Continuing on from the previous session of Strange Aeons, we try to help the survivor but find out that he is probably beyond any help that we can provide. The flora in the tower turns out to be just as strange and unwholesome as the fauna outside, but it seems that we are getting close in our hunt for Lowls.
We were standing at the bottom (or maybe top) of a cylindrical shaft inside the great tower in the city of Neruzavin. Looking into the room next door, it was upside down, with a cold firepit and various bed rolls laying on the floor (ceiling). Ray said he was going to investigate, but since he was invisible I had no idea what he was doing, so checked on the bound and gagged man that we had found at the top of the stairs.
I was briefly distracted by a burst of fire from the fire pit, but Ray shouted that he was okay and was going to look round the corner, so I went back to ungagging the man to find out what had happened to him. Apparently he wasn’t very happy – and not just because Ray had thrown him into the upside shaft.
He’d been tied up by one of Count Lowls employees – someone named Marok, who we’d possibly killed earlier on the stairs. They had all been hired in Okena, and recently after arriving here Marok had been hearing voices, and she was very good at getting others to do what she wanted. They worked for Thala of House Cato, a disenfranchised noblewoman who had become a mercenary captain. Another survivor of their group was Carsathi, a cleric of Xhamen-Dor.
Lowls himself had gone off to investigate things – he had a habit of touching and fiddling with anything he found that took his fancy, and that had been a lot of things during the three weeks they’d so far spent in the city. Further upstairs in the tower was a stone thing and a woman who presumable Lowls had been doing things with, and there were demons to be found outside in the Sprawl.
There was a path that went up and around the tower, to a room filled with fungus and flowers – but he told us not to linger at the corners of the path, or to leave it.
He seemed to be very thirsty and hungry, so we gave him plenty of water from our ever flowing flask. Apparently there is a thing in the city with three legs and three tentacles called Hosbagh, which has a large mouth filled with teeth atop it. I guess it’s an Otyugh of some kind, but it buys and sells things.
It was then that Ray returned back from the direction we’d originally come from. Apparently there had been a Haunt in the fire pit – he’d seen a vision of tired people gathering around the fire, then one of them had seemed to start convulsing, with tendrils bursting from their eyes. The others grabbed their weapons and attacked him, forcing him into the fire. Then Ray had been grabbed and pulled into the fire – which was when the fire burst had happened.
Beyond, the room opened out onto an open path that ran along the outside of the tower, looking out over the eastern side of the city. Ray had popped out over the edge, and found himself outside of the tower with a solid wall between him and the way he’d just stepped from. This had forced him to go back down to go through the doors and back up the stairs.
We went out into the room (switching from being on the ‘ceiling’ to being on the ‘floor’) and looked through the bed rolls. There we found part of a diary by one of the team. Of most concern were the final words written in it:
Clearly they’re the ones going mad. I can almost see their sickness as it stirs inside them. So thirsty. Just waiting to hatch.— Last words written in the diary
At that point we told the rescued man to leave, not wanting to kill him in cold blood even though he was most probably infected with something. Killing him may have been kinder, but apart from Sheena none of us was willing to do it.
We take the route up around the tower – each side seems to show us a completely different view of the city, and not in the natural euclidean way one would expect. None of us are willing to pay too much attention to what the view is like from the corners of the tower, where the different views join.
At the top of the path is a room filled with fungal tendrils hanging from the ceiling and walls, and there is a hole in the ceiling through which some light is coming. Ray turns into a cloud of mist and floats up through the hole, coming back some moments later.
There is a room there with a couple of large (20ft tall) plants, and some strange yellow fungus thing. From his description I recognise the plants as Moon Flowers, which are known to swallow people hole and emit bright pulses of light which can blind people. They minds are utterly alien, said to be filled with the thoughts of alien jungles. The fungus is possibly a Nulmind, which can consume the minds of intelligent creatures, as well as consume magic as it is cast.
We talk about sneaking up as clouds and shadows, to get past them and go through the door at the far side of that room, so I prepare to make Catiana ethereal and turn myself into a shadow. Then it’s decided to try and fight them, but I’ve currently little energy left for using any magic that might affect such things – beyond filling the entire room with sharp cutting shards, which would take out everyone else as well.
So the others go up and make use of many fireballs to clear the space, then give a shout down to myself and Catiana to head up. Before I can do so though, Sheena kicks open the door and charges out into the room beyond – running straight into Thala and Carsathi who are left from Lowl’s party.
By the time I get up, the second fight is in full swing, with the cleric targeting Erasmus and Sheena with her magic, and the now undead Thala almost killing Sheena with her spiked shield.