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Heading downriver to the Osirion equivalent of Alexandria, Tephu, so Nemat can hit the Great Library. It’s one of three cities in the estuary, but Tephu made its fortune from papyrus. Also like Alexandria, they search any visiting ships for books and scrolls they don’t already have. And we have a Handy Haversack filled to the brim with books they don’t have. Although Nemat’s diary is going to be difficult to copy, given a third of it is written with the Hidden Page spell, a third can only be read by the light of fire beetles, and it’s all written in three different dead languages.

Asrian: We look for a ferry that won’t sink halfway.
GM: So you avoid Crazy Hassan’s floating camels then ‘Very good amphibious camels!’

GM: One of the farmers has noticed his son/armhand, is asleep on the job, and is trying to shake them awake. It’s not working.
Zenobia OoC: We’ve barely left town and already someone’s dead.
Nemat: *conjures water to drop on the boy’s head*
GM: It doesn’t wake him up.
Nemat: That’s not good.
GM: And then the farmer starts falling asleep. And some of the livestock. And Zenobia.
Nemat: And that really not good. Hey! You! Stay awake!
Zenobia: *yawning toothily* Wake me up when we get to the capital *passes out*

GM: There’s definitely something casting magic on the boat, but you can’t see it.
Nemat: Damn - we can’t attack something we can’t see. Oh, wait. *casts See The Invisible*
GM: What the EFF is THAT?!

It’s some kind of nightmarish animated dream creature. Zenobia gets shaken awake, but is still very groggy.

Zenobia OoC: Apparently I’m not a morning person.
Asrian OoC: Well, we did get a lot of exercise last night.

Animated Dream Monster: You know, this isn’t working out, I’m going to go eat somebody else inst-
Nemat OoC: Except it’s not it’s turn yet.
GM: I know, that’s just what goes through it’s head before you cut it off.

The Book Inspector can barely contain his glee at the haul of books the party has brought down from Wati. Nemat is certainly going to be a welcome visiting scholar while we look up any information of the Sky Pharaoh and the Forgotten Pharaoh.

Nemat rents us a luxury suite of rooms on the outskirts of Tephu.

Zenobia: I wonder who they think will be using the double bed. I guessing that Asrian and I won’t be their first guess.

Nemat: I will nip in the bud any plan that might get me banned from the Library.

Hemeda the Librarian: Ah, yes, the Covenant of Wati - the list of books you brought down is MOST impressive. How many the Library be of assistance to your research?
Nemat: We wish to learn what we can of the Pharaoh Hakotep the First.
Hemeda: … I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of this Pharaoh.
Asrian: He’s also known as the Forgotten Pharaoh.
Nemat: We have his mask here - but be careful with it, it contains his ka.
Hemeda: I’d ask WHY you have the mask of an unknown pharaoh, but… Well. Since your donation to the catalogue is so extensive, I’ll waive the first week of fees.

The library also waive the fees of anybody seriously injured exploring The Stacks.

Nemat: At least they have a slight idea about public safety.

Although one of the scrolls we find stored up near roof level claims that the Sky Pharaoh and the Forgotten Pharaoh are the same person, which contradicts other records. Catalogue notes indicates there are related scrolls held in the library’s Inner Sanctum. We will need permission from Deka An-Keret, governor of the city, before we’ll be permitted in there. And for some reason they’re refusing requests from the library for a meeting.

Nemat: I have an idea. Let’s find the local temple of Callistria.
Asrian: We need to return that dead woman’s belongings for one thing.
Nemat: And the priests putting in a good word for us will help.

Alternatively we can get some help from one of the Ruby Prince’s favourite concubines, who is in town at the moment, and may be willing to apply some political pressure. And by a happy coincidence, she’s at the temple of Callistria today. She’s a woman of enormous appetites and passions.

Muminofrah: Oh Darlings, darlings, come in to my sanctum! You’re such wonderful specimens - so beautiful!

Muminofrah: Information on the Masked Pharoah? Well, at least he isn’t coming back from the dead and trying to take over! *chuckles with amusement*
Asrian: Yeah, about that…
Muminofrah: … I SEE. Well, I’ll definitely see about getting you permission. Come, sit with me.
Zenobia: *tenses up*
Nemat: Ah, Zenobia, I need your help - we have some shopping to do. Inks, scrolls, that sort of thing.
Zenobia: *after she’s been reluctantly dragged away* Was she hitting on my girlfriend???
Nemat: Yes.

Zenobia is going to be pretty miserable all week, because Muminofrah is going to be demanding repeat visits from Asrian, as well as services from the rest of us, in return for getting us a few day’s access to the inner library. Asrian isn’t happy about it either, but we can’t afford to offend somebody with that much political clout, who is also a devotee of the goddess of revenge.

Inside the Spiral Sanctum, the doors of which are looked behind us.

Zenobia: I assume that they give us formal warnings about open flames in here.
GM: Yes. Magical light sources only.
Zenobia: What sort of engraved curses do they have for arsonists?
Nemat: The Revenge of Nemat.
GM: And the archive has its own guardians.

As well as the Guardian in question, who has a long list of people who have broken the rules in the past, there’s another researcher in here. A hooded woman, who claims she’s seeking the legendary Uraeus ring. Nemat knows what that is, since it’s the symbol of his own god, as well a symbol of rulership. She warns us about the Invisible Stalker guarding part of the library, and goes on her way.

Zenobia: She seems nice.
Nemat: She’s also not telling the whole story. Mind you, neither were we.

The central pit of the inner library is an OSHA violation waiting to happen. And the scrolls we’re looking for aren’t where they’re supposed to be. Either stolen, or mis-shelved. Happily, it’s the latter. Apparently the Sky Pharaoh believed his country was going to be attacked by enemies that lived in the clouds, and got his defence in first, using magic belonging to an even older empire that actually had flying cities. Unfortunately, most of the details we need are fragmentary, although there’s an interesting list of his major courtiers. And a recorded confession, with more details of what happened to the Pharaoh after his death, as well as evidence that Djeret the Second, the Pharaoh’s successor, tried to bury the fact that Nethysian cultists were somehow involved in the whole debacle. Oh dear. The current governor is Nethysian.

Asrian OoC: It’s actually DJ Eret, and he was a great spinner.

No explanation of why the Sky Pharoah/Forgotten Pharaoh had his official name changed though.

And then we’re attacked by the OTHER Invisible Stalker.

Nemat: ****! I can’t do that! Not down here! … I was going to cast Blistering Invective and set it on fire.

Happily, Asrian knows the spell Glitterdust, and Nemat’s and Asrian’s critical hits keep chaining up.

Guardian: WHAT IN THE NINE HELLS IS GOING ON DOWN HERE.
Nemat: An invisible stalker attacked us.
Guardian: INVISIBLE STALKER????
Nemat: Yes, the other woman warned us about one of them, but-
Guardian: WHAT OTHER WOMAN? YOU ARE THE ONLY ONES WITH PERMISSION TO BE HERE.
All: …. Well then.

Apparently we need further permissions to ANOTHER locked archive here - the Dark Depository. And no doubt the Governor knows about our inquiries now…

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