll: 19 + Bonus: 2 = Total: 21 You roll initiative for Abd'Aziz: Roll: 7 + Bonus: 3 = Total: 10 Brynn rolls initiative: Roll: 11 + Bonus: 2 = Total: 13

Garth reaches for his sword, but doesn't draw it just yet. His fingers coil around the handle. "Yeah, I really don't appreciate that ya just killed a man for show, there." he shouts at the figures. He's clearly quite upset by this. "Before I go about cleaving ya all in two, ya care to tell me WHY ya want the jar?" he asks.

"... Karl, stay." The monkey is given the rest of the snack she has in hand, then pulls out her sword, resting it in a guard position.

GAME: Arissa rolls Heal: (18)+7: 25 You paged Arissa with 'He's alive, but not for long.' Arissa pages: Can she drag him out of sight? She'll tend to him next turn. You paged Arissa with 'Yep, could do that!'

GAME: Wilma rolls Will: (15)+2: 17

"You don't understand," Arissa starts to retort to Dabir. "I carry the very p...!" She cuts off when Dabir is struck down in an instant, staring in wide-eyed shock at his lifeless form...

...Then facing the apparent source of the attacks. Her eyes glaze over, a smile taking hold as they make their demands. "Sorry, but you have no idea what you're opposing..." Despite that remark, her first action is to grab Dabir and pull him aside; he's going to need help.

The five figures step into the road in a rough line, sweeping their scimitars before themselves threateningly, flickers of flame dancing around the fingers of their free hands, heat shimmering from their scarlet hair. None of them are wearing anything more than loincloths. "Either hand over the jug," their 'leader' calls out sharply, "Or you will all die in the heat of the desert!"

Just about then, the monkey perched on Wilma's shoulder leans in to whisper into her ear, "You should give them the jug." Yes, the monkey whispers that. For a moment, the dwarven woman can't think of anything more reasonable /than/ handing the jug over to them. And then she shakes it off a moment later.

GAME: Brynn rolls 1d8+1: (1)+1: 2 GAME: Brynn casts cure light wounds.

Jumping as the bandits make their initial assault, Brynn nods to Garthos's initial question, as if it's one she wants an answer to as well, but she moves to follow Arissa, drawing sword as she heads over that way. When the three of them get into cover she is already chanting in that monotone way of hers... she reaches out and touches the guide to heal him a bit, "Best I can do... he vill not die." she says to Arissa.

"... Karl, you say shit like that again, an' I'm gonna give you to Karl as a stuffed toy!" That said, Wil heads forward with Garthos. Because, well. What else is there to do? Turn around and moon them? Yah, no. That'd be a painful sunburn.

"Dyin' ain't on my to-do list today, but you're welcome to come over and give it a shot!" says Garth, stepping forward and drawing his sword, holding it at the ready. "By the way, I'm up to here with the question-evadin'." he notes. Everyone's been doing it! He's so sick of politics. He HATES politics!

GAME: Arissa casts Summon Monster I.

Arissa makes a tiny laugh to herself as she overhears the latest batch of threats. Hands digging for a potion, she stops when Brynn steps up and tends to Dabir directly. "Thank you," an acknowledgment of Brynn's efforts. "It will be enough. Now there's nothing holding me back!"

Rising from tending to their guide, Arissa's hips begin to sway as she starts 'sing-chanting' in Celestial. She's out of sight from their attackers... and that's just as well, as her current incantation will take some time to complete.

GAME: Karl rolls 1d20+8: (12)+8: 20 GAME: Karl rolls 1d4: (2): 2

A nod to Arissa, and Brynn grins a bit. She turns and heads back out into the open as she draws her axe in her other hand. She's not so much jogging as she is stalking forward. "The varriors stood against many, unt they vould emerge victorious. Glory vill be ours my friends, Angoron be vith us!" she announces as she moves forward.

GAME: Karl damaged Wilma for 2 points. 29 remaining.

GAME: Karl rolls 2d4+2: (2)+2: 4 GAME: Wilma rolls Fort: (7)+7: 14 GAME: Karl rolls 3d4+3: (10)+3: 13

GAME: Karl damaged Wilma for 4 points. 29 remaining. GAME: Karl damaged Garthos for 13 points. 10 remaining.

"You need to give it to them! You will all die otherwise," 'Karl' chitters in Wilma's ear-- his tail coming around, and then /stabbing/ into the side of her neck, a thick stinger plunging into the flesh.

"Then die, fools!" A hail of magic missiles rail down the road, smashing into the two fighters heading forward, and then the red-skinned warriors draw their scimitars threateningly, lips peeling back from black, obsidian teeth.

Just then, another two of them leap over a ruined wall behind the group - and sweep their hands towards the camels, sheets of flame rippling out to wash over the baggage, setting the packs afire! Hey, wasn't the water and food in there?

GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+2+4+1+1+1-1: (12)+2+4+1+1+1+-1: 20

GAME: Karl rolls 1d20+8: (15)+8: 23 GAME: Karl rolls 1d4: (2): 2 GAME: Karl damaged Wilma for 2 points. 27 remaining. GAME: Wilma rolls Fort: (8)+7: 15

GAME: Wilma rolls 1d20+7: (20)+7: 27

"Get OFF her, you freaky demon-monkey!" shouts Garth, swinging his sword at said demon-monkey. His care not to hurt Wilma, however, has him miss the creature as it uses her shoulder for cover. "Can't get that fuckin' thing while it's on ya like that!" he tells the dwarf. Only then does he look down and oh gods, is he bleeding profusely. He gives the dwarf an apologetic look as he retreats into the ruins. "Fuckin' chicken spellslingers. Ya probably can't even use those curvy swords of yours!" he shouts at the enemy from behind the cover.

"What the... you fuckin' little monkey! Get the hells off my back!" As Garthos takes a swing at her head, well, near it, "Hey watch it..... ah, there you are!" She ignores the tail as it stabs her again, grabbing it by said tail to pull it off, and leave it hanging in front of her. Poor little monkey, all fez-less and looking cute and innocent - the abandoned fez fallen to the sand and turning on it's side.

GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+4: (13)+4: 17 GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+4: (15)+4: 19 GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+4: (2)+4: 6 GAME: Arissa rolls 1d4+4: (4)+4: 8 GAME: Arissa rolls 1d4+4: (2)+4: 6 GAME: Arissa rolls 2d4+2: (2)+2: 4

Arissa completes her chant, a white circle forming near their latest attackers. A holy eagle emerges, much as it did yesterday. And just as it did against the water elementals, it goes into a flurry of claws and piercing pecks as it makes avian shrieks, tearing into the ifrit and felling it! Arissa twirls, making a palm thrust at the other one torching their supplies... this conjures a pair of gold-white energy orbs that fly into him, and she scurries away to find another hiding spot in the ruins.

GAME: Brynn casts cure light wounds. GAME: Brynn rolls 1d8+1: (4)+1: 5

GAME: Karl damaged Garthos for -5 points. 15 remaining. GAME: Karl rolls 1d20+1: (20)+1: 21 GAME: Wilma rolls 1d20+7: (12)+7: 19 GAME: Karl rolls 1d20+3: (8)+3: 11 GAME: Karl rolls 1d20+3: (20)+3: 23 GAME: Karl rolls 1d20+3: (8)+3: 11 GAME: Karl rolls 1d20+3: (4)+3: 7 GAME: Karl rolls 1d20+3: (4)+3: 7 GAME: Karl rolls 1d20+3: (7)+3: 10 GAME: Karl rolls 1d4+1: (3)+1: 4

Seeing the situation developing. Brynn's about to turn back but then the eagle appears and makes mincemeat out of one of the torchers. "Indeed! Glory as I said, vill be ours! They do not know vhat they are doing. Ve vill destroy these cowards unt dedicate their destruction to Angoron!" And she says this as she stalks into cover with Garthos, her voice lowering into that same chant as the other day as she touches the wounds, causing much of the damage to heal. "Be ye battle ready?" she asks with a grin.

GAME: Karl rolls 1d6: (1): 1 GAME: Karl damaged Wilma for 1 points. 26 remaining. <OOC> Karl says, "Eagle takes 4 damage."

The ifrits that stand in the road gather the flame in their hands and hurl it forward - rays of elemental flame that dance across the street, scalding sand into glass. One of the blasts skims the side of Wilma's head, leaving her hair smoldering in its wake! "Surrender the jar or perish, all of you! You have no water, no food, the desert will eat your bones unless we show you mercy!"

In the back, the one whose comrade was just slain by an eagle hurls a bolt of force that crashes into the eagle, backing away and drawing his scimitar. The camels are panicking, with the packs on fire, screaming and stomping about as they try and buck the burdens away.

The monkey manages to twist out of Wilma's hands - spreading wings, fur bleeding away to twisted red flesh as the horrible imp flies up into the air, "The Malik Aziz will see you all dead, fools!"

GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+2+4+1+1+1-1+2: (8)+2+4+1+1+1+-1+2: 18 GAME: Garthos rolls 2d6+10: (4)+10: 14

GAME: Wilma rolls 1d20+9: (19)+9: 28 GAME: Wilma rolls 1d20+9: (6)+9: 15 GAME: Wilma rolls 2d6+5: (4)+5: 9

GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+6: (5)+6: 11

"You can try, but your mother was a honeybee, an' your da was impotent!" Wilma yells at the imp as she slashes into it, doing decent damage - if not actually killing it. Iferts? Where? Imp MUST DIE!

Garthos nods his thanks to Brynn as the healing magic takes effect, peeking out from behind his cover. "Fuckin' spell-slingers... fuckin' demon-monkeys..." he mutters. And, being absolutely sick of said spell-slingers, lets out a roar of fury and dashes STRAIGHT for them. Scary man with sword, comin' through. "RAAAGH!" he... shouts? As he brings the sword around and forward at the end of the charge, impaling one of the horned figures on it and killing it outright. He then gives a glare to the other two, suddenly in their midst and all.

GAME: Arissa rolls 2d4+2: (7)+2: 9

The celestial eagle squawks as it's blasted, beelining toward its attacker with intent to peck fiercely with its beak... and flies just wide. Arissa rushes back into view, winking at the ifrit as she holds a hand overhead. Two more white-gold spheres form and fly forth, striking it down... and leaving Arissa to consider the words about the supplies. They are burning. She needs to deal with that immediately...

GAME: Brynn rolls 1d20+8: (20)+8: 28 GAME: Brynn rolls 1d20+8: (8)+8: 16 GAME: Brynn rolls 1d8+5: (1)+5: 6

GAME: Karl rolls 1d20+8: (13)+8: 21 GAME: Karl rolls 1d4: (2): 2 GAME: Karl damaged Wilma for 2 points. 24 remaining.

GAME: Wilma rolls Fort: (16)+7: 23

GAME: Karl rolls 1d20+3: (4)+3: 7 GAME: Karl rolls 1d20+3: (1)+3: 4 GAME: Karl rolls 1d20+3: (19)+3: 22 GAME: Karl rolls 1d6: (5): 5 GAME: Karl damaged Garthos for 5 points. 10 remaining.

GAME: Karl rolls 1d20: (18): 18 GAME: Karl rolls 1d6: (4): 4 GAME: Karl damaged Brynn for 4 points. 12 remaining.

As the edge of Wilma's blade cuts into the imp, it shrieks out something foul in the infernal tongue--darting back in to stab at her wrist with its stinger, then flying up higher, out of reach. "Bitch! And to think I licked your fingers!" Ew.

The ifrit drop back from the sudden, horrible assault of the fighters - darts of flame hurled from their hands, one of them burning a hole in Garthos's side. The injured one sweeps a scimitar in a slash across Brynn's arm, sneering, "Malik Aziz will see in in brass chains for this insult, wench!"

GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+2+4+1+1+1-1: (12)+2+4+1+1+1+-1: 20 GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+2+4+1+1+1-1: (12)+2+4+1+1+1+-1: 20 GAME: Garthos rolls 2d6+10: (5)+10: 15 GAME: Garthos rolls 2d6+10: (7)+10: 17

Apparently Garthos -is- battle ready. Brynn just smirks and runs out right after the guy. She is ready as well, her voice still carrying the tale of how this fight will go. Maybe a prediction, maybe just an annoying distraction to the enemy. She's speaking loudly though as she swipes her blade into the side of one of the enemies and she pauses her tale long enough to say, "You are mistaken. Ve are not vithout food or vater.... unt you are cowards."

GAME: Wilma rolls 1d20+5: (1)+5: 6

GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+6: (6)+6: 12

"Get back here, you limp-tailed bit of fluff!" A light hammer is grabbed off her belt and flung at the imp, missing absolutely and almost hitting a camel. "... uhg. I need to wash m'hands - an' hair in acid now," the dwarf groans.

"Oh now you're REALLY pissing me off." Garth says. They just threw fire at him. What a bunch of assholes! He steps in their midst, menacingly, snarling, and the sword is brought around. The swift, powerful stroke the weapon makes eviscerates one of them, and the sheer momentum behind it has it slam into the side of the other one, leaving a deep, DEEP gash. Both collapse in bloodied heaps. "I'm so sick of this place." Numbers mutters to himself, narrowing his eyes at the remaining sorcerers. "Bet you're not terribly happy about deciding to attack us now." he tells them.

Arissa regards the situation at hand; Wilma seems to be winning her battle, the others further down the road seem to be holding steady for now. That means she has to deal with a long-term concern: Their supplies. Arissa points a finger at the blaze, sending a thin beam of ice into it and starting to douse the fire...

In the meantime, the eagle flies forth once more, intent on piercing its beak into the imp... and disappears in mid-flight, running out of time a mere second before it would have made impact.

GAME: Brynn rolls 1d20+5: (1)+5: 6 GAME: Brynn rolls 1d20+4: (7)+4: 11 GAME: Karl rolls 1d20: (7): 7 GAME: Garthos rolls Will: (19)+3: 22 GAME: Karl rolls 1d20+10: (18)+10: 28 GAME: Karl rolls 1d4: (2): 2 GAME: Karl damaged Wilma for 2 points. 22 remaining. GAME: Wilma rolls Fort: (5)+7: 12 GAME: Karl rolls 1d2: (1): 1 GAME: Karl damaged Wilma's Dexterity for 1 points. 1 total damage. GAME: Arissa casts Ray of Frost.

A sweep of the ifrit's scimitar wards off Brynn's weapon, but doesn't taste blood this time. "Cowards? Hah! This is our lord's land - you will die here in the desert!" Contrary to the claims, the other ifrit sweeps a hand up towards Garthos and spits out a word of magic that rings in his ears - almost dazing him, but he manages to ignore it, even as the sorcerous geniekin turns tail and runs towards the ruins.

The imp dives-- back into Wilma's personal space, tail lashing out to dig another painful sting, and this time the venom that's been collecting from them can be felt as it starts to weary her.

GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+2+4+1+1+1-1+2: (2)+2+4+1+1+1+-1+2: 12

GAME: Wilma rolls 1d20+10: (18)+10: 28 GAME: Wilma rolls 2d6+7: (7)+7: 14

And it's not just Brynn's sword blade this time. She's attacking in a one two beat, sword and axe coming from different angles. She might not be connecting, but the display at least looks somewhat cool, with them having to fend off her weapons one after another. "Cowards are proven by their actions, not their vords." she mutters between stanzas of her battle chant.

Wilma staggers, after that last hit. "Damn beasty.... you're an actual fight!" Is that actual respect? Well, probably not. Regardless, doing more than bite annoying like a gnat requires an equal response! The imp in reach, the greatsword swings again, a thrust towards the end lending extra power to its bite - another injury, worse than before, appears on the imp.

Garthos glances between Brynn and the injured Ifrit. "Ye'll be fine, eh?" he asks Brynn, nods. She'll be peachy. "Where do ya think you're goin', sunshine-- OOF!" That was Garth unceremoniously tripping over a rock JUST as he was about to lop the poor running bastard's head off. He flails and regains his balance, but the Ifrit gets to keep his head. For a little while, anyway. "Tell you what, ya horned bastard." says Garthos to his quarry, "If ya give up, I promise I won't hurt ya."

GAME: Arissa casts Magic Missile. GAME: Arissa rolls 2d4+2: (3)+2: 5

GAME: Brynn rolls 1d20+5: (2)+5: 7 GAME: Brynn rolls 1d20+4: (5)+4: 9

GAME: Karl rolls 1d20: (9): 9 GAME: Karl rolls 1d20+8: (13)+8: 21

Arissa may not have overheard Garth's offer; she strides into view of his foe, arms spread out wide beside her as she spins once more... conjuring another orb in each hand, sending them flying out and striking but not felling Garth's foe.

GAME: Karl rolls 1d4: (4): 4 GAME: Karl damaged Wilma for 4 points. 18 remaining. GAME: Wilma rolls Fort: (16)+7: 23 GAME: Wilma rolls Fort: (3)+7: 10 GAME: Karl rolls 1d2: (1): 1 GAME: Karl damaged Wilma's Dexterity for 1 points. 2 total damage.

Garthos watches as the two energy orbs slam into the Ifrit. "... Aaaand I'll tell them to stop hurtin' ya, too. Sorry 'bout that." he adds, sheepishly.

The imp flits around Wilma's sword, striking with its tail again, cackling, "Your steel cannot hurt me, dwarf!" Well, it can. It's bleeding a lot. But not as badly as it should be. The ifrit fighting Brynn continues to duel with her, scimitar meeting swords, but either bleed. The one running away, meanwhile, grunts as the orbs of force smash into it - and it cuts off from the road, running haphazard through the ruins.

GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+2+4+1+1+1-4: (12)+2+4+1+1+1+-4: 17 GAME: Garthos rolls 2d6+7: (9)+7: 16

GAME: Wilma rolls 1d20+10: (5)+10: 15

"You... you.... Die already!" A swing, but one governed by rage, causes Wilma to miss, "You squirrely little rat-bastard!"

"Aw come on." Garth whines at the escaping Ifrit. "Seriously?" Ifrit goes run run run. "... Angoron's ballsack. Okay, have it your way." And charging and leaping across rubble of the ruins Garthos goes, lifting the sword and swinging it at the Ifrit's head. When it looks over its shoulder, it likely sees its life flash before its eyes. Instead, though? It's the FLAT of the blade that meets his head. There's a mildly comical noise and then the strange sorcerer crumples to the ground... unconscious, rather than dead.

Arissa stands near the blaze... far enough away to not mind it, but close enough to finger-point at it and spray another super-chilled ray at the flames and work on containing them. One of the camels will no doubt appreciate this, as it's no longer burning!

GAME: Brynn rolls 1d20+5: (17)+5: 22 GAME: Brynn rolls 1d20+4: (15)+4: 19 GAME: Brynn rolls 1d8+4: (3)+4: 7 GAME: Brynn rolls 1d6+2: (4)+2: 6 GAME: Karl rolls 1d20+8: (14)+8: 22 GAME: Karl rolls 1d4: (2): 2 GAME: Karl damaged Wilma for 2 points. 16 remaining. GAME: Wilma rolls Fort: (4)+7: 11 GAME: Karl rolls 1d2: (1): 1 GAME: Karl damaged Wilma's dexterity for 1 points. 3 total damage The imp's shrill cackle echoes in the air as it darts around her blows, another sting sinking into her flesh, this time in the crook of her arm before it flits around behind her again. "You first!"

Having been swinging and missing and forcing her enemy to retreat and defend, Brynn takes her lumps and keeps coming. She's stubborn at the very least, and eventually her enemy's guard slips and her small axe chops into its stomach before she whips about and takes the head off with her father's sword. That done, she glances about as she works her tale into a frenzy, culminating with the death of the enemies of the party...

GAME: Wilma rolls 1d20+10: (14)+10: 24 GAME: Wilma rolls 2d6+7: (4)+7: 11

The dwarf is definately not as swift (a dwarf, swift??) on her feet as normal, once that last stinger is laid in. "What, you think you're weak-ass poison's got enough of an oomph to bring me down? It's as powerful as a bee's sting! No such thing'll ever keep me down!" And to prove it, Wil carves another wound into the stupid little flying thing. Die, already!

"You stay there." Garthos asides to the very, very unconscious Ifrit pointlessly. And then he breaks into a run, sword and armor and all, clanking and huffing. He makes good distance! "Sorry about that, had to deal with something." he tells his companions, catching his breath a moment. Yeah, sorry guys, he had to pee or something. But he's back now!

Arissa looks aside to Wilma's battle with some disappointment... she wants to help, but it's a matter of only being able to aid one situation at a time, as Arissa continues to spray chill at the fire. The camels and supplies are burning, and Wilma... while clearly hurting, seems to be in control of the imp situation. Thus, Arissa simply and quietly continues her work against the blaze...

GAME: Karl rolls 1d20+8: (11)+8: 19 GAME: Karl rolls 1d4: (3): 3

GAME: Karl damaged Wilma for 3 points. 13 remaining. GAME: Wilma rolls Fort: (7)+7: 14

Another painful sting from the imp... and then it grins viciously, its wings fading from view, then its tail, everything vanishing up to its mouth, that toothy grin all that's seen before it, too, vanishes. "The Malik will want to talk to /you/..."

Arissa calls over to the departing imp, "Whether it's death by sword, magic, flames, the desert itself, or seeing them in chains... it's all impossible." A short laugh follows as she proclaims, "I won't allow it to happen to any of them!" By then, the creature appears to be gone... and Arissa continues to make occasional chants and chill-sprays at the blaze, calling out to the group: "Are all of you alright? I can tend to you in just a few moments!"

Moving past the dwarf, Brynn gives a quick glance at her to make sure she's still on her feet and not about to topple over. Other than that, she continues towards the camels where she starts trying to help put out fires. Her bedroll blanket becoming a fire blanket at this point. "I be fine. A small scrape... nothin' t'speak of." she remarks to Arissa, "But I have not the power for more healing chants... not until the morrow."

One of the camels is covered in a fine dusting of frost, and has collapsed to sit on all fours on the ground, moaning piteously - but the fires are out. Another is dead, its body smoldering in the desert sun, while the third? The third has run off to gods-know-where, still on fire. It's going to take some work to salvage any supplies from this mess.

Garthos stomps on the ground in frustration as the imp vanishes. He'd just GOT here, gods-damn-it. "Stupid demon-monkey." he mutters. What? He can't tell an imp if it stung him in the ass. Far as he's concerned, it's a demon-monkey. "Ya know that horned guy that made a break for it? He's havin' a nice nap over in the ruins. Seemed kinda cheap to just cleave his head off when he was just tryin' to get away. See what we got left for food and water - I'll go fetch him. I'm dyin' to know what this crap is all about." And with that, he goes to fetch the 'sleeping' Ifrit (with a mild concussion).

Wilma stares at where the imp was - then goes into a long flow of cursewords, starting in common, switching to dwarven then delving into goblin and Jotun for the real throatrippers. Then she's stomping - and tripping over more than a few grains of sand - to retrieve her light hammer. Weapons put away, she heads towards the camels. "I vote we string our boss up by his..." she grumbles.

Arissa smiles to Garthos. "That was pretty smart of you. I'm sure we'll all have questions for him. Someone also please retrieve our guide?" In the meantime... there are wounds to tend to. She hands a wand to Brynn and remarks, "Please use this while I work separately..."

And that's when Arissa begins a very strange healing routine; she conjures up gold-white fire into her hands. "I promise you this is harmless. Strike me down if you feel any pain." A consoling offer from Arissa as she begins 'blasting' the party with divine flame. The fire lingers on their form for a moment, judging their hearts... and dissolving into a healing 'mist' of magic particles that feels quite nice, if only for a few moments.

It takes a bit, but Garthos comes back with the knocked out Ifrit slung over one shoulder. Retrieving a length of rope, the man goes about tying the sorcerer up and gagging him. He does the necessary work with no small measure of distaste - clearly, he's not a big fan of having prisoners, but it's necessary, since everyone and everything seem to want to hide information from them in this stupid, sand-filled land. "Can ya wake him up?" he asks the resident healers, pointing at Dabir.

An array of healing is applied to the various members of the party, removing the bruises and burns - and horrible swollen stinger-marks - from the adventurers, and even improving the health of the sole remaining camel. Dabir, too, is roused, stirring up with a groan and rubbing at his face, "By the Gods... what was that? Are we-- is everyone well? Is the jar safe?"

"Everyone's bein' well. Damned imp got away. An' someone has one hell of a lot of explainin' to do," Wilma grumbles, as she finds a place to rest, now that her wounds have been healed.

Arissa makes another of her usual short laughs to Dabir, smiling as she reclaims her wand. "That... was the very gods you speak of, with help from the others here, dealing with the very geniefolk that tried to kill you." She's pretty pleased with the outcome, despite the damage to their supplies. "And yes, it is safe... they demanded it, but got no further than that. However?"

She looks somewhere between happily amused and wryly smug as her eyes return to normal. "We have questions. I'm sure you know what we're going to ask."

"Look at him, still worried about the jar." Garth mutters, finishing off the tying of the Ifrit. He's also tied him to the camel. It'll be REAL hard for him to run for it. He stands up, stalks over to Dabir. Looms. "Jar's fine. The healers stitched ya up. Most of the horned guys are stains in the sand, the demon-monkey got away, and me, I'm a little angry. Ya see, I'm sick and tired of not bein' told the whole story. Now that you're breathin' and your ribs ain't pokin' your insides, I think we outta have a talk." He's calm... ish... for now. Not yet into the REALLY angry mode.

"You call yourself 'the gods'? The tales were true, then, that folk from the north bear their hubris with pride..." Dabir gets up to his feet, grimacing at his bloodied garments, "...and there is no time to talk. If they have found us, then we must move. There is not much time, if the Malik is warned of our errand... we are all of us dead men and women. You said that one of them escaped?"

Arissa clarifies to Dabir, "No... I am not a goddess and would never claim that. However, I am agent of the heavens; their power works through my body to improve this world. With the help of the others here things went well enough."

She begins inspecting the supplies. "There may not be time to talk... but there will be time to march and speak, and I'd like you to answer our questions as we walk. Some of us may have to stand in for the missing camels... or are we close enough that we can leave this here and return for it later?"

"What?" Garthos balks at Dabir. "That ain't what I said. Ain't what she said, either. I--" His voice trails off. He rubs at his sweaty face. "Look, now. We got plenty time to talk. First things first, WHY did a bunch of demon-people and a demon-monkey try to kill us? What the hell is in that jar? I ain't kiddin' here - what is REALLY in that jar?" A pause, to let it sink in. Answers. NOW. "And secondly, we only got one..." He tries to recall the word. Fails. Uses the Goblin term. "<Evil Bastard> left. Bastards set 'em all on fire. Is it enough to make it wherever we're goin'?"

"It should be..." Dabir regards the camel uncertainly, stepping over to gather up the reins of the beast, "...I do not know what is within the jar. My masters did not tell me; it is my place to obey, not to question. All I know is that Malik Aziz will stop at nothing to get it, and that it will not be safe until we reach the Obelisk of the Nine Winds. You will be rewarded for your efforts, my friends, but we must go now, before the Efreet themselves descend upon us!"

"Ain't terribly hung up about the reward anymore." grumps Garth, hefting the fallen Ifrit over a shoulder and preparing to continue the journey. That camel might be kinda overloaded when supplies that remain on the other one are hefted onto it. "Talk as we walk. Start with sayin' who this Malik Aziz person is. And then explainin' about this Nine Winds place." he asks. "An' anything else that might be a mit useful. Like how to kill a bedamned flyin' monkey," Wil tosses in.

"Your concerns aren't unfounded," Arissa responds to Dabir as things are set in motion for them to resume their march. "I am not worried about riches or other rewards... I should tell you all that what is contained in here is very powerful. They will come at us again and again until this is resolved." Beyond that, she goes quiet; Wilma and Garth are covering her questions just fine.

"Malik Aziz. One of the great maliks of the Efreet. I know little of him," Dabir says with a slow shake of his head, helping to pack the camels as best he can, "I swear to you by my mother's heart, I know little more! The Obelisk is where I am charged to take you to, it is said that there was once a grand pact sealed there amongst the geniekind... I know not if this is true. One million apologies, my fine friends, but I promise you, I know little..."

Once more, the group begins to move along the road - their guide more watchful and worrying of ambush now, as no doubt are they. The ruins left behind them, it's mere hours later that a spire splits the dying light of dusk-reddened skies. "There," he declares, "Let us make haste, my friends!"

"Okay." goes Garth. There's a pause. "New questions." he says, after a moment. "What's a 'malik'? And also, what's an 'efreet'?" ALL THESE FOREIGN TERMS! He waits for answers, then goes: "Ah, well. Maybe our horned friend here knows s'more." He bonks the unconscious Ifrit on the head to indicate him.

"My head's hurtin' - an' not just because of the desert sun. Need some decent mountains 'round he....re.. that the Winds place?" Great minds think alike - and Garth and Wilma just share words.

"That's fine," Arissa tries to calm Dabir. "None of us are threatening you... if we seemed so, it was only out of frustration. You've told us what you can, and it helps." As they approach the spire, she points out the obvious: "They'll be waiting for us here. It's easier to wait at the group's inevitable destination than try to pursue them in the sands... please be ready for that." Despite her warning, she is ready to proceed as she retrieves a crossbow.

"They would not dare to violate such holy ground," Dabir insists with a shake of his head, spurring their pace more swiftly towards the obelisk, the camel grunting out its displeasure as they move... and then their guide is proven wrong.

A sudden gout of fire erupts from the road before them, leaping upwards some twenty feet in the air, and then sweeps to one side - transcribing a massive ring of fire that surrounds the travelers with an ear-splitting crackling of burning, smokeless fire whose heat can be felt sweltering even through their potion-granted protection. The camel rears up in a panick, and Dabir struggles to control it even as a deep voice booms out, "You came far, little mortals..."

And then he appears, A great figure with scarlet skin and eyes of flame in the air above them, standing on nothing, a great curved blade that glows as if fresh from the forge in his hand. A dark cape flutters in the wind, his armour all of brass, and ornately wrought. Great rings of gold and brass hang from his impressive black horns. "...but this is the end. The jar belongs to me. Bring it forth, or you shall all die here this day. Surrender it, and I may still be merciful."

"...at least that damn monkey isn't 'round," Wil says after a moment of 'wtf' silence. Her sword, less than effective against even the most meanest of monkeys is pulled free, though she takes no step forward. "What the hells is in that damnable jar?!"

"Fuckin' brilliant." goes Garth. He draws his sword. Unlike his player, he's completely unaware an efreet is way out of his level range. "I'm going to make a wild guess and say that's an efreet." he says. "Or a malik. Or both." YEAH! "Look, pal. I didn't see your name on the jar. Maybe ya wanna explain yourself? We don't want trouble - never did, but it keeps jumpin' our way for some dumb reason. And nobody's talkin' any sense." A pause, a sigh, a headshake. "This land's all backward."

"They might yet. I hope you're righ..." Arissa starts to say. Dabir turns out to be wrong, as her gaze turns skyward, wincing at the heat and staring at the figure above them. "You're absolutely right. This is the end." Arissa smiles, her eyes glazing over once more. Her voice lowers as she tries to whisper to Wilma: "You have the jar, I believe. Please step over some distance from us and agree to give it to him. Please trust me."

Arissa suddenly adds in her whispered advice to Wilma, "Only do this if you are willing to face its wrath for several moments. I know a way to save us all, but the fires must fade first... are you willing to try?"

Wilma stares at Arissa, then hisses, "You remind me of far too many folks from the Academy." Well, as well as a dwarf hisses. Then she steps forward towards the horny fella. "What is so bedamned special about this urn," she calls out, almost challenging the big guy.

Garth sort of... discreetly inches towards Dabir. Leans down. "What did your guy say we should do with the jar once we get there?" he whispers very quietly to the guide. "Kind of in a pinch here." he squeezes past his gritted teeth.

Moving into position as Garthos moves, Brynn basically covers the chat the two of them are having. Really just because she sees he's trying to be somewhat subtle. So she figures that worst case scenario, she can help cover that a touch. Dabir is staring up at the towering figure hovering in the air above him, mouthing silent prayers. He appears to be just shy of cataonic with fear. Not much help here, one's afraid.

The burning efreet thrusts one finger down at the sand at Wilma's feet, demanding, "Lay down the jar and step away from it, wretched child of the storm. And you may still live..."

In the distance, thunder rolls.

Seeing the Efreeti is now singularly focused on Wilma (poor Wilma), Garth shakes Dabir, looking him in the eye, trying to snap him out of his piss-pants-panic. "What did your master tell you to do with the stupid jar?!" he hisses at him. "Get talkin'! Be a hero! If we live, I'm gonna tell your master how heroic ya were here! C'mon!"

Shaking her head as she sees this going on, Brynn snorts. Weapons in hand, she turns and glares at the guide. She figures.. what've we got to lose? She moves in closer and crouches down. Her voice softens a bit and she murmurs, "Dabir... we really need to know what you were told to do with the Urn. We -can- get out of this if you help us. You can be -the- hero... imagine the riches you can trade for that story... the women you could have...." she offers with a bit of a grin. "Please...." and then she has inspiration. If he's terrified, she might be able to shock him out of that, and so she just reaches out to press her lips to the man's cheek gently as she adds, "I would be -very- grateful."

Wilma snorts, "Go ahead, an' try to finish me off. If a bedamned corpse dog can't keep me dead, doubt you can be doin' much better," After all, when all else fails, she'll taunt a second time. That and the mutterings at her back.

Arissa whispers to Wilma, "Thank you." As Garth goes to speak with Dabir, Brynn hoping to obscure view of that, and Wilma distracting the efreet... Arissa's hips begin swaying as she retrieves the jar. Surrounded by fire, their guide paralyzed from fear, and the group towered over by a threat she knows they cannot defeat in head-on battle... she goes for a very bold action indeed.

Jar suddenly pulled in-hand while the efreet is watching Wilma, Arissa laughs and places her hand atop it. "You're quite desperate to get this. I believe I know why. Tell me why I shouldn't open it here and now?"

"I do the only thing I can do," Dabir whispers to the pair trying to encourage him, his eyes on the heavens, "I pray for Padishah Muyassar to deliver us from this fiend of the flames..."

As the efreet's demands are answered with defiance, flames erupt in his eyesockets. "You dare? Filthy spawn of thunder, your ashes will surrender the jar as well as your hands. Your fate is sealed, fools!" One hand raises, an inferno of smokeless flame stirring in it as he brings it up-- and then Arissa produces the jar, and obsidian teeth flash in a grin, "There you are, my precious one... you are mine, now. Open it if you will, mortal, she can no longer hide from--"

"AZIZ!" A voice like thunder crashes over the desert, and a great wind sweeps across the land -- the fires quenched in a moment, revealing beyond them a pale-skinned figure draped in golden chains and fine garments of silk, hair all in long white tails tied with precious gems, his lower body descending into a cyclone of mist. His beard and mustache are long, adorned with the same accoutrements, and he's flanked by two beardless djinn bearing massive scimitars. "This place is not for you! Begone from the lands of the obelisk - these mortals are under our protection now!"

A snarl from Malik Aziz, and he sweeps his sword to one side. "This is not over. I will have my revenge upon you and yours for this insult!" An eruption of flame, and the efreet is gone.

"... ALL backward." Garth repeats. "Nothin' makes sense." he grumbles to himself. "Swords got curves... swords ain't supposed to have curves... fire giants, demon-people, demon-monkeys... and..." Pause. "AND I got sand in my boots like ya wouldn't believe." A deep sigh, and he turns to the Djinn collective. Eyeballs them. "Okay. So. Let's try this again. Maybe YOU guys can tell us what's in the jar?" This is like the fifteenth time he's asked today.

Arissa's hand tenses despite Aziz's remarks. "Very well. As I promised... this is the en- ...hmm?" She's cut off as aid arrives, eyes unglazing as Aziz departs. Her hip-swaying ends right after, hands relaxing. She nods over to Wilma, speaking up more loudly this time. "Thank you for trusting me." It didn't work out quite like she very vaguely explained to the dwarf, but this is certainly close enough.

Then she looks over to their apparent rescuers, making a curtsy gesture. "I take it this," she indicates the now re-secured jar, "Is yours?"

And that's when Brynn looks up from her trying to convince Dabir... the wind blowing up grabs her hair and she stands. Her features are fixated on what she is seeing now. "The vind blows.. the storm abates the flames of evil. The Efreet is cast out by its betters, unt the heroes emerge victorious..." Okay, so she's trying to compose the story the way she is going to tell it from here out.

Wilma looks at Arissa, then just shakes her head. "I'm not talkin' to you 'til I've had so much ale I don't wake up for a week," she informs the sorceress, before stomping forward. "Can we /please/ be deliverin' the jar of doom, so we can be gettin' paid an' go home where folks aren't so damn jealous of a proper storm?" she asks - no demands - of the storm djinn.

"Let it be opened, mortals," Muyassar declares as he approaches the group, "You have done well... defending it against the forces of the Marid, and driving off Aziz's servitors as well. And standing up to him despite his power. You will be rewarded, and in more than gold. And you, Dabir, have served us faithfully as you always have..." A grateful smile curves to his lips broadly, almost beatific, "...you all have my thanks. Let the jar be opened, so that you may know what heroism you have done."

"Sooo... all that 'don't open it stuff' was for nothin'?" says Garth, face skewing up a bit. He scratches the back of his neck. "Or did we have to open it here in specific? Right, well, at least we get to find out what this fuss was all about." the man says, nodding at Arissa. Open the jar, cap'n!

"Vith the threat of annhilation, the heroes did stand fast. Even the power of fire did not sway them." Mutters Brynn softly. She's mostly whispering as she composes her tale, but she does turn her sea-green eyes towards the urn and its carrier. "Oh, and you're welcome." Garth asides to the leader Djinn guy person. It's sincere. It's only polite, after all.

Arissa demures as Wilma's displeasure is made plain. "And rightly so. Forgive me... really I saw no other way to resolve this without a few moments where his eyes were only upon you. You shouldered a great risk very well, but you're right to despise me for it."

Then she approaches the djinn, jar in-hand once more. "Of course. One moment, please." Then she faces Garth, head shaking. "No, that warning was for a good reason, but it was not universal. This is the right place. I have a very good idea of what... or rather I think 'who' is the right word, is contained in here." She works to open the lid, and waits to see what emerges.

The stopper is removed, and a gout of swirling smoke stirs out in a rainbow of colours, red and blue and white and green, swirling about before the jar and slowly forming into the diaphanous draperies of many-layered silk swirled about a seven-foot woman of perfect proportions, with sharp ears showing through the veils and eyes that glitter like the stars. A sweep of her body bows knee to the djinn, and she exhales in a voice like music, "I am yours, Padisha. The marriage contract has been signed and it requires but your word to ally our families."

A broad smile, and the djinn lord steps forward, reaching to take her hand and help her up, "...and it is accepted. You may thank your rescuers, these heroes from the north that carried you here where Aziz could not detect you until it was too late."

The lady of the Janni turns to sweep a graceful bow, "Thank you, my fine friends who know me not. My family will remember this service, I promise you."

Arissa holds the jar still throughout; this visual is wonderful, but she did indeed have at least /some/ idea what was going to happen, and this wasn't out of line with it. And as the ritual is completed, Arissa carefully sets the jar down and backs away, making another curtsy gesture, smile returning. "As you can see," she faces Garthos. "This would have drawn a great deal of unwanted attention if opened anywhere but here. Your caution and discretion were very apt."

Garth stares. No, really. He stares. "... Okay. Well. I'll put that in my top ten weirdest things I've ever seen." he mutters into his chin. "Along with the demon-monkey." he adds. He smiles, though, at the words exchanged between the ridiculous magic folks that apparently live in jars. "All's well that ends well, yeah? Congratulations on your upcomin' marriage!" He's happy for 'em. Really! He turns to the Janni lady in specific, gives a bit of a salute. "You're welcome. We're happy we could help out. Just... next time, let us in on a little more of what we're actually doin' so we're not stumblin' around in the dark like that, eh?" A friendly grin, there.

Inclining her head, Brynn nods slowly, "A union arranged, a wife delivered... unt the heroes vent home rewarded, the couple left behind to live happily together." She grins a bit and bows formally, "May the mists be kind, unt may you never vant for drink again." she offers. It must be some sort of traditional well wishing farewell from her home village.

"Huh. Feudin' families, I take it..." Wilma muses just for a moment.

A deep, throaty bellow of laughter stirs from the Padishah's belly at Garthos's words. "You are bold, mortal! I like you. We shall be seeing each other again, I think, in the future... but! You need to be home, and thus..."

A sharp clap of his hands, and a cloud erupts around them with a sudden rumble of thunder. It fades slowly...

...and they're all in the Dragon's Den. In Alexandria. And everyone is staring at them.

At the very least, the story should get them some free drinks.

As they return, Arissa looks around for a few moments... and her gaze settles on Wilma, tone very quiet and reserved. "Despite your words... I will make proper apology and compensation to you very soon. I used you to take on a risk I should have made myself, and would had the jar not been in my possession. I feared he would make a move if he saw it before my hands were ready. Nonetheless... it's not how an agent of heaven should treat others. I will set this right as best I can."

Then, she begins to pace for the door; that she's miraculously back in Alexandria doesn't seem to be any immediate thrill.

After a momentary bout of confusion at being forcibly teleported, Garthos calmly grabs a chair... takes a seat... takes one of his boots off... and pours a tiny mound of fine sand from it right on the floor, to the amazement of the patrons, no doubt. Then he repeats it with the other boot. "That is SO much better." he says as he pulls the now sand-less boots back on. "Bartender! Get us some ale!" he calls with a grin. "Have we got a tale to tell..."

"... You all deserve a tale to explain our arrival. Unt I have a tale to tell believe you me!" announces Brynn to the room full of patrons. She climbs up on top of a table and spreads her arms out to her sides as she starts to regale the audience with her version of what happened. In this version, the heroes were more heroic, more successful, and yet the ending is much the same.

Wilma stares after Arissa for a moment, then shakes her head and just stomps to a chair. "Ale - or whiskey, whichever appears first!" Apparently she meant it about getting as drunk as a skunk. After that trip, she needed it.