Secrets of Mystara

Post 34 - Escape from the Pyramid!

Escape from the Pyramid!


In a fine mood, the party ascends the stairs, and then the ladder, and re-unites with Pooches. They climb more stairs, then enter the Great Temple on the fifth level of the Pyramid and head for the fountains. Taking their time, they wash off the gore and filth with water, scrub themselves with sand, and wash again. Many even laugh and splash each other playfully. Finally finished, they retire to the room they have camped in before, where lizard jerky still hangs from smashed bedframes, and rest.

Once everyone is feeling up to the journey, the party decamps and begins the descent to the Undercity. After several hours of scambling through narrow stone passageways, they emerge into the humid darkness and busy noise of the city. They have not but entered the vault when they are met by a Brotherhood patrol. Bhelgarn bellows at the top of his lungs, in Cyndician, “ZARGON IS DEAD!” and Thrud produces the horn.

Several of the Gormite men dash off, one accompanies the party, only two remain at their post. By the time the party is halfway to the Maiden’s Enclave, they are surrounded by a large crowd. Work in the city has ceased. Cheering and celebration erupt. Throngs of people line up to see the horn, and the more daring try to touch it, or touch the talons that other party members carry.

It is quite a long time indeed before the party can settle in to their tent camp at the Maidens. They notice that the gates of the Enclave are kept open, and Cyndicians of all kinds, women and men, civilians, Maidens, and the other two factions wander in and out freely, without the Maiden guards challenging them. Only the tower is now restricted. Hours later, when Ember can finally call a private meeting, they all agree that they are now done and can leave.

“’Bout time,” spits Remmy.

Even during the celebration, the party sent a messenger to ask the Magi whether they were still willing to identify items, and the reply was of course, but still at one item per long sleep.

Now, with their departure agreed upon, the party sends out other announcements. Bhelgarn has caused it to be known that he will be accepting applications from anyone who wants to accompany him on his departure as an honored henchman, to partake in the wonders of the outside world. Morgan, Iris, and Wolfbane have asked the Magi whether they have any spell-plaques of third level, or a “create food and water”, or a “find city” spell of any level. Thrud has sent word that he would like to meet with the Brotherhood about trading his new magic spear for another weapon.

Eventually an invitation to the Magi Complex arrives from Alyria. The party travels there with there recently-recovered loot and has it examined by the Magi. When one of the functionaries removes the scroll from the scroll tube proffered by Remmy, he is immediately engulfed in a cloud of black smoke, and the scroll goes blank! A second later, Zargon appears, but a miniature, three-foot high Zargon, complete with glowing red eye, horn, and six tiny talons. The Magi scream and run about – Thrud and Bhelgarn wrestle the mini-Zargon into submission and stuff him into a sack, but his sharp talons begin to slice his way out. Finally the Magi carry in a metal chest, in which the diminutive creature is locked.

“Well,” says Alyria drolly, “it is safe to say that was a cursed scroll. Luckily, as I understand it, you are held in high regard by the Maidens. Perhaps you could take our unfortunate colleague with you and petition them for a remove curse spell? In the meantime, in what order would you like your other items identified?” Alyria goes on to tell them that the Magi have no spells for creating food or finding cities – she does provide them with a list of third-level spells, but asks 20,000 pieces of silver for each one!

After leaving the other items with the Magi, the party returns to the Maidens with the chest. The High Priestess agrees to perform a ceremony to remove the curse from the unfortunate Magi.

After a long sleep, the party plans their “day” over breakfast. Fluffy, Remmy, Thrud, and Odleif are all seriously wounded. Ember tells them to remain at the Enclave for the time being – she will gather mushrooms and see to their recovery. Morgan asks her about her spells, and Ember replies carefully that they have no reason to call upon Glöð for the moment; surely another priestess somewhere else in the world needs Her blessing more than the party does. Morgan snorts but relents, organizing the unwounded Iris and Wolfbane, having them load up with all of the pigskin bladders the Maidens will give them. She tries to get Bhelgarn, also unwounded, to come as well, but the Dwarven prince stubbornly insists that he will be entertaining applicants all day.

Morgan, Iris, Pooches, and Wolfbane spend the first part of the day ascending to the upper pyramid, carrying a load of bladders. They plan to fill these in the fountains of the great temple, then store them in their base on the second level. However, when they enter the temple, Morgan hears the slurping sounds of a large animal drinking at the fountain. Morgan approaches cautiously with the others just behind her. The creature is large, ochre, and in some sort of plated armor, with a long tail and feelers or antennae.

The curious creature at the fountain

They are quite close when the creature hears, or possibly scents, them. Antennae twitching, it turns around and charges them as Morgan casts a web spell. It is held fast and entangled scant yards from them. The three women unload a barrage of spells – another web (further restraining it), two sleep_ (to which it appears immune), and three magic missiles (to which it eventually succumbs). Morgan has them leave the creature in place while they begin filling their skins.

Later, loaded with all they can carry, they ascend to their base, accessed with Bhelgarn’s key to the electrified door. Their lair appears secure, with the doors still spiked shut against intrusion and all of their items in the bee room intact. A soft light enters through the hole in the wall and Morgan finds herself longing more than ever for the fresh air of the outside world. They carefully store the filled skins and return to the Undercity.

Ember has spent the day ministering to the four resting party members, washing their wounds, poulticing their bruises. She is welcome for the practice at using the mushrooms, and works under the guidance of the Maidens. For the party, accustomed to accepting the blessings of Glöð and instant cure-alls, it is a slow-going and painful recovery. By day’s end, however, Fluffykitten is completely restored to health.

Bhelgarn has spent the day among the folk of the city, repeating the story of the battle against Zargon again and again for the insatiable listeners. He does not mind the repetition, as it gives him the chance to assess the people and mention many times that he will be leaving soon, but that he can take with him an adventurous soul who would like to see the light void first hand. He soon finds that most of the Cyndicians of any ability either belonged to one of the three factions, or were a Zargonite – there are few commoners of note. The Zargonites are all slain, and the people of the factions are fanatically loyal to their sects: having labored their whole lives under difficult conditions to enact the overthrow of the Zargonites, they are now on a holy mission to restore the greatness of the city and have no interest in leaving. There are a few sympathizers among the common folk however, men and women who fed the factions information without actively joining them. Bhelgarn seeks these people out carefully, but finds that they are being recruited by the factions as well, who are looking for leaders among the civilians.

The party shares their meal together at day’s end, and are approached by a Magi, who turns over the wand to them and explains that it is a wand of illusion, with the command word alttawhum. As Wolfbane already has a wand and a magic dagger besides, this new wand is awarded to Iris.

After their long sleep, Morgan again recruits Iris and Wolfbane as water-bearers. Bhelgarn and FluffyKitten are fully capable, but both beg off, explaining that they have business in the city. Bhelgarn spends the day talking with six different candidates, and by day’s end has selected the one who seems most enthusiastic, a young man named Poncherius. Before the fall of the Zargonites he acted as a spy and lookout for the Magi, though he was never a member. He has no family, and says that he is indeed interested in the adventure of seeing the light void for himself, and of working with the great Prince Bhelgarn. Bhelgarn promises him a fair share of the treasure “after we leave the Pyramid”, a tolerant discipline, and frequent activity both hauling things and fighting.

FluffyKitten spends the day playing with the children of the city. Since many of their games take place in and around the Enclave, and since Fluffy knows so few words in Cyndician, much of the play is overheard by Ember. She quickly comes to realize that the halfling is asking all of the children about their families, their responsibilities, and who among them might not be missed. Alarmed, Ember confronts FluffyKitten and asks for her intent – and Fluffy admits she is looking for a child to take with them when they leave.

Ember explains to her in no uncertain terms that she can’t just steal a child, and Fluffy retorts that she is not stealing, she is adopting, and that she grew up without parents and turned out just fine. Besides, she needs a successor.


“Yes. FluffyKitten is Blind Princess – I is needing someones to be Princess after me! I is taking child to train her to be Princess, too – help her learn all about world so she can come back and help her people.” FluffyKitten obviously thinks this argument of helping the Cyndicians will win Ember over, but the priestess remains unconvinced and tells Fluffy that she can’t take a child. Fluffy is insistent, and practically tells Ember that she can’t stop her. Finally, seeking a way to block Fluffy’s idea without creating a rift in the party, Ember tells her that in any event, she will need to get the permission of the faction leaders. Fluffy storms off to try to get appointments.

After many hours of hauling water, Morgan, Iris, and Wolfbane return in the evening. Ember tells Morgan concernedly about FluffyKitten and about Bhelgarn’s plans to bring Cyndicians out of the Pyramid. “Is that so?” muses the elf, wryly. “Perhaps I should be bringing along my Brotherhood sparring partner, then.” This was not the response that Ember was looking for.

As the party is preparing to retire, they receive news from the Magi that the cloak is one that will conceal its bearer. Morgan knows this is called a cloak of elvenkind, although the Cyndicians do not have a word for “elf”. The cloak is given to FluffyKitten, as one of the party members who will most benefit from remaining hidden.

After a long sleep, Morgan again organizes her work detail. This time Bhelgarn consents to go, and he decides to bring Poncherius with him, to see how the lad will work out. Lithe, lively, and able to see in the dark, the youth easily leads the group up through the tunnels to the Pyramid and enthusiastically fills waterskins in the fountains. However, once they are filled, he takes on only what Bhelgarn considers a “child’s load”. Even then, he frequently calls for breaks, and struggles ascending the ladder between the fifth level and the fourth. Bhelgarn had fancied him carrying out his own share of water, Bhelgarn’s, and the dwarf’s chain armor as well. He is realizing he may have to scale back his designs for the porter.

Fluffy spends her time talking to the different faction leaders. The Madaruans are the most friendly, knowing her well. They seem concerned that a child would want to take responsibility for another child, and do not believe anyone under her care would be safe. The Magi have little knowledge of the children of the Undercity (although they are learning fast, now that they are in charge of education) and do not suggest any candidates. The Brotherhood say that they have a few children they would like removed – sneak thieves and troublemakers, and are quite willing to part with them. Fluffy is enthusiastic about interviewing them, but Ember is again aghast when she learns, and says that they will not accept into the party anyone that cannot be trusted. After a long discussion between Ember and FluffyKitten, the halfling agrees that she will not take out a child, but will look for a more independent teen to be her successor as Princess.

In the relaxing time after dinner, the Magi return the shield to the party, saying that it is a powerful shield of protection, stronger than the one that Morgan currently bears. Morgan claims it for her own, and passes her enchanted shield on to Remmy.

After their long rest, Ember pronounces Thrud completely healed. He stops by the Magi to retrieve the as-yet-unidentified spear, and takes it to the Brotherhood to offer a trade. The Brothers say that none of them are trained in the weapon, but that he should try the Maidens, as it appears like something she is seen carrying.

Morgan has decided they have enough water near the surface and that today they will begin hauling food. When she speaks to the Maidens, however, she is told that food is still scarce in the city. Fungi is being planted in the fields under the direction of the Maidens, and in time will be abundant, but for the moment the years of mismanagement by the Zargonites have left few resources and many in the city on the verge of starvation. While the party will not be refused anything, the Maidens want them to know that any food they accept will be taken from the mouths of the hungry. Cryptically, they recommend that she speak to the Magi.

When Morgan meets with the Magi, they remind her that Auriga still has a large storeroom of preserved food on the third pyramid level. Not only do they give her permission to appropriate the food, they practically request that she do so, explaining that the sooner those Magi are without food, the sooner they will be forced to return to the Undercity, at which point Auriga will finally face censure and his cult of personality can be broken up. On behalf of the party, Morgan agrees to undertake a raid against their foodstores.

When Thrud catches up with Morgan, he requests that she speak to the Maidens about the spear. Entering the sacred tower, Morgan secures an appointment with the Great Mother, and shows her the weapon. The Mother is awed, and shows Morgan statuary depicting the Maiden with a spear, but explaining that the Maidens have not seen an actual weapon like that for generations, and none of them know how to use it. When Morgan agrees to instruct the Great Mother in its use, she is practically overcome. She brings out a hide-wrapped bundle, which is unwrapped to reveal a great axe, with some sort of dark wood haft and shining double-bladed head. Morgan accepts it gratefully, and to complete the transaction gives her old suit of chain armor to the Great Mother. Later, Thrud is overjoyed when he receives the axe.

Bhelgarn has reluctantly agreed to serve as FluffyKitten’s translator as she interviews teenagers, largely because it allows him to practice his Cyndician with Pancherius, who knows nothing of Common or Dwarven. He refuses, however, to use the word for Princess that Fluffy injects in nearly every sentence. After a day’s effort, Fluffy is elated when she locates a young woman who enthusiastically agrees to train as her successor. Fluffy brings the girl back to the Enclave to prove to Ember that the girl is coming of her own free will. When the priestess asks the youth why she wants to leave her home, she lets fly with a long complaint about how all adults are stupid, about how their pointless warfare has ruined the city for her generation, about how her parents don’t understand her or anything else, and about how she thinks the three gods of the factions are just as fake as Zargon was. She doesn’t know what the light void will be like and doesn’t expect it to be any better than here, but it certainly can’t be any worse because currently all of the adults of the city are conspiring to ruin her life. Ember listens gravely, trying to keep a straight face, and eventually FluffyKitten dismisses the girl in frustration.

Iris works all day long with her crickets, reinforcing their lessons from before.

That evening the Magi bring by the last item entrusted them by the party, a suit of chain armor they say is enchanted to be magically light as well as protective. This is claimed by Bhelgarn.

All the next day is spent in a long discussion of logistics. Morgan and Ember believe that if everyone can be responsible for three or four days of their own food and water, they can carry out all of the gems and jewelry Ember has already, plus all of the platinum coins they have recovered. Ember gets them to agree that regardless of who carries them, these coins are party treasure, not yet divided, in return for Odlief agreeing to carry a large reserve of food and water. A few of them, stronger and built for heavier loads, may be able to take some gold coins as well.

Early in the day Odlief realizes that the huge owlbear skin will just be one more thing weighing him down. He asks Fluffy to tailor it for him into a small vest. She agrees, and spends the day doing this, channeling her frustration at Ember, the factions, and the youths of the city into her work. She has enough material left over to make herself a pair of owlbear boots, complete with talons in front and back. By the end of the day she is walking around in these, waiting for people to ask about them, and then saying, “What boots? I haz bear feets!” She has also had a Maiden man smith set her claw from Zargon into the bronze helmet she collected from the Zargonite soldier she killed. Against the forehead of the helmet, the claw looks a good deal like the horn did on the real thing. After dinner, she spends a great deal of time with the comically large helmet and boots on, chasing the squealing children of the Maidens, and saying, “I is Zargon and I is going to eat you all! I is going to take you into the light void and Ember can’t save you!”

After the long rest, the party is ready to ascend to the Pyramid, for what they all believe will be the last time. FluffyKitten, annoyed that no one seems to realize how important is her idea of instructing the Cyndicians in the affairs of the outside world, has invited one representative of each of the factions. If she can’t take one of them with her into the light void, she at least intends to look out at it together with them, explain it, and have them carry that knowledge back to their people. It is a late start as Iris takes quite some time getting all of her crickets ready (she is bringing a full dozen!), but eventually they are under way. Iris has insisted that everyone bring along some of the dried cricket meal, and she herself ponderously maneuvers the large gilt throne through the narrow passages.

After a half-day of travel, the party settles the faction representatives and the crickets in the Maiden dormitory on the third level. Pooches is with them both as guard and herder of crickets. Morgan had favored the Gormite temple for their waiting room, but the Gormite Brother on hand was uncomfortable with both the other faction members and the crickets being housed there. The party, including Poncherius, then move to the hallway outside of the Magi storeroom to prepare for their raid.

The Magi’s storeroom. Invisible guards are set by the statue and the stairwell while others empty the room through the secret door.

Thrud, Morgan, and Bhelgarn are each made invisible. Morgan and Bhelgarn enter the storeroom through the secret door and then take up position at the base of the Magi statue, just outside the sliding wall. Thrud and Wolfbane station themselves at the bottom of the stairs that ascend to the second level. The others (Ember, Poncherius, Iris, Remmy, Fluffy, and Odleif) begin to haul boxes, barrels, crates, bags, and baskets out of the storeroom, through the secret door, and into the hallway just outside the revolving corridor. They leave the containers of water, skins and barrels alike, undisturbed in the room. Things go well for over an hour until Ember lets a box slip while carrying it, shattering the ancient wood with a loud crash. Several moments later the wall panel opens and a solitary mage emerges. Morgan waits for him to pass and clouts him on the head from behind so hard that he is knocked out. She takes his silver dagger, binds him, props him up in the storeroom, and tells the others to resume their work – and Ember to be more careful. Now visible, Morgan changes guard positions with Thrud.

At last the storeroom is completely stripped of food. The party now moves all of the goods into the revolving hallway, turns it to align with the hall outside the Gormite temple, and then moves the stores into the temple itself. Most of the goods they leave in the temple, retaining only what food they plan on packing out for themselves. Finally they return to the Maiden dormitory, fetching the crickets, Pooches, and the faction representatives, and leading them up the stairs to the second level, then up the ladders to the first.

It is daylight, a late summer afternoon in the desert, intensely hot. The sand which once buried half of the lowest layer of the pyramid now comes halfway up to the second layer, fully sixty feet deeper than when they last saw it. All traces of the ruined city have been swallowed by the sand, and the pyramid nearly so. The party stares out in amazement, as do the faction representatives, though for different reasons. To the northeast and southwest of the pyramid are great stone bluffs, the only features sticking out above the sand as far as the eye can see. The party comes to realize that they are in an ancient, now dry, river valley, under a layer of sand scores of feet deep. The sandstorm that separated them from the caravan must have come at just the right direction to scour out the valley and expose the ruined city for the first time in…a generation? A century? More? But over the time they have been in the pyramid and undercity, the sand has been slowly filling the valley in again, resuming its usual state. At least that is the majority view – a few in the party contend that the sand is the same and it is the pyramid itself that is sinking!

Iris leads her crickets out on the sand in the shade of the pyramid and spends the next half hour adjusting all their harnesses, lines, and nets. Twenty-four separate ropes connect them to the throne and a large cargo net carrying Pooches, waterskins, and bundles of food and gear. FluffyKitten leads the representatives out on to the sand, and answers their questions about the world; the sun, the sand, the bluffs, the sky. The rest of the party adjusts their gear and packs, and makes innumerable trips to the base to retrieve waterskins.

At last Iris is ready for a test flight. She takes a fresh piece of fungus, rolls it in her hands until it is partially crushed and aromatic. The crickets’ antennae swish excitedly, but they remain mostly in place. Iris leads Pooches to the cargo net and has him lay down, fastens the fungus to the end of Bhelgarn’s ten foot pole, and seats herself in her throne, with the pole held out in front of herself and the crickets.

" Amba, amba! " she cries in Elven, and the crickets pull back their wing-sheathes and begin beating their wings. Sand flies in all directions and by the time anyone can see again the crickets are aloft!

Iris’ cricket-borne throne

There is perhaps an hour or so before dusk – Iris plans on a quick scouting trip. The party and the faction representatives watch amazed as Iris guides her crickets higher and higher, then takes them in ever-expanding circles around the pyramid, going a bit farther out on each lap. Finally, as the setting sun touches the western horizon, she turns them and heads directly back, landing on the soft sand near the pyramid entrance.

The temperature is dropping rapidly as the sand radiates the heat of the day into the cloudless sky. Iris rewards the crickets with water and meal as she relates to the party what she saw: sand dunes in all directions, broken by occasional rock bluffs. No sign of the caravan trail, no sign of civilization, but the Altan Tepe mountains low and clear to the southwest.

What Iris saw – sand as far as the eye could see

The party discusses plans as the stars come out and FluffyKitten explains the night sky to the faction representatives. With a clear view of the sun and stars, and the mountains, they can orient themselves and are unlikely to get lost. Unfortunately they do not know where they are. Morgan remembers vividly the maps of the area she studied, but does not know where on the map they are. The sandstorm hit when they were about halfway between Parsa and Sulba. They know they spent a day hopelessly lost during the storm, and then another three days going southeast in an attempt to find Sulba – at least so they thought. They are now realizing uncomfortably that Hazrad’s attempt to find Sulba may not have been sincere, given his subsequent betrayal of them, and his fevered claims that it was him all along. Was he really trying to find Sulba? Was he leading them in circles? Did he know about the pyramid and was intentionally leading them there? They don’t know and will likely never know.

Morgan’s recollection of the desert. They were on the caravan trail, halfway between Parsa and Sulba, at the boundary between the Emirates of Makistan and Alaysia when the sandstorm struck. Where they are now, no one knows.

After some discussion, it is decided that they will travel by night to save water, and head as due southeast as they can. Regardless of where they are, three days of travel southeast should eventually have them cross the caravan trail somewhere.

Wolfbane has been silent during the discussion, watching the stars and planets. When the discussion ends, she tells them that they have been in the pyramid for about five weeks, based on where the planets are against the zodiac stars now as compared to before.

The party bids farewell to the faction representatives, wishing them success in their efforts to rebuild the city. As a final gesture, Morgan ceremoniously returns to the Magi the communication disk, and then they watch them re-enter the pyramid. Gear is readied, loads are lifted, marching order is set, and the party takes off across the sand.

They travel for several hours without incident, the desert air going from warm to cool to cold. Iris travels in large circles overhead, shouting down at them when she passes close by, warning them of steep dunes or impassable bluffs ahead, so that they travel generally southeast but along an efficient route.

Iris is neaby but behind them around midnight, when a half-moon rises in the east. The party can hear her voice, but she is talking to her crickets, not them. Her voice grows louder and its tone more concerned. “Quer, quer!” she shouts, and the crickets veer ever more eastward. As she passes directly overhead, she calls down to them, “It’s no use, I can’t control them!” Pooches barks alarmedly. “They are headed for the moon! I’ll try to meet up with you later!” The crickets, Iris on her throne, and Pooches slowly fade from view, headed due east into the rising moon. After a brief pause, the party continues southeast.

By night’s end, they have traveled a full twelve miles. All around them are great rolling sand dunes, but before them the land rises in a series of rocky ridges. It is time to make camp.

The first night’s travel. Twelve miles over sand dunes to the edge of the rocky desert.

With no fuel for a fire the party has a cold dinner of preserved rations and water, then sets up shelter. They dig down a foot into the sand, hoping that will keep them cool in the day even as the upper layers heat up, then lay mushroom-cloth tents over top of their excavations. As the others settle in to sleep and the sky lightens, Ember and Thrud take first watch.

The heat rises steadily throughout the morning and afternoon. Outside it is unbearable – under the shade of the cloth in the dug-outs it is barely tolerable. People sleep fitfully, aided only by their exhaustion after a full night’s march under heavy loads. Poncherius and Bhelgarn share the late morning-to-noon watch, and the Cyndician expresses his grave concerns about this scorching, sapping, blazingly bright world. Bhelgarn reassures him that the desert is hard, but not all of the world is desert, and that they are traveling to someplace better.

In the early afternoon Morgan is on watch alone (the way she likes it, so as to not be distracted by conversation). Eventually she rouses Remmy and Wolfbane and crawls into a tent-pit.

It is early evening and still blazingly hot. No one wants to leave their shade, but eventually people’s stomachs demand “breakfast” and they begin to emerge. Wolfbane lies face down in the sand, a large bump on the back of her head. Remmy is nowhere to be seen.

When Wolfbane recovers consciousness, she recalls that Remmy and she were on watch, conversing normally, when he stepped behind her and began to rummage through a gear bag. That is the last thing she remembers. A quick search of the camp finds that all of Remmy’s gear is gone, as well as…“My crown!” yells Wolfbane in dismay. Odleif checks for tracks – Remmy’s are clearly visible in the sand at the edge of camp until he walked to a stone outcropping that leads to the high rocky ridge in front of them. Odleif says he has lost the trail there, but can try making concentric circles outward until he picks it up again. Morgan looks at Ember, and they both simultaneously shake their heads.

“We’re not chasing him through the desert,” says Morgan, “We need to save ourselves.”

“He took all his things,” says Ember. “He has three days of water at best. He can’t drink that gold crown.”

“If I ever find him again…” begins Thrud, but his planned atrocities are lost in the general noise of preparing the meal.

After eating the party breaks camp, then waits for dusk. They continue southeast, climbing a series of rocky ridges, each one higher than the last. Some time in the early morning hours the ridges have reached their maximum altitude, and from that point on, each one is slightly lower than the last. It is nearing dawn, and the party is searching for a camp sight, preferably with a large ridge to block the morning sun, when they are passing through a narrow defile. Ahead of them, Morgan can barely see gossamer webs completely blocking their path, running from rock wall to rock wall. She calls for light, and Bhelgarn’s sword fills the slot canyon with a bright glow.

Cose by, on the near side of the web, two huge, tan spiders cling to the cliff-faces. They appear dazzled by the light and don’t move. The party unloads spells and missile weapons at them until they are dead, then Morgan cuts through the web with her sword. They continue on.

A few hours later Morgan calls a halt at what she considers the perfect campsite. There is a narrow slot between two broader valleys. They will camp in the slot and have shade for almost the entire day, but still have options for maneuvering if they are set upon (particularly from above).

After two nights of travel, the party is 24 miles south-east of the pyramid, crossing a rocky desert

Those on watch the next day spot a small herd of antelope, but they scent the party’s camp and never approach close enough to be hunted. As camp is roused in the late afternoon, the party discusses sending a lookout up to scout. Wolfbane has a levitation spell, and they have collectively 250 feet of rope. While a few of them break camp, the others find a path up to the top of the ridge. Securing Wolfbane with the rope, they watch as she ascends into the sky like a kite, pulled by the strong desert winds.

When she comes back down, she has exciting news. To the north, east, and west there is desert, sandy and rocky, all around. But in the south she was barely able to make out a thin line of green! River valley, oasis, irrigated field? She doesn’t know, but she knows she saw green, perhaps even close enough they could reach it with a single night’s travel!



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