Pathfinder - Origin of the Merchant King

The City of the Dead

In which we defy gravity and witness an even creepier side of Jared.

We continued walking along the mixed up cliff face looming above the City of the Dead.

I noticed the landscape was herding us toward a specific point, right where an ancient road at one time entered the city. The gates, large enough for heavy traffic, were open. We continued onward.

As we approached, a pair of dog like humanoids stepped out from behind the gate. They both held two handed swords.

“Who dares to enter this city?” One of the dog-men asked.

“Where are we? What city is this?” Jared asked, seeming a bit distracted.

“If you do not know, you should turn around,” the dog-man replied.

We discussed a bit more, and our charm seemed to convince them we were well intentioned. They asked us to leave a token for them to remember us by. After we went in we saw them deposit our items in a chest filled with many other tokens.

The roads were surrounded by devastated ruins. Rand took an interest in the ruined buildings and went to take a closer look. Nothing of interest really stuck out, though. We continued onward to the center of the city.

As we made our way in, Jared noticed several people standing in the back of a building. He pointed this out to us, and we stopped to take a look. Priest noticed they were not dog-men, so I moved on to take a closer look. Priest and Jared started looking for rocks to throw at the people. I got close enough to see they were just statues and waved the rest of the group over.

Jared tossed a rock at one and bounced it off one of the statues. Nothing seemed to happen, but then…

Out of the ground came a basilisk.

The basilisk stared down Jared, but he didn’t succumb to its gaze. Rand unleashed a bolt of energy while the creature continued to stare Jared down. The two of us charged in, taking cover behind a statue while Rand and Priest worked to keep us free from its stony gaze.

Poor Jared was turned to stone and it was up to Rand and me to slay the beast. Priest continued to bless me while the creature stared at me the entire time. Finally, I cut off its head and put its gaze to rest.

Once the basilisk was dead, Rand was able to study the beast to discern we could pour the blood over Jared to turn him back from stone.

Once we got our bearings together, Jared decided he wanted to crawl into the basilisk burrow to see what was in there. He ended up pulling out a few gold pieces and tattered rags.

We continued along toward the center of the city, walking past the destruction on the road. Some of the buildings appeared to be in relatively decent shape. The strange ambient light bathed everything in an odd atmosphere.

We noticed a building with flickering candlelight a little ways up from us. Priest and Jared were able to hear many voices speaking, but couldn’t make out any details. Jared started going through a list of animals he could turn into. I got tired of this and walked closer to see what the sign in front of it said: “The Stupid Dagger Inn”.

We were curious, so we approached. Rand started picking up several languages, but could only understand bits of common. We decided to head on in, so I went through the doorway.

I entered the in, with Priest next to me. About thirty people, elves, dwarves and humans, stopped talking to see what we were doing. After a moment they went back to their conversations. We were approached by the barkeep and we placed an order for some refreshments. We then took a seat at a table and observed the room.

There were no mixed race tables, so we fit right in. After a few minutes a halfling serving wench brought us our food.

“Hey, baby,” Jared said seductively to the wench. The girl promptly crawled onto Jared’s lap.

Things got a bit weird here.

We asked the wench some questions, but she got tired of being interrogated and left, but not before she lifted about 50 coins off Jared.

Jared then made his way over to a table of humans to chat them up.

“Are you guys from this area?”

“Yeah, we come here all the time,” one of the humans replied.

They discussed the local sights; the great spires, the vaults, the central square with the floating platforms, the zoo.

Priest talked with the barkeep to find out more about the city we were in. Turns out they refer to it as the city, and he has never left it. Turns out he had more things to talk about: the endless lake, Rigmar’s factories, and his personal favorite the downtown alehouses.

“Have you heard anything about the cradle?” Priest inquired.

“Oh, the Cradle! That is our city’s greatest artifact,” the barkeep told him.

We got directions to the vaults, and got some more advice.

We continued our way to the city center. In front of us we saw two orcs standing in front of a collapsed building that spanned the road. They asked us to pay a toll of 500 coins each, so I paid with my sword instead.

Rand and I attacked one of the orcs, and the other pulled out a bell and started ringing it. I was expecting more very soon. The first orc went down and I ran over to the next orc, just in time to get smacked in the back of the head by one of Jared’s bombs.

Bugbears came charging from around the rubble, followed closely by a cyclops.

After a long drawn out fight, during which Jared was almost killed, we finally slew the creatures.

We took a rest in an abandoned building and I placed the large great axe we lifted from the cyclops into the portable hole in order to be prepared for Armageddon.

- Day Passes -

In the morning we continued on our way. We passed through a null magic zone and the spellcasters grew extremely concerned that they no longer had access to their abilities. Thankfully, the zone passed by shortly.

As we approached the center the buildings became larger and larger. The street opened up into the square and we saw the floating platforms. To our right was what appeared to be a capital building, the banners of the city hanging limply from the flagpoles out front. Next to the capital was the vault, which still looked very secure.

Jared spied scavengers as well as vegetation growing in the square. There were many common plants, but he also saw rare flowers sprouting here and there.

Our mission was to get into the vault; the Cradle might be within.

The Vault was still intact and very secure. We mounted the platform and at the end of the long hallway entry there were a pair of iron doors. Jared went to work, attempting to disable the lock on the vault.

As Jared was working, Priest noticed a young boy watching us as we waited for Jared.

Jared was unable to open the door. Rand then attempted to detect magic, and promptly blinded himself.

We then made our way to the capital building, thinking there might be something in there to go through. Perhaps there was an office to go through. However, the capital had been ransacked and destroyed, so we started coming up with other ideas.

Jared attempted to find secret doors, but was unsuccessful.

After looking for a secret door we saw the young boy approaching us with an even older Zebo.

There is something wrong with Zebo.

We spoke with Zebo, but he was rather confused by what was happening. His grandson, the boy with him, then started speaking for his grandfather. Zebo had passed along a spoken history about us, and presented us with a blue cylinder we would need inside the Vault. As to getting into the vault, we would have to find either the Vault supervisor’s key, the mayor’s key, Rigmar’s key, or the archmagus Zanzo’s key.

We decided we would make our way to the factory.

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