Voyage to Fire Isle

All tied up in a line

It was in the evening that we set off once again to the darkness of the Hub far beneath the ground, leading me again to wonder if we were destined to be the karmic opposition for some force of a more pure light such as Sir Iordal, only the almighty Slumbor can tell. Beneath the ground we were met by the spectral Garth, poor sinner that he is, who wished to tie us together before leading us through his master's domain.

Stick us all on a stake and we'd be easier to barbecue as well! - Tai Pan En

At first we decline to be tied together, not being very trusting ("I'm very trusting" - Griffon) but when Garth tells us we will be blindfolded we accept, the party order being: Sir Pavel, Griffon, Father Alex, Kazir and Tai Pan En.

No sooner have we agreed than Garth starts to summon a horrible mist about our heads, a foul curse of a substance! Seeing no way out of this I wrap my head in cloth to avoid the foul stuff, and as Garth leads us through the portal I meditate to try and ignore the outward distractions of reality. Nevertheless I cannot fully ignore the outside world and notice that the air is suddenly both warmer and damper. Realising that it might be of use to know something of this route I mentally note the course we take.

We walk 1 mile forward down a wide passage, turn right, step down, walk forward, walk down a long flight of spiral stairs, again getting warmer, walk a short distance forward, turn left through a doorway onto a paved stone surface noting sounds of people in the distance but no air movement indicating that we are indoors. We hear a bell strike three times, then three chimes, and then three strokes of the bell again, step through a door, put on hooded robes, step outside into very warm air, walk a winding route over cobbles and badly repaired streets, through a door, up a short flight of stairs, and into a small room

Tourists in Yog Jakart

Here we are unblinded and allowed to see that we are in a small dilapidated room at night, a tenement in a slum in Yog Jakart, a Philean trading port. Garth reminds us that we must see our contact, Sumo Palang, at the Sleeping Dragon merchant house, remembering the password "Shall we Bale for Clams", a terrible punning phrase that I am unlikely to be able to forget unless Slumbor blesses me even more than usual!

When morning comes I warn the others to stay indoors till I can obtain more plausible costumes for them and set out through the streets, leaving Griffon hanging out of the window, to look for Sumo Palang. Though my Philean is only passable I manage to ask directions to the docks and the Golden Fourth Dock. Spreading the blessings of almighty Slumbor as I go, I make my way to the docks and, after some inconsequential dealings with minor functionaries, talk with Palang and arrange for a ship to be waiting at a public dock for us just before dawn tomorrow. For some reason I feel it might be wise to get the others out of the temptations of sumptuous Yog Jakart with great speed! Oddly enough events soon prove me right.

I purchase nondescript robes for the others and, returning to the house, give them all some basic instruction in Philean before letting them out, "How much is that?" "Help!" "Guards!" "Die Scum!" and other such useful phrases. Sir Pavel decides that he would much rather stay and watch the house, with the company of his personal supply of small beer, while Kazir sets off to see the sea, something upon which, Slumbor be praised, he has never even seen before! Griffon, meanwhile, goes shopping, armed with a fair amount of the local Darrongs. Finally I set off with Father Alex, who shows a very commendable desire to see the gracious temple of Slumbor in Yog Jakart.

Strange are the ways of Slumbor, who delights in chaos disguising order. Kazir merely becomes victims to opportunistic pick pockets before returning home, while Griffon decides to spend all his money on little red Buddha's (whose tummies you can rub for luck you know) and other trinkets. Both returning home to find Sir Pavel royally drunk they exchange some of the strongly spiced food Griffon seems to have formed an instant attraction for and start playing a Telidan dice game! By the time I return with Father Alex, Griffon is very drunk and Sir Pavel has collapsed in a very undignified heap amongst the scattered knickknacks, such are the ways of fate.

Meanwhile Father Alex and I walk towards the temple of Slumbor, stopping only at the temple of Rogan. Here I am distressed to see Father Alex get 90 Darrongs for his 100 marks, whereas I got but 55 in the market, nevertheless the trip is not entirely wasted, for I hear the call to their priest's meeting, three bells, three chimes, and three bells again, just like what we heard while being led by Garth. It hardly surprises me that such money changers would be in league with the Bale!

We then proceed to my temple, where I have business to discuss with the senior priests concerning supplies for my own temple in Telida. Seeing Father Alex somewhat at a loose end I have the acolytes introduce him to the meditative comforts of the opium couches and am pleased to see that he has got a lot closer to wisdom by the time I return for him. Maybe this is what I need to attract followers to my temple in Telida, certainly Father Alex seems very interested in the drug and other similar aids to meditation, perhaps there is hope for him yet! Unfortunately on the way back he seems a little unable to walk in a straight line and manages to knock over and smash a stall of valuable trinkets. The stall-holder demands 250 Darrongs from Father Alex, who seems about to pay. However the thought of actually spending money shocks Father Alex back to near clarity and he manages to reduce it to 200, and then demands the pieces, from which he later reckons he can recover about 150 Darron! ! gs worth of materials using his repair spell.

I drag Father Alex back to the house and shake my head at the sight, dumping him in a corner with the others. Only Kazir seems in any way at one with himself. Knowing that we must be up an hour before dawn I get some sleep.

All at Sea

I wake early and rouse Kazir. We then take delight in waking up the others, who clutch at heads and stomachs variously. Sir Pavel asks us to speak quietly while Father Alex looks bemusedly at his sack of smashed jewellery. Meanwhile Griffon rids himself of half eaten lizards on sticks and discovers, as any educated person knows, that cold curry in the morning is not the best way to start the day. Finally we get packed and out into the night.

Uhhghhhh..... - Sir Pavel

At the docks Sumo Palang introduces me to Captain Saib, captain of a large Junk, which will take us on the two day trip to the Fire Isle. He tells us that he can wait nearby for up to two days more and then must set back, with or without us. Griffon gets Father Alex and Sir Pavel on board the ship and we set off. Back at sea after many years I relish the fresh air, while the others seem to find the movement of the boat distinctly uncomfortable. I advise them that it could be much worse, but Griffon nevertheless decides to eat a large amount of the delicious stew, which for some reason makes him very sick! I can't understand it!

The next day we draw up plans for getting to the island. As the tip of the volcano at its heart appears Griffon flies ahead in eagle for to scout it. He manages to get us a very good map of the island but comes dangerously close to turning into an eagle forever!

We spend the rest of the morning arguing about ways to assault the isle, and decide to land at the low cliffs behind the volcano, moving up the ash slopes there. We arrange for Captain Saib to wait at a nearby island, trusting Griffon to alert him to when we need to leave, arranging various signals concerning the state of the dangerous War Galley belonging to the cult, which we plan to have Griffon disable using his wood-warping magic. With the plan finally set Captain Saib raises his black stealth sails and we approach the island by night.

The Fire Island

We land on the island and climb the cliff by the easy expedient of having me walk up carrying a rope for the others. By this means we reach the thick jungle and reach the path up to the mountain shrine by dawn. Overhead the smoke of the fire mountain stains the sky and underfoot the ground is pumice and ash converted to earth. Griffon stumbles out onto the path and narrowly avoids running into what appears to be a priestess and guard setting off up the hill at dawn. We wait and another pair comes down along with about 30 more who leave the large temple at the mountain foot and head of for the village. We reckon that this might be a good time to act!

Kazir climbs down to the temple roof and finds that it only has windows on the upper storey. Looking in he sees a pleasantly decorated corridor where a couple of cultists are enjoying the view. Griffon talks to some local monkeys and discovers that most of the cultists only come up here at selected times of the day, dawn, dusk, lunch, and sometime in the afternoon.

Griffon nice big monkey - The Monkeys

The Fire Shrine

We decide that if any time is good to go up to the shrine now is, so Griffon possesses a budgie and flies up to look around. Here he discovers a very odd structure indeed, a building hanging over the fiery caldera of the volcano. Hanging beneath it is a priest in proper medative pose, seated on a block of stone suspended by chains beneath a gap in the floor! Intrigued Kazir and I decide to have a closer look.

Kazir waits outside while I assume smoky form and drift in, hoping that no one will be able to pick me out in the chaos of smoke from the fire mountain. I first enter a room with a single guard who stares at the smoke suspiciously, so I apport his cap over his eyes and slip under the next door. Passing through a robe room I enter the main chamber, only to see a fire elemental greatly resembling the air spirit that attacked Kazir before, guarding a chanting priestess and the priest on the block.

Cautiously I move over the opening and realise that the priest is seated beside the horn that we seek! I decide that this is too good an opportunity to miss and start to descend towards him, intending to apport the horn away, as if it had fallen off the block, and then hide it beneath the block. Unfortunately I attract the attention of the spirit who follows, obviously bemused.

Hovering behind the priest's head I grasp the horn magically and start to move it. Unfortunately the priest notices and grabs the horn. Desperately I try to make him drop it by manipulating the chi of his arm using my spasm spell, but he resists, obviously a proper priest. Realising he turns and fireballs me, which has no effect, but the spirit slices me with his sword, draining me of energy. I realise with terror that if I fall unconscious I will solidify and plunge to my doom in the lava below. Realising that I can never outrun him I create a wind to blow me out over the crater, where the ferocious updraft grabs me and whisks me 300ft up in the air over the island. Meanwhile the guard responds to his master's call and walks straight out of the door into Kazir's face!