Sunday, October 18, 2015

The City of the Dead Guard Duty - Tekumel Part 2

The City of the Dead Guard Duty

Each of us had visited the administrative offices of the City for the Dead and been interviewed for the job, then based on our skill sets we negotiated a monthly salary.  Ashane thought that the officials were skimming off the top but couldn’t prove anything, but then where would it have gotten her if she had complained?  No work is what would have been the outcome, and at the moment, no work, no matter the source could be knocked back.

Mridock complained the most when we compared notes afterwards, he received 36K a month,  Ashane with her beauty no doubts 80K, Gamalu 71 and bent old Qarras a staggering 93K.  None of know how he pulled that one off and he is certainly not telling anyone how he did it either.

On our first night we were issued a medallion on chain which had to be worn at all times, Zagar (m) our supervisor told us they possessed a charm which warded the evil powers of death away from us.  He also said if we lost the medallion it would cost us 10K to obtain a replacement.  Lose more than one and it was instant dismissal and a trip to the interrogators to ensure that we weren’t selling them to would be tomb robbers.  After our induction speech Zagar took us on our rounds, gave us a map (which he charged us 10 qirgal or coppers for) and then left us at dawn telling us to be on duty as soon as the sun set.

If we chanced upon intruders we were to challenge them.  We were forbidden to attack them without provocation, if they failed to respond then they were fair game, though the policy was to leg it to the guard house and sound the alarm.  That way if it were some secret Clan or Religious activity it would be all over by the time any official response was made, thus saving embarrassment for all parties concerned.
After a week on the job we had a brief and unsatisfying encounter with an intruder.  By the time we had navigated our way to the suspected spot, the intruder was gone.  A search of the site revealed nothing, which made the more superstitious of us think ghost, and the morning sun was greeted more warmly than at any other time.  When we returned to the guard room, we told old Nelel (f) about the encounter.  She looked bored and disinterested; she opened the huge ledger on her desk, made an appropriate entry and said nothing.  We guessed that this sort of thing was routine and didn’t sound exciting except to the new recruits.

Our first clash with the forces of disorder occurred after our second week.  While patrolling along a waist level wall sectioned tomb a flurry of activity startled us.  A roughly two foot long creature with six limbs scrambled adroitly up the wall, snatched Ashane’s medallion from her neck breaking the cheap chain that held it there.  It then leapt off the wall and giggling insanely scampered off into the surrounding tombs.  Needless to say we took off in hot pursuit, for Ashane the loss of wages was enough to motivate her to catch the thief.

With torches aloft we chased the shadow for what seemed ages, stopping every now and then to search when we lost sight of the creature. Eventually we saw its shadow climb a tomb wall and enter through the domed roof.  Now we had a dilemma!  We were not allowed to enter the tombs under any circumstances, they were private property of the clan and anyone not clan affiliated would suffer dire consequences if found out.  Ashane did not care as she advanced up the stairs and approached the door.  It was then that another patrol happened by.  What would have happened had Ashane entered the tomb with witnesses we don’t know?  Challenged by the other patrol we checked each others credentials though Ashane had to do some fancy talking to avoid being detained by the others.  We guessed those stunning looks can smooth most issues in her favour.

Once the other patrol had moved on and out of sight and sound Ashane was back at the door.  Prudence then took over as we each ensured there were no traps or alarms, as well as seeing if the other patrol were returning.  The door was locked though and attempts to force the door amounted to nothing but sore shoulders.  In the end it was decided that the roof was the only way to enter.  This did not prove to be a problem as this particular tomb had many extending pieces of brickwork that housed various potted plants that added beauty to the area when it was day light.  Once we were on the roof we could see for some distance and spotted the torch glare of the other patrols in the area, which gave us some pause as we thought what they would think of a torch above man height.  With this in mind we searched the domed roof for the entry way the creature had taken, it was found and with a little more application of force a hole was made sufficient to allow a person to crawl through.  That was fine; it was the twenty foot drop to the floor that was more concerning.  No one had rope of any sort of material to make into a rope, so the minutes ticked by until it was noticed there was a statue like pillar within swinging distance of the opening. One by one we entered and made out way down the pillar, all but Mridock navigated the structure and managed to fall the final ten feet, only managing to rip his clothes and drawing a little blood.  His curses though stirred up the inhabitants.  The two foot version we had seen clearly was the smaller of the species, three foot was the average with one individual reaching four foot.  (All this was ascertained during the mopping up exercise).  The creatures were Kuruku also known as the Small Giggler a noise they make when fleeing.  They were making this noise now.  We had stumbled on their nest, and the creatures felt threatened and launched an attack.  We fought for our lives, the spell casters added to the confusion, with mystical chanting and prismatic lights issuing forth, what anyone outside would hear or see we did not know.  In the end we dispatched the noisome creatures some twelve in all, a couple of mated pairs and their offspring.  Not that we got off without a scratch, Ashane had taken a deep belly wound that needed magical healing from Qarras who took the advantage to fondle Ashane, but she was too fatigued to do much in protest. 

Bearing in mind the time that had passed we did a quick search of the nest to locate Ashanes medallion, which was found.  Along with that we found a number of shiny objects, coins, cheap gems and a scroll tube which was covered in bright pieces of glass.  Gathering these objects together we tried the door, finding a latch (though we wondered why there would be one on the inside of a tomb) which allowed us to leave.  Before we did so we collected as many of the corpses of the Kuruku as we could carry to bring with us to the guard room when the shift was finished.  This allowed us to explain away the wounds we had taken during out shift.  Old Nelel was indeed surprised out of her bored duty when we reported back.  We gave her one tenth of the shines we had, nothing like bribery to quash any curiosity of the encounter.  We hid the scroll tube in Ashanes cleavage with every intention to check it out when we returned to our rooms.  (The tube of course you dirty minded readers!)

Next entry, the Mystery of the Glass Scroll Tube

Kuruku "the Small Giggler"  (page 55)
NA: 1-12
HD: 1-1
AC: 9
T: nil
M: 15"
L: 40:10-100
T in L: A: 20
These little creatures have six legs, like so many of Tekumel's fauna, and they also have a pair of small hands just beneath their blunt, anthropoidal snouts.  The never attack humans and always flee if approached.  The do try to snatch bright objects from passing travelers, running off with it and giggling in a very human fashion.  There is a 50 percent chance of their attempting to snatch something, and if so, there is a 60 percentage chance of success.  The victim is chosen randomly from those nearest the Kuruku, and the referee rolls randomly to determine the item snatched.  There is a 20 percent chance that the item will be thrown down as the little beast runs away; otherwise it is lost forever - unless the Kuruku can be cornered, a difficult task in open forest.  because of the agility of the Kuruku, hitting them with a missile requires +1 to be added to the hit die throw.

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