Thursday, April 8, 2021

House of Worms, Session 220

The battle against the Ssú did start well. Under the effects of Znayáshu's haste spell, Grujúng rushed into melee against a group of eight of them approaching the characters from the west. His initial attacks slew only one of the Ssú, far fewer than had been expected, given both his martial prowess and the spell placed upon him. Nebússa did no better. As the Ssú warriors pressed forward, a sorcerer in their third rank succeeded in casting a spell on the two Tsolyáni, which filled them with supernatural fear of their situation. Grujúng and Nebússa both turned on their heels and fled back to the central shaft down which they had come and began to climb frantically up the ropes still hanging from the second level of the ruin.

Meanwhile, Znayáshu made use of his eye of raging power against the larger group of Ssú coming the south. The eye was decently effective, dispatching a few of the Enemies of Man. Seeing that more were still approaching, Aíthfo called on the three soldiers in their employ to accompany him down the corridor to face the Ssú head-on. Still protected by the effects of the shield of defense spell, the attacks of the soldiers proved ineffective. Undeterred, Aíthfo pressed on, hacking his way through the Ssú warriors toward the back ranks of the group. There, one of the Ssú, seemingly a sorcerer based on his attire – a leather harness to which many pouches had been attached – was preparing to make use of his own magical device, another eye. Aíthfo struck him, knocking it from his hands and the Ssú whirled around to attempt to retrieve it from the ground.

Seeing the group from the west moving more quickly toward them, Znayáshu unleashed another blast from his eye, which took down a few more of the Ssú. From the safety of the shaft, Kirktá observed that the soldiers fighting alongside Aíthfo were falling, one by one, before the jagged swords of their opponents. He then rushed off to join Aíthfo, his sturdy staff in hand. When he reached the melee, he fought his way forward, picking up the dropped eye off the ground and making use of it against one the nearby Ssú. To his pleasure, a red beam emerged from it, freezing the Ssú in place – an excellent ruby eye! This would come in handy. However, as he and Aíthfo then dealt with the remaining enemies, the saw, in the distance, more dim blue lights heading in their direction. Clearly, this level of the ruin was crawling with the Enemies of Man. 

Aíthfo ordered a withdrawal and the two of them pulled back to join Znayáshu just as the western group of Ssú set upon him. A series of lucky exchanges resulted in the Ssú's numbers dwindling, though not enough to secure the area. With more Ssú appearing in the south and the sound of loud chiming noises – Ssú vocalizations – it seemed likely that the area would soon be overrun. Though he hated to do it, Aíthfo recognized that discretion was the better part of valor in this case. After a few moments of gathering the dropped items and weapons of the Ssú, Aíthfo, Kirktá, and Znayáshu climbed the ropes and made their way to the second level, with the Ssú hot on their heels. To their surprise, the Enemies of Man did not pursue, but instead filled the shaft and stared menacingly at them with their huge saucer-shaped eyes. Everyone concluded that they were fortunate to have escaped with no serious casualties, except perhaps the pride of Grujúng and Nebússa, who had fled to the uppermost level of the ruin before the effects of the fear spell wore off.

The characters then assessed their situation. They could either lick their wounds and descend again down the shaft to fight their way past the Ssú, in the hopes of finding a tubeway car station somewhere below, or they could return to Bakatlán to rest before heading to the provincial capital of Mihimór. Kirktá and Keléno were very much in favor of the latter option, while Aíthfo did not wish to show his back to the Ssú. For his part, Grujúng continued to wonder why the party simply did not return to the nexus point that led to the Citadel of Sighs so that they might choose another alternate Tékumel to visit in their effort to return to their home. After some debate, the decision was made to head to Bakatlán and then to Mihimór.

The return to the fishing village was uneventful. There, Vrummíshsha expressed pleasure at seeing the characters alive and reiterated his earlier disbelief at their seeking out the Ssú. He told them that they were better off to have left the ruins and that they would have better luck in the provincial capital. He then lent them a pair of boats to travel along the coast to reach Mihimór. He suggested, once there, that they seek out the Temple of Lord Jráka, the mightiest of the gods. His priests could surely aid them in their endeavors, whatever they might be. No one took much relish in this notion, as Jráka was an ancient and particularly bloodthirsty version of Ksárul, the machinations of whose priests on their Tékumel had led them to their present predicament. 

Nevertheless, they proceeded. After a little less than a day's travel by water, they approached Mihimór. The city reminded them somewhat of Linyaró, a small, walled settlement on the coast. It was slightly bigger – perhaps 10,000 people dwelled within – and its architecture was different, but it had the same languid, slightly bedraggled quality to it. Mihimór was obviously a place of little importance, far removed from the great events of the empire of which it was a part. Yet, it also might hold the aid they needed to continue on their quest, so they had no choice but to enter and see what surprises might await them inside.


  1. Wonder what the consequences of poking that hornets' nest are going to be. The village of Bakatlan may be getting some unwelcome visitors in the near future. Pretty much left a trail right back the place, didn't they?

    1. Well, I'm sure the village will be fine. It's not like ssu are the ancient enemies of humanity or anything.

      Oh, wait... :)

  2. No casualties, besides some hirelings...

    1. They did surprisingly well. For a while there, I thought they were going to lose at least a couple of characters.