I really need to get some sort of travel alarm thingy, because no one
will ever actually say, "Um, we'd like to game sometime today, so maybe you
should get up?".
Despite this, we did eventually play...
Amazon Quartet of Justice VIIc: "On the Path of the Sun!
On the hills above Giant Crab
Beach, Our Heroines spot a familiar-looking creature. However, it is
not actually their friend Leo the androsphinx, but another test which has
assumed Leo's form because it is familiar to them. The solar sphinx asks
them the traditional riddle of the sphinxes, and seems to think it obscure,
which somewhat confuses them until they realize that being a test on the
path of the sun is probably not much helping in keeping up with the latest
advances in riddling. The traditional answer proves to be the one he's
looking for, but he begs the Quartet to not let it get out. He
accompanies them to the edge of the domain he has been assigned, and as
they walk, he tells them a story of a great kingdom that was assailed by
a man who sought a dark apotheosis. Abandoned by its allies, the
kingdom was unable to prevail, so its king sent his heir and a guardian
away, to await a better time. Then, the king took his kingdom out of the
world, so that it could not be defeated (but neither can it
Following the path onward through the proverbial rolling hills, the
Amazons next encounter a herd of wild horses, led by a unicorn. There is
some concern about this test, Sophia and Serenity having been Permanently
and Precipitously Paged by Pelor, but fortunately Gabrielle can fill in.
(The other three have to settle for ordinary horses (if anything in this
realm can be called ordinary).)
The steeds bear the Amazons to a ruined city, where a statue of a
blindfolded woman stands, balance and sword at her feet. The unicorn
bows at the feet of the statue, who pets it. When questioned, she says
that her name is Themis, and that she was not always blind. The nature
of the test is obvious, but so is the solution, since Fresa can shape
stone with magic.
Themis, free of her blindfold, takes up her balance and sword again.
She warns the Amazons that the next trial must be fought and defeated,
not bypassed, but that there will be help on the other side.
The path then leads into a swamp, where a scorpion attacks the Quartet.
The poisoned stinger and the claws that catch are not an inconsiderable
problem, but the scorpion is enough smaller than the Giant Crab that it is
soon dispatched, with only Alyra significantly poisoned.
The scorpion hasn't even stopped twitching when someone comes running up
the road, brandishing a staff with snakes wrapped around it (which oddly
does not make Alyra twitch, although she does take cover in case he's
another enemy). He doesn't immediately state his intentions, and is
undeterred by Gabrielle shooting the ground at his feet, but isn't
obviously hostile, so the Amazons wait to see what spell he's casting on
Alyra before taking drastic action. Fortunately, it's Neutralize Poison
(followed by Cure Serious Wounds).
While patching up everyone else who engaged the scorpion in close
combat, the healer introduces himself as Aesculapius, aka Ophiuchus. He
laments that he has been mostly forgotten by humanity, so the Quartet
promise to speak highly of him when they return to the mortal world.
Leaving Ophiuchus and the marsh behind, the Amazons enter a hillier region,
which has plenty of rocks for ambushers to hide behind. Sure enough,
Alyra's keen elven eyes spot someone lurking behind a rock on yonder
hill. He responds to a hail with arrows, so Alyra rushes forward to
engage him, leaving the others to be entangled by the vegetation the
archer's magic arrow brings to life (not that it hampers either
Gabrielle or Amaryllis much). The archer turns out to be a centaur, but
that doesn't help, and he is soon dispatched. Gabrielle replenishes her
quiver from the centaur's, but alas none of his other arrows are
The hills descend into a flatter forest, from which entrancing music
emerges. Not entrancing enough, apparently, as none of Our Heroines are
particularly impressed by the disreputable-looking satyr who approaches
to try out his pick-up lines. Gabrielle goes so far as to critique his
playing, and then demonstrates how it's really done with an impromptu
piece about how a satyr would be much better off looking for loose women
back down the road thataway. The satyr takes off and Our Heroines
continue on (hopefully toward the end of the path, as sunset is drawing
As the sky turns red with sunset, the Amazons spy a familiar-looking
figure silhouetted atop a hill: the gatekeeper they met at the beginning of
the path. Before battle is joined, he offers to yield if they can answer
who he is an avatar of, what form his avatar has taken, and what his quest
is. His apparal and the distinctive runes on his crown make it clear that
he is represented as the king of Avalon, but although the Amazons figure
out the zodiacal nature of the path of the sun, they can't settle on a
single answer for who the avatar represents or what his quest is. He turns
invisible, and the fight is on!
The avatar is a sorcerer significantly more powerful than any one of the
Amazons, but a well-cast spell from Fresa removes most of his magical
enhancements and protections early on, and he never entirely recovers from
that. Once defeated and bound, he gives his parole amiably enough, and
informs Our Heroines that they have indeed succeeded in following the Path
of the Sun.
The first of the five great artifacts mentioned by Hrogarth and now
described as being essential to resolve the fate of Avalon, is a
golden harp. Through experimentation, Gabrielle discovers that one of
the harp's powers is to surround its player with sunlight which covers a
larger and larger area the longer it is played. Unfortunately, the
avatar of Aquarius reveals, that power can only be used once every seven
days, so it will now not be of use against the undead that are doubtless
lying in wait for anyone who survives the Path of the Sun.
As a musician and follower of Pelor, Gabrielle is obviously
best-suited to the harp, but the other Amazons get the magical
accoutrements that Aquarius had used in their fight. This is not as
pleasing to Alyra as it could be, since all the items sparkle
brilliantly in the light and glow faintly in
the dark, but she does get all the items replaced by these new ones,
which she can sell or trade for more useful stuff when the Quartet
returns to civilization.
Our Heroines spend the night in Aquarius's realm, to be refreshed
physically and magically for the imminent fight against the undead.
* * *
Haggling over the new loot and levelling up took enough time that we
decided to put off the undead fight until next session (tentatively
scheduled for 17 April). After a nourishing, or at least tasty, meal of
take-out Chinese, we hit the road.
There was a slight detour, about which I should not now write, but
but we hardly got lost at all. Really.
I was still feeling unwell, leading me to believe that I am actually
the target of invading microrobes, and made the mistake of complaining
about it, which through the miracle of Harold's pocket internet
connection was parlayed into mass panic. I was not dead by the time we
reached home, however, and will probably continue to metabolize for days,
if not weeks, to come.
* * *
Wow, people made Heroes of Nexus characters! I guess I won't suddenly
change systems to Everway after all!