Friday, June 11, 2021

House of Worms, Session 226

The tubeway car eventually stopped at what appeared to be a fully functional station. In the course of their travels, the characters had previously visited several such stations but all of them were in some state of collapse and disrepair. This one, however, was quite different: well-lit, clean, functional – and filled with guards in black livery. As soon as the car stopped, the characters observed a pair of guards, armed with spears, advancing up the ramp to meet them. 

Keléno stepped out, along with Nebússa, as they were the only members of the group who could speak Bednallján Salarvyáni, the language most similar to whatever dialect was spoken on this alternate version of Tékumel. Nebússa took the lead, giving Keléno time to use the weird device given to him by Toneshkéthu to contact her in times of trouble. Uncharacteristically, she responded quickly, expressing first pleasure that they had made it safely to Evú Nithóru. He asked her advice on how to handle things, to which she responded, "I'm not sure; I expect you'll probably be taken prisoner. Just do what they say and I'll get to you as soon as I am able." Toneshkéthu's prediction was correct.

The guards led the characters and their entourage down the ramp to an open area, where they were greeted by more guards. Their sergeant asked everyone to turn over their weapons and armor and to follow him to a nearby lift. Fortunately, the guards did not search anyone thoroughly, allowing Znayáshu, Keléno, and Kirktá to retain the eyes they had hidden on their persons. The lift took everyone up two floors, where they were met by yet more soldiers, who escorted the characters to a large, open room, with a door. The door was sealed but not locked, though it was soon apparent that there were several armed guards posted outside it.

A few minutes after arriving, a pair of men in formal robes appeared. One was a younger, smiling man, while the other was older and balding. It soon became clear that the younger man was in charge and the older his secretary or aide. The young man introduced himself as Chikárja Shurúggam and he apologized for having to imprison the characters here. "It's only a precaution," he explained. "This area is beneath King Tarishánde's fortress and it's quite unusual for anyone to arrive unannounced. We're quite curious as to how you came here at all, especially at the present time, when 'religious zealots' seek to unseat His Majesty from his rightful throne." Keléno asked for clarification, "Do you mean 'the Red King?'" Chikárja visibly scowled, "Yes, the self-proclaimed Prophet of Vaomáhl. May Jráka protect us from violent fools like him."

The conversation quickly turned back to how and why the characters had come to Evú Nithóru. A decision was made to simply tell the truth, namely that they had come from an alternate version of Tékumel by magical means and had taken a tubeway car found deep within a Ssú lair." Chikárja seemed strangely satisfied with this answer, but countered with more questions. "That doesn't explain why you thought here was a good place to come or indeed how you came here at all." Keléno spoke truthfully again, "We were given instructions to come here by an acquaintance of ours named Toneshkéthu. Do you know her? She said that there would a nexus point by which we could return to our Tékumel." 

Chikárja's demeanor changed upon hearing this. He looked angry and concerned, though he tried to hide it. "I must go to consult with my superiors," he said, "However, if you would like some refreshments, I can arrange for them to be sent to you." With that, he and his aide left; not long thereafter, slaves bearing food and drink entered the room, providing them with the first sustenance they'd had in some time. Grujúng was disappointed that there was no chumétl amongst the refreshments. The characters partook of the food and drink, waiting for the return of Chikárja.

Before he returned, though, Toneshkéthu made her way into the room, disguised as a servant. She smiled, "We need to get you out of here. They think you're agents provocateurs of the Red King and will probably torture and execute you before long. I can help you get to a nearby nexus point and use it to transfer you back to your Tékumel through it." This immediately frightened the characters. "Where would this nexus point take us exactly?" "The fortress of Avanthár, of course; that's the equivalent locale on your branch of the Tree of Time." That was what worried the characters. "I don't think the Omnipotent Azure Legion will receive us any more happily than did the people here," said Keléno.

Nevertheless, there was no other option. Among the eyes the characters carried was an eye of non-seeing, which would render them invisible for a time. Toneshkéthu suggested they make use of it, follow her out the door, past the guards to the nexus point. Grujúng and Aíthfo approved of the plan, but wanted to recover their weapons, armor, and other gear. Toneshkéthu argued against this, since it would necessarily involve having to fight past guards. The characters briefly considered foregoing their equipment but ultimately decided against it. Toneshkéthu acquiesced and, after several use of the eye of non-seeing, they made their way past the guards outside their room and toward the chamber that held their gear.

There were two guards outside the door to the chamber. The quick use of an excellent ruby eye placed both of them into stasis without drawing attention. Upon entering the room beyond, the characters discovered that Chikárja was there, along with several other men with whom he was engaged in a spirited conversation. Surprised, they had no time to react to the characters, who used the ruby eye again to place them into stasis. Toneshkéthu encouraged them to grab their possessions quickly, use the eye of non-seeing again and follow her once more. She warned that it would not be long before their disappearance from their holding area would be noticed. Once that happened, it would only be a matter of time before they re-captured and, if so, there was little she could do for them.

A few minutes of moving stealthily past guards and patrols, the characters made it to an area where Toneshkéthu indicated the nexus point was located. She performed a quick ritual, opened the nexus and urged the characters through. She said that she would see them again "sometime in your future," but did not clarify further. Dealing with Undying Wizards – event apprentice ones like Toneshkéthu – could be confusing!


  1. The group must be really fond of their confiscated gear to take those risks. I'd probably have been happy just to get away with the various Eyes and my hide intact personally.

    1. There are a number of very precious items among their gear, such as a N'lüss sword wielded by Grujúng.

    2. Fair enough. I never seemed to wind up with really fancy gear in my EPT days. When you're using chlen-hide equipment it's best not to get terribly attached to it.

    3. After more than six years of play, the characters have quite a collection of gear, so they're rather attached to some of it. That said, they have also lost of lot of rather nice equipment in the past – such is the life of an adventurer!