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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thieves' World - Sikkintairs and Portals

If you are just picking this up, I suggest reading the previous posts first!
Prelude : Characters : Act I : Act II : Act III : Act IV : Prince and Steel : Festival : Kadakithis & HellHounds

Sikkintairs and Portals
22nd of Esris
The Group is in Marta’s having drinks and dinner when there is quite a commotion from outside. Once on the streets, the Group hears screaming and cries from people outside. The noise is coming from the direction of the Bazaar. The Group rushes towards the Bazaar, and Kalima shouts to look up. The Group stops dead in their tracks, and they see 2 huge black snakes with wings – each easily large enough to carry off a horse. These flying serpent-like creatures are circling the Bazaar and seem to be attacking the city. The Group reaches the Bazaar and sees a few of the Rankan Elite Guards trying to figure out how to fight the flying creatures. The general populace is in a panic, and the Group and the Hell Hounds continue in their attempts to attack the creatures. The Group makes little impact, although Malkar is as effective as anyone with his bow. A Rankan Elite Guard named Tempus gets close to one as it swoops down, and kills it with one mighty blow. The remaining creature snatches a citizen from the Bazaar and flies off towards the East. Everyone empties the streets under forced orders of the Rankan Elite Guard. The crowd resists a little, but generally complies.

23rd of Esris
The next day starts early since most folks got to bed early, if even reluctantly. Also coupled with the fact that nobody got any business done after the attack, the streets are teeming with people. Malkar wakes in the Happy Beaver and looks around, asks around and finds that Gastov and his entire crew are gone. He goes to Marta’s for breakfast, and eats alone. He decides to see if he can find out about the flying snakes from yesterday, and goes to the only place he knows of that deals in learned information: Melilot’s scriptorium.
Meanwhile, Jack also wakes and starts wandering the Bazaar talking to anyone about yesterday’s events. Blind Jacob’s cart is a good place to communicate with all the Bazaar folk, and finds out that most folk are more fearful than informative. He wanders a while longer, and eventually goes to Marta’s. He flirts with Mary and makes a date for later on. Jack learns that Malkar was there earlier, and goes out looking for him after he is finished with breakfast. At Melilot’s, an apprentice informs Jack that Malkar had been there, but was no longer there. With a couple of padpols from Jack, the apprentice adds that most of the folks looking for information about the flying creatures are going to the temple of Vashanka. The boy apprentice also tells Jack what they are called; they are Sikkintair’s. Word on the street is that most of the resident Rankan’s think this is a spiritual summoning, and are concerned that the gods have something to do with yesterday’s attacks.

Jack makes it to the Promise of Heaven, and starts commiserating with the crowd, generally keeping the crowd riled up by agreeing with whatever opinion he hears. Malkar has spent the last hour watching the crowd. He sees Molin Torcholder on the highest front balcony, and Malkar also notices that the doors on the balcony look to be broken. Molin Torcholder is watching the crowd and receiving messages from runners. Zalbar joins Molin on the balcony, and the sound of marching boots can be heard approaching the temple. Palace guards show up and Zalbar announces to the crowd that they need to disperse or be arrested for interference. Jack and Malkar duck into an alleyway. The guards stay in place and eventually see the pair hiding; so they move on. They head back to Marta’s where Mary makes sure that Jack provides a date for her friend for their outing tonight. Jack puts up Malkar for the double date. Jack then goes and buys some fresh clothes and gets a bath. It’s already dark out when the pair meet up with the girls, Mary and Suzy. They go out to the Wideway in search of a place Mary has heard of called the Flying Fish. It’s supposed to be much more than just a bar, with music and dancing. On the way, Suzy starts screaming and Malkar sees a bleeding man slumped over a barrel, unconscious. Malkar glances around and catches a quick glimpse of a man running off. Jack takes instant action, and attends to the man with two healing potions, saving the man’s life. They pick the man up and haul him to the nearest watch shack, and are detained, being questioned for at least an hour. The night is getting late as the Group finally is allowed to leave the watch shack, the Group returns to search for the Flying Fish on the Wideway. Once on the Wideway, Malkar sees movement in the sky and recognizes a Sikkintair swooping down. Jack flies into a rage, and Malkar attacks with his knives. Jack narrowly misses as the beast flies in, grabs Suzy and lies off into the sky. Malkar manages to sink an arrow or two into the escaping beast, but Suzy is gone.

24th of Esris
On the following morning, the Group meets at Marta’s, and Malkar recants the adventure from the night. Kalima signs on to kick monster butt, and everyone is concerned about how to attack flying beasts. Kalima goes back to the Temple of Sabellia, and informs the head priestess about the abduction. The Temple sends a messenger (Acolyte Alaide) to inform the Palace of the abduction. Kalima follows the messenger to the Palace gates, and then heads to the Wideway for some snooping around. Kalima searches the Wideway for any clues from the previous night’s abduction. On her way, an agent of some unknown benefactor is looking to hire Kalima for some work. He says it is a cleaning job, the cleaning of some Wrigglie street scum. He’ll meet her again and will have a sealed packet describing the soon to be corpses. He drinks every night at the Rank and Shield. After an unproductive scouting on the Wideway, Kalima returns to the temple, and the priestess tells her to gather her friends, the Palace has responded to the message about the abduction.

Meanwhile, Malkar and Modig question the staff of the Eastern estates. They meet Tumarr who tells them that the Sikkintairs never made it that far East, they saw the beasts in the skies, but they didn’t come out of the city. Modig and Malkar leave Tumarr with a padpol for his troubles.
Nikolas poses as a palace representative and also questions the Eastern estates. His information gathering returns the same information, after bribing with a shabooza.

The Group decides they want to get into the Temple of Vashanka to do some additional snooping around. Between the information they got from the people on the estates, and the broken doors on the balcony of the Temple, they have substantial suspicion. The Group goes to Gastov who is in the Happy Beaver, and buys a sewer map to get them underground access to the Temple of Vashanka, they pay 15 sh for it. Their next task is to head over to the Temple of Sabellia. On their way, they see two more Sikkintairs circling the Bazaar. They turn and run towards the Bazaar as fast as possible, but don’t make it before one of the Sikkintairs picks up its prey. The beast flies over the Group and back to the Temple of Vashanka, where it enters the top floor balcony at top flying speed. There is no noise or evidence of any collision.

The Group gets to the Temple of Sabellia to talk with the Head Priestess. This meeting results in the head priestess hiring the group in behalf of the Prince-Govenor Kadikithis. The offer is for 1000 sh for the Group. They get a medallion with the official seal of Ranke as a sort of badge, and they are encouraged to go immediately to the Temple of Vashanka. Zalbar and another Guard meet them at the door to the Temple of Vashanka. Zalbar greets the Group, but has the other Guard escort them upstairs to Molin’s personal quarters. Upon entering the room, the group notices two things. The first is that the room is completely barren of furniture. The second is the glowing silvery portal on one end of the room. The portal looks like it only has one side. If looked at from the non-silvery side, it is like it doesn’t exist, just a slight wavering of the room seen through the area. The other side is a shimmering silver oval that is 5 feet wide and 7 feet tall. It faces the balcony doors, which have been removed completely. Jack reaches through the portal but doesn’t feel anything on the other side. They finally decide to step through the portal.

On the other side, they are on a mountainside in a huge mountain range as far as the eye can see. Looking in the skies, there are hundreds of Sikkintairs flying in the air, both near and in the distance. The Group is standing on a large ledge, and they look down, to another large ledge. On the lower ledge, they see a few bodies of the victims from the various abductions, including Suzy, or rather what is left of her and her clothing. Turning around and looking at the cliff face going up, the mountain they are standing on has a lot of caves in the side of the cliff, where the Sikkintairs presumably roost. There is one cave that is significantly larger than all the rest that is slightly above the ledge they are on; it’s a simple climb to get in. The Group decides they don’t know what they are looking for, and decide to return back through the portal. They catch their escort napping when they get back, and are taken to Molin Torchholder for a briefing. The Group informs Molin of what they saw, and in return they are berated and insulted by him. He calls them useless and insignificant. The Group leaves disgusted, and decides to try to get more information from Mizraith, the Rankan magician on retainer by the Palace. The Palace personnel are very helpful in getting the Group to Mizraith’s place near the intersection of Processional and the Governors Walk. Mizraith meets with them reluctantly and is similarly condescending. He informs them that his magical resources are doing all that they can to close the portal. The Group, disillusioned and angry, leaves to go try their luck with Enas Yorl.

Approaching the famous house on Pyrtanis Street, the Group pauses at the gate uncertainly; they see the front door of the house opening, as if beckoning them to enter. The Group walks up the path to the porch, entering the house carefully and respectfully. A squat lizard-like being with wings meets them just inside the door. It leads them to a sitting room where the Group sees a cloaked figure sitting comfortably in a chair and assumes that it is Enas Yorl. They are correct; his magically shifting form is unknown due to the coverage of the cloak. They tell him their discoveries so far, including the disdain and disinterest of the Rankan government. Enas informs the Group that the portal is most likely being held open by a significant item that is still on the other side. They need to find that item on the other side, bring the item back through, and the portal should close.

The Group heads back to the Palace to get some mountain survival equipment for their task, on Ranke, of course. The Palace allows them to stock up from their armory, and the Group prepares for their second trip through the portal.

At the Palace armory, the Group meets up with Jack, who has been training with Tempus all day, preparing to handle himself against the Sikkintairs. Armed with a long pole-arm, Jack is ready as ever to fight these beasts.

For the second time, the Group goes through the portal. They get to the other side and decide to start searching the caves, and start with the biggest one, closest to the portal. Inside it, they see what looks like living quarters for something, something very large. There is a Sikkinair spitted and roasting over a fire. The fire is the size of Gagino’s tent in the Bazaar, and the Sikkintair is one of the larger ones. They search around the cave; it has a central wall that separates the entrance from the back of the cave. Sneaking to the back of the cave, behind the wall, they see a huge humanoid, almost the same color of the rock walls. The Stone Giant hears something and starts to get up, reaching for a very large club. The Group takes position but does not attack immediately. The Giant sees the Group and rushes them. Modig manages to sneak around the other side and starts searching what looks like the Giant’s bedding. The Giant attacks and starts dealing mighty blows to Jack, Malkar, and Kalima. Nickolas manages to sneak behind it and up on its back. Finally, with enough blows from everyone and a final stab in the back from Nickolas, the Giant goes down. During the fight, Modig searches for the mysterious item; and finds a dagger-like object. The object is figured to be an Athame, a magical device used in casting rituals. This is probably the item used to keep the portal open. The Group gets back to the portal outside of the cave, and everyone goes through, with Modig bringing up the rear with the Athame. As soon as Modig appears in Molin Torchholder’s room, the portal closes. The Group gives a collective sigh of relief.

They are immediately brought into the Palace. Molin, Zalbar, Mizraith and the Prince Kadakithis meet with them, but not after making the Group wait for almost a half an hour. The Group shows Mizraith the Athame, and then is dutifully paid 20 Coronations (250 sh) for each person present. They are also encouraged to keep this information to themselves. Enas Yorl magically appears and is not pleased with the ‘reward’ that the Prince-Governor and his staff have given. Enas tells the Rankan’s his opinions of how this whole situation has been dealt with and wishes them a "good day". The Rankan’s are highly annoyed and the Group is displeased with the lack of appreciation. Both groups separate on sour terms.
They unceremoniously return the equipment they borrowed for their quest in the palace grounds, and are escorted out of the Palace. The Group stomps their way to Marta’s.

They order drinks and dinner and eat a somber meal. A voice is heard while they are eating their meal, and the lizard-like servant of Enas Yorl appears from out of thin air. The voice is coming from a Magical Mouth on a nearby wall. The voice is loud enough that all the patrons in Marta’s stop what they are doing to witness this extremely odd event. Enas uses this to tell of the Groups heroic quest to make Sanctuary safer. He also describes the level of the Rankan’s malaise towards their actions. Enas tells everyone listening that he has decided to personally reward the Group; and he is going to do it publicly, right now. Marta is so happy that she buys the Group a round of wine.

The mouth says "First, for Jack. The tough but rash ex-soldier who takes care of others first, I give to him a magical Ring of Force Shield. This will protect him as he protects others."

"Kalima, righteous leader with your friends, trying to keep an eye on all who might wrong you or others you care about, I present you with a statuette of this owl. Once per day, it can magically come to life as this size or a giant size and serve you, as you will it. Be warned: after the third time as a giant sized owl, the statuette’s magic will expire.

"Gagino, as a music lover and a friend, you’re always on the lookout for your associates, this Canaith Mandolin can aid you and your friends with healing, magical cancellation or even the summoning of a creature for aid."

"Malkar, you have the hunter’s will and skill. This tiger skin Mantle of the Predator will give you an animalistic edge against beast and man alike.

"Nickolas, with your quiet attitude, you will get this magic armor made from studded leather that is as black as midnight. Your foes will find it difficult to see you coming."

"Modig, your skills with tools and mechanical works is good, but even the good can get better. This magical ring will enhance your abilities.

"Take these items and continue on your path. I am truly proud of you, even if the Prince Governor Kadakithis, or Ranke, is not."