The Jackal’s Price: LoF Session XXXIX
Gnolls slaughtered we left the Deep Well of Paradise and continued back on the road to Katapesh. It was unfortunate that we were forced to leave the well in such a state; however, I had decided to purge the well of it infestation, not clean up the mess. Such tasks are better regulated to the church. Besides at the time I felt the massacre of a gnoll village was proper sacrifice to the Dawnflower and the re-sanctification of the Deep Well of Paradise. Not to mention we had a schedule to keep as we were about six days away from Katapesh. Ce-tan was keen to get moving and I was not about to let the scroll out of my site.
The road to Katapesh while not deserted up until we left the well had been quite. Merchants and such mostly but were infrequent. As we traveled and we came came to Katapesh we started to notice more and more merchants and farmers on the road. It was about day after we left the well, as we have reached the salt flats, that we noticed the increase in traffic. Not an odd sight for the time and season and not much different from how I first entered Katapesh. The increase in people gave Ce-tan the chance to do what he loves best, talk, moslty about himself and ‘his’ deeds. This of course included his ‘heroic’ quest to purge the Deep Well of Paradise, but neglecting to mention I had to drag him there kicking screaming like a petulant child. Despite much of his talk focusing on himself, he was able to learn of the current events within Katapesh.
Ce-tan was able to learn that there had been an increase in violent crime, which as I am sure you know was very odd for Katapesh. While the laws of Katapesh are ridiculous they are also harsh and crime is typically minimal. Things, according to the stories come from the merchants, appeared to be a bit chaotic within Katapesh. There had even been cases of riots in the streets. It was even more surprising then that the Pactmasters had done little to nothing to suppress the violence and chaos. I suppose it should not have been a surprise as it was not affecting the trade within the city and therefore beneath their notice. Hashim Ibn Sayyid, the Pactbroker, seemed more concerned though and had increased the number Zepher guard patrols within the city. To make matters more puzzling, many within Katapesh were excited about that Sunset ship, which for whatever reason had come early for the first time in memory.
I see that you are unfamiliar with the Sunset ship so I will enlighten you with facts, rumor, and mystery. There is one dock that is always empty within Katapesh, reserved by the Pactmasters for the Sunset ship and that ship alone. It comes once every seven years and stays for precisely two weeks. The ship is crewed by creatures that are taller than a man and walk around covered from their head to their toes. Most call them abominations. They always keep the lower half of their faces covered, but if you look hard enough you can make out weird movement under the cover. Rumor has it that they are from a plane called Leng and come to steal the nightmares of children. Most see them as a story to scare children, but as I said most is just rumor and fantasy.
Back to our journey…we left the salt planes and continued on as the planes turned slowly into savannah. Communities and pesh farmes had become more numerous and it was an effort to keep the gnome from indulging. It was that night, while we were four days out from Katapesh that it happened. While setting up and camp and getting ready to rest, we noticed a sandstorm heading our way. Khatovar required little sleep so it was decided he would keep watch during the night. In the middle of the night while the moon was high and the sandstorm raged in the background, Khatovar heared a load voice coming from outside of the tent. “Show yourself murderers” was all it said. It was so load that Khatovar was not required to wake us. Of course Ce-tan decided it was disturbing his beauty rest and started yelling back. It in turn informed Ce-tan that it was not concerned for our mortal needs and commanded us to come outside to face justice. Never to be undone, Ce-tan again taunts the voice. The word “QUIET!!” was then blasted at us and powerful enough to deafen us and stagger our minds. I am told after that it commanded us once again to come outside, but myself and some others had been deafened by its shout and could not hear him. Whatever was waiting for us outside in the sandstorm did not seem terribly intelligent.
Khatovar leaves the tent and sees a man sitting on a flying carpet with a holy symbol of Abadar around his neck. He wants the rest of us to come out to face justice and Khatovar sees shapes made of sand move forward into his vision. The immortal creature reveals himself to be Pazhvann and accuses us of killing two of his brothers. The rest of us wander out into the storm and the gnome unwisely asks for more information since we have killed many creatures lately. The gnome continues taunt him. He is one of the templars of the five winds, the east wind, and wants to know of the death of Kardswann and Zayifid. We inform him that Zayifid was not dead and the Kardswann went mad. Ce-tan tells of how Kardswann went mad and the daemon that took his mind.
Pazhvann wants to know what happened the scroll. We tell him that we have it and he wants it to take it from us to guard it and protect the mortal world. He will not tell us why he wants it. Nefeshti was the leader of the five winds and was exiled from the elemental plane of air for warmongering. Then made her home in Katapesh and was then exiled from Katapesh for starting a war the destroyed half of eastern Katapesh. We mention that Zayifid will not attack us directly and Pazhvann looks at Khatovar with recognition. Ce-tan is annoyed by his mortal comments and converts his form to Efreeti. This does not work well as Ce-tan is held. Pazhvann calls Khatovar the shade of Vardishal. He then offers a trade for the scroll. Exchange goes back and forth. He deccides he does not want to sully his hands and leaves with a warning that it was our last chance to give them the scroll for his brothers will not be so forgiving. He gives Khatovar a magic scroll to protect the scroll from Zayifid and leaves.
We argue about what to have done with the scroll. We sleep and then continue on to the city. Three days later the grasslands ends in massive pile of sand known as the Ketapeshi dust bowl. We crest the dunes and off in the distance we spot the sprawling city, we have arrived at Katapesh.