Glorious readers, with abject apologies, I prostrate and flagellate myself before you. I have been ruinously remiss in keeping this blog up to date. There is much to tell. So much, that I am sure to miss bits here and there.
When Last we left our party they had fought with the priestess of the Blue Lady and won. They then recovered her from the underground river, and she was suffering the hallucinogenic quality of the water. When she was revived, they interrogated her. She was recalcitrant, but realistic, and offered up information that seemed to not surrender her mission. She maintained that the attack was self defense, as the party had locked them into the caverns. Starving, and out of water, they were sure that they would not be allowed to live if they did not have a hostage.
The party maintained that they were just controlling access to the caves that they had found, and would have let the leave, had they asked. As a gesture of goodwill, she offered to have the temple provide an excellent ruby eye to release Sanjesh. In return, she asked for permission to look for her two lost guards, and leave. Our heroes agreed. The party left a slave to watch the stairs and provide fresh food and water for the priestess. I think that is who alerted them to the undead. It arose from out of the river, and began to (horrors) lecture them on the proper method for sacrifices. Some in the party could understand its speech, others could not. I don't recall who was who.. At any rate, the tried tossing a net over it. And it crumpled back into a much more natural pile of corpse. They identified the corpse as the Avánthe guard who had fallen in the river during the fight that left Sanjesh in stasis.
They exited and left the cage off the entrance so the priestess could leave at will, propping the cage so that she could drop it over the hole when she was out. The party left of Butrús, both to obtain the eye, and to research and resupply. In Butrús, they discovered Mis was hosting a party, in part to honor her rescuers, and in part because she can. The crew got invitations, though she was disappointed to learn that Sanjesh had not returned with the party. She had received and understood the message suggesting the temple acquire the land. That was another function of the party.
The land in which the cavern mouth sits belongs, currently, to the Plume of White, a clan locally dominated by Chegárra worshipers, and none to wealthy. With the war raging against Yan Kor, and their members joining legions and posting to far off lands, Mis figured they might be open to the idea of selling some land to finance the effort. The members of the Four greater black clans were also hoping to buy the land. They arrived at the party as well. The Group was given the task of keeping the Black Clan representatives busy so that Mis could cut a deal with the Plume of White.
There was the ordinary hob nobbing and such, but the action got interesting when Suni found the pit fighting rings and people started gambling. Wine and a few powders were flowing freely, and pretty soon Suni was signed up in the early competitions. Nothing lethal. But, as a complete unknown, she garnered a good deal of speculative betting. I don't recall the individual fights, but Suni eventually bested the lot, with help form her ring manager and personal healer Mriga. At the end of the night, Suni had an open offer for contracted bodyguard work, and Mis had an agreement to purchase (assuming all clerical paperwork was processed and accepted in Avanthár) the land in question for the temple of Hriháyal to open a small retreat for wayward girls. Mis also offered the party a contract for both the Chnéhl she had lost, and any others they could capture, with a hefty bounty, and some up front funding.
They spent most of the week in town, figuring Sanjesh was pretty safe, being in inter dimensional stasis and all. Suni got word from her temple that she could probably learn more about the Goddess of the Turin River if she could acquire a book from the library's of the temple of Avánthe entitled “A history of the flood of 643 and the appearance and disappearance of the Irriguous Dead”. It was probably held, they told her, in the second level below the temple. She took this to mean the basements and sub-basements. She recruited Mriga to go fetch the book.
A dutiful friend, and convinced that his temples alignment with stability and close ties between Avánthe and Thúmis would make him a better candidate, Mriga agreed. He entered the temple, toting a blue statue he scrounged from an unkempt storage room in his own temple, and made offerings, then slipped below grade. Down into the kitchens, and the coolness of the dorms. He could not find a Library. Eventually, he simply asked someone where he might find a book on past floods. He was directed to up and over to the temple of a lesser followed aspect. I think he fetched another offering, and tried again. He found the scholastic libraries this time, and, having some success with this approach before, he decided to simply ask again. The librarian looked in his records and told him they had no such book. Mriga returned empty handed.
But Suni was not about to give up that easily. If I recall, she bought an offering from the temple vendors and made her way down to the library. What she didn't know was what the Librarian had actually found when he looked in his records. The book had been tagged as heterodoxy, and moved to the secret libraries in the Tsu'urum. Mriga's request had been relayed to the temple guard, as was protocol, and initially just written off as random request for the book by a scholar who had seen it referenced some where. But when Suni asked for the book as well, the librarian suspected something was up. He had her wait, and told her he would get the book. Then he got the guards. She found herself outnumbered and didn't put up a fight. They escorted her to a small cell block and told her to wait. The book was valuable, and this was the only way she would be allowed to see it. Then they got the the fifth circle head of the order for preservation of the purity of the Ladies aspects, who came to interrogate her.
Now, she had not done anything wrong, and Suni was pretty sure that if they meant to kill her they probably would have done so. But she was also pretty sure they weren't interested in seeing her simply walk out. They asked why she wanted the book, and she told them it was for a fictitious scholar, who sounded to me a lot like Mriga. They sent queries to determine the validity of the story. The temple wasn't sure they could simply kill her and be done with the issue. There were suggestions that people might miss her and since they might be forced to release her, they were hesitant to harm her. She pushed the idea that her clan would demand Shámtla, and eventually they asked on what grounds? “Holding me against my will she replied. “We aren't holding you”, they replied, “you are waiting for a book.”. And with that, she decided to quit waiting, and they were forced to let her go, as their other option was to hold her against her will, and they weren't sure if this was worth the path that might eventually follow.
Mriga encouraged the party to leave town. They returned to the caverns and found that the Avánthe priestess had left, with or without her lost comrades they did not know. They entered caves to find and free Sanjesh, but suddenly discovered the floor seething with Étla. From large to small, and representing varieties from all around the empire and beyond.
Check in soon, there should be more.. (not like last time..)