Jessel got the familiar, far away look in his eyes and bid his friends farewell. He opened a dimension door with the will and explained that earth was summoning him. He stepped through and vanished.
Knowing that time was short, the group began searching the palace as quickly as they could, while staying together. They cautiously moved down the corridors, with weapons at the ready. They saw a couple more of the pillars with the women carved into them.
They first found a large banquet hall, with worn and tattered tapestries hanging on the walls. They marveled at one that showed a forest and stream. The table, although badly worn was constructed of a strange red wood.
On the side wall of the room was a door. Through the door was a large kitchen. The tables and cabinets were still standing, and layers of dust covered every service. A large fireplace dominated one wall. They searched the kitchen and found some tin plates, bowls, and cups. They all grabbed a set for themselves.
In addition, they found many jars; most of which were empty or filled with unidentifiable fragments. They did find a couple of jars of preserved kank honey, a jar of whiskey, some salt, a little bit of stale water, and a fresh cherry. They were baffled that the cherry was still fresh and contemplated that it might be magical. Vashti also grabbed some empty jars, because they might need them later.
They continued their search and found three small bedrooms. Inside they found a silver comb and a small brass bowl. The fact that these treasures were left behind was shocking to the group. The rooms also each had a tattered rug and an ancient bed. One of rooms even had a silver and obsidian mirror, but it too large and cumbersome to carry.
They next found a small meeting room with a large map of the Tablelands dominating one wall. They marveled at it, but did not know a way to carry the fragile map with them. Off of that room was a small kitchen, which the group looted and found more kank honey.
As they emerged from the small kitchen, the group heard the echo of banging on the door. The group picked up their pace and began searching the seemingly empty palace at a faster rate. They rushed to the unexplored area and found a room with marble floors. The floor had large bowls carved it and the group questioned what they might be for. Alaxander knew they were for baths and the group was shocked, and slightly appalled, at the waste of water a bath would take.
The banging grew louder. The group had not found a way up or down in the palace, so they began a frantic search for a secret door. Not having time and with an enemy at their doors, the group split up. Shade and Kiara started searching the bedrooms, Vashti and Abilkisu searched the large kitchen, Kalino searched the small kitchen, Alaxander saw a balcony and teleported to the upper floor, and Julius searched the bathhouse. They found no secret doors or openings of any kind.
Shade and Kiara searched the botanical garden next, Vashti and Abilkisu searched the west side of the banquet hall, Kalino searched the meeting room, Alaxander ran around the upstairs and saw that it was mostly large empty rooms, but did make note that there was a portcullis raised above the entry hall. Julius moved into the entry hall and prepared to hold off Abu and his minions. They again found no secret doors or openings of any kind. The banging on the door finally broke the stone bar holding it shut.
Shade and Kiara next searched the west hallway and Kalino joined them. Vashti and Abikisu searched the east side of the banquet hall, while Alaxander joined Julius in the entrance hall. Vashti discovered an opening in the north corner of the banquet hall. The door concealed a spiral staircase going down. She shouted to Shade. Shade, in turn, shouted to Alaxander and Julius.
Vashti, Abilkisu, Shade, and Kiara hurried to the newly discovered door. Kalino saw Alaxander and Julius preparing to fight and joined them. With one last bang, the doors to the palace swung open.
Julius and Alaxander could see Abu standing in the doorway and he had a group of workmen and undead with him. Abu smiled and greeted the three men guarding the entrance hall. He called them friends.
Julius and Alaxander prepared themselves to use the way and Kalino had his chitin khopesh ready. They did not reply to Abu's greeting. As Abu stepped inside, the statues suddenly came to life and shouted in the long forgotten language of Yaramuke.
With the loss of the pillars stability and the explosion Julius caused, the roof began to look precarious. Abu and his undead began attacking the statues, but were pinned in the doorway. Alaxander attacked again with the way and Julius caused another explosion. Seeing the there was no way for him to help, Kalino retreated toward the banquet hall.
Vashti and Abilkisu reached the bottom of the stairs, the strange yellow crystals in the ceiling continued to light their way. They reached the basement and followed a narrow hallway. It led them to a large room with more of the carved female pillars. There was a a skeleton on the floor next to a large, tattered, hemp sack.
Julius used the way to send forth a blast of electricity and shocked Abu. Alaxander continued to batter Abu with pure mental force. Abu and his minions destroyed one of the stone women attacking him.
Shade cautiously moved toward the skeleton, expecting it to rise and attack. He was pleasantly surprised that it did not. He risked a look into the sack and was shocked to see that it was filled with coins made of copper. He told Vashti what was in the sack and they both wondered aloud why anyone would waste copper on coinage.
Alaxander told Julius to fall back and then teleported to the second floor. Abu and his minions were furiously attacking the stone maidens. Julius did as Alaxander requested, while continuing to attack Abu with the way.
Kalino caught up with Vashti, Shade, Abilkisu, and Kiara. He helped them empty the sack of copper, dividing the weight among the three of them. While they were gathering the treasure, Kalino explained that Abu had entered the palace, but the stone women had come to life and attacked him.
Alaxander released the portcullis and it dropped into the entry way, a few feet in front of Julius. Julius detonated the wall near Abu and his minions. This was the last the ceiling could take and it collapsed, burying Abu, his minions, and the stone maidens in a large heap of rubble.
Shade, Vashti, Kalino, Kiara, and Abilkisu continued searching the room. There were two hallways and two sets of doors that remained unexplored. Inside one set of doors were obsidian spheres of all different sizes. Some were quite small and others were very large. Vashti used a spell to detect magic and she discovered that the spheres were not magical. They didn't have much time to speculate, however, as they heard a large crash from somewhere above them. The battle with Abu was raging.
Alaxander and Julius fled for the banquet hall, but Kalino had shut the secret door. They began frantically searching for it. Julius found it, after a few moments, and they both dashed inside. Alaxander made sure to shut it after himself.
The group in the basement then decided to walk down the long, wide, hallway. They found a door, which opened into an ancient armory. There were some bone knopeshes, bone and stone daggers, and piles of rust. A room beyond the armory once held armor, but now held piles of refuse. Kalino left his back-up obsidian khopesh and took a bone one instead.
As they were leaving the armory, Alaxander and Julius caught up with them. They quickly told the rest of the group what had happened upstairs. They all agreed, and hoped, that the collapse would buy them some time.
Moving further down the hall, they came to a large set of carved agafari doors and angled hallways leading away from the doors on either side. Shade inspected the doors, but could not determined if they were trapped. He tried to open them, but found them locked. He tried to pick the brass lock, but his wooden lock picks were not up to the job.
Vashti decided to use the way to decay one of the agafari doors. She placed her palm on the door and channeled her mental energy. Fire erupted from the unharmed doors and burned Vashti badly. Vahsti backed away, cursing.
The magical protection on the door did nothing to dissuade Vashti, in fact it made her more curious. Shade and Kiara walked down one of the hallways. They found that the hallways joined together after fifty feet, or so, and there were four doors to explore. Shade opened one and found an empty room.
Vashti decided to bypass the doors and decay the wall. She walked a short distance down the right hall and used the way again. The stone wall was dense and it would have taken a good deal of mental strength to decay enough to get through. To save time, Julius used the way to make the wall explode, sending dust in the air and obscuring Vashti's, Abilkisu's, and Kalino's vision.
Shade opened another door and saw a room that was empty, except for a strong-looking wood and rusty iron bound chest. Shade's eyes widened with greed and he smiled. He looked cautiously around and took a step into the room.
In the center of the dais was a man. He could have passed for human, except his forehead sported a set of small, six-inch long horns, his legs were covered in fur, and his feet were cloven hooves. The man had black lines around his eyes, like the previous inhabitants of Yaramuke, and was holding the gem they were searching for.
The man smiled and spoke in Tyrian, "Well, what do we have here?"
Thank you for reading and join us in one week for another exciting session of Adventures Under the Dark Sun.
2nd edition AD&D Dark Sun Cast of Player Characters and other Major Characters
Julius: Human male psychokinetic. 22 years old. Played by Dave. Speaks Balican, Tyrian, and Giant.
Alaxander: Human male psychokinetic. 17 years old. Played by Ben. Speaks Balican, Tyrian, and Elf.
Vashti: Human female clairsentient/water cleric. 20 years old. Played by my wife. Speaks Nibnese, Gith, Tyrian, and Balican.
Shade: Half-Elf male ranger/thief, 18 years old. Played by Chad. Speaks Balican, Elf and Tyrian.
Kalino: Human male fighter/preserver. 20 years old. Party NPC. Speaks Rammin, Tyrian, and Balican.