Part 11: No More Bugs Adventure Notes
The apparition disappears.
"The ruling staff and the star-gem of Modek! These sound like the things of legend!” says Lioniel.
Nigel is incensed! “A spirit trapped! Prevented from entering the afterlife! This is a quest for me!"
"Its obviously a trap" interjects Mara
“But isn't this why we’re here?” asks Lioniel
“Why am I here? I’m just following you guys,” replies Mara dejectedly.
"We were sent by Rogan Josh,” Nigel reminds her "to stop whatever is happening in these rotten lands from spreading."
Gwenelda peers off into the the distance. "That pyramid still looks two days away.”
“And it's going to get very hot out here soon,” says Mara.
Nigel consults his field manual on what is the best way to get from here to the Pyramid. He can’t work out what to do.
Lioniel asks Mara, “Do you think we should travel in the night?"
Mara replies "Yes. Walk til dawn and then rest."
They have no camels and only 2 days of rations and water left.
The party sets off with Gwenelda leading the way, pack marching over the dunes. Gwen starts hearing a soft whistling noise. Then it gets thunderous and a huge sandstorm thunders over the dunes out of nowhere and blindsides the party. Their sunburn from the previous day is grated by sand and all they can hear is the roar of the wind.
Finally the sandstorm passes and Gwen notices that Averson and Tzara seem to be missing. The sun rises while the rest regroup and start seeking shelter. Nigel, Mara and Gwen are injured by the sand. Nigel realises he can no longer see the pyramid but he is now standing in a shadow. When he turns around a gigantic female Sphinx is standing behind him.
“Um…” he says. The rest of party turn notice it. It is 12 feet tall.
"Greetings creature, I am Sir Nigel and I'm on a holy quest. How can I help you?”
“You must tell me a riddle I cannot answer that I have never heard before” the creature says in a wistful voice.
Nigel thinks for a moment. Then he says “I am elusive but I do not breathe. I am the promise of a million nights but I am not found. Where is the long wait?”
The creature shakes her head. “Sir Nigel. You will be seeking this relic for a long time but you know what it is and I know what it is too. So try again.”
Suddenly Gwenelda pipes up. “Who makes me does not use me. And who buys me does not want me. Who uses me doesn’t see me. What am I?”
The Sphinx ponders a while and finally replies slightly surprised “I do not know.”
A huge grin splits Gwenelda’s face. “Why a coffin of course!”
With that the Sphinx suddenly opens its wings and begins to beat them, stirring sand all around it as it lifts off into the sky, flying away majestically.
Nigel turns to Lioniel with his face showing true awe. "You must immortalise this in song!"
"It can be in the sequel to cabbages!” replies Lioniel enthusiastically.
"Except you wrote it yourself” says Mara dryly.
“Why do you have to ruin everything,” Lioniel replies.
As the sun rises Gwenelda sees some birds circling in the sky.
"We should head this way. I suspect there is something over there."
Mara cannot hide her sour face. "I can’t wait."
Gwenelda begins to lead the party in that way. As she crests the hill she sees a shimmer off in the distance. She turns back to them, finds them the shade of a dune and begins to setup a lean-to with her cloak.
“What are you doing?” asks Mara.
“I’m just getting you guys comfortable while I go investigate something. I won’t be more than an hour.” says Gwen.
Mara looks horrified. “You can’t be serious? Go out there alone?”
Nigel immediately opens his field guide and turns to a page and starts reading aloud. "Lord Longbottom said do not be fooled by someone wandering off. The do not know what they are doing."
Lioniel says “I played Lawrence of Astabia once in a performance. Do you know the play? In it he wandered out into the desert alone... and died!”
"Cabbage guy even thinks it a bad idea” says Mara.
“Ok, fine, we’ll all go” says Gwenelda.
The party heads off and as they get closer Gwen is more and more convinced that what she saw isn’t a mirage. There is greenery and flocks of birds and water. It's an oasis. Mara cannot see any signs of civilisation. The palms trees have coconuts on them.
When they get there Mara finds a buried sign post. She uncovers it but does not recognise the writing on it. It seems to be some kind of code. Lioniel searches around for footprints of humans coming in and out of the oasis but only finds animal prints heading towards the water source.
Lioniel runs up a coconut tree and grabs a coconut. Swings on it until it comes loose and then drops gracefully to the floor. “Breakfast anyone?”
Mara lays out her cloak, removes her armour, lies down, lets out a loud sigh and starts to doze.
Gwenelda finds a plant and applies it to her sunburn and it eases her pain. She then makes a little trap and places it on some of the animal prints in a hope to catch some game.
“I’ll take first watch” states Nigel. He begins to actively searches enemies everywhere. Under bushes. Marching around. In truth he is doing his best to just stay awake. It is then that the sand gives way and 50 feet hole appears beneath him. He tries to grab at the side of the hole with little luck. He sees his life flashes before his eyes. He remembers his mums golden locks and his fathers scowl on his face. He fall with a yell and lands… unhurt! But he starts to feel an itching feeling on him.
Mara starts awake and starts to throw on her armour.
Something begins to scuttle over Nigel’s armour but it is too dark for him to see.
Lioniel casts light on the coconut he is carrying, runs over to the hole and drops it down. It bounces off Nigel’s armour and he can see he is covered in Scarab beetles.
Gwenelda runs over with her rope. She ties it around her waist and throws it in.
Nigel is sitting on his butt and sees the rope drop. He ignores it and decides to attack the swarm. Rolling around and smashing at them with the hilt of his sword striking them for 10 damage. But his random rolling and flailing throws bugs out to the top of the hole right to where Gwenelda and Lioniel are.
Mara leaps down into the hole and lands with the superhero landing. “Can you do nothing right?”
Lioniel, seeing the bugs, casts Thunderwave for 14 damage knocking back all the bugs off of Gwen. Gwen also is shocked by the noise taking 7 damage.
Gwen shoots the scarabs with an arrow dissipating one of the two small swarms.
Nigel swipe the rest of the bugs away.
Lioniel starts taking his clothes off and running around the pit trying to get the last scarabs off of him.
Nigel grabs the rope that is dangling down the well and begins to start to climb but all that happens is Gwenelda is pulled down the well as well! Lioniel is now at the top of the well by himself. He casts thunderclap but it fails to damage them. They leap at his face and a look of horror crosses his eyes. He falls unconscious to THE BUGS.
Nigel climbs out of the pit and walks over to Lioniel lying prostate on the floor. Nigel lays hands on Lioniel and his eyes pop open. He seems to stand instantly, his eyes burning with crazy rage.
“FUCK. THE. BUGS.” he says as slaps the remaining bug running around Nigel’s armour and ichor flies everywhere, running down Nigels armour and into his face. Lioniel stops, breathes and then starts to get dressed.
Gwen rolls the coconut down the tunnel at the bottom of the hole. Two great 30 feet statues of men with their hands reaching up to the sky. They have ladders leaning against them.
The party gets 5 coconuts, drinks lots of water and have 2.5 days of rations as they then head down the hole.
Nigel searches around and finds a golden ring which he puts on and turns out to be a ring of swimming. Gwen finds some Dust of Dryness and a hidden chamber full of 32 sarcophagi made of black iron. There is some writing on the wall. It says “Duty in death.”
"These were the warrior cast that were here to protect their masters,” says Nigel. “These brave souls should be left in peace”
“I need you not to touch anything,” says Mara to Nigel. And then “You not to do anything,” she says to Gwenelda "and you not to say anything” she says to Lioniel. "I need sleep.”
“Which would be the leader then?” Enquires Lioniel. "They are all on the same size pedestal. Maybe he’s through the other door?”
Gwen opens the door and stale rotted air strikes all of them in the face.
Figures are all lined up on the wall that are all servants. The bard notices all the servants seem to be experiencing the same thing that Tsara had when she was gripped by the mummy in town: Mummy Rot.
"These have been cursed by a monstrosity!” exclaims Nigel.
"Surely it's the guy,” says Mara. "This is the guy you want to help."
"No I want to free their soul from a hell” says Nigel defensively.
"But that guy did this!” says Mara.
"Yeah. Yeah. That’s not normal.” states Nigel flatly. "Let’s see if the warriors died from the same thing."
Mara attempts to open one of the iron sarcophaguses using a crowbar and fails. Mara and Nigel try together to open one and manages to get one open. Inside is a traditionally wrapped mummy with a scimitar laid upon his chest. They don’t appear to have Mummy Rot.
Nigel detects undead and finds 32 of them. He instantly reaches for his torch and flint and steel. “We have to kill this!” He lights his torch and sets it on fire. Then reverse grips the sword into his chest.
They return to the mummy rot room and try to open the door. There is a fresco which is a mockup of the desert with agriculture from ages ago. Some writing says “Only the faithful are…” but the rest has worn away. There is a sword protruding from between the knees of the statue. Gwenelda touches the sword and pulls it out of the wall. As she does the mural behind the statue opens up into another passage.
Inside the next room is elaborately painted with a mural. There are lots of chests in here. In the centre of all the chests is one sarcophagus. It sees to be larger than the others and made of iron. It is still intact and hasn’t been opened. Nigel walks around the room lighting up wall torches.
The murals on the wall tell a story. The story is of Ahmen-Re. The symbol of Amen-Ra depicting his cruelty in life and the treasures he amassed and him cursing the land. At the end of it says if you are as greedy as Amen-Ra then you’ll meet his fate. Once the curse of Amen-Ra has been lifted the wealth in this room will help stabilise the region.
"We can lift the curse by stopping the undead in the Pyramid,” observes Nigel.
“Well let's leave it for now” says Lioniel. “There is no point doing anything here until we have visited the pyramid.”
“We must destroy what is in the sarcophagus first!” says Nigel.
“Do you even detect undead?” asks Lioniel.
“Yes”, replies Nigel even though he has run out of detect undead charges for that today.
Lioniel goes apeshit. “I’m not dying in some run down secondary tomb for the sake of one undead we can come back and take care of later! It has literally been here thousands of years. It's not going anywhere!” and he marches out of the room.
Mara and Gwen proceed to talk Nigel down from this idea and the party return to their camp and rest.