Father, I don't know if you can hear me down here… I don't know if you can hear me at all, frankly, but what the hell. I'm in some pretty deep shit at the moment. I told you that I'd fallen in with some adventurer-types from Videha, and that they were apparently looking into the same ancient machine-ruins that the Emperor's people sent me and my team to explore. I told you how I joined their team to try to make good on my failed mission. After all, it wouldn't do to return to Ayodhya empty handed.
Well, after defeating the undead at this cool Archive of ancient high elves frozen in stone, we all headed into the deep desert. Our guide, Panja, took us a bit duskward of the Fist to check on the only settlement in the area known to accept guests, a village of the Forged called Coil. We arrived to find five Forged corpses and no sign of anyone else. Panja found an undead monstrosity of some sort buried at the botton of the weird sand pit at the center of the village. Uncle Xedris proved his worth again by pulling up some really obscure knowledge about an arcane experiment done some two and a half thousand years ago by a crazy wizard named Sathish, some sort of living abomination known as a "beholder", and how they were used as living weapons in Mithila's war against the Cult of the Risen Son way back then.
Gotta say, these guys work pretty well together. Uncle Xedris filled the pit with fog forcing the undead "beholder" to pop up where it could be seen by everyone. Damn, what an ugly thing. Panja summoned a storm and started blasting it with lightning. Saatvik rapidly identified the Forged corpses as Forged zombies which kept us from being surprised… in all, the fight went pretty well. I certainly did my part to help. When the undead beholder was finally killed, though, something really awful popped out of it… some sort of… not-quite-real undead spirit thing burning with blue fire. I risked revealing my true parentage with a bit of fire magic, but they didn't seem to notice, fortunately, and the thing was eventually dissipated.
The Coil activated… apparently the pit was some sort of… portal? We were all too polite to inquire. Apparently most of the Forged had fled into it when the beholder and a swarm of undead scarabs attacked, but the beholder had some sort of magic-deadening ability that sealed the Coil and kept them trapped. Killing it released them. They were kinda pissed, of course, and seven of them joined our quest.
So far so good, right? Now we were 13 badasses heading to the Fist to take on the undead. We arrived and we scoped it out all patient and sneaky-like. I got to spend nearly two days in the company of Tavi Agarwal. I can't say I've ever really met a gnome before. She's really neat. We saw a party of six of the undead construct-things like we saw at the Archive leave with a big swarm of undead bugs. The next night we saw one of them leave with another swarm due dawn-ward. I have no idea what's in that direction. We figured now was the time to make our push, and in we went.
It was really creepy. Last time I was here undead poured out of the gaps in the plating on the Fist, but this time we clambered down the Arm and into the buried Titan without encountering anything… until we found the source of all those damn bugs. Apparently whoever is in charge around here captured one of the Suryan scarabs, like the one I saw at the Archive. It was bound to some elaborate machinery that forced it to lay eggs constantly while killing the baby scarabs with overdoses of necrotic energy. The big scarab was pretty fucked up looking. Panja tried to talk to it, but it was apparently a lost cause. We had to put it down… and then put it down again when it rose into undeath.
That's when we all started smashing the elaborate machinery, and waves of random magical energy started blasting around, and one of the waves hit me, and… um… my usual disguise fell, and everyone saw my red skin and my horns and my wings. I tried to play it off like "Oh no, that magical energy balefully polymorphed me into a demon-thing!" but apparently they weren't buying it.
Jeez, you'd think these guys had never seen a Cambion before… well, maybe they haven't. I guess things are different in Videha. They freaked the fuck out, started threatening to kill me… I had lost my protection against necrotic and I was slowly dying while they interrogated me, which was frustrating, I mean, how could they possibly know if I was telling the truth or lying? Well, that is, until Saatvik cast a zone of truth.
I told them I hadn't lied to them. I really was part of an expedition to find treasure in the Titan, I just hadn't mentioned who my boss's BOSS was. Yes, my expedition was hired by a guy who worked for a guy who worked for a guy who worked for the Emperor. I was actually pretty surprised at how negatively they viewed the Emperor. I mean, I get why Pandava was upset, but what did His Highness ever do to these guys? They seemed to think he was their personal enemy or something ridiculous like that. They sure spread a lot of anti-Ayodhyan propaganda around Mithila if these guys' reaction is anything to go by. I was seriously tempted to do another bug-out like I had to do when I lost my first team, but I was SO CLOSE. Eventually they agreed not to murder me, that my help might come in handy, that I genuinely want to find the source of these undead and destroy it, etc. etc.
But I gotta say, once we finish that, I'm not sure that these guys aren't going to just try to take me out. I might be seeing you sooner rather than later. Sigh. I hope I at least get SOMETHING I can tell the boss's boss.
Anyway, I know there's not a lot you can do to influence Empire politics at the moment, but hey, I figure a kid can ask right?