The sky was not always this way; it was once an ever-present ally, watching, illuminating, and warning. It was a benevolent spirit that protected those beneath.
That benevolence is a forgotten taste on cracked lips, and the great sun now beats down upon you with no reprieve, as the coarse gravel underfoot cuts and bruises, slickening the sand with blood and tears. The leer and lash, and the song of chains are all that exist to you, now.
One by one you came under the shackles of the rat-men. By force, by trickery, by coercion and lies, you were dragged to the dunes, never to be seen again by friend or family. Lost to the wastes, lost to time, lost to all. You have begun to forget. You are beginning to lose yourselves. So strong you were, so strong you were…
The looming dunes and ancient tombs bid you a prosperous and healthy stay; the pyramids call out from the distance, promising glory and riches beneath the shifting sands, but are unmoved by your neglect; they wear years as one wear fine cloaks, and they shall endure even without your enthusiastic looting. The jagged mountains of Katapesh lie like silent, still flames on the horizon, as your band moves ever eastward, ever deeper, ever closer to the famed slave-markets and the hooting laughter of the gnollkin. Darkness lies in this direction, and like moths to a flame, you drift ever closer to being consumed, unable to look away.
The rat-men are a cruel lot who speak with the lash – and the lash speaks freely. Cruel in their wholesale slaughter, the peddling of slaves as if no more than cattle…and crueler still is the great rat that leads them; merciless and foul, Sla’Var the Ruinous they call him, and for each of you, the name- and pockmarked face – strikes terror in your heart.
The buzzards sing their death-song; the scorpion bides its time. The wind howls on in chorus. The sand will slash and grind.
Your freedom dies here.
Welcome to Osirion.
The party found itself in chains at the beginning of this adventure. Alhazred, Blind Pili, Jgisk Quietfoot, Saineth and Urwadi were all shackled together with other male slaves in a chain gang. It was clear after a short while that there was little hope of escape, and that their captors intended to take them to Katapesh, presumably to be sold on the lucrative (and legal) Katapesh slave markets.
The separate female slave line carried an enclosed, box-like litter that puffed smoke every so often. This litter contained Vex, who for reasons unknown was under heavy containment.
During the night, the party’s slave caravan was attacked by catfolk, who set upon the ratfolk with claw weapons and javelins. During the fighting, a black panthress catfolk, Kiara the Black Wind, freed the slaves and broke open the litter to rescue Vex. Sla’Var attacked in response, and the panthress was consumed by the powerful flames of a well-aimed wand as she defended Vex.
The ratfolk were routed as the slaves began taking up arms from fallen ratfolk. Sla’Var escaped and the party was taken to the encampment of the Blackfoot Sand Cat Clan led by Pasha Neko, who offered them food, supplies, and equipment in exchange for their service as treasure-hunters in the newly-opened Necropolis in Wati.
Jgisk managed to pilfer a garnet and several gold pieces from a traveler, and summarily sold the garnet to a naive dwarven female, claiming it to be required to clear his father’s name. He managed to charm another dwarven female into purchasing some fine wine that he’d acquired, gaining her eye and favor.
The Tomb of Akhentepi
The party, now known as the Western Wind Trading Company LLC, were assigned the Tomb of Akhentepi by the priests of Pharasma, and descended into the depths after Vex revealed her Eidolon, using its otherworldly strength to open the tomb’s doors and roll away its protective stone seals. While the party was busy with the spectacle, a ghost scorpion wandered in from the desert and struck Pilli. The scorpion was dispatched handily by Urwadi’s spear.
The party encountered a trapped hallway that fired wickedly barbed darts into the corridor; Alhazred was momentarily incapacitated, and the party rushed to his aid. In an adjoining room featuring a statue of Pharasma and Anubis, Alhazred’s forehead was branded with ancient Osirion hieroglyphics (reading ‘Thief’) by an enchanted mirror for lingering too long – which he summarily broke with his crossbow.
In the burial preparation vault nearby, Saineth was gravely wounded by a massive scarab beetle, and Vex’s Eidolon miscalculated his powerful blows against the beetles, and the shock of his otherworldly attack damaged him gravely, causing him to disappear and return to his home plane until the dawn, when Vex could summon him again.
Examining the other side of the tomb, the party encountered a chariot and trophy room.