A strange request for aid arrived at The Guild in Absalom. The strange part was that it gave little information aside from “trouble in a small village” and a reward of 100gp each upon completion. It got stranger since the request was sent from the distant city of Ipeq in the deserts of Osirion. An unnamed mage was the benefactor and it was promised that transportation was covered for the lucky guildies selected. Chad called together the first trio he could find and that he considered ‘expendable enough’ to send away on such a vague and time consuming mission. His superiors claimed that any chance to expand the connections and renown of The Guild would be valuable. And so Lieutenant Kass the aged rogue, Jerro the doll ninja-priest and the newly inducted and untested Apu the merchant-investigator would head to the docks and begin the mission. They had hoped for more aid but that was all that was available on such short notice.
The trio set out with their booked passage on the sea barge named The Crustacean. She was a large cargo barge that supplemented her income by accepting the occasional passenger. The trio was put to work by the captain who claimed it to be part of their booked passage. Kass swabbed the decks, Apu gutted fish, and Jerro used his divine magic to repair the ship. During the journey a curious traveler bound for Osirion, his motherland, overheard their discussions and offered his assistance. M’aiq the catfolk priest-rogue of the drinking God made a deal through Apu to join the mission. He asked few questions since his finances were dire, but promised them that “M’aiq knows much!” He also did not bother to inform them that their passage did not require working aboard the ship like servants. It was entertaining to watch them toil.
Weeks passed as they transferred from sea barge to river barge and sailed their way to the docks of Ipeq. Upon arrival the party was greeted by an intense woman in dancer’s garb, a mage of some local renown going by the name Iseret ‘Hero of the Flying Ship’. Evidently she and her companions had managed to remove an ancient curse, thwart a powerful effreeti, sail a flying ship and return flowing water to the deserts in this region. When questioned about why she would call on aid from The Guild in Absalom, she informed them that some of her companions once belonged to their guild and had recommended them since they were engaged in other endeavors. She also offered the aid of one of her assistants if they so desired. The pair were odd indeed, a young boy that stuttered and marked his body in glowing tattoos and a tall beautiful woman with green hair that dressed oddly and seemed exceedingly dramatic. After a quick debate they chose to take the woman, Uth, with them.
The mission was to venture to a nearby goat-herding village named Saleemis. They questioned the locals and found that all manner of rumors were spreading about a new curse in the land and even the rising of the dead.
When the party set out on their journey a single day’s walk from Ipeq, the heat proved too much for poor Apu. He complained the whole way and demanded a chance to rest due to fatigue and heat exhaustion despite the others’ desires to push on and reach their destination in one night. During their rest period they were attacked in the dark by what they thought were undead. Apu knew better. He identified them as Adhearers, a dumb race of savage humanoids that were quite difficult to kill. The party worked together to bring down two of the four assailants and drive away the other two injured but at a heavy price with both Uth and M’aiq temporarily losing their weapons stuck to the creatures bodies. The party’s injuries were severe and they crept the rest of the way to Saleemis and used all their healing abilities and skills to restore themselves.
In Saleemis they were greeted with high hopes and open arms. M’aiq immediately felt the shift in the air. He validated the claims of the villagers that a cursed wind blew over their lands now. He could feel the evil. Jerro used his magical talents to detect and then survey the tainted magic in the air and land. This place was definitely cursed with some sort of necromantic energies. The villagers spoke of missing members and lost goats or camels. They spoke of the environment growing more hostile and the natural creatures becoming more aggressive. They even mentioned rumors of their praised scout and guardian, Hazeed, telling stories of spotting dead rising from the sands. The party agreed to question this scout after a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast of gruel. Hazeed reluctantly decribed where he first spotted these dead crawling from the sands almost two weeks ago. After a short debate, Kass encouraged them to have the scout lead them to this sight. Apu suggested they bring shovel and pick and a sacrificial goat in case they needed them. Everyone agreed on the tools but M’aiq, Jerro and Kass felt that taking the villagers’ only livelihood was excessive. So they set out for a two hour hike some 3 miles distance with Hazeed leading the way and pick and shovel in tow.
When they neared the location where he claimed to have spotted the dead, everyone found a surprise. A ruin was uncovered in the sands, it’s entrance open to the sunlight. Hazeed assured them this was not there originally. He seemed spooked. The scout waited at a distance while the party advanced to investigate. M’aiq let them know he could feel the evil growing stronger here and Jerro could sense the magic increasing. As they approached the entrance the sands beneath their feet gave way. Tentacles sprouted from the earth and a large maw filled with rows of sharp teeth spread wide. Five tentacles lashed out at them all striking everyone save for Uth who tumbled away to safety. M’aiq’s catlike reflexes let him spring away with a few scratches and Kass fell back with scratches as well, but Apu and Jerro were not so lucky. The tentacles wrapped about both merchant and doll, snatching Jerro from his perch on M’aiq’s shoulder. The tangled pair were dragged screaming into the dustdigger’s mouth. As M’aiq and Kass flanked the beast dealing as much damage as they could muster, Uth shot ineffective blasts of telekinetic force. Jerro and Apu were swallowed whole. Hazeed looked on in horror from a distance thinking the village’s saviors were no more. In the belly of the beast the pair refused to give up. Jerro coated his blade in poison prepared to hack his way free while Apu emptied his mutagen into the creatures guts. That was enough to nauseate it and the dustdigger puked the pair up before darting deep beneath the sands and vanishing from sight. Only heavy doses of its blood and puke coated the sand.
The party collected themselves, bandaged wounds, and Apu suggested they head back to the village to rest. The others cast him an annoyed glance and inspected the ruin entrance. They decided that there were multiple tracks coming and going from this sight and most disturbingly that it had been recently excavated. There were runes, picture writing, scrawled about the entrance in an ancient tongue. Luckily every member present save for Uth was familiar with linguistics. They quickly pieced together its meaning:“Here rests the tomb of Khuman-RA. He who trespasses shall be cursed for all eternity. He who enters shall endure a worse fate and he who dares disturb the body of the pharaoh shall suffer death at Khuman-Ra’s own hands.”
Kass also noted that the entrance was unstable and could be easily collapsed. They ended here, debating what to do next …
Kass, Jerro, Apu, M’aiq and Uth each earned 1,020xp