15th-18th of Fieldsow
The party set off on the boats and rafts on the underground river.
Zaid became seasick. Hamsa wanted to use her clerical power to stop his seasickness, but Zaid told her not to. She tried anyway and Zaid freaked out, blasting Hamsa, Maisoon, and Labeeba with lightning. Labeeba called treachery on the cleric and tried to follow up with an attack of her own. Nasida stopped her and separated the parties.
They stopped to camp. At the camp, Zaid and Hamsa made peace. However, Cappricio later convinced Hamsa that the rest of the party wasn’t committed to the mission the two of them shared, and that Labeeba was probably a traitor, so it would be safer if they snuck ahead on their own.
As they woke, the party met a quartet of humanoid turtles called Kappa building a wall across a side tunnel to keep crabs out. They warned the party against cultists further down the river.
The party was able to sneak past the cultists, as the cavern housing chained Nightborn sentries was missing one. They did have to kill an overseer on the way past.
After they did so, a aquatic fey approached and showed signs of gratitude, hauling out a crate of goods she’d retrieved from fallen cultists.
The party reached the lower entrances to Bessel on the 18th. The bypassed a pair of marble unicorns guarding doorways brackets a big pump pulling water upward. Instead they found a second set of doorways. On the way Zaid pressed Maisoon for everything he knew about the mission. Maisoon told them that by this point, they knew pretty much everything he knew. He knew how to get into the merchant’s guild and the vaults, but he had only verified as likely the information about the monastery and river. Anbilla had carried that information. There was apparently an ‘eye’ of the storm directly over Bessel, which suggested they could get in.
The party ascended an ancient elevator towards the city. It stopped shortly before the city to the sound a of a big explosion. The party exited an escape hatch, crossed over to a ladder shaft, and exited to a tower in the palace of Bessel.
They saw the city was indeed surrounded by a stormcloud. In the plaza outside the palace, a force primarily of Fieldborns was clashing with badly wounded elementals around a collapsed giant glasslike tower.
Preparing to exit the palace on the ground floor, they saw an apparently undead genie looking for a path to retreat. The party killed him, and were embraced as heroes by the crowd for slaying the Red Death. As they verified the creatures death, it’s amulet broadcast an announcement of vengeance. The wizard Jumail Ghani, recognized by Zaid as a prominent figure, announced not to worry, it was just an triggered effect, not a real communication.
As they partied, the leaders of the three factions in the city introduced themselves and pitched their causes to the heroes of the day. There were several hundred people who had not evacuated the city. The Loyalists were just holding tight until the storm ended and the Empire reclaimed the city. Equality, the largest faction, wanted to hold Bessel as an independent city-state free from the caste-system. Free Bessel was a splinter group from the Equality faction that agreed broadly with it’s principles but couldn’t stand for it’s ethical pragmatism and foreign influences.
The party decided to hold off on aligning itself with any of them, trying to fulfill it’s original purpose of looting the merchants guild, which was currently in the possession of Equality. The party was warned there were still dangerous planar creatures stalking the streets.
The party rested.
19th of Fieldsow
The party decided to visit the shop of Zaid’s mother, which was inside the edge of Equality territory. They passed near the base of the collapsed tower, but ducked into side streets when they heard the sounds of violent winds ahead. They passed by the Plaza of the Fountain which was semi-neutral territory.
Zaid looked at his mother’s papermaking shop, which had been scavenged of items most useful for Equality, and decided to burn it down. As Nashida convinced him not to, the commotion woke up Aseel Hoda, a Fieldborn scavenger who was sleeping in the loft. He offered to guide them around.
The party found the merchant’s guild already opened, with Jumail Ghani acting as the treasurer. He had taken up residence in a vault for peace and quiet, and had received the position more or less by default. When he learned that Zaid was not here to assist him in his research, and Maisoon was an experienced merchant, Jumail delegated his position to Maisoon and went back to his study.
The guard intimated this was not the first time he’d done something like that, and one went to tell the Equality leader Panya about it. Maisoon stayed to take stock and plan how to make off with the money. The escape was complicated because the magical boat Anbilla expected to find was not present. The rest of the party went with the guard to see Panya.
Panya filled in a lot of details, including that the Prince and his towering genie adviser had left months ago briefly for the West and were still gone after leaving for the East. She said Equality had a plan to hold the city after the storm abated, that they expected the storm to fall eventually now that the tower fell, that there were netural/friendly planar creatures but communication was difficult, and that if the party was interested in helping them she could both offer financial compensation and a range of ways to help both inside and outside the city.
Zaid had the idea to use the planar creatures as messenger service and charge the factions for access. He found Nesenth, a zhyen (minor genie) with Always Big Whiskers, a Raiju (an air planar creature that shapechanged into small animals).
Nesenth agreed to the idea of a messenger service in exchange for luxuries and new sensations. He agreed to a test run, delivering a message to Zayne at the monastery for trying pickled pigs feet. He’ll be back in 2 1/2 days.
Nashida mentioned that she wanted lead gloves to pet the shapechanging animal. Anbilla wasn’t sure how good of an idea that was, but said there was a sandship rider in the tavern who wore intricately jointed lead gloves and was challenging people to drinking contests.
Zaid bought pickled pigs’ feet at the tavern, which were apparently not an overly popular item.
The seven-foot-tall sandship rider was named Meddur, and while disappointed they wouldn’t accept his drinking challenge, had enough of a sense of humor to loan his glove to Nashida as long as he got to watch her try. The attempt provoked a certain amount of confusion on the part of Always Big Whiskers, but as the Raiju poked at a bag Nasida had wrapped the glove in, Nashida got her pet in with only a mild static electricity feeling.
Meddur said watching a Riverborn try so hard to pet a Raiju was the weirdest thing he’d seen to date, and said he’d buy them a drink.