Common Year 579

23. Into the Pomarj

From 13 to 16 Wealsun, 579 CY

After an uneasy sleep, the party resumed their search of the tunnels and eventually found an immense sewer system, serving what unimaginable city on the surface, they did not know and could not guess.

They passed along stone corridors leading away from the flow of sewage and came across an elaborate holding pen filled with slaves in pit cages. An attachment of five orcs in the livery of the yellow eye were escorting three potential buyers — a merchant, a fighter, and a magic-user — from cage to cage to survey the merchandise. Zarra rushed headlong into the room to kill everything that wasn’t a slave; Hessa, Devil Pancake, and Father Dominco followed.

The orcs and their customers died bloodily and in corners. The merchant was initially spared for questioning, but he gave no useful information, so Zarra cut his throat.

During the battle, Hessa recognized the fighter as someone she had known from her travels up the Wild Coast, and the orcs called Devil Pancake by name. What this means for either of them, if anything, has not yet been learned.

The party then tried to free the slaves, but the slaves were badly starved and broken in spirit, and they saw Zarra’s unmasked face and fell instead in worship of her. The party also realized that there was nowhere safe for the slaves to go, so, reluctantly, they left them in their cages, promising to return.

Further exploration led the party to a circular room with a stone throne, where they met, for the first time, a slave lord. He was human-sized but seemingly made of shadow and entirely silent. He vanished before the party’s eyes, letting them fight instead with ten orc champions who somehow transformed — or were transformed — into giant weasels.

The battle was not difficult, but it delayed the party long enough for the slave lord to murder the slaves in the holding pen and apparently to depart, leaving a map for the party to find with an X marked in a region of the Pomarj hills. The party also noticed that their surroundings were fading, as if the reality of this place were dependent on the slave lord’s presence. Unsure of how to escape, they decided to use the ring that Melf had given them. Zarra recited the rhyming words to summon Melf and gain his assistance. But when Melf appeared, he said that the party could easily escape on their own, since they have a planewalker in their midst, and promptly returned from whence he came. So Hessa asked Father Dominco to remove the ward on the sword Blackrazor, which he did. She took up the sword, cut a hole in space, and returned the party to the desecrated temple.

The party briefly debated about returning to Hommlet but resolved to go to the X instead. With Hessa to guide them, they turned due south and crossed the border into the Pomarj.

Not long into the journey, the party encountered a night hag who claimed to be the sister of Margaret, or Maggie, the night hag who the party had killed in the Welkwood. This night hag, whose name might have also been Margaret, transported the party to her lair under a bridge by mysterious and unsettling means, bound them in chains, and intended to sacrifice them in some sort of rite, but they managed to overcome her and resume their road.

The party next came across a settlement of bugbears, which they wiped off the face of the earth with a combination of a lightning storm from Zarra, an ice storm from Devil Pancake, and an avalanche from Hessa.

They drew further into the hills and met and slew some giants who were quarrying granite for an unknown purpose, but they have not yet reached the X or learned what is waiting for them there.


DonjonMaster DonjonMaster