Reign of Pharaohs

The Hungry Caterpillar

Exploring lottery site #2

Summary: the companions receive their second lottery site – an estate by the name of the House of Pentheru. Their investigation begins with the exploration of the outer grounds of the estate.

Details

The companions awake from their night of partying one more adventurer strong – Hacksaw Jill has joined the group in the wake of Alice’s tragic departure. After breakfast, the companions set off for the Grand Mausoleum to provide their report of the Tomb of Akhentepti and to receive their second lottery site.

The Pharasins are impressed at the level of detail provided regarding the Tomb and wish you the best of luck with the second – a noble’s estate. You seek out Carmaegon to discuss his insight. He has little understanding but grants you access to the Church’s vast library. With a little research, you find that the House of Pentheru is much like other noble’s houses of the time – it owned and was responsible for the administration of prescribed farmland. It was in good standing with the city until the Plague of Madness, after which there is no record of the estate. The companions travel to the Sunburst Market to sell some of the items found in the tomb and gear up for their next adventure.

Soon thereafter, the group sets out for the estate. It proves easy to find, given its proximity to the necropolis gates. The estate is a walled, two-story mansion with surrounding grounds. There are two statues adjacent to the gate depicting Pentheru the Elder and Pentheru the Younger. The bronze outer gate is sits slightly ajar. The group pushes inside, with Jill and Captain Beefheart providing ranged support.

The small bleached courtyard appears undisturbed. Stone archways lead to other sections of the compound, and a small flight of stairs abuts ornate doors that lead inside the mansion proper. Once inside the courtyard, the group, excluding Jill and the good Captain, hear the sound of an angry mob buffeting the doors and the piercing cry of a woman’s voice commanding you to hold the gates. Va’var and Carrma are shaken by the intensity of the experience, Wormwood and Kreig are overcome with fear and run further inside the compound.

They push through the west archway into a L-shaped garden. Stone benches line the wall of the yard and a large tiled pool sits in the southwest corner. The north end of the yard is dominated by a squat stone building. Wormwood runs and cowers in the southwest corner while Kreig makes for the small stone building. The other companions, regaining their senses, attempt to keep pace with the two in flight.

As Kreig runs through the yard, the giant head of a centipede-type creature rears into view from the bathing pool. It seems its sleep has been disturbed. The companions watch in despair as the whip-tailed centipede exits the bath construct, seeming impossibly large for the small pool. The giant centipede uses a nasty bite to inflict body numbing poison while using its whip-tail to keep the group at bay. A desperate melee ensues, with several members being bitten by the centipede. The melee is ended with an epic charge by Jill, who impales the giant creature on her polearm.

The group’s initial foray into the estate has taken a toll on the group, and with two members feeling the ill effects of the poisonous centipede, they decide it best to travel back to the living city. After several days of rest and the healing touch of the Pharasmin clerics, they return to the estate hale and chipper.

This time the companions decide to explore the eastern section of the outer compound. The archway leads to a spacious yard, with several small stone outbuildings. Kreig notices an asp asleep under a table. Jill charges the asp and cleaves it in half before it can awake. A demonic dog runs from one of the outbuilding and engages Jill in melee. The dog, unfortunately, impales itself on her polearm during its charge and perishes.

The companions continue on into the outbuildings. The appear to be guard and slaves quarters. As well, the domed building turns out to be a granary. A swarm of scarab beetles erupts from the dead husks of grain, but before they can attack the group, the companions drop an alchemical concoction in the building and shut the door. The resulting explosion, aided by fermented vapours, destroys the swarm. The last stone building leads to a pantry.

The outbuildings explored, the companions return to the west side of the compound. The squat stone building in the northwest of the site features columns carved to resemble Pentheru the Elder and Pentheru the Younger. Hieroglyphs identify the building as a crypt.

The companions push inside the stone building. Stairs lead down to an altar room dominated by a stone platform. Caryatid columns carved in the likeness of male and female figures stand at each corner of the platform. A mummified figure lays inert at the bottom of the alter.

adherer-01.jpgCarrma uses her whip to disturb the creature, and it responds by sitting up. The creature’s linens have adhesive qualities, and Carrma is unable to draw back her whip. The companions engage the monster in melee, which proves challenging as their weapons stick to the mummy. The group decides to change tactics and light torches. The linens, which are vulnerable to fire, quickly light. The mummy grapples with Jill and the two topple in flames. The adherer takes the brunt of it, and Jill, with some help from her companions, lives to fight another day.

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