Wandering the halls of the Great Library, our heroes decide that this is all a bit too bookish for them after all, and that’s time for some of the carnage that they’re more used to. Lacking any nearby monsters to perform that carnage upon, they decide to perform it upon themselves instead with the help of alcohol. They start looking for a pub to have a drink in.
Waving goodbye to Geb outside, he says he’ll meet them at his forge the next day. Remembering what Enver the Farmer who gave them a lift into town said about choice of drinking establishments, they head for ‘The Crooked Chisel’ inn in the malaise of hostelries between the Merchants’ District and the Artisans’ Quarter.
Pushing open the inn door, all kinds of Inquanokian life seem to be in attendance; Merchants in flowing robes sip liqueurs from fine golden goblets, blouse-clad artists mince and gulp down glasses of colourful spirits and workmen find relief in stone tankards of the local ale brew.
Enver gives the party a wave from a corner where he’s set up with his family and our heroes sidle up to the bar. Untitled No.57 doesn’t drink. Anything. Kelek goes for whatever it is the artists are drinking. Justin starts ploughing the party kitty into getting himself an entire barrel of ale.
The staff shift one of the barrels onto the bar for the half-giant and a party of happy revellers enter the bar. They’re all in high spirits and seem to be celebrating their imminent migration to start new lives in somewhere called “New Sarkomand”… They all wear red rosettes or badges with a symbol of two seated lions with their tails intertwined.
They seem to be surprised that the party haven’t bumped into any of the New Sarkomand Delegation’s stalls out in the streets – the ancient ruined city of Sarkomand along the coast is being reinhabited and reinstated by a plucky few and the rewards and riches are vast, apparently. Baronies and titles are in the offing, there are minerals to be mined, pearls “the size of yer fist” to dive for, rare animals to hunt, relics to unearth… The possibilities are endless, apparently. The now very merry Justin ploughs even more of the party’s funds into buying them all a drink and wishing them good luck in their new lives.
A pair of Inquanok‘s black-clad city watch enter with an armful of rolled-up paper and stick up a poster depicting some heroic-looking protectors of civic justice and declare to all in the bar that the watch are ’accepting new recruits’. On their way out they spot our increasingly drunk heroes and say they’ve got some spots for hired mercenaries too…
The people of Inquanok seem to be a disgustingly responsible lot, and the bar empties fairly early into the night as the hard-working cityfolk head for their beds.
Faced with an inflated sense of worth, diminished responsibility and nothing to take it out on, the party spill out onto the otherwise quiet streets and decide to head to the Temple of the Elder Ones because it was a bit odd.
Passing through the ornamental gardens surrounding the Temple, our heroes are stopped by a pair of black-clad city watchmen, who ask them what they think they’re doing in the vicinity, where quiet contemplation is the order of the day. And night.
Truth be told, it seems this duo are more likely just unused to seeing rock ‘n’ roll adventurers being places where they shouldn’t really be. Short lectures are given about the civic duty of citizens and visitors to conduct themselves in a responsible fashion. None of this works on Untitled No.57, who manages to shoot down every argument with his automaton logic. After being gruffly offered an escort back to their lodging, the party climb down and try and make a good show of returning to the inn.
Now, Kelek the Spellcaster whips up an audible illusion of some brazen kerfuffle going on in a nearby hedge-lined avenue and the guards fall for it, running off and assuring the party that everything is under control.
The group now use this window to hot-foot it towards the imposing temple!
They all pile in behind one of the ornamental hedges. All is quiet and still. There’s no-one else around. Lanterns are lit in the spires that sit above the many doors of the Temple of the Elder Ones.
Kelek once again makes gestures and speaks arcane words. He throws he sense of sight into one of the lodge-houses positioned in an orbit opposite the doors. He sees candles burning around a strange stone altar carved into an abstract, tapering shape, with a band of what almost look like fingers or toes carved around its base. A bowl of smoking, steaming incense sits before it, making the entire room hazy. Kelek then moves his sight down a set of steps as the back of the room, and sees an underground corridor leading back to the temple. Are those figures moving around at the other end of it..? He’s not sure. The spell peters out and his mundane sight returns.
A faint scraping sound can be heard, and a pool of candlelight falls upon the paving slabs near them. The door of the lodge house Kelek was peering into has just opened by itself!
Justin sends his faithful hound Muggerscum to the doorway to investigate for any children trapped in wells or suchlike. The dog reaches the threshold of the door, sees the tableau before him and quails. He will go no further.
Now Justin goes up to the door himself. He stands next to the dog, takes in the same scene, and still can’t bring himself to step inside. Wondering where his courage has gone, he hears another soft scraping sound… The door of the Temple itself closest to him has now slid open by itself as well. The same sputtering candlelight and smoky incense vapour falls onto the ground in front of him. Are those figures moving at the end of the corridor that’s opened up before him..?
He bottles it and returns to the most bold of practices: hiding behind an ornamental hedge.
The fleshy members of the group now decide they may have peaked too soon, this is all a bit much and they’re sobering up. The not-all-fleshy, metal Untitled No.57 offers to keep watch over the temple while his companions turn in. He finds a hiding spot and simply watches to see if anything else weird is going to happen.
Eventually the doors of the temple slide closed again. Peering at the building, he’s not sure if he can see figures stationed behind shutters in the spires looking at him. Or is it just his sensors playing up thanks to Justin’s breath..?
Back at the crooked chisel, Kelek goes to bed and Justin beds down on the tavern floor underneath his barrel of ale. Slumbering, they both have strange dreams. They can see the dome of the Palace of the Veiled King behind the eerily-lit spires of the Temple of the Elder Ones. Light seems to be coming from within the great translucent dome as well, shadows cast over it by something they can’t quite fathom. The tension and discomfort builds, until they think they can hear a leathery sound as well. The sound builds until they can take no more and then… Suddenly they snap awake!
The tension is gone, but is replaced with a new uncertainty.
Back in the ornamental gardens, Untitled No.57 is having a great time admiring the statues…