Part 12: The Meeting
The party is interrupted from their rest as a voice echoes through the clearing.
"Help" the voice screams in elvish. Immediately Alena springs from her trance at the language of her people. Gaze seeking south she sees two figures running directly towards the party. Behind the beastmen rush up to attack their quarry. As the two figures get closer to the clearing the beastmen veer off into the ruins. One of the figures dashes off into the bush as the other wanders into camp looking dazed and gaunt.
Alena grabs his neck and slams him to the ground as he advances. Behind her she hears the arrival of the beastmen. Arcanda's crossbow fires into the body of the closest beastmen but it appears unfazed. Dropping the gaunt dazed body, Alena rushes the beastmen and swings wildly one of her blades connecting to its body. Mahin uses her short bow to pierce the skin of the beastmen.
Suddenly from the south more beastmen arrive to attack the gaunt body that was laying upon the ground. For a moment Alena felt shame at leaving one of her own in such trouble. Though she knew that one did not have a face such as that without a cost. A magic cost. The gaunt figure starts to channel. His instrument ripples shock waves through the camp as his sweeps his arm wide and bellow creating a large thunderclap sound which throws the beastmen back. Ezra casting from the secret place inside his soul casts a magic spell which puts the the beastmen attacking Leolinel to sleep. As this happens Alena races over to a beastmen hiding behind a boulder to the north. She slashes at his face, and in turn he smashes her with his club.
To the south Leolinel is attacked by the second beastmen who was approaching him, smashing him with a massive amount of damage and leaving him injured. Mahin tries to help by shooting her arrow but leaves stop her progress and she is unable to connect. Arcandur moves to get a clear view of the beastmen and shoots his crossbow across the clearing. The bolt solidly hits the beastmen in the stomach and the beastmen flinches in pain as his guttural roar fills air.
Leolinel attacks the sleeping beastmen, choosing to eliminate an easy target however out of nowhere Ezra backstabs the attacking beastmen. Black blood seeps from the wound. Alena fighting her own battle as she slashes the beast again. He responds by trying to swing his massive club across her elven hair but misses. Leolinel is swung at again and whilst one misses, one connects. Lightly damaged from the blow, he ducks out of danger.
Mahin aims with her bow. Lines up her shot. And impales the beastman straight in the throat as he falls to the ground unmoving. Blood gurgling from his mouth. Arcandur fires his crossbow at the beastman as Alena is fighting with her sword a bolt impales him in the eye. He collapses on the ground. Defeated. Alena wipes the blood from her face and says "Wizard, next time without the blood covering would be appreciated."
Leolinel takes aim at the beastmen attacking him. Smacking at his chest and opening up a wide gash on his chest. Ezra takes advantage of the beastmen with a quick stab of his rapier through this back and leaving him dead upon the ground of the clearing. Leolinel and Ezra take turns stabbing the beastmen asleep until blood covers the leaves of the clearing. The begin to pick apart the bodies like the scavengers they are.
Alena wipes down her sword and looks upon the the invaders of their camp. Ezra mimics the movement and meets her gaze.
"I hope we are friends" Ezra asked calmly.
"Well, we only just met. We aren't friends yet" Mahin replies cautiously.
"What are you doing out here?" Mahin asks.
"My employers want me to get something and is willing to pay a lot of money for it" Ezra looks shiftily around.
"Quick. We need to talk" Mahin whispers to the party "I'm worried. They are here for the same goal as us."
"Well worst case scenario Alena kills them or best case scenario Alena kills them" Arcandur says casually.
"We use them" Mahin says, the rogue in her showing.
"We need to know, what exactly are you looking for? Because we could collaborate here" Mahin looks at Ezra.
"My employers have offered my 2,000 gold pieces to retrieve the item, and I am happy to share. Can I put my hands down now?" Ezra asks.
"Yes" Mahin answers "We can work together. Let us shake on it".
They shake hands and the agreement is formed. They will work together and retrieve the item. Whatever happens after that, would happen. As they all returned to the camp fire, they notice that Leolinel looks even more gaunt in the light. Ezra explains that he doesn't know him, they have spent 5 days working together due to their business arrangement. Mahin offers Arcandur's services to provide a comfort for the drugged elf.
Alena cannot bring herself to look at the elf. Another elf taken by Mothers Milk. Arcandur mutters under his breath. Noting with disgust that there is nothing he can do for the drug rattled elf. He explains to Ezra that he cannot help him. He needs another fix. Another fix of the drug that is killing him. Ezra looks uncomfortable. He doesn't know this elf. Only that his employer forced them together.
Ezra explains again that he dose not want to die, he would rather work together to achieve the goal. The goal of retrieving the item in question. Alena resumes her trance. As the strongest fighter she needs the rest. The rested the night away and recovered from the attack of the beastmen. Again. The bard begins to play. Slowly his music creeps into their souls. Healing them in a way they haven't been healed since they began this long journey.
The morning comes, the cold night air is replaced as the heat of the jungle begins to creep into the clearing. Mosquitoes may have taken a few bites, but as a price to pay it was small. They gather their belongings and walk towards the entrance of the ruins. The party takes a deep breath. As the original members know what lies before them and the new members are still shaken from all that has already occurred.
They mount the stairs and discover the rotting body of the witchdoctor awaits them. Ezra advances forward into the entrance hall, cautiously moving forwards. He approaches the corpse. Arcandur looks horrified as he smells the body. Mahin explains that we have examined the bone dust coffins awaiting them in the entrance hall. Ezra peers down the corridor. Alena strides forward confidently knowing that this chamber is empty of the living and now filled with the dead. Leolinel and Ezra continue to walk around the chamber, hoping to find something that the earlier party had missed.
Ezra moves into the throne room which is filled with glittering jewels and gems. The mummy sits upon the thrones covered in gold. The trickling gold upon his body is awaiting the hands of the thieves and rogues of the world. Mahin cannot help her eyes from flashing gold at the sight of so much wealth waiting to be plucked. Ezra moves on from the room. Though it is as described, he seeks more information. Mahin recalls the terror of the chambers and the torment that they survived.
"The snake" she shudders recalling the sensation of being swallowed whole.
Ezra and Mahin discuss the likelihood of the mummy being dead. Ezra tells the tale of Yogrum, the trader who was gravely injured from taking the gold of the mummy. Mahin explains that while we did not meet him, we were following his trail across the world. The Priests of Set. They kept appearing in the tales.
"Thus far, I've managed to avoid Priests of Set" Ezra says.
Mahin dashes off into the throne room. She climbs upon the throne and caresses the gold. "My precious".