The party row to the pirate ship, and they quickly find out how to make themselves useful. Those who can tie knots are put on the sails (and now get a +1 bonus to any sailing checks for the experience they gained that day). Those who could not pass their dexterity check were put on the oars. Under sail and oar the vessel made very good time and crossed the sound in a day.
The party rowed ashore, and were accompanied by two good-natured pirates, Amezhwar and Aghilas. Though there were some minor storms, there were plenty of provisions and these were supplemented by hunting. They also found a strange crater with a slimy potter's wheel (thanks wilderlands Ruins and Relics table!) In 3 days the party was within 12 miles of their destination. That night, however, their suspicious companion Vayin switched watches with Omad, leaving Vayin alone with Aghilas.
At the end of his watch, Vayin woke up those in the next watch, including Lisset, Amezhwar, and Omad. He nonchalantly told them that Aghilas had excused himself to relieve himself and didn't return. He said he went to see what happened, and that Aghilas was nearly entirely devoured. He supposed it was probably hyenas and sat down to eat an early breakfast.
They bury Aghilas, and are of course very suspicious of Vayin and Vana, even smelling Vayin's breath to see if there is a smell of blood. They also use whatever skills they had to see if they hyena attack was plausible. Indeed, it was: there were hyena tracks. But they didn't come from the open desert. There were human footprints but by then many had walked there, even Vayin by his own story.
They decided to press on. They arrived at Habi-ga-charu's camp at night, where they were introduced to the head of the guard, Agwectim. He made Omad fight one of his men, and Omad was defeated, but was brought back by a cleric. Agwectim told him he didn't have the patience to train them that night, but to come back and the morning.
They took lodging in the circle of large tents at the camp, and underwent training for 2 hours in the morning, and Omad this time readily defeated his foe. They were then relieved by a cleric, who was told by Amezhwar what had happened, and had the party and Vayin and Vana come with them back to the campsite where the death occurred.
Upon arriving the cleric Spoke with Dead, and found it was Vayin that killed him. He stood by and allowed the party to exact justice. After Zumbido blinded Vayin with Color Spray, Omad charged him, and Gryll swooped down to attack him. He fell dead, and transformed into a hideous (but still dead) ghul, and Lisset turned to fight Vana. Wounded, she surrenders and makes a bargain for her life, saying that the Ghul King will grant the party a boon when they most need it. Lisset sets the ghul free.
The party then returned to the complex of Habi-ga-charu, which was larger than the party might have imagined, with a great stepped pyramid, many tents, an oasis, and a small ruined town, not to mention dozens of soldiers training. The party also has learned that Habi-ga-charu has been paying the Hai-Gekk pirates. One reason was to convey recruits to his compound, though there may be other reasons.
The barbarian did not join tonight and was last seen aboard the pirate vessel.
Vayin was carrying quite a bit of treasure:
Gems: moonstone worth 25 gp, bloodstone worth 50 gp, 2 common opals worth 100 gp, whiteish moonstone worth 100 gp, amethyst worth 250 gp, peridot worth 250 gp
Magic Items: Protection from Alignment* (potion) (exp: 100)
Running total: 1005xp each.
- The Mark of the Demons by John Jakes (Brak the Barbarian)
- Vathek by William Thomas Beckford: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Vathek
- The Ghoul by Clark Ashton Smith: http://eldritchdark.com/writings/short- ... /the-ghoul
- The Charnel God by Clark Ashton Smith: http://eldritchdark.com/writings/short- ... harnel-god