So we’re in the desert in the middle of the night. We decide to rest with Kalpa and Merielle watching over us. As the sun rises, Merielle notices a caravan in the distance. She can sort of make out that it’s all crodlu and kanks. There are no inix so she concludes it isn’t a cargo caravan. It’s approaching from the direction of Ra’an.
Kalpa shines his brightest and the caravan turns to where we’re camped. Merielle sighs and wakes everyone up. Gathalimay starts a welcome song.
At about 200 yards out, the twenty plus members of the caravan split and start to form a wide circle around us. Three individuals approach. Merielle notices that they are dressed oddly – in bright colors and long flowy robes. They carry bows and swords.
Sam rides Reginald backwards out to greet the group of 3 and Kalpa follows.
Sam calls out “Hello friend. We are traveling and looking for some guidance.”
The woman in the center responds, “Friends? That might need to be determined. What are you doing out here in the middle of nowhere.”
Sam replies "We were headed for Hanuman and assaulted by zombies and lost all of our supplies.
The woman looks quizzical, “there haven’t been undead here in a century at least. Have you seen a brogue? Are you sure it wasn’t a brogue?”
Sam looks puzzled as well, “No. No brogues here. It was definitely undead.”
The woman responds and said “Well undead would be quite troubling. Are you without mounts stable boy? Let us meet your companions.”
They begin to walk towards us. She asks “what kind of undead did you say assaulted you?”
Sam replies “Zombies and vampires.”
At this point the group reaches the larger party.
The woman introduces herself as Maetan of House Lubar.
Sam introduces himself, “I’m Sam Leary of the Flock of Seagulls.”
Maetan smiles, “Oh I get it, you’re players!”
Sam decides to go with it. “Yes the caravan abandoned us when the zombies attacked.”
“Were you really that bad?” Maetan chuckles. She turns to the two beside her and says "bring the others in, this isn’t a problem.
Sam introduces the rest of the group: Kalpa the lighting tech, Durian and Krynn the other techs, Merielle & Thalie the actresses, Gathalimay the musician, and himself as the lead actor.
Maetan studies Sam, “these costumes are astounding. Really well done. We’ll get you some regular clothes though.”
Sam rushes on “we’re doing an original performance of the fights of the Flock of Seagulls.”
Maetan asks if we do a re-enactment of Saharabellum. “You know, the one where the rocks are raining down and the knucklehead yells ’I’m a defiler!’”
Maetan agrees to take us with her back to Raan, but first she says they are on a hunt for a brogue.
Gathalimay knows that they’d probably be hunting brogue renegades to harvest for magic elixirs and salves.
Sam announces “we would be honored to assist you in hunting a renegade.”
Maetan hesitates, “but you’re actors? No no, we’ll get you spare mounts and you can come with us”
Maetan gets us mounts and leads us deeper into Uutkleza, which is a sinkhole approximately 60 to 70 miles across. There are no undead here, and really nothing out here. We travel for 2 days to the center of the sinkhole.
While we travel Gathalimay tries to get the gossip from Ra’an. Maetan is really upset. Brennan O’Reilly, of House O’Reilly procured Gryphon eggs three months ago and she knows that he’ll be on the hunt for the brogue as well. She wants to press on at a fast pace and hopefully beat him to finding the brogue.
Maetan and Sam continue to talk along the way.
One afternoon Maetan comments “Saharabellum was a crazy time. Defilers could suck life any time.”
Sam responds, “it’s hard to believe it’s been so long… you must have been pretty young?”
Maetan looks at him oddly, “I was not yet born at Saharabellum. They do still gather there every 10 years. It just goes to show you that a silly tradition can last 500 years. And to wake a crystalline child? What happens when that child awakens?”
Sam says “Well people tell tales….”
Maetan continues “Anyone who sleeps that long is a harbinger of doom.”
After this conversation Sam returns to ride with us and relays what he has learned.
In the evenings Gathalimay sings songs around the fire. Some of the men in the group are familiar with Gathalicism. Durian tries to detect brogue magic, but so far doesn’t.
Finally we reach the rim of the sinkhole, and can see the bottom where the sand stays, surrounded by a hard crust.
Maetan pulls out equipment and sets up ropes. When the apparatus is ready, she sends people down to scout. The Ra’anites go first, light torches and call back up to announce the all clear.
We all go down. It takes us a bit to adjust to the dark, but we’re in a large spherical cavern. The sand has fallen down and made a hill in the middle. It seems like the city has sunken down, and is covered with stone and animal bones.
Merielle thinks she might see brogue tracks heading off to the east, but she doesn’t share what she sees.
The cave spreads out in eight directions and the Ra’anites scatter. Kalpa, Sam and Gathalimay head southwest. They try opening doors and hear latches. They find remnants of furniture, partially sand filled rooms. Gathalimay sees metal door handles.
The Ra’anites move through other sections fairly quickly. Sam and Kalpa leapfrog down the street finding piles of bones. There is some smell of feces, and Merielle thinks it might be trolls.
From a large building to the east we hear shouts and screams. “Watch out! That thing is huge!”
We run towards the shouts and see lights from a ziggurat.
There are more screams and we hear bone crunching. A body comes flying out and we recognize it as one of the Ra’anites in the caravan.
Maetan runs past us and into the building yelling as she passes “don’t think less of yourselves if you don’t fight, you’re just players.”
Durian finds another stairway that leads down into the ziggurat. I run to the man lying on the steps and try to stabilize him.
There are more screams, and a head is thrown up the stirs.
Kalpa rushes in and see Durian and Maetan. He jumps over the wall and down the stairs. He can now see a large chamber, lit by torches and braziers. It’s smoky and smells like wet animal. He sees the brogue in the center with a spear in one hand and a headless body in the other. He announces “We come in peace!”
The brogue snorts, “You may have come in peace, but these want to kill me.” He throws the headless body.
Sam yells “let’s do this!” and charges the brogue, knocking him prone. He hits the giant, and there is a defiling vortex and blast.
Kalpa walks over to the prone brogue, “there are 12 of us. Come peacefully and we won’t kill you.”
We start to trying and hit the brogue. Each time we do however, he is somehow able to strike at us, causing fear and pain.