A Long Time Dead

After the previous session of Strange Aeons where Catiana was ‘killed’, we get some time to rest and research the notes and journals left by Count Lowls. The combat in this session is relatively short, and there is time to talk to people and find out information about what has happened, and what we need to do.

Healing up after the fight was next on our agenda, and as Tezcatili and its elven friend rejoined us, we explained to it about the corruption of the Yithian bodies beneath the city. It wasn’t happy about that, but didn’t seem that surprised – it had been trying to shift its mind back into its original body for a long time now and failing, so had guessed that something had happened. On seeing the body of the dead flying polyp, it also commented that if the polyps were beginning to escape, then the wards on the city were probably failing.

With several of us pretty much out of spells, and Catiana taking time to recover, rather than exploring ahead we decide that we need to spend the rest of the day digging into Lowl’s notes rather than exploring further. Digging into the notes means cross referencing against the content in the Necronomicon, something we’re all a bit hesitant to do. In the end, it’s decided to tie Erasmus down and have him read the minimal number of required sections of the Necronomicon about Carcosa – which is a world, a city and possibly a concept.

And when we have filled the city, the King in Yellow will walk forth onto your world and all worlds and they shall know his eternal decadence

Hastur the Unspeakable was imprisoned on a planet in the Hyades star cluster. The original name of that planet is now lost. Stories tell that he remains confined within an immense body of water known as Lake Hali.

— What we find from the book

Looking through Lowl’s notes, he seems to want to become the preeminent eldritch scholar, so we take note of scholars he mentions in his journal whom he doesn’t like. In case we meet him and need to talk, it might be useful to be able to flatter him and name drop some ‘lesser’ scholars to get him to drop his guard.

According to the notes, there are three Star Stelae in the city, one of which is up the stairs from here. We can go there tomorrow, but now that we have everything we need from the Necronomicon myself and Gregor take it down to the two angels for them to destroy it in their heresy ovens.

They are pleased with our delivery, and provide us with some platinum and diamond trinkets (worth several tens of thousands of gold in total) and a book of holy poetry. It’s written in Draconic though, which makes it unreadable to me.

Erasmus, not happy with us giving the Necronomicon away, seems content to read the book of poetry though complains that it’s mostly crap and preachy. He still insists on finishing it before giving it up to anyone else.

17th Gozran, Sunday

Last night I was woken by the feeling of being watched. There was nothing to see, except for some soggy, somewhat elephantine, footprints leading away from the tent. Sheena was on watch at the time, but claimed to have seen nothing.

The rest of the morning and early afternoon was spent resting up and planning what to do next. Later that afternoon Catiana returns, looking somewhat tired after her ordeal.

Since we are now all ready, we head up the stairs and come to a small room at the top of the tower, which has four large openings looking out over the city. Several pieces of broken wood lay around on the floor, and the centre of the room is filled with a stone pillar – a star stelae.

It was then that a scream of horror and rage was heard from above, so Catiana floated up through the ceiling to take a look – immediately floating down and yelling out to people not to look. She was followed by a woman dressed in unusual clothes – also incorporeal and carrying a glowing sword. She looks at all of us, filling us with horror. She is surrounded by a shimmering freezing haze, as well as being difficult to see.

She casts a slow enchantment on us, which Ray shrugs off and responds with a burst of electrical energy and then I cancel with a haste. Erasmus protects us from cold and Catiana grows in size and moves forward to attack her, but she dodges and pierces Catiana with her sword, but the armour enchantment I put on her every morning deflects the blow.

There is a brief fight, which ends with Ray being turned into a rabbit, and Sheena running the ghost through.

Instead of dying though, the ghost’s look of rage and pain eases and she becomes sane. We are uncertain at first, but it becomes clear that she no longer threatens us, introducing herself as Upianshe, and thanking us for ‘freeing’ her.

She was the leader of an expedition from the city of Ninshabur, which was destroyed by Rovagug thousands of years ago. She herself was a magus, and her and her companions came here to seek and destroy the evil that infected the place. Unfortunately they were overcome down by the lake by some type of evil outsider and its minions.

Her madness has been the result of thousands of years of trying to avoid the influence of the city since the day she was torn apart by her corrupted friends. Her sword – Teralindar’s Honour – is probably still down there, near to an altar of red ochre surrounded by candles and skulls. If it could be brought to her, then it would probably prevent her from descending into madness again.

I guess that our next step is possibly to try and find her sword, so that we can make use of her knowledge of the city.

Samuel Penn

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