The group took stock of their position, in an area they had seen before but changed, the shining lights gone, the mound and the road gone, the comet tail no longer the sickly green it had been. Fetnah and José patched people up, the rest of their aches and pains easing off as they took their ease as Fetnah performed her rituals to cleanse her spirit.
With that done, they looked through some, but not all of their haul. Fetnah used her ally to help her look at the items with uncanny eyes. First the bowl that Utana had bee carrying around, the one he had used to gather the sacrifices in the tomb earlier. It seemed the normal sort of bowl that families make and decorate, engraving or painting prayers on it to ward off evil or sickness, or bring good fortune.
In that she sensed the elements, the trace, of a godling, and she felt the urge to sing to it, she touched something in the bowl, and a voice replied.
“You think it is over, but there is things you left behind you, that are still awaiting you”
Utana took it back, and tried the same, with the same result.
Fetnah found herself bemused by Farshad’s companion, whom she saw to be a crow spirit possessing the body of a man. She freed the spirit, releasing the human owner, who was confused and asked questions before fainting. He was strapped to a pack mule For transport to a place where he could get more care.
They took their mules and headed back towards Bukrish, the first stage of their journey home. Seeing Fetnah’s success with the bowl, as they travelled, the rest presented their finds. Jalabu’s pearl evaded detail, save that it was used in the mouth, Jalabu tested it further, and deduced it had properties against poison. José’s bone dagger proved to be a tool for gathering herbs, those that are spoiled by exposure to metal. Smersh’s copper tube an entertainment device, showing scenes when looked through, Farshad’s tablet was a kind of musical instrument.
Finding that out was only achieved by Fetnah’s ally possessing her body, despite Smersh’s best efforts to free her, her old ally was enjoying having a body to use after so long.
Utana’s silver flask defied Jalabu’s analysis, at least with what he had with him, so that remains a mystery, the blue-white gems and other objects were not examined.
As they crossed the heaths and moorland, back to Bukrish, they noticed that, far away on both sides, they were being shadowed by horsemen, too far for a bow shots but definitely shadowing. It occurred to the group, those who were not millennia old,
They endured it until they came near to Bukrish, where they found armed humans waiting for them. Having the element of surprise, the group attacked, Smersh, José and Utana using bows, Fetnah and Farshad hiding, Jalabu running in, though he soon found himself outnumbered, and experiencing the utility of having a shield.
The fight did not last long. The advantage of surprise stood them in good stead, though it was only during the fight that the quiet question of Farshad “Are we sure these are the bad guys?” Occurred to others, well, too late. Fetnah tried to get a spirit to cast a Necromantic spell, but her earlier endeavours had left her tainted by other spirit contact, so it failed, and she remained hiding,
Enemy incompetence gave Farshad and Smersh the opportunity to hack him in the back, Jalabu held his own and he noticed that, far from being sill-assorted bandits, they seemed well equipped, and there were three sorts, each uniformly dressed for their group.
When most were down, the remaining two victims felt, but one was hacked down by Jalabu, the other shot by José and Utana, and fell, heavily wounded. Smersh and Jalabu worked on the survivor in a good cop/bad cop act, and confirmed the growing suspicion (or hints from the GM at any rate) . They, as agents of Magistrate Niralha had been given multiple goals in their mission, one of which was a cover story as inspectors, investigating rumours of a break down in law and order in the reguion.
The agents had discovered evidence of that, of bandit gangs taking over, replacing the forces of local civil authorities, and cowing local administrators. The word of their presence had got back to some of the bandit leaders, and they had sent groups out to find and stop them. For once, the savage attack on a random group of people standing around, turned out for the best, this was one of the groups.
The group saw their shadowing horsemen ride off, presumably to spread the word, and they trudged towards Bukrish. There they found the populace hiding, having been scared by the bandits, but they welcomed the group, who they remembered warmly.
And there we left it.
(I had three short bullet points for tonight as my only prep
, and it showed, and only used two of them)