Library of Howling

15.City Livin

The party, sleeping once again in a hole created by Red for night shelter, awaken to a would-be earthquake shaking the walls down around them. Everyone manages to grab their gear and make it out, but a few of the party suffer wounds along the way. Dusting themselves off and covering the light wounds, they turn and head north following the road towards the city.

Arriving at the “bridge” entrance to the city, they peer across the way to the open entrance into the city at the center of the island. Barring their way is a large red face at the end of the bridge, and upon closer inspection, the bridge itself seems to be the tongue of the face rolled out across the river surrounding the city. The red face has an amused expression as the party walks across the bridge, but otherwise seems apathetic to the party. Also noticed across the top of the wall surrounding the city are small creatures spaced out every ten feet or so. They also appear to be unmoving, but Bill is able to cast a spell that shows both these small creatures and the red face itself as having a sentience to them. The party pushes across the bridge until a voice booms out asking for the password to enter the city.

Marble decides to try a summoning to maybe find out of the password from one of the dead and has everyone leave the bridge but himself. He draws a circle of summoning as well as a circle of protection at the center of the bridge and begins his summoning. First, he summons what turns out to be a slave boy, but the boy refuses to divulge the password, even on threat of pain. Marble dismisses the boy’s ghost and tries for a second. This time he gets a guard or military man, and after some banter and threats and finally a pain spell, the guard finally reveals the password to be XXXXXXXXXX. Dismissing the ghost and calling the party back onto the bridge, the group in turn says the password and passes safely through the red mouth into the city.

Spotting two guard towers near the entrance, Bill investigates and finds recent (but not too recent) muddy footprints, but nothing else. The party continue searching to the north in what appears to be a residential area that has been burned almost to the ground. The search yields little and continues around a good portion of the city’s upper west side. Finally, in the largest house, they find a tiled mural of a mighty warrior dressed in full plate armor. The breast plate the man wears is the same that Bill is wearing now.

Moving deeper into the city, the party moves into what appears to be a grand garden which is in pristine condition. Only Thirsty is not fooled by the illusion and sees the garden for what it really is: a putrid cesspool of disease and nastiness. Various members of the group float in and out of the magically induced charm of the garden, but all are finally managed to be dragged out and their minds cleared.

Their trip around the burnt out town continues into what seems to be an old trade district and a military area where the party holes up for the night. Bill is able to go through the old stock of weapons and armor there and pick out what seems to still be useful, but otherwise the night is quiet except for some strange howling on the wind.

We leave the party outside what seems to be the palace of the city, which seems to be intact and in good shape unlike many other areas.