The group was able to get Tabari back on his feet with some healing, but the situation was challenging. The threads of magic from the lessor Lantern of Asha * were elusive to Ahmed and Salim. Then, the sound of rattling bones approaching …
[*Side note – this is the Devoted name for the moon – in Sandspeech Al-Hemenat (The Cold One). The Faithful refer to the sun and moon as the Eyes of Shamash, with Iblis having partially blinded one of the eyes )]
Both groups battled the bony dead, with Menivis fairing poorly in his fight alone. It is then when the demons and foul spirits that infest the tower at Jabal’s bidding took notice of our heroes.
The spirits sought to torment with past sins and negotiate with desires:
- Menivis – The demon took interest in the remnants of the spirit of Bayram alim-Kasaba that resides in Menivis’ Kopesh and Corselet. The demons brought forth the memories of the destruction of the Cakali homelands and the tough decisions the Bayram had to make to save a fraction of the survivors. The toughest call was his sister, who fell ill to the strange sickness that infected many of those that were near the cities during their destruction. Menivis was profoundly impacted by this – living through the events that so changed the Cakali view of life.
- Ahmed returned to his tribe to find many things were not well. His brother Kalem’s health has worsened, deeping Ahmed’s guilt over the original injury that brought Kalem low so many years ago. He also discovered the Shiek had passed on. Somehow Abbad the Unclean had ascended to lead. Further, Abbad used the money that Ahmed had sent back to the tribe for his own vulgar pleasures. Ahmed boldly entered the Shiek’s tent and confronted his bodyguards. He got them to back down and Ahmed stepped behind the curtains to a retched scene of debauchery. He confronted Abbad and accused him of crimes against the tribe. While Abbad would not relent, he also had no support. Ahmed forced him down and maimed Abbad (cut off several fingers), and exiled him from the tribe, then taking control. As he exited this vision the haunting thought nags at him – was any of that vision true?
- Tabari finds himself alone in the Tower of Jabal. Searching for his friends leads him to the library of the tower, where sat Jabal enjoying a coffee. Uncomfortable pleasantries are exchanged, at least from Tabari’s point of view. Jabal engages him about the nature of the Cakali and their lack of fear of death. He claims the Cakali do fear one thing – to live! They abandoned their culture, their endeavors, and their knowledge. They are no more than animals that wander the desert. Tabari counters with the tight bonds that the Cakali form – their strength is stronger than before, stronger than the false life and companionship that Jabal seems to be trying to create in his tower. Jabal finally counters with an offer of knowledge – knowledge to contact and perhaps even bring back Tabari’s beloved wife. Tabari meditates for a moment. It is not so much about his wife – he knows that would only bring torture and pain to her. But the knowledge itself. In thinking of what offends Qedeshet the most is the destruction of knowledge. He resolves to resist Jabal but if possible, to recover the dark knowledge here to send back to the university.
- Salim finds himself trapped back in the same cave all those many year ago. He is that same boy and the same fears and rejections of his peers. While as a boy Salim really never knew what hid in the darkness and the stories were just that – stories. But Salim has traveled and knows what lurks in the dark. He finds it harder to center himself and meditate. The way out is elusive for him. Nazif, Salim’s chief tormentor, returns and taunts “what will you give to get out of there?” Salim finds his center, and then notices a lever point that might open the rockfall that blocked the opening of the cave. Using leverage, he bursts out of the cave! The rockfall pins Nazif, severely hurting his leg. Salim turns to the boy “What will you give….”
- Araceli is back with her friends from the north. It is a surprise when one just looks around as it seems barren. But their is life here in the sands! That is, until they reached the Line. Everything is different across the Line. The sun is both more unforgiving yet the lands somehow appears darker. There is no sound. There is no life. The drain on one’s soul is palpable. Those of the group from the North are uneasy. Those from the South are on the verge of panic. Reaching the pyramid brings only more horror and no relief. Sinrilli Sunray, the priest of Sigel, is almost mad with power. The sun has driven him here. Here, he will find his god. The workers will not work now as they are terrified of these lands and the pyramid. They will not enter the pyramid. Sinrilli threatens to bring down the wrath of his god on them. Araceli goes to Raji, the leader of the workers. She convinces them to help. A bit at first, them more, then fully engaged. Most of them die horribly in the trap infested pyramid…but also to other horrors. And it was Araceli that sent them there…
After surviving the torments of the demons, the group finds itself back in the tower and in the moment. Unfortunately, that moment is near the critical hour for Shana, the daughter of the Pasha of the Island of Outcasts. The group surges up the multiple flights of stairs. Skeletal warriors stand in their way as they hear the chanting in the Black Tongue. Fighting their way to the the pentagram, they find a faint blue spirit bound. It is getting more substantial and cries for help. Jabal is nearing the completion of the ritual. Menivis charges forward and sweeps away all the arcane paraphernalia in hopes that weakens the ritual. But it is the Arecili’s Bow of Ammon that ends it.
The demons are enraged at Jabal’s failure – a black cloud in the shape of claws reaches up out of the floor and starts drag him into the stone. The Tower shudders violently. Not in the best shape to begin with, the heroes sense the tower is not long for this world. As the group begins to flee, Arecili notices the spirit is still trapped. She also notices the large hourglass near the pentagram. She quickly shatters the hourglass with a well aimed arrow then deftly climbs over the edge of the tower. Salim calls on Sirocco the Flying Carpet to get him out of the tower, and Ahmed clings on for dear life. Menivis gathers up the near immobile Tabari and races him down the stairs, although he nearly takes Tabari’s head of going through a doorway. All escape the doomed tower, which crumbles into the dark sea.
The group gathers at the dock and returns to the Spirit of Suleiman. There is a great celebration back at the Pasha’s compound. The group asks for only the blue lens and replenished healing supplies.
The lens reveals another isle…