Freeday, 14 Sunsebb CY 595 (continued)
The crowd is going crazy as The Infidels await Raknian and Okoral on the arena floor. Filge, in particular, seems to be loving every second of this. Wardens fan out around the party as the two gentlemen approach. Okoral says, “What would you have with him?” Long Fist says they would prefer to meet in private. “And not on your field of glory? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…The Infidels!”
The party bows to the pounding and screaming in the arena.
“This is your moment, son,” Okoral continues. “What do you want, exactly.”
Riddle steps in begins ranting about people trying to control the Games and not wanting them to have any further access to the teams. They ask for evidence of any meddling, and Riddle says that one of them was contacted by a member of an organization they cannot name. “And you stood up for yourselves?” Okoral nods. He turns to the crowd, “Ladies and gentlemen, in addition to the martial victory you just witnessed, these people were approached by outside sources just yesterday, but they were strong of heart, and preserved the integrity of these Games! I give you, THE INFIDELS!” There’s lots of buzzing and people scurrying out of the Arena. Filge blows kisses to the party. Scar-Eater does a spontaneous handstand. The party returns to the ceonoby.
Half an hour later, Smallcask arrives with their money. He asks after any information about Lahaka, and when the party says they have not investigated yet, he reminds them that their time is running out. But perhaps still riding the adrenaline wave of their victory, the group can’t seem to focus on anything but the Games. Between divinations and chatting up the guards, they guess that it is actually they that will fight the exhibition match the next day, and not Auric’s Warband, as everyone expects.
They send Smallcask off with 5,070 gold pieces to bet on themselves in the next fight. After he’s gone, Riddle, Archie, and Tyrrell head off to stealthily explore under the ceonoby and see what they can find out about Lahaka.
At their first stop, Archie can hear the distant sound of felines and boars in one direction, and men sitting down at a meal in the other direction. Riddle, with intense focus, hears even further away, an upsetting sound…distant screaming. As he moves closer to a particular staircase it resolves into a very unpleasant, wordless, male moaning, like someone in pain. He attempts to place a visual sensor near it but fails. They move off and he attempts it again. He sees three crude prison cells in a hallway that looks over the top of a dome structure. Huddled in the corner of one cell is a ruined man. He looks like he hasn’t slept or eaten in days. His clothes are ragged, he’s been clawing at his face, sitting in filth, staring. He is bleeding and covered in sores. He is insane beyond all reason. It is not n extreme leap to ascribe what Riddle sees in this man as similar to the way people respond to the Spawn of Kyuss.
Riddle moves his sensor to the mess hall. It doesn’t seem possible that they could be unaware of the man in the cells. The three of them move around, avoiding the mess halls by going up and down stairs, to the prison hall. Riddle goes first around the corner, detecting thoughts on the prisoner — abject horror, writhing worms, huge fat creatures with horns and hooves and eyes and worms and worms and worms…
When Riddle pokes his head around the corner, the prisoner freaks out, crying “No, no, no…” Riddle tries to speak with him, but he only says, “With him…with the eyes…” and proceeds to bite off the tip of his finger and draw a figure on the wall with the blood. He draws a very fat man, giving a worm to another man backing away. The squiggles.
The threesome moves on to find another ten by ten foot storeroom filled with scores upon scores of stoppered gray flasks. The room, they discover, is full of alchemists fire…and the ceiling above it is not particularly thick. They are unsure of what that means for now.
Moving on, Tyrrell discovers a secret door, surviving the slay living glyph on the floor with a heroic effort. There is a horrible aroma coming up from below. They move down the stairs and Riddle uses his censor to scout out the area. One room has four Spawn of Kyuss and three coffins. In an enormous room off that one that might have once been a chapel, there are six more Spawn of Kyuss and another creature identified as a morg.
The scouts return to the ceonoby to report everything they found, and learn that the Sisters of Eiseth beat Draconic Brood. Shortly thereafter, Auric’s Warband eliminates the Snow Leopards. Only three teams remain in the competition.
Archie knocks on Auric’s door. “You? What now?”
Archie: “I thought we’d be able to have the conversation that we weren’t able to have up in the arena. Personal things about you, and larger things to the people of Greyhawk. You know who our manager is. He hasn’t heard from her either. We believe you had nothing to do with her disappearance. We’re looking into it.”
Auric: “While fighting a gladiatorial competition.”
Archie: “This is where she disappeared from. What better place to start? Did she say anything?”
Auric: “Whatever happened between her and ”/campaign/the-age-of-worms/wikis/loris-raknian" class=“wiki-page-link”> Raknian went terribly wrong. She left him extremely upset, fell into my arms, and would not discuss whatever went down with the two of them in my presence. Then everything was great. We got it on, we were getting hitched up, and then she left me. She said she wanted nothing more to do with me. Me. Right after the Games last year. Drove me into dark places. She was a woman. I don’t know if she was in her right mind."
Archie: “How much do you know about Raknian?”
Auric: “What everyone knows. What do you mean?”
Archie: “We believe Raknian is up to some nefarious deeds that might possibly endanger the lives of everyone here assembled for the Games.”
Auric: “He’s a public figure. He’s a philanthropist. He does great things for this City.”
Archie: “Ever heard the name ”/campaign/the-age-of-worms/wikis/kyuss" class=“wiki-page-link”> Kyuss?"
Auric: “Maybe. Who is he?” Archie explains about Kyuss. “That sounds horrible.”
Archie: “Funny you mention that because there are currently at least ten infected undead in this structure as we speak.”
Auric: “Are they nearby?”
Archie: "They are. The theory I’m operating on is that your fiancee may have learned something about this – "
Archie is interrupted when Khelleck opens the door wider and tells Auric to go to bed. “Are you disturbing my teammate?”
Archie: “Not at all.”
Khelleck: “Well, he needs his beauty rest.”
Archie: “Don’t we all? I was just asking him some questions, perhaps you might have some insights?” Archie asks about the flesh golems, but Khelleck will not be drawn in. Archie persists. “I was just wondering what, if anything, you did to find out what happened to his fiancee.”
Khelleck: “The dancing girl? She left him.”
Archie: “She left him and vanished into thin air.”
Khelleck: "And I should give a shit why?’
Archie: “We think something horrible happened to her, and we’re trying to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
Khelleck: “Excellent for you.” He tries to shut the door on Archie, but Archie keeps at it, telling him all of their lives are in danger, and throwing words out like Kyuss, and the Age of Worms, both of which Khelleck has heard of. Archie tells him about the Spawn of Kyuss, to which Khelleck drily replies, “Sounds like a job for a superhero.” From within, Archie knows he’s at least managed to convince Auric when he cries out, "Innocent lives are at risk! Kehlleck, we cannot stand by – " Khelleck shushes him and turns back to Archie. “What do you want?”
Archie: “This is going to go badly very soon, unless we, the Sisters, and the Ashborn take care of this problem. And then we can go back to killing each other in the Arena.”
Khelleck: “Show me these creatures.”
Riddle dimension doors himself, Khelleck, and Long Fist into the hallway between the rooms. Khelleck sees all the undead as Long Fist blasts a bulk of them with positive energy. Khelleck takes the three of them back and says, “Well, I will admit that looks awfully suspicious.”