A Blue Monkey and a Lion

Things do not look good for the band of adventurers. Denig and Aerandir have taken shelter behind a wall of wood gifted by Denig’s deity. In itself it is not the sturdiest affair and they know they will have to go on the attack again. Imploring for more aid, Denig heals Aerandir and himself, while Aerandir perches on his back to target the attackers with his longbow over the top of the wall. Faced with the wall the foe have decided to retreat with their fallen companions and within a matter of moments the street is empty.

Meanwhile, things are not going well for Dagaard. He is mounting a desperate defence in the doorway of the hana. When suddenly, his opponent retreats. The dwarf rushes forward to make full use of his two-handed sword and dispatch the dark-cloaked stranger but over extends himself and immediately is forced to retreat. Stumbling out through the doorway and into the street. Fortunately, his opponent does not press the advantage but follows the woman with a ruby ring and the coin seller out of a back door. Dagaard, still reeling from fumbling his weapon, drags the unconscious Fulton towards what he hopes is the safety of a wooden wall in the street, where Aerandir is peering over the top.

All is quiet. In the distance, the night time hubbub of the streets of Khalij Aldhahab begins to resurface. Cautiously, Aerandir and Dagaard sweep the area while Denig tends the unconscious Fulton. The area is deserted. The assailants have disappeared. Alqurad al’azraq, the Blue Monkey, is empty.

They check the bodies of the two fallen attackers who remain unclaimed. Their appearance, pierced body parts with and filed teeth, indicates that they are Black Reivers. They have little of note apart from a bronze medallion that appears to show some kind of tentacled, octopus-like creature. It is late and the decide to go back to the Alsuwf aldhahabiu (The Golden Fleece) to rest and recuperate.

Tajir the Spice Merchant snores in one bed in the corner, but Aerandir is happy to sit on the floor and meditate as the sailors do not need to be back aboard ship until the morning. Despite the late hour, Fulton spends some time in the market nearby watching for observers and getting a sense of the local trade. Returning to find no bed in which to sleep, he decides to make his way back to the Ulmo’s Beard and his berth there.

On boarding the vessel in the early hours, he is met by Hirlonde, navigator, who tells him that Vanwa has gone missing late in the evening of what is now the day before. Apparently, she had gone ashore and appeared to be looking for something before she was bundled away by some hooded and cloaked figures. Some members of the crew had tried to catch up with the kidnappers but were unable to rescue her. Alarmed, the love-lorn Fulton races back to Alsuwf aldhahabiu to tell his companions the news.

Roused from their slumber the companions are not amused by either the hour or the tidings. Aerandir is hopeful that Vanwa may have more about her than she has shown but he is not confident. Denig suggests that they all rest for what remains of the night and then prays for some divine guidance as to where Vanwa may be.

Denig’s dreams are disturbed with visions of the elven princess being in chains in a dark place. Near to her are a number of smaller shapes, possibly children, who are likewise in chains. They are all waiting with a sense of fear. Nearby, a deep blue light, as with water glows beyond a barred portal.

Awaking, Denig relays his dreams to his companions and they set about trying to locate anything with blue windows or that might have a motif similar to the bronze medallions. The best part of the day passes and they begin to realise the futility of such a search without local knowledge. They ponder other avenues of enquiry for a long time. Denig prays for divine inspiration and is rewarded with a perfect recall of all the conversations he has had. Picking through these they decide to revisit Hasa the stone merchant.

Hasa looks unpleasantly surprised to see them but engages them in a sales patter as they have arrived pretending to be interested in a purchase. However, as they question him, Hasa becomes more and more nervous. Eventually, he offers them tea and bids them sit in the shade, dusting off chairs. He goes upstairs to make the tea and the adventurers hear lots of sounds of movement followed by silence. Quick thinking, Aerandir races lightly up the stairs in time to see the rope of knotted sheets go slack as Hasa reaches the bottom. He climbs down after Hasa while shouting for his companions. They set off in pursuit through the town. Hasa trying every trick and bit of local knowledge to escape. He even throws away his treasure box, but the crowd do not impede the heroes, nor does the thought of money halt their progress.

They are gaining on the fleeing merchant until they come to Sahat al’asad (Lion Plaza) once more where he suddenly disappears. The determined adventurers are confused and cast about looking for signs of his passage. Finding none they turn their attention to the plaza. It is Denig who makes a connection with the fountain and a possible method of casting blue light into a room but he is disappointed to find no such window in the fountain itself. They do though spend an hour carefully searching the fountain for a secret entrance and are rewarded with locating the mechanism in the Lion’s mouth that release a section of the fountain to reveal steps leading down.

In the cellars below the city, the adventurers soon adopt their usual pattern of exploration. Dagaard, wearing his mining helmet is able to aid the party’s vision with the attached lantern. Aerandir, bow in hand covers the rear and Fulton armed with his cutlass stands near to aid his crewmate. Denig now takes up the roll of scout and trap clearance, as he seems more able to survive the blows when he fails to detect them. A fortunate choice, for despite finding and disarming one spear trap, he misses a second and manages to survive the blow of a spear thrust.

They come to a door to a room which contains a pack of rats and rather than try and defeat the swarm shut the door against it. However, the door itself is riddled with holes and the rats begin to pour through. It looks like a game of whack a rat is about to start, when Denig remembers the staff he has acquired will summon a creature to him once ever day. He casts the spell with thoughts of the town’s best ratter in his head. But the shape that forms is not the hoped for cat but a hideous eight foot monster with fangs and vicious claws at the end of webbed hands. Denig commands it to eat all the rats but the graug (Umaia) bays for the blood of Denig.

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