The monks met in Khalart, an orderly city on an island in the glacier-melt runoff flowing from the mountains.
- Hum Lae (Max) Lvl 3. Thromil the Goldsmith sent him from the Yellow City to take a mysterious locked stone chest to Dhudek, leader of a dwarven ghetto in the Charikot Oligarchy.
- Xiao Xiao (Jeremy) Lvl 1. A bald, weaselly, acid scarred former necromancer lackey with a shovel. He and his henchman Ping (topknot, light red jacket with camo not floral) accidentally poisoned the necromancer leader. Nyandak, mistress of the Jade Shadows seraglio, took him on as an agent after he dug something up for her; something that twisted chaos into him. Spellcaster.
- Gazo (Lu) Lvl 1. She is thin, shaved, and covered in bad tattoos (except the good one, of the Jade Shadow sign, given her by Wangchuk Tenzin, mystic artist.) Roof runner.
- Tu (Ted) Lvl 1. He is tall, lanky, and a bit lazy. He served the dragon lord Paytrack, but in contacting the dragon’s castoff material he got frayed to the point of chaos flowing into and through him, and he had to leave. He found easy work with Nyandak and the Jade Shadows seraglio.
The chaos monks met in Khalart because Xiao Xiao, Ping, Gazo, and Tu had escorted some plague victims this far south past the Thousand Throat army of bandits cutting off access on the Thirty Back Trail to Charikot. Now they were resting, preparing to head back, maybe with supplies (or maybe those could wait.) They were in a nice restaurant, overlooking the koi pond, out of sight of the main seating area. They found Hum Lae, who was happy to join them, so they could all head up through the mountains together.
What’s the Rush?
They were comfortable through breakfast, and charmed the wait staff romantically through lunch, but it was the manager who told them to leave as supper approached. He was scared off by the monks, so the owner came, with the town guard.
By this point Hum Lae was headed to the bathroom, so right in front of the owner and captain of the guard, he relieved himself on the wall instead of in the bathroom. That was the final straw, so three guards jumped Hum Lae in the hallway while six more piled in after the rest of them in the koi dining room.
Hum Lae slaughtered the first of the orderly town guards, and the rest withdrew to the main dining room; the furious captain of the guard was a short, muscled woman with hook swords. She cornered Hum Lae in the hallway, and he killed his way out past her. This scared off the rest of the guards, who retreated to regroup and return with numbers.
Before they pulled back, Gazo retreated by leaping into the koi pond when the guards burst in. Xiao Xiao incapacitated a guard with his Worm Loop spell, and Ping grabbed him and leaped out into the water, leaving Tu alone against five guards. Tu was doing alright with spear and shield, but was relieved when the guards pulled back. He tossed Gazo’s supplies out to her where she was swimming, but she couldn’t catch them and stay afloat, so much of it was lost. Ping swam to safety with Xiao Xiao, out of the koi pond, ignoring the stirring in the deeper waters.
- Worm Loop. The target must test Strength or Dexterity or be constrained for 1 minute per caster level. OR, the spell can squeeze for a single round, and the target takes 1 hit point per caster level.
Hum Lae burst into the dining room with Tu, all bloody, and they took the stone chest and the rest of the supplies and retreated quickly to the rendezvous point by the north bridge.
Tu and Hum Lae tried to steal a pair of llama, but they were spotted by a kid who called the guard. Tu escaped with the llama while Hum Lae killed a couple of the guards and escaped. (Tu named them Yut & Yi.)
Meanwhile Tu stone a goat hooked to a cart. (Ping named the goat Mr. Pointy.)
Across the open courtyard, a dozen town guard were blocking escape by bridge. Ping drove the goat cart right at them while Xiao Xiao fired on the guards with a crossbow, and the rest of the monks charged at the guards. Gazo flipped on through, but the other monks killed about half the guards on their way by; the guards lost the stomach for the pursuit, and the monks escaped Khalart without further incident. (The llamas were left behind.)
- Duplicating Insect. Spell lasts up to 1 hour per caster level. An insect appears in your mouth, it can be programmed to repeat any sound you want. Will tests to get special effects beyond baseline function. (Xiao Xiao’s new spell.)
The Void Herald
They traveled until they ran across a huge yakkish draped on a pile of a dozen or so human corpses, arranged like a fainting couch. He had a double-bitted scythe, and he was lounging on former members of the Thousand Throat bandit army. More corpses had been hurled off the nearby cliff.
He was tired, said he fought his way out of the world accidentally in a dwarven fortress, and was happy to be back where it was warmer (even in the cold.) He knew that the stone chest was coming this way, and wanted it to get through, but in the future they would not meet on friendly terms (though he allowed for the possibility Hum Lae could be his apprentice sometime in the future.) He spoke in hazy riddles and terrifying images, implying he would sleep then wake and eat all the corpses.
Sign of the Herald
They asked for a sign of his favor, since he wanted them to get through the Thousand Throats to Charikot. He dug a handful of something out of the corpse pile and offered it up; Xiao Xiao took him up on it, and received a bone spider; its body made of two shoulderblades, jointed ribs for legs, a spine tail. It can purr, it radiates cold, and it snuggled onto his shoulders and dropped his body temperature. Rudimentary telepathy and empathy, ability as a scout, can distract in combat but not inflict hit points; a Sign of the Void Herald too. It bonded with Xiao Xiao instead of trying to destroy him.
When they continued on and met a few soldiers of the bandit army, Xiao Xiao created a stone locust in his mouth that repeated some of the Void Herald’s words, and the bandits were all too eager to let them pass (especially since the effect was bolstered with some of the Void Herald’s supernatural menace.)
The rest of the trip to Charikot was uneventful, though bandits trailed them on the road.
- Soul Cascade. The victim must pass a Will test or truthfully answer a question, and also volunteer some awful fact that has nothing to do with the matter at hand. The caster can ask 1 question per caster level.
Charikot At Last
A mercenary band in green armor guarded the entry towers to the valley, but they let the chaos monks through since they had legitimate business below. The monks headed to the Jade Shadows seraglio, the best one in the city state, where they met Nyandak.
The matron of the seraglio likes poison, and has a daughter who is an open secret (though people who go on about her family end up poisoned.) She has some kind of interest in chaos monks, which can’t be good. Still, she welcomed them and paid them for their troubles, gold tabs worth 20 silver.
Also, a stone assayer and regular customer, Kelsang, was there with a couple dwarves. Hum Lae was able to offload the stone chest for gold tabs worth 100 silver.
Finally, the monks could relax.