ACT I SUCH A LOVELY PLACE
Making their way down the winding Reeking Road from the Runespire Pass as the bright night sky glimmered a vast sea of stars, the band of five and their newly met elven female escaped slave drew closer to the tall, sand stone brick walls of the Hotel Shaitan. The structure appeared to be very old much of the stone work worn down by relentless centuries of desert wind and blowing sand. Yet the forty foot walls still stood strong and its stout wooden gate while hanging loosely on its hinges appeared intact. A few hundred yards from the Hotel they encountered a metal clad Al Haladin dwarf his skull capped with interlocking plates of silvery metal and his right hand and forearm also a creaking series of metal joints.
He quickly and merrily introduced himself as Dabbah Hudun owner and proprietor of the Hotel Shaitan. And even though the ragged group of recent escapees had no money Dabbah stated, “It is the word of Almighty Kaleh (Al Haladin word for Sol) that we should always provide succor to those in need! And that we have not lived today until we have aided someone who cannot repay.”
While the group made their way inside the sweet smelling courtyard it was quickly decided to bury the Liber Infernum in the ground outside the hotel. Just before the great doors swung shut Arakasi could be seen whispering quietly to the gemstones hanging from his necklace and looking back upward to the Runespire Pass.
Stepping into the large courtyard the smells of moisture and green succulent plants washed over the parched and disheveled group. A vast pool of clear fresh water stretched out before them from which the sounds of distant splashing and soft singing could be heard.
Dabbah lead the tired, hungry, and thirsty travelers inside but not before a seemingly entranced Dim Mak staggered to the poolside and was just overwhelmed by the sight of so much freshwater. More freshwater in fact than he had ever seen before. Once inside the warm, dimly lit main room of the tavern area of the hotel Dabbah put out a small spread of fresh fruit, meats, and bread and a tall, dusty bottle of wine. Arakasi and Valahaire desired to quickly get enough sleep to prepare their minds enough to regain their spells and magical abilities. Lionheart sat by the fireside eating a delicious juicy pear while staring strangely at the flames his lips seeming to move to silent words of conversation, a look of intense concentration on his face. Meanwhile Dim crept back outside to go for a swim in the deliciously cool, fresh water and to introduce himself to the beguiling individual swimming there.
Nearly awoken by the noisy arrival of Hidaya Hudun daughter of Dabbah and gifted smithy and caretaker of the hotel.
She seemed none too happy to take on more “charity” cases with the broke, silver drakmahless characters. Lionheart agreed to help in anyway possible to repay their debt and returned to his silent conversation with the flames.
A few hours later while the sorcerer and Valahaire snored the most peaceful restful sleep they had in months, especially with the lovely auburn haired elven rogue snuggling peacefully against him, a dusty armor clad group of six Al Haladin outriders strode into the room scanning the sleeping heroes and overheard to whisper, “Bah! We’ll question them in the morning…who knows if they saw it or not.”
They then tromped off upstairs to their beds.
Shortly before dawn as Guido and Lionheart prepared a prayer place to welcome the sunrise near the ornately carved shrine to Sol. A distant rhythmic thrumming could be heard drawing closer to the hotel finally revealing itself to be a great propeller laden airship that eventually came to hover above the hotel Shaitan’s courtyard.
Dropping to the ground was a tall all blue eyed figure clad in full armor followed by another tall female elf also wearing various interlocking plates of chain and silver metaled armor with a lovely crafted bow slung over her shoulder.
Lionheart felt it best to avoid being sighted by these apparent “Ghostwalkers” from the capital Alesandria and remained out of sight. Although overheard that the two were bounty hunters chasing run away arena slaves that fled several days ago from the capital. The descriptions he gave sounded unsettingly similar to Oyasi, Crag, and Merdana.
Finally the sun arose and the group was treated to delicious aromatic coffee, fresh eggs, more fresh fruit and glass after glass of fresh fruit juice. They sat around tables like civilized individuals and the horrors of Brimstone, Elgrab and the terrible Beast of the Spire seemed to pass away into distant memory. Hidaya reminded the heroes of their promise to help the innkeeper and his family anyway they could and Valahaire, Lionheart and Dim spent the next hour washing dishes. Meanwhile Arakasi said he had something he must do and asked Guido to accompany him back to the strange arcane symbol inscribed Runespire.
After doing dishes the three went for a swim and had several small contests of diving and swimming all of which Valahaire appeared to dominate. The Drunken Monkey monks awoke and begin doing katas in the courtyard and it wasn’t very long before the monk from last night one Kodo Lemurkin challenged Dim to a small contest of fighting staged aboard a thin log stretched across the pool. As Arakasi and Guido returned from wherever they had been they observed Dim strike the first successful blows causing Kodo to free and become seemingly paralyzed and begin to slip into the water but not before Dim slipped, almost regained his footing but slipped again and fell face first into the water.
The six Al Haladin outriders awoke next and joined the ever increasing party in the courtyard. Valahaire and Lionheart sought to drift off to the smithy without being seen but were called back to be questioned. Apparently Valahaire’s efforts at disguising Oyasi were successful because the Al Haladin didn’t seem to recognize her. They did however challenge Valahaire to an archery contest betting hundreds of silver drakmahs against his several healing vials bought from the trader caravans. After a great shot from the Al Haladin commander, Valahaire stepped forward and with nearly effortless aim split the dwarfs arrow.
Guido bellyflopped into the pool.
And the remainder of the morning was spent basking in the sun while enjoying the cool, blue waters of the hotel oasis. While distant lovely singing and stringed instruments and flutes could be heard above the songs of twittering birds and whirring insects. The smell of succulent barbecued meats filled the air as a great dinner was prepared.