A gong rings out, and we walk back into the arena for the third and hopefully final time. The sand has been removed, exposing wooden planks, many with regular holes bored into them, presumably for added fuckery. The walls are covered with razor wire, and opposite us are two hulking behemoths of men: The Markovian Brothers. I act first as before, and launch an arrow into the shirtless one, but he seems unfazed. Crap.
As I watch them to try to suss out their strategy, I notice something odd. One “whiffs” while attacking, while the other closes on Kary and misses him – and at the apex of his backswing, seems to point ever-so-breifly at the crack in the dome? Are they sending us a message?
I knock an arrow, and just barely miss one of the Markovians on purpose. He reacts as I thought he might – by faking and acting like I’d hit him. I next target the other, and “accidentally” trip, sending my arrow to the crack in the ceiling as a verification that we’re now all on thet same side.
The shirtless one (that I now regret shooting) closes on me, and attacks, but “clumsily” loses his axe. He instead grapples me and lifts me up – thankfully, too. Not a moment later a bunch of spikes come shooting out of those holes bored into the planks. In my head, when our eyes are locked, I hear him say to me “Get ready to hold on!”
I don’t really have time to process what that means, as he throws me across the arena to the crack in the ceiling, and I do indeed hold on for dear life. Guards quickly start to close on me as I start cutting away at the structure of the dome. The crowd and the guards have noticed, and a few spears are thrown my way – all thankfully miss. The guards must not see a lot of action – I’m clinging to a roof, a target that can’t dodge. Hardly a difficult target – but then again I’m not exactly complaining about their apparent lack of skill. It doesn’t take much longer to finish cutting a hole, and I’m through. I may be safe from spears on this side, but there are guards closing on me.
All of a sudden, I hear this great *FWOOOOOSH* – apparently Rokka was in the crowd, and let loose a fireball in the dome. Immediately, there’s screaming and the distinctive smell of charred flesh. One of the Markovians joins me on the other side of the dome, taking guards down left and right. He is soon overcome, and takes out a number of guards with him, with his voice in my head telling us to get out, to go. Kary picks up the fleeing announcer, flies up, and drops him on yet more guards.
In the backdrop of smoke and screaming mayhem, we’re able to escape the dome, and head back to lodgings with our new friend Sampson, The Markovian. He tells us of his tale: he and his now late brother are in service of the God of Death. They’re obviously not afraid to die, but very much want to take as many as they can with them. Skulls for the Skull Throne. He sees something special in us – he sees that the notches that he’d accrue by taking us out would pale compared to our potential to add to the tally.
After catching our breath, we each take a few rubies (the rest are safe under ground) and head to the Sand Witch, still with Dane and Mal. There’s smoke rising in the vicinity of their garage, and as we get closer, we see it’s not just the vicinity. It is their garage. The ship is gone, and there’s blood everywhere. The manticore head from the bow is now where Claude’s (sp?) should be. Raquelle (sp?) is still alive, and is barely able to cough out “mutineers” as she relays what happened: a group of pale, thin air cultists came in, riled up the rest of the crew, and killed those loyal to us. Bev will be ok, as will Mal. But Dane’s parts have been scattered. We all put in a ruby to cover the costs of krudlews and other means of transit to chase down these mutineers. Mal and the Markovian join us.
We can tell the Sand Witch is heading to Feathergale and isn’t making great time, as this crew isn’t a seasoned set when it comes to sleds. And every once in a while, we see a dead mutineer on the ground. We push hard, but try to not overdo it with our krudlews. One of our breaks while foraging for poisoning ingredients (and finding Mandrake Root), I come across Thri-kreen tracks. Fresh ones. Needless to say, we get back on the move, quickly. Later in the day, two beetle-like figures fly by us, high in the air.
It’s not long before we see our ship in the distance. We don’t have long to formulate a plan, as we can hear the familiar sound of the clicking mandibles of the thri-kreen.
It’s not the best, but we have a plan: close on the ship, then split and flank them. Depending on the size of the thri-kreen “swarm”, we might just get lucky and have both sets of enemies fight each other as much or more than us.
That, or we just might have our last battle. Either way, there will be one winner for sure: the God of Death, to whom I say “Not today.”
Session Date 03/16/17 XP: 2,000, Prior Journal XP: 400, Total XP: 26,486.
Title: The Hunt for Red October scene: One Ping Only