Jack Entry 20

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23 Marpenoth (Continued)

When the brutes ignored Tegalad’s protests of their treatment of the genasi woman, we drew steel and proceeded to make them consider our arguments more closely. In the end, we had to agree to disagree, but by that point in the conversation, they lay dead on the street and their captive had fled. The other bound genasi around the square cowered as far from us as their chains would allow, and I had a passing thought that we might have just brought them more trouble than help. Chipper found and retrieved the woman we’d rescued, and she insisted that we leave the square as quickly as possible. Looking around at the frightened faces of the others, we could only comply.

She led us down twisting alleys and narrow roads between the aged buildings of this strange cavernous city. Here and there, we saw more of the mottled-flesh creatures going about their business – brutalizing other genasi and one another, devouring the dead, and committing other atrocities out in the open. I exchanged glances with my companions, but when the woman – Cataline, we came to find out – saw our expressions, she urged us to keep moving, and though it sickened me not to intervene, we could not fight the entire city. We needed more information, and she insisted that her father could provide it to us. I swallowed my gorge and turned my back on the suffering – for a time.

Half an hour or more passed before we came to a cracked hovel looking much like the others on the stretch of narrow road we found ourselves on. She hurried us inside, and there we met the girl’s father, a water genasi by the name of Brusker. His reaction was far from grateful that we had dared to rescue his daughter from her encounter in town, but when we insisted that we were seeking the tower at the top of the mountain, he grew thoughtful. He insisted that the only way to get to the tower was through a portal within the Temple – the center of the worship of the False God that had brought the trouble to the genasi community. Tegalad identified this faux deity as an Eidolon, whatever that means. Brusker said that a frontal assault on the Temple was doomed to failure, but that a secret entrance might exist. The only one who might know was a captive of the False God’s faithful – The Harbinger.

The Harbinger was led through the streets each day to select the daily sacrifice to the False God. He had once been the ruler of the town, but he was deposed when the eidolon came and corrupted those that chose to follow it. Since then, the False God kept him as a trophy and continued to torture and humiliate him by making him a public spectacle. As he finished speaking, the sound of a massive gong from somewhere distant. That proved to be the signal that the Harbinger’s procession was beginning. It was only lightly guarded because of the subjugation of the populace, and thus represented our best chance to recover the man from his captors.

Cataline led us back to the square in a much more direct path and there we found the Harbinger and his jailers just arriving to the scene where others had begun to devour the dead corrupted ones we’d left when we rescued the girl. We engaged this larger group and with some difficulty managed to defeat them without harming the Harbinger. We returned with him to Brusker’s house and there we were introduced to the man – Barellius.

The ancient water genasi claimed to have been subjected to brutal torture daily since he was ousted, and even killed a few times. The False God had his phylactery, he explained, and Tegalad explained with some surprise that it was a device unique to liches. Barellius nodded acknowledgment of his…condition and insisted that he was finished with this mockery of immortality. He only sought to die, and he offered to tell us of the secret entrance to the temple if we promised to destroy his phylactery so that he could finally die. We were hesitant, but since we had no better alternatives, we accepted his offer.

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Jack Entry 20

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