He who talks in circles does not progress
– Blue men saying.
And so it was that our heroes, laden with spoils and in excellent mood, did arrive at the river-straddling trading post of the Blue men, in appearance like the splayed guts of a gigantic wooden rat, led by that generous and benevolent autocrat, the Embrace of Regret, whose coffers are as boundless as his craftiness and ample belly. Upon their arrival, whilst waiting for the ferry, they encountered a robed white man with strange facial hair, and quickly became steadfast companions. A dissasembler by the name of Inimicus, the white man, a keeper of secrets and a dissasembler, had travelled from far away forests, drawn by the vast wealth of the trading post and seeking to make his fortune.
And when he did join our heroes he gave a glowing speech and convinced them that he should bear the Armour of Uyu-Jadhmogh into the city, there for all to see so they would fear and respect them. And our heroes reminded him that that would mean drawing the attention of the City of Sorcerers and their lapdogs, the vile and contemptible Ulfire Slavers. Inimicus agreed, and put on the armour any way, for it was formidable and well-crafted, thinking to disguise himself by wearing a cloak, an extremely foolish plan.
Our heroes set out into the village of the Blue Men, selling gemstones and buying maps and supplies for future endaevours, only to be summoned to the jeweled barge of the Embrace of Regret within hardly a day. As they were led before the Embrace of Regret, they were none too thrilled to discover an emissary of the Ulfire Slavers was also present, throwing many a curse and pointing many an accusing finger, claiming that our noble heroes were thieves and that the armour and death mask belonged by right to the Masters of Carcosa and threatening dire retribution should they not receive their due.
The Embrace of Regret furrowed his brow behind his ornate crown-mask of jewel-studded platinum and gold, and stated that the slavers were quite welcome in his city, but threats he would not abide. Inimicus, sensing an opportunity for ingratiation, did ramble and accuse mightily, pointing fingers and casting disparaging asperations on the character and actions of the Ulfire slavers. And once more the Embrace of Regret did furrow his noble brows at this verbal pandemonium, stating an old addage of the Blue men, that ‘he who speaks in circles does not progress.’
Inimicus nodded wisely and continued unabated; until the Embrace of Regret ordered our heroes and the Slavers to come to an agreement on the morrow, accompanied by an emissary to note the proceedings.
And lo, on the morrow in the centre of the market-rafts they met, our heroes, eight slavers and an emissary of the Masters of dread Carcosa, watched from afar by the masked servants of the Embrace of Regret. The Slavers told them plainly that if they handed over the armour and deathmask now, their deaths would be quick and relatively painless. Our noble heroes told them they were willing to part with the artifacts for no less then five thousand gold pieces. The Slavers eventually agreed to let them go and take the artifacts, provided they would leave these lands and not return. And so it went, back and forth, until cunning Kamicollo, Explorer, Thief and bearer of strange artifacts, did provoke them most mightily when he displayed the death mask before the Slavers, spitting on it and polishing it with the hem of his cloak, an act of sacrilige so blasphemous that the emissary promptly lost his cool and drew his dagger and attacked them. In the ensuing battle, a spearcast by the Slavers struck the emissary of the Embrace of Regret, wounding him most grievously and our heroes easily held back the enraged slavers, wailing pitiously in mock outrage at this breach of the peace. When they turned their swords upon the Slavers, aided by the outraged soldiers of the Embrace, the river ran ulfire with their blood.
Laughing heartily, our heroes went into town in search of supplies before being summoned before the Embrace of Regret once more. The laughter soon faded, for though his face was masked and his voice was level, the executioner that flanked the entrance to the throne room of jewel-set rare woods told of his displeasure. The slavers brought much coin to the coffers of the Embrace of Regret, and the masters of Carcosa would not soon forget the deaths of their favoured lapdogs and would seek to enact a brutal toll. The Embrace of Regret asked how our heroes would repay him for this disservice.
It was then, Inimicus, who spoke to the Embrace of Regret, unable to see his rambling ways had no effect on a man such as he.
And Inimicus did profess their innocence, and pointed out the Slavers had initiated hostilities. And the Embrace replied he cared not, for they were complicit nonetheless. And grew wrothful and angry.
And he repeated the question.
And Inimicus did state that they would hand over the artifacts to the Embrace, to mollify the slavers. And the Embrace replied that the damage was done, and Carcosa would demand retribution for blood spilled on neutral ground. And grew wrothful and angry.
Kamicollo, sensing where this was going, simply threw up his hands and marched out, and the Embrace allowed it so.
And he repeated the question.
And Inimicus did state that they would personally hand over the artifacts to the Slavers, but again the Embrace was not satisfied, stating that they would simply be kiled and the artifacts taken, while noting also that he had no reason to assume they would keep word, expecting such a fate. And whilst Inimicus rambled the Embrace grew weary of his attempts at verbal trickery and with a tiny nod, the executioner stepped forth and brought Inimicus to his knees, the executioner’s sword above him.
And he repeated the question.
Inimicus offered all their gold, and banishment from the city, and the Embrace nodded as if mulling it over, before he gave his reply. He had no need for gold, and neither gold nor banishment would solve his problem. And the blade fell and Inimicus the rambler, was no more.
And Satiros was brought to his knees before the Embrace of Regret.
And he repeated the question.
Panicked, Satiros pledged all their possesions, their service and whatever else the Embrace of Regret required of them if they were to be allowed to live.
And the Embrace nodded, pleased at this show of humility before one so mighty as he. Our heroes were allowed to keep their possesions, but would fulfill a fearsome ordeal on behalf of the Embrace. They would be allowed escape, in secrecy, whilst the Embrace paid reparations and took whatever steps were needed to assuade the wrath of the dread lords of Carcosa. Then they would set out and raid the secret lair and stronghold of the Slavers, based in an old temple of the Serpent Men in the Poisoned Swamps, to weaken the powerbase of the slavers in the region. Sensing that his alliance was tenuous at best, the Embrace decided that any negotiations would best be done from a more advantageous position, but that direct involvement would invite annihilation.
Sighing dejectedly, our heroes stocked up on food, ammunition, and went out in search of a tracker who could lead them to the temple of the Serpent Men.
Death toll: 24
[A] Rohnan (Specialist 1) the Incautious: Eaten by giant spiders
[B] Jaxxon Windwaker (Ftr 1) the Choleric : Impaled by Spawn of Shub-Niggurath
[C] Mongo the Red (Sor 1) the Cautious : Impaled by Spawn of Shub-Niggurath
[B] Klak (Specialist 1) the Mad : Skull crushed by Animate Snake-man statue
[B] Kristal (Ftr 1) the Unfortunate: Drowned in Quicksand
[D] Kakarot (Sor 1) the Stout: Beheaded by Jale Berserker
[A] Midros (Sor 1) Friend to Horrors : Bissected by Jale chieftain
[E] T’Click (Spec 1) the Traitor: Butchered by treacherous Ulfire men
[B] Kris (Spec 1) Eater of Entrails: Gutted by Elite Yellow Temple Guardian
[D] Rake (Ftr 1) the Doomed: Devoured by Dolm Worm
[A] Sayeed (Ftr 1) the Rash: Drowned in the Great River to be food for the creatures below
[A] Ronaan (Spec 1) the Gambler: Beheaded by the mighty Bone man champion in honourable single combat
[B] Jahlin (Spec 1) Slayer of Sorcerers: Taken by the invisble horror of the Great Canyon
[A] Menon (Spec 1) the Bold: Cut down by the vile and contemptible Ulfire Slavers
[B] Sarumon (Ftr 1) the Inheritor: Mind-wiped by alien technology and imprinted with memory and personality of the Master.
[E] Speaker to Animals (Sor 1) the Schemer: Mind-wiped by alien technology and imprinted with memory and personality of the Master. Body Slain by Tellurium Beam Weapon.
[B] Hannibal (Ftr 1) the Unprepared: Perished by the harsh clime and dangerous climb of the Tsaggasoth Peaks.
[D] Asuz (Ftr 2) the Reckless: Slain by the Gaze of the Sartoom
[B] Mordak (Ftr 1) the Defiant; Consumed by the Guardian
[A] Ragnar (Sor 1) the Brave; Struck down by the Ninefold Banes of Uyu-Jadh Mogh
[B] Ythrak (Ftr 1) the Liar: Beheaded in honourable single combat with the Lord of the Wastes
[B] Pharron (Spec 1) the Greedy: Felled by the arrows of the vile and contemptible Ulfire Slavers
[A] Ko (Ftr 2) the Twisted: Blood frozen by the hideous caress of the God of the Primal Void.
[A] Inimicus the Rambler (Sor 1); Beheaded for his impertinence by the Embrace of Regret
Compatriots & Henchmen: 10
Burlap – Cut down by the Master of the Valley.
Sextus (the name of the Green Man) – Dissolved by Dolm Ooze (or Pudding).
Silent One (purple man) – Devoured by the Guardian
Hannibal (ulfire man) – Struck down by the Ninefold Banes of Uyu-Jadhmogh
Unnamed Purple man – Frozen to death. Eaten by his erstwhile companions
The Four Who Are One (Red men) – Struck down by a Master of Carcosa
Nolan the carpenter – Eaten by Dolm Worms
Desertions and betrayals;
4 Brown Men – Deserted because of poor morale and abhorrent treatment.
The Captain of the Ulfire Men – Pledged allegiance to the City of Sorcerers, cast into the pit by Circe, chieftain’s daughter, warrior maiden and bethrothed of Ko.