Onka: And I’m going to camp over here, since I don’t want a knife somewhere uncomfortable.
Zenobia: Any suspicious logs floating about?
This is also the first time that Zenobia has seen her girlfriend undressed in daylight - she has silver-blonde hair, and skin almost as pale as paper. Rather unusual, since we’ve met her family and they’re all ethnically Osiriani.
Nemat OoC: On the other side of the God-Rock, she’d be gorgeous.
Zenobia OoC: I imagine her mother got some cruel accusations after she was born, right up until her father got kicked in the balls.
Asrian is still extremely sensitive about her appearance, despite the fact that Zenobia isn;t at all repulsed.
Zenobia: You’ve seen the way people look at me, before they know me. I’d NEVER think you’re ugly.
Asrian: You’re fuzzy, it’s nice! I look like I’ve been dipped in flour!
Zenobia: Well, let’s see if it washes off *rolls around in the shallows with her for a bit*
Asrian eventually explains that she had a perfectly ordinary complexion when she was younger, but had an encounter with a djinn, and after she was returned from the djinn’s palace, she looked like this. Apparently she had djinn ancestry somewhere on her mother’s side of the family, and her Suli blood got awakened. Which probably explains why her mother insisted she was still beautiful. Zenobia, of course, agrees.
Zenobia: The power of your ancestry shows on the outside. The light of your soul shines inside. You are gorgeous to me.
Asrian: *hugs tight*
Asrian is at least confident enough to go without her veil when we return to the rest of the party, but she’ll have it back on before we catch up with the cultists.
Nemat: You’re actually quite attractive.
We also acquire some unusual loot - the power source of some unknown construct.
GM: It’s an ARC reactor.
Of course, all these side quests are going to take us over most of the desert, but it’ll probably be OK since the cultists have no idea we’re in pursuit, and are probably expecting the Lamia and other cultists to catch up with them. Although that assumes we don’t fall victim to things like the stinky stinky goo ghosts that emerge from some of the dunes.
Nemat OoC: Hang on, let me make a ‘Wot Dat?’ roll.
And things like featureless black obelisks are just annoying to the archeologist in the party, even if the proportions aren’t 1:4:9.
Zenobia: What’s the point of putting up an obelisk without inscribing the name of whoever commissioned it?
Nemat: I think the point is if you need to know, you already know.
Asrian: Actually I think the point is up the top there.
It’s actually powerfully and dangerously enchanted, but useful as long as you don’t fry yourself as you put it to use. Happily we have a spell-sage in the party who can fiddle with that sort of thing with minimal chance of spontaneous arc-welding. It’s not the only weird relic out here either of course - arrangements of skull-sized pale rocks also attract our attention.
Zenobia: Blood for the Blood God! Oh wait, they’re not skulls.
Voice from Above: Do not take another step!
Zenobia: *politely takes a step backwards*
Rest of party: That’s a step!
Onka: Let’s hope it’s not a copper dragon.
GM: Actually it’s a blue.
Keferuzagra the Blue Dragon: *lands* This is my garden! Stay away!
Nemat: Nice work.
Keferuzagra: Uh, thanks?
Zenobia: Would you like to show us your garden or is it entirely private?
Nemat: Are you familiar with the Tien form of rock gardening?
GM: *sigh* And you’ve just taken him from hostile to friendly
Onka: Have you tried looking down in the wastelands south of here? There’s basilisks, you might find some interesting rockery.
He invites us to stay the night, to show off his other art, which includes golden statues of dragons. Admittedly gold leaf, but still very nice work.
Nemat: Are you sure you’ve never heard of the Tien forms?
GM: This dragon is SO going to find himself a new lair.
Nemat OoC: Once he finds a couple of portable holes so he can take his rocks and statues with him.
Keferuzagra gifts us an Efficient Quiver he found in an abandoned temple of Sarenrae, before he makes plans to emigrate. Some Tianese rock garden master is going to have something to be smug about, later.
Nemat OoC: We’ll give the quiver to Onka - it’s the Wizard’s Golf Bag.
He also warns us about a temple in the direction we’re heading, dedicated to Areshkagal, the demon lord of portals and riddles. Should be worth checking out, just in case, even if only to add a large AVOID to the map we eventually produce.
Nemat OoC: I’d really like our GM to be familiar with compass directions.
We hear flapping overhead, as we head north.
Zenobia: *peering * Keferuzagra again? No, that’s yellow, not blue. Are there yellow dragons?
Asrian: There’s gold dragons.
Zenobia: No, definitely yellow.
Nemat: Might be a really lost Imperial.
Actually it’s a flock of Yrthaks, huge eyeless flying beasts with a powerful sonic attack.
These things are NASTY. To the point some us go into negative hit points. Lucky for us that half of them plow into the ground when trying to do hairpin turns in mid-air, and that Zenobia can do ranged healing from behind boulders, at least until said boulders get blasted apart by the Yrthaks’ sonic attacks. Things probably would have gone much better for us if any of us had remembered Nemat knew the Silence spell, earlier.