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12 February 2005 - Saturday

Marith slept through her alarm, but fortunately my brilliant plan had allowed for the possibility, so we zoomed expeditiously to Roseville and were not late at all! (Sadly, Ken was not with us, as he was too sick or engaged or something to travel.)

Sherilyn, who is that cool, gave us all hand-crafted icosahedral dice boxes of cunning design to hold the dice we were about to use to play...

Amazon Quartet of Justice IXa: "The Dragon and the Virgins"

Having finally resolved the political situation in Pelagos to their liking, the Amazons waste no time in teleporting themselves and Ambassador Barr back to Rati with a copy of the treaty signed by Queen Ditte. As soon as the king of Rati has added his signature, it's off to King Penn's fleet where, after waiting for the king to finish up with a few of his paramours, they inform him that he is leading a fleet to support his allies in saving the world. No one asks what he was doing before receiving the message, but response among the fleet captains is distinctly mixed.

Satisfied that any bloodshed between Rati and Pelagos will not be their fault, Our Heroines attempt to locate Princess Lisbet's friend Kalida in the desert land of Karral. Unfortunately, Kalida is a very common name in Karral, and they don't have much other identifying information for her, so they end up teleporting to a small encampment in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately they have no men with them, so they are able to ask directions of the alarmed nomads. Unfortunately, the nomads don't know which Kalida the Amazons are looking for either, but at least they're in the right country.

Suddenly, the nomads begin frantically concealing their tents and hiding within! As the ominous dot in the sky grows larger, the Quartet can see that it is a winged giant, probably the offspring of a fire giant and a blue dragon. In any case, it is large and fearsome, immune to fire and lightning, and not nearly a match for the Amazons.

The deeply impressed nomads offer their hospitality for the night, and tell tales of the horrible monsters that have been raiding out of the mountains lately. The Amazons still have no idea where to find the right Kalida, but they are pretty certain where they're going to end up going afterwards.

During breakfast the next morning, the encampment is alarmed by the approach of more flying creatures. The Quartet reconnoiter, and find that one of the fliers is their friend Leo (an androsphinx who they rescued from necrotheologians), beset by half a dozen heiracosphinxes. The cause of the fight isn't clear -- Leo is yelling something about getting revenge for what the hieracosphinxes did to "her" -- but the Amazons know which side they're on!

Amaryllis gives all the Amazons the power of flight, but they are still outnumbered, and hampered by having to try to save Leo, who is badly wounded but refuses to retire from the field. In the end, all the hieracosphinxes are slain, but not before Leo plummets to his death as well.

Leo's spirit is eager to return from the afterlife, since after all Elsa, the most beautiful gynosphinx in the world, isn't there to be rescued from a band of wicked hieracosphinxes and their half-blue-dragon leader. Thus apprised of the situation, the Amazons head off with Leo for the sphinxes' mountain lair.

After study of the cave mouth and the two hieracosphinxes guarding it, a ninja-style assault is ruled out, so Our Heroines (and Leo) fall back on magic to sneak past the guards. Passing ethereally through the mountain, they emerge in a cavern with several more sphinxes, including one particularly large and blue specimen, but also with several barred cells containing an assortment of young women and a gynosphinx.

Battle is joined! Leo rends one of the hieracosphinxes limb from limb immediately in honor of his lady love, and despite the half-dragon sphinx's ferocity, things seem to be going well on other fronts... until the huge sapphire-scaled dragon rises from beneath the sands!

Few can withstand such a sight, and Elsa's rescuers are sadly no exception. Gabrielle teleports herself and Alyra out of the dragon's lair, and Amaryllis takes Leo to the mountaintop as well. With no capacity to spare for Fresa, they have to leave her behind, but she encases herself in a bubble of stone which resists the blue sphinx's claws long enough for Amaryllis to return for her. The dragon rushes from the cave to intercept those foolish enough to invade its lair, but even with magical quickness the long way around is slow enough that it arrives just as Amaryllis is bundling everyone into the pocket dimension and closing the gate. It makes one strafing run before she vanishes, but her magical protections absorb the lightning bolt harmlessly, and she thumbs her nose at it.

No fool, the dragon dives back to its cave and slithers in, but again is not quite fast enough: Elsa refuses to leave without her friend Kalida, so in a frantic flurry of magic and lock-picking, the Amazons gather up all the captives into their pocket dimension and teleport away moments before the dragon reaches them.

In the common room of Amaryllis's favorite inn in Tigris, the patrons are quite astonished to see a beautiful halfling appear out of thin air and open a magical doorway from which several other moderately attractive females and one very lucky male tumble.

After a few stiff drinks, things get sorted out. It seems that the dragon was collecting virgins to go with its treasure (although there is some doubt as to its discernment). Leo finally manages to introduce himself to the beauteous Elsa, who is not overly impressed with his prowess but has to admit that he did bring heroines to rescue her, and flies off with him to find someplace to stay outside the smelly human city. Kalida, warlord of Karral, and her fellow Karralians, want to return home as soon as possible, but are willing to wait a day or two for Kalida to meet with Princess Lisbet.

Sadly, Lisbet is no longer much in favor with her siblings, so she sends a messenger to summon Kalida (with Amaryllis and Alyra as escort) to a midnight meeting. Kalida agrees to help save the world, so plans for her departure are moved up a bit. Anyway, the Amazons strongly suspect they will need to find and excavate the lost city buried beneath Karral's sands to continue gathering the five artifacts of prophecy, and may have to eliminate the dragon as well.

* * *

Notes to self:

  • Next time people need to be scooped into the dimension of camping, keep one of them outside to open and close the gate so Amaryllis can devote her actions to spell-casting
  • Rent apartments in every city we've been to, so Amaryllis has somewhere to teleport to without making the locals spill their drinks
  • If Fresa can't find boots of striding and springing, at least get her some potions of Expeditious Retreat
  • Stock up on potions and scrolls for the new Heward's Handy Haversack, which holds 120 pounds of stuff and always has what you need on top

* * *

After allowing Al and Sherilyn to stuff us even more full of tasty food, we scuttled back to Mountain View without incident.

AQoJ by marith (Fri Feb 18 09:47:52 2005)

Somehow I can tell that Amaryllis wrote the writeup for this one. :)

Re: AQoJ by Trip (Fri Feb 18 18:09:18 2005)

It's not my fault you don't want to do writeups!

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