After a quick break for some much-needed shopping, the party took to the sea for a one-week cruise from Sikak (snicker) to Mahabba aboard the small ship The Jewel of the Pearl Coast, captained by the supposedly-able Rufi bin Rafi. After several days of travel, the ship was attacked by a pack of flying ixitxichitl, which made quick work of the masts and half of the crew. Missed (of near Heisman fame) was nearly brought back to the mud as the giant flying stingrays made pass after pass, and Awesome the Statuesque exemplified her name alongside Amabrar Never-Finds-Spells. With the beasts vanquished the ship hobbled through the archipelago and eventually pulled into line for inspection in Mahabba’s bay.
The coast guard was a bit miffed to discover that 4/6 of the conscious party was either a foreigner or a heretic, especially since the city is in the middle of a guerrilla civil war against the Balanite heretics, but they allowed the party to enter the city on the condition that they register at a mosque.
Heading west, Yzra discovered that the mosque was dedicated to Hakiyah of the Sea Breezes and quickly ordered the party to head east, assuming there was some aversion to the truth. The party approached and entered The Mosque of The Love of Money, dedicated to Jauhar the Gemmed in her aspect of charity. Once within, the priestess interviewing the party was even more disturbed about the party’s makeup, ordering them to check in every day that they’re in the city. She was especially stern with Awesome, who may have to watch for an assassination attempt later. She was, however, kind enough to direct Yzra to • Dusalaya’s coffee shop, near the city’s only gate, in the northeast.
Once there, the party ran into a beggar shouting:
Zgjohu! Zgjohu! Yjet nëntë-fish kanë rënë! Zgjohem, Luanët e Nesër, për portat e Tadabbur janë hedhur hapur!
Which turned out to be an ancient language known by Amabrar Never-Finds-Spells. What he meant to say was:
Wake up! Wake up! The nine-fold stars have fallen! Waken, Lions of Tomorrow, for the gates of Tadabbur are thrown open!
He told the following story when he came to:
For the first time in his life, Adil is beginning to regret stealing something. In hindsight, the theft itself was easy, almost trivial. It was a clear, starry night outside the Mosque of a Thousand Fountains in Muluk. A rotund, distracted priest left the mosque for the short walk home, his heavy purse begging to be lightened. Adil had hoped the bulge in the priest’s purse was gold, not this drab clay seal, covered with strange, barely comprehensible writings.
He would have returned it (if he couldn’t have found an interested buyer, of course), but for some reason he found the writing on the seal fascinating, almost mesmerizing in its movement, illuminated by the bright starlight. He tried pronouncing words of the ancient language and all at once realized that he shouldn’t. By then, of course, it was too late. As if on cue, nine meteors streaked across the night sky overhead.
That was the night Adil blacked out. And then the nightmare began. Adil has been so many places, he has never been rid of the seal, and even death itself is no release, for it drags Adil back each time to punishment.
The sheik Filgut? Yes, Adil met him here. He is interested in the seal and wants to help Adil break the curse, but requires Adil to get to Dihliz, which is too far to travel in Adil’s condition. If you will help Adil get there, surely you will meet the sheik.
He also showed the party the seal, which is a circular disk about 4” in diameter, and has the following inscription (translated to Zakharan):
bq). Embrace Fate, and she will smile upon you. The key to understanding lies through the mists of ignorance. Learn from yesterday to shape tomorrow.
Adil was then murdered by an invisible stalker and the seal was stolen. The party panicked and ran in two different directions (foreshadowing!), one subgroup seeking help, the other seeking to avoid the authorities. In the end, it didn’t matter – Adil was right, and he did resurrect. The stalker came back and a fast but furious fight ensued in which friendly fire was determined not to be so friendly, and almost everyone got a little bite out of the 8 HD creature before it died. Oh, and Yzra broke her hip and is in need of heal or restoration to get it fixed.