Day 322 8:15PM The party, standing in the dusty, rubble-filled hallway debated their options. Chase down the mages spread across D.C.I. or chase down the cyclops. The footprints showed evidence of cyclops tracks.
Temujin cast an augury and discerned that the Chelish mages did indeed leave the island, returning to their haven at Bhudrek Atoll – and they could easily return at any time. With that information in hand, the party headed down the eastern tunnel to chase down the band of cyclops.
Damiano led the party down the sloping corridor into the intersection. He heard the faint scraping of movement, and a giggle or two. As the party cautiously entered the intersection where they had met the svirfneblin, Fribur Nererguard – they were greeted by the disappointed faces of svirfneblin children.
Over a bit of discussion in the gnomish language, the party learned that the children were here, excited for the opportunity to glimpse cyclops. But dismayed to see only surface dwellers. Alas. Catfolk, lizard folk and tengu are rare, but not nearly as exciting as cyclops! The party continued their trek down the south tunnel following the cyclops footprints.
Day 322 9:00 PM Damiano in the lead again, noted large stealthy shapes approaching, staying to the left-hand side of the tunnel. From out of the darkness, came four large spiders, being ridden by bald, grey-skinned dwarves, wearing plate armor. Damiano greeted the dwarves, who pulled their spiders to a halt 30’ distant. The dwarves confirmed that the Tamarind Market was behind them, they had just come from there and they were heading north to merge onto the Long Walk – the tunnel that will lead them to the duergar city of Fellstrok. Giving each other distance, but seeing no reason for a tussle, both parties went their separate ways.
Day 322 9:30PM Temujin joined Captain Damiano at front of the party. They both noted another cumbersome shape approaching out the darkness of the tunnel. A great lizard pulled a cart of casks – on the back of the cart was a male svirfneblin, goading the lizard through the tunnel. The svirfneblin greeted the party – his name was Brickers, and he was a wine merchant returning to his village of Shambour. Brickers slid off the cart and from a box procured some wooden mugs which he filled with a dark purplish wine. He saluted to their health and drank deeply. The party drank as well and found that it was a strong, exotic taste, but perhaps they could find a market for it on the surface. They suggested trade with Brickers – he paused, looked about and commented that he was surprised to see surface-folk down here. There was word that a group of derro came into the market a few days back. They were called the Dark Devils and were a death squad. Word had it that they were waiting for the word and they would funnel out of a small postern gate of the market – also called the forest gate as it exited in a thick stand of trees on D.C.I. Brickers didn’t know where this gate was, but it was likely secured by Jhal Krystof, the master of the Tamarind Market. The party wished him well, and Brickers climbed back up into his cart and prodded the lizard to move – they slowly proceeded north up the tunnel. The party continued south.
Day 322 9:45PM As the party neared the market, they could hear the noise – many exotic languages were spoken here. The tunnel opened up into a large domed chamber, the roof was about 100’ high. Most of the buildings were stone and only a single story tall. The chamber was shadowy, but different colored lights – reddish orange of oil lamps, and green, purple and blue lights of an alchemical or phosphorescent nature glowed through the darkness.
Besides svirfneblin, there were all kinds of creatures moving through the narrow streets: drow, troglodytes, ghouls, cave giants, morlocks, serpent folk and gugs. The party even heard the polyglot dialect of common, known through the Shackles – as there were human slaves bearing bands on their arms signifying that they were property.
The party asked for information for the master of the market and while receiving many odd stares, they were provided the information – they proceeded to the center of the market where a large stone-walled pavilion was erected. The guards summoned a servant – a pale-faced, gaunt human, who scurried inside – out came a scarred drider – the major domo, named Ardeth Bey. Ardeth led the party inside and announced them. There were many underlings and fawning supplicants throughout the tent. The drider showed the party to the master, Jhal Krystof, a denizen of Leng. While humanoid, and dressed in finery, he had goatish legs and his face had short tentacles and claws about his mouth. Despite his odd appearance, he greeted the party warmly. Jhal Krystof indicated that he knew the Captain and his officers had pacified the island, but understood that they were still quite busy – so he understood that they might not be ready to discuss business or trade – but perhaps in the near future.
The party asked whether the rumors were true that a derro death squad, operating out of this market, that Jhal might be responsible for it. He indicated that he indeed was, as an entrepreneur, business was business. When the party pushed, he added the house of Rampore, under Bedu Hanji was an agent of this deal – Jhal turned and indicated a richly dressed human male sitting upon a bed of pillows. At the man’s side was a lovely young woman. Jhal introduced them as Khan Noonian Singh, a member of house Hanji and Lady Calpurnia.
Khan was also cordial, if a bit patronizing – but Jhal didn’t give him much license to speak. Jhal did offer the party, that for a sum of 25,000 gold pieces, the attack could be withdrawn. The party discussed it briefly and refused the offer. The meeting was quite cordial for the interesting arrangement of parties that sat together under the pavilion – the discussion ended with the possibility that the party could do other business with Jhal Krystof in the future.
As they departed, the party tried to determine where the cyclops might be. The party had learned that the derro would use the forest gate, but the cyclops would likely be dropped onto the island surface magically. They had also learned that the cyclops were likely taking rest at a temple of Rovagug, called the Corpus House. Unwilling to push too deeply into the market, the party teleported back to the Chelish fort.
Day 322 10:30PM The party were getting a bit of rest at the Chelish fort. They spent some time whiling away the hours inspecting some of the magical loot they had gathered recently. Nico started dismantling the teleportation circle in the basement to insure that no one could sneak in from Sumitha.
Day 323 1:30 AM Nico had finished locking down the teleportation circle. Word had been sent to the ships to be on watch. Word had also been sent for all folk at Pyrligburg to be rested and ready for any attack from the derro or cyclops. The party waited…
[end of session 122]