Orrery

Episode 2 - The Dry Well

during which everyone grows tireder and tireder, a new companion is gained, and Xul'gos relives an unpleasant family memory

The beast (Maggie) remembered Bogey the goblin wizard from its own dreams, but not the rest of the characters, although they remembered it. It was ghostly, an apparition, lacking its full and unfettered power, and it wanted the party to retrieve its physical body, which it felt nearby, although the beast lied or prevaricated about most of the particulars of this request. It promised to use its powers to revive the dead griffon whelp Morax. Nonplussed and untrusting, our characters nevertheless acquiesced to the beast’s pleas. They followed it several hours journey under a burning reddish sun, over broken ruin and ash to a culvert containing a strange oasis of pine trees around one enormous black and diseased tree, and an empty, long-ruined building. The trees and brush seemed to bear human features and appendages, in a deformed and non-functional way. Within the building was a large well which our characters descended, more or less painfully. It was a long way down, and some were more expert climbers than others. Xul’gos, wearing almost unbearably heavy makeshift armor, landed heavily with the goblin Bogey on top of him, hitting his head and drifting off into a stupor.

erica – teenage T’rissriia james – teenage Xul’gos maggie – little sister of Trissriia & Xul’gos mordicai – jilted suitor of T’rissriia edbury – henpecked father of T’rissriia & Xul’gos emily – imperious sadistic mother of Xul’gos and T’rissriia, ardent in her devotion to Lolth, the spider-goddess

Alerted to the possibility that her son Xul’gos has been skulking off and keeping secrets from the family, the drow family matron had him tortured to loosen his tongue, at the egging on of the snarling suitor of Xul’gos’ sister T’rissriia. The twins’ harried and powerless father offered to accept his son’s suffering, and the mother, sensing with contempt an alliance of wills against her, ordered floggings all around. Except for the quiet younger sister, next in line as heir to the matron’s power after her sister T’Rissriia, who only sat silently during the assaults on her family by her mother, wide-eyed, watchful.

Xul’gos rose dizzily from the bottom of the well as Saleos proceeded down a tunnel the characters discovered there. At the end of it, they found a large metal door behind which they discovered an operating theatre or mortuary of some sort, similar to the one in which they had awoken, but far older and having seen less recent use. The tables and gurneys were laid thick with dust, particularly around a large one bearing up under the mammoth skeleton of Ugarto, the creature that had once been the ghostly beast with which they had been traveling. Genuinely horrified and rattled, the beast was taken aback and forced to wonder how long exactly it had been in this derelict world. Just at this moment, small automata with long eyestalks detected the apparition’s presence and exposed it to colored light of some sort which caused it great pain. A rain of inky black spray erupted from the beast and coursed over the characters’ bodies as the creature died with a howl of rage. Clearly supernatural and non-physical, the ooze sluiced off the characters, leaving them unsettled but undampened.

It was at this moment that the limp-necked corpse of Morax, Saleos’ dead griffon whelp, awakened. The automata then became quiescent again. Bogey and Xul’gos each took a horn from the skeleton of Ugarto; Bogey the right, Xul’gos the left.

Sanivlize

In a further chamber, the characters discovered an eight-foot-tall tree-woman bearing a sortilegio around her neck and hurling bolts of energy at a gaggle of small creatures seemingly made from underbrush, which were trying to herd her back into an enormous broken glass cylinder from which she apparently had been immured, and which was connected to banks of illuminated glass and crystal along the walls. The party extricated the tree woman, whose name was Sanivlize, from the room, but, being in a greatly diminished state themselves, declined to involve themselves in a fight to reclaim and explore the remainder of the facility. Escape was their one thought. Reaching the bottom of the well once more, they thought to stop and take a rest for the first time since waking in this new world, some twenty hours before – during which time none had had even a mouthful of food or a drop of water. By this point, most all of the characters were holding on by a thread, and had reached such a point of harm and exhaustion that they were almost unable to go forward.

To their great dismay, not one of the characters was able to achieve a restful state. Eyes were closed, heads were laid down, and hours passed, but despite the extremity of tiredness they all felt, no rest was to be had. They felt physically incapable of resting, though the child and infants slept soundly. Discouraged and irritated with sleepiness, they proceeded back up the well to the pine oasis, which they found choked with faceless replicas of Sanivlize and more brush-creatures determined to kill or apprehend them. The enormous diseased tree moved against them as well. With the Sanivlize’s assistance, all opposition was defeated, and they fled the horrible grove back into the ashen wilderness of ember and crushed trees, aiming themselves once more toward the more prominent architectural feature on the horizon – the tower above the palace of the vicedoxe – which appeared to be a fortnight’s journey even under the best circumstances.

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