The party continues their research about Horrors and specifically The Twins. They find some more information about Lord Redstone (he lived in the Syrtis area about 425 years ago), but they aren’t sure if that is very helpful or not. With no better alternative, they decide to head towards Syrtis, taking the road though the mountain (about a 2 to 2.5 day travel).
Right around sunset of the first day, they see another caravan in front of them. One of the wagons appears to be damaged, and two humans appear to be having a small argument. Kevin sends the wolf into the brush to check for others (just in case). Maria uses Astral Sight and determines that none of these people are Adepts. The party decides to ignore this other caravan and continue their trip, going around without getting involved. The two having an argument finally heats up to the point where they start throwing punches at each other, and the rest of the caravan group gathers around to try to stop the fight. The party continues to try to ignore the situation – up until the point where one of the fighters shouts “NOW” – and then the party realizes that this was a “trap” and they are surrounded.
Sabrina fires and arrow and kills one in one shot. Betsey knocks down one of the fighters (Byrronnis) and breaks his leg. Mike jumps one of the caravan group trying to run away and eviscerates him. Kevin great leaps and lands on Byrronnis, breaking several of his ribs (but he doesn’t stick the landing, so no style points). The other combatant (Perskell) gives up sheepishly.
A quick interrogation follows – the perps had no idea that they were going to be taking on a formidable party, and they are really really really sorry. Mike tells Perskell to get naked (which he does) and to walk back to Throal. They turn their attention to Byrronnis, only to find out that he’s bled to death. The party decides to take the leftover caravan (which not so surprisingly wasn’t damaged at all) and continue on to Syrtis.
About 15 minutes later, a small pinprick of light appears a few feet in front of the wagon. The light starts to grow in size, then form the shape of a human – and then she steps through the light. The party presumes (quite correctly) that this is Babette.
The dialog that follows is quick and witty on both sides. Babette often asks the party if they want to join her (although she never really says what it is she is doing), and each time the party refuses. Babette often says that she respects the power and intelligence of the party, and she seems to be genuine with her praise. Tom is not caught up in the flattery, and tries (three times) to cast Astral Sphere at Babette, succeeding on the third try, only to be thwarted by her Steel Thought talent. In response to Tom’s actions, Babette puts him in a Stone Cage.
Out of nowhere, the party gets a Message from Taylor (who is still in Ishkarat): “Hey guys you might want to get back here NOW!!!!” Almost immediately after that message, everyone (except Tom) hears Chumana “scream” in their head! And then another Message from Taylor: “There is a baby dragon flying around the city killing people!!!”
Babette notices the startled party members, and with a wry smile says “Would you like a quick ride back to Ishkarat?”
Mike asks if it require them to be marked, and Babette says ‘no’. Mike follows up with “suppose I want to get marked…” – to which Babette raises an eyebrow and appears to be very intrigued by the idea.
“One more chance – I’m opening a path to Ishkarat right now – you are free to join me” says Babette, waving her hand in a small circle, moving faster and faster and growing the circle larger each revolution. The pinprick of light flickers into existence, and then begins to grow. Mike decides to spring at Babette, swings his axe, and hits her for 19 points of damage. He tries a second time, but she is able to avoid the blow. Maria tries a Razor Orb, but Babette blocks the spell with Steel Thought. Betsey tries Stop Right There, but again Steel Thought prevents. Sabrina tries an Icy Mace and Chain, and that hits for 32 damage!
Mike attempts to tackle Babette as she walks into the light, but unfortunately he fails badly. Babette smacks him with a wooden rod (hey – where did that come from?) for 25 damage (after armor). Babette disappears into the light.
Messages now go back and forth:
Party to Taylor: “What’s happening?”
Taylor to Party: “Baby dragon attacking people only, breathing fire/acid combination.”
Party to Taylor: “Where is Chumana?”
Taylor to Party: “No where to be seen.”
Party to Vaare: “Can you help us get to Ishkarat fast?”
Vaare to Party: “I will work on getting you transportation, but no guarantee….”
The party starts the forced march (though night) back to Throal. As they walk, they pass three of the caravan group and Perskell (who is still naked!). The four are told to go get the caravan and bring it back to Throal immediately. They all respond “YES SIR” and start back towards the wagon. As they go out of sight, one of them shouts back “Did you find the secret compartment?” Thinking quickly, Sabrina shouts back “YES!”. The last they hear from the four is swearing….
The party arrives back in Throal at sunrise. They are pretty tired – but Vaare has come through, and there is an airship waiting for them. Tom asks “what are we going to do once we get back to Ishkarat?”, and Maria snarkily replies “why don’t you come up with a plan and we’ll ignore it!”
They sleep on the air ship, which gets them to Ishkarat the next day. As the ship descends, they don’t see any people outside at all. They land outside the southeast wall, and ask the ship to go to the water dock just in case (the ship can stay for today, but then they have to head back to Throal).
They enter the city at the East gate (which they notice to be totally unguarded), and they see that the local houses and buildings are intact, but there are scorch marks on roads where bodies have been burned. Mike shouts “is anyone here?” and a voice from inside a building responds “is it safe?” – Mike continues with “we don’t know, stay inside” – and just as he finishes the sentence, he (and Maria and Sabrina) pick up the sound of wings flapping. Taylor shouts out from a nearby tower “here it comes!”. Maria puts up an Astral Sight and can easily tell that the dragon’s pattern looks like burnt spaghetti. There is a short combat (mostly trying to avoid some nasty fire/acid from the dragon). Betsey gets Stop Right There to work, causing the dragon to crash into the ground. The party is able to tie up the dragon and eventually get it to calm down.
KiLi arrives on the scene and looks at the dragon. She confirms that its pattern is completely messed up. A Message is sent to Vaare asking for help in any way (beastmasters, Throal Library, Chumana (who is still unresponsive), dragon experts, whatever he can find). KiLi suggests that they should bring the dragon to a holding cell for now, and then maybe back to the Kaer ………