(originally played 10/07)
Much refreshed by our rest in the stolen magical tent, we continued our journey to the abandoned city at the edge of the desert. Along the way, the mysterious shade that had followed Ezra stole one of our magical amulets, allowing us to—at long last—communicate with this mysterious creature.
Upon arriving at the city, we spotted a miraculously still standing building that seemed to have been of reasonable importance. Naturally, we headed there first, quickly scaring off the monsters in the ruins by destroying a pack of wild dire dogs. We found the building to be a library…probably. There were plenty of shelves, but a rather noticeable dearth of books. Poking around, we found no secret passageways, no mysterious patterns on the floor, and no magical doohickeys: in short, nothing of interest whatsoever.
Flying up, Roswyn spots another large building towards the center of the city. We headed there without incident, finding it to be a large temple dedicated to some tiefling deity of the other. It was quite large, with some fancy gothic architecture, including some bat-shaped flying buttresses that were perhaps trying too hard. Ezra, having found the symbol of his soul, decided to perch on one for a bit to brood over the criminal streets below. Meanwhile, the rest of us did something useful and headed in to explore the interior of the temple. We found decorations that, though faded, spoke to the former decadence of the tiefling empire, and the space was dominated by tiers that led up to the central altar. Ozymandias notes that in the old days important documents were frequently kept under the central altar via a secret passageway. Ezra helpfully pointed it out for us, pulling aside part of the altar to reveal a secret passage leading downwards. Sending some lights down, Roswyn light up a none-too-stable-looking ladder… Naturally, we decide to go down it.
After a pratfall of three, we made it to the bottom and, guided by a combination of a sunglobe and Ezra’s glowing dagger, we headed forth down a strangely empty hallway. No magic to be sensed at all, until we stumbled into an open room—ornately decorated, and marked by a faintly glowing symbol on the far side of the wall. The shade beckoned us past the mark… Resorting to old tactics, Ozymandias threw a rock at the symbol. Nothing happened. Fed up with such shenanigans, the shade set forth under the symbol herself, prompting a series of riddles to blossom across the wall. Apparently we weren’t going to be allowed through until we completed a minigame. Forced to use brains rather than brawn, we struggled, but ultimately prevailed.
Past the riddles we hit the jackpot: on the wall beyond was a map, one that encompassed all of the old tiefling empire. Though crude and potentially out of date, it pointed to us the direction we needed to in order to find the ruins of the capitol, Bel’Turath. Memorizing the direction we head made our way back out of the temple. As we climbed the ladder and emerged from the dusty basements into the temple proper, we were met by an unpleasant sight: the doors of the temple swinging open to admit devils chattering in fell tongues (aka supernal).
After an arduous fight we defeated our foes and robbed them all the treasure they had to offer. We noticed one was wearing an old friend of ours, the telepathic amulet, and stole it for Ozymandias that we might include him in our mental mutterings. Knowing Damokos was after us, we took off. …And promptly got lost, forcing us to wander the desert in misery and varying degrees of sunburntness until, despairing of the increasingly state of her skin, Roswyn decided to suck it up and learn a ritual that would point us in the direction of the city. On the fourth day of our sandy sojourn, we contacted the dead tieflings who once ruled this arid land and made our way to the city.
Surprisingly, we discovered Bel’Turath to not be sunken in the sand but in fact aboveground and even reasonably intact. Significant portions of the wall had failed utterly to give in to the ravages of time! Also, they were being patrolled by humans and devils. Ever the stealthy types, we discussed very methods of sneaking before decided to just go into the Shadowfell. Having switched planes of existence, we used the spire of a building deep within Bel’Turath’s bowels to guide us into the city’s heart. In the Shadowfell, Bel’Turath’s remains were rather less grandiose—even more devastated than the version we knew in the usual realm, the sand of the desert a miserable jet black beneath our boots. As we approached the spire we caught the attention of a drakolich sitting atop the cathedral. It weighed us with flaming sockets, perhaps deciding how best to devour our souls, before taking flight towards us.