Video is here and has a great deal of rare, behind-the-scenes footage.
At Rijanna’s camp, Master Bashir’s men and the two men from Geb’s Rest tried to puzzle out the effects of the incantation, copied from the stele and performed by Leinhard. Something happened, that was for sure… but what exactly happened, no one was sure.
Fiat examined the stele but found nothing of concern. Beltran joined the hobbit and together they looked for any tracks, but the sandy ground yielded no secrets. With nothing informative found in either of these places, Fiat, Leinhard and Phineas returned to Rijanna’s books – her own works, they felt, might yield the best results.
There were no more incantations, but the group did uncover one item: that the stele in front of them was one of several that Rijanna had found, albeit the only one that had any sort of magical emanation or effect, and the only one with any incantation carved on it. The closest: 60 miles away.
The discussion then took on a philosophical bent. “Why do we assume that nothing happened?” asked Bjorn. “We saw the magical energy – perhaps something has happened.”
There were two problems, really, that Rijanna faced: one, being thrown back in time, and two, being tossed into a Gebite demi-plane. Locate Object could work.. but only if the other books was close, or on this plane. The spell, unsurprisingly, failed to locate Rijanna’s fourth book.
The discussion continued, but every attempt to come up with an answer that explained all the information at hand only served to create more questions. Theories were proposed and shot down, speculations were proffered and rebuffed. Leinhard recalled that the Gebites and Nexians were both masters of planar magic, especially the creation of pocket dimensions. Since these countries were at war, it seemed likely, said Leinhard, that they would use these magics for military purposes.
But the conversation continued to come to the idea that Bjorn had originally brought up: how do we know that we *haven’t* done something here? Phineas proposed an idea – producing a silver figurine of a raven, he said a few words and the raven expanded to life size, albeit remaining silver. Why don’t we send this to Geb’s Rest and see if anything has changed? Leinhard piped up: I speak Avian. “Air elementals and birds speak the same language,” Leinhard explained. The elf told the raven: overfly the town, see if there are any people or changes in Geb’s Rest.
The raven returned: “I overflew the town of Geb’s Rest several times. I saw no people; I saw no movement. Nothing moves in the town of Geb’s Rest.”
“Whatever we did, it didn’t bring back the people of Geb’s Rest,” Phineas explained to everyone.
“I then propose,” said Leinhard, “…. that we perform the ritual as written.” He paused. “Without mispronouncing anything,” Leinhard added with a wry smile.
Leinhard began to cast the spell, and seemed to not react, quite different from the previous spell. But upon the last word of the spell, the stars and moon winked out. Everyone felt the short, sharp sense of motion, of movement, and found themselves in pitch darkness. There was sand under their feet, but no firepit, no tents. Snapper unfurled his lantern, and a single beam of light split the darkness, much to the relief of the party members with human eyes.
“Where the hell are we?” asked Fiat, voicing everyone’s thoughts.
Almost in response, Beltran pointed and said: “Look there.” Fiat squinted, and saw, in the sand, the torso of a human sit up. Sand fell away from it, and it jumped to it’s feet, even as another creature emerged from the ground. “Here as well!” yelled Leinhard. “More over here!” yelled Snapper. They were surrounded, and the creatures stalked forward, lifting wickedly curved scimitars.
“Aim for that one!” Phineas yelled, gesturing at one after hearing it give a command. “I think he is their leader!”
It was a vicious battle, with no quarter asked and none given on either side. The sand hampered movement, made footwork slippery and unsteady, and the creatures in their long-stringed sandals had the advantage. Those party members who had fought in Geb’s Rest recognized the creatures, once they came into the light: they were the same sort as the undead warriors that had ambushed them in the town.
The party cleric’s then called upon their individual gods to grant them power to harm undead – first Beltran, then Nolan, then Snapper. These warrior were tough, smart and battle hardened, but they couldn’t stand against the combined might of the representatives of three different gods. Slowly the waves of power wore the creatures down. The rest of the party mopped them up, cutting down the god-blasted creatures one by one.
Standing over the bodies, Bjorn looked around into the distance. “It seems we are here,” he said simply. But where was here A pocket dimension or demi-plane? The darkness wasn’t magical, but there were no celestial objects in the sky – no moon, not a single star. Near them, however, in the sand, was the stele they had seen at Rijanna’s campsite… but now? The carved stone looked new, with no weathering. It looked as if it had just been made.
As Fiat searched the bodies for any clues, Beltran looked around the area for any tracks, discovering a line of tracks coming to the site from the south. Fiat and Nolan spotted it first: in the distance, to the south, past the dunes, the pair saw some sort of bluish glow, coming from behind the sand. After pointing it out to the rest of the group, Fiat crept forward, slipping silently through the 400 or so meters to the edge of the glow.
To Fiat’s shock, over the edge of the dune were troops, hundreds of them, all captured in a strange aquamarine light. Near them stood a man, chanting some sort of spell, inside a magic circle drawn on the sand. There were another nine nearby, standing guard and fetching things for the sorcerer. Fiat quickly returned to the rest of the group, outlining what he’d seen. “Does anyone have a Fireball handy?” he asked. “Then we can follow up with missiles and slow them down.”
Leinhard did indeed have a Fireball handy. The party crept up to the sandy ridge, looking down upon the array of Gebite warriors standing at attention, and the Gebite sorceror drawing them from their stasis. The cleric’s prepared buffs, the warriors talked tactics in furtive tones. Beltran prepared a Silence spell.
Leinhard loosed the Fireball, which exploded among the Gebites. The results were somewhat disappointing, as the Gebite leader snapped the flames away from him. Bjorn stood up, sword held high, and Beltran cast Silence. The Gebite leader barked a command: da KA! The Gebite soldiers moved forward.
“This man has power,” Beltran said quietly. “He’s shrugged off my Silence spell. Be wary!” Sven bent his shortbow back, as far as he could, and loosed an arrow. It plunged into the chest of the Gebite in the front rank, sending him hurtling to the sand.