Session XVI, part 2: Negotiation

… where they find two lizardmen, claws bared, in a standoff with three sword-wielding Red Temple soliders. There are also the corpses of three men and two lizard men. They realize that the room provides its own luminescence by way of the bright pool of water beyond the standoff in the northern end of the room. However, between the standoff and the pool stand Dinos – along with Lucinda and Aline!

Everyone turns to look at our diplomatic delvers as Dinos says “Well, here we are.” A lengthy discussion ensues during which the following positions are established:

1. Dinos wants to just waste the lizardfolk. They are no longer of any use to the Red Temple.

2. The lizardfolk want to just waste the Red Temple. They are sick and tired of their resources being exploited.

3. Stark and, more or less, the rest of the party, want to prevent either of these things from happening. The Red Temple are cruel bastards, and the lizardfolk are dying anyway, so why throw their lives away?

Eventually Dinos gets tired of “diplomacy” and is about to order the RT soldiers to kill the LF, but Chief Diplomatic Officer Stark convinces him to let the party stand in for the lizardfolk, who then return to their tribe. Stark yells “Tell King Kags that we’re still working on this!” He attempts to convince Dinos that that shows the honor of the LF, but Dinos tells him they’re just going to go get reinforcements.

Dinos goes on to explain that the Gate is the key to knowledge of other worlds beyond their own. Eiluned is particularly vocal about the idea that this knowledge may best be left unknown, but Dinos isn’t having any of it. The party learns from him that several people have entered the portal but none have returned; however, Dinos cites “strange artifacts” that resemble no known craftmanship (such as the axe Bunny recently found in the spider’s nest) as evidence that “others” have come through the Gate. For her part, Lucinda seems to support Dinos’ explorations of the gate, though she comes across less as a slightly-manic dick and more as a devout believer. (They also learn that Dinos and the RT access the cavern by teleportation and not by tunnel).

The Gate itself sits in the middle of a brightly lit pool of water. There is a five-foot round raised platform in the middle of the pool, and a rushing stream streaming in through the northern wall. Atop – or, rather, above – the platform hovers a blue doorlike shape that fluctuates in opacity. Occasionally it can be seen through but nothing can be seen beyond it.

As Dinos waxes slightly manically about the mysterious potential of the Gate, the party learns that on occasions when men have gone in tied to ropes, the ropes have returned fully intact, but without the men they were attached to. As they attempt to learn more, the entire conversation is disrupted by the loud, angry arrival of 10 raging lizardmen! They engage the 3 guards and, though they fight fiercely, they seem surprisingly ineffective.

The party bravely decide to stay out of the battle at first. They notice a lizardman standing away from the fracas. He chants a somber chant before taking a dagger and slitting his throat. Seconds after he crumples to the ground, a huge claw reaches out of the clear water. Everyone backs away as what seems to be a huge salamander starts to crawl out of the pool. Dinos, observing, says “This must be the Guardian! This is amazing!”

The Amazing guardian then begins to attack those nearest: the party, and Dinos, Lucinda, and Aline. Spiderssen takes a hit from a claw, and Koringa stops short his axe swing when Stark yells “It’s sacred!” Most of the rest of the party flees to the other side of the ongoing fracas.

As the various combats ensue, the party chips away at the Guardian while Dinos and Lucinda argue heatedly – Dinos somehow manages to avoid serious blows from the Guardian, while Aline guards Lucinda. Eventually somebody notices Lucinda plunging into the pool and start swimming toward the Gate. She dodges the Guardian’s whiplike tail and climbs onto the small raised platform. When she does this, the room starts to shake and the Guardian starts to roar. In quick succession:

1. The remaining lizardmen start to argue;

2. Stark loses his sword;

3. Lucinda waves at a distraught Aline and steps through the Gate.

Everybody gets angry and the room is starting to collapse. Some lizardmen die by falling rock. Dinos produces a scroll and mutters some words, causing him to disappear along with Aline and the remaining RT guards. In the shaking and collapsing chamber, the last two remaining lizard guys quickly explains that the Guardian needs blood and that no, the recently felled corpses won’t do. He urgently describes an arcane ritual to the party, directing them as to where to stand and what to say. They all chant some mysterious lizardy words, at the peak of which one of the lizardman slits his own throat. Stark and the last remaining lizard guy carry him to the water’s edge and throw him to the Guardian, who sinks back beneath the surface, sated. The room stops collapsing and the Gate is a beautiful blue.

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~ by erranttiger on August 6, 2012.

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