Saga of the Old City

Episode 109: Miner Investment

It’s been one week since the adventurers returned to Urkesh. In the interim, the negotiation of a treaty with the Lizardfolk tribes has begun. Zissrin is looking for remaining Red Lions in woods, as he promised Gilgamesh he would. Acacia and Taurion’s plan has been implemented and workers are looking for Kernig Root. Foostus has ventured into the Kharsannu forest looking for the semi-mythical Behemoth, hoping to earn a trophy to impress Siduri. There has been no backlash for the death of Utuk—having made himself a political pariah, the party’s story is accepted and his death treated as a deserving end for someone who failed as utterly as he did.

The quiet week is ended by a desperate summons from Orobok Ghorvas. The entrepreneur has financed his mining scheme on his own and run into trouble. His miners broke into pre-existing corridors and some have now disappeared. His operation has ground to a halt and he’s desperate to get it going again. Gilgamesh learns from the foreman that there were hieroglyphs on the tunnel walls. The writing reminds Siduri about shapes in dreams she’s had (in her moment of death back in Episode 102 and then in the aftermath of the war before Episode 107), while Gilgamesh and Acacia realize that the hieroglyphs match those on the iron key they recovered from Ssorgess. The language itself is incredibly old. Following that clue before proceeding to the mine, the party drops in on Lavant to investigate the silver key. The head of the arcanists has found and cast his ritual to reveal the word erased from the key: BIND. Using the same ritual he translates the word on the iron key as BURY. He makes a 2 word dictionary for Siduri and the party leaves for the dig site.

Arriving at the dig site, the party finds miners milling about in tents. Entering the mine shaft they make their way into the tunnels. Acacia starts making a map of the tunnels as they travel; when they come to a large chamber, she and Gilgamesh examine the carvings on the wall to find an ancient map of the Urkesh geography (minus the city). Acacia copies it while Siduri looks for instances of the words BIND or BURY among hieroglyphics. At the far side of the room, there is a door that opens into long corridor. Someone has made attempts to remove the writing on tunnel walls in the last couple of years. There’s also graffiti on the walls written in a dialect of abyssal spoken by Gnolls (Acacia makes a copy of this as well). The party comes to a fork in the tunnel and decides to take the left passage (Acacia determines that it’s the way the miners went and Gilgamesh and Krivv concur that it’s also headed towards city). Acacia can hear screaming from down the tunnel and the party hurries to the source (a door). Gilgamesh opens the door to reveal a trapped room where two Tieflings are torturing one of the miners with an iron maiden. As Gilgamesh moves into the room, the spiked chains that hang from ceiling attack him. The two Tieflings and the iron maiden (running on rails) approach Gilgamesh. Krivv and Siduri move to his aid and attack. One Tiefling’s has a control rod that allows her to control the traps, which she stuffs into her pocket; Gilgamesh uses his psychic hand to remove the rod and pass it to Acacia in the hallway. While Zariastra fires into the room, Acacia uses the rod to move the chains around (running on tracks in the ceiling) to attack the other Tiefling. The male Tiefling moves to a cupboard at the back of the room to retrieve a second control rod and makes the Cauldron trap fire at Zariastra and Acacia who stand in the hall. Meanwhile, Gilgamesh gets swallowed by the iron maiden, but a heavy blow from Siduri shatters the trap around him. The two Tieflings fall and Acacia turns off the traps, ending the battle. Siduri notices that they have tattoos of the Left Hand on their bodies (echoing those that attacked here after Kimah’s party (Episode 107), as well as those worn by Jesse and Foopi). Freeing the two surviving miners from their cage, the group moves to the door exiting the room.

Krivv flings open the door and marches into the next room, releasing a stench that fills the party’s nostrils. This is a charnel house—the room is full of naked and tortured corpses. As the party enters, two corruption corpses rise along with three claw swarms which move to attack. Gilgamesh kills one corruption corpse after Acacia fires at it, having it explode violently when he does. Zariastra unleashes a burst of magic on the swarms killing one outright and badly damaging another. Krivv and Siduri kill the other two swarms who try to surround them while Zariastra finishes off the other corruption corpse which also explodes and barely misses Gilgamesh.

The next room is an armoury with a large but motley assortment of weapons. A quick arcane check reveals that nothing is magical and Acacia and Krivv check the weapons to discover that they are all of different makes. Down another corridor the sound of chanting can be heard. Acacia sneaks forward and finds a large ornate door with abyssal writing and a figure bearing a crown surrounded by dancing flames. She returns to inform the party and Gilgamesh and Krivv advance and kick down door, surprising a sacrifice in progress. In the center of room are three Tieflings surrounding an altar upon which a naked woman is tied. The sorcerer and his two apprentices take a pounding in the surprise round, with the party killing one straight off. As combat begins, three soldiers enter from a back door to support their leader. Krivv kills the other apprentice as Gilgamesh wades into the fray to attack the leader and mark the soldiers. Siduri jumps atop the altar to protect the girl and hit the Tiefling leader, who she eventually slays. While the other enemies try to converge on Acacia and kill her in melee, Gilgamesh and Zariasta are able to slay two of them with Krivv demolishing the last. With the battle over, the party takes a breather.
Acacia notebook 4.17

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