BQ-89: The Wandering Emporium

Updated: Jul 8

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Have the Avernian Wastes been wasting you away?


Are the souls of eternal oblivion keeping you up at night?


Are you unable to go literally anywhere else for rest and reprieve?


Then come on down to Mahadi’s Wandering Emporium, the only merchant and social source of entertainment sanctioned by Asmodeus himself!



The Brazen Bulls of the First Regurgitation arrive at a horseshoe-shaped caravan of carts, infernal war machines, and worst of all, hawkers. This collection of brightly colored tents stands clustered together, creating an oasis of comfort amid the dread landscape of Avernus. Curtains made of small, rectangular, iron plates and lamps dangle from chains strung between them. Soft, lilting music and wondrous smells drift across the hot winds, inviting a closer look.


The fact that the PC’s are almost dead also invites a closer look.


Huddled to one area of the establishment is a large, clanging smithy called Firesnake Forge, with three flaming, serpentine salamanders–


“I wanna go there!” Sfiros shouts.


–the salamanders work the raw ingots into slags of moldable metal–


“I WANNA GO THERE!” Sfiros shouts again, interrupting the narrator and sealing his fate. “It’s got ‘forge’ in the name!”


Sfiros goes there and watches the firesnakes and their little magma oompa-loompa friends hammer out a whole bunch of cool stuff that is totally not worth mentioning–you know, like upgrades to infernal war machines and such… nothing important.


Speaking of “lava” and words that sound like that, another shop is manned by a bitter, old hobgoblin named Z’neth who sells larvae. He’s probably old and bitter because one, he’s a hobgoblin; two, he’s in the lucrative business of larvae-mongering; and three, his name sounds like sneezing.


Nobody goes to the larvae-monger.


“Do they have any giant purple worm god larvae?” Tallest asks. “We met one of those and we could probably use another.”


Well maybe somebody is going to the larvae-monger.


Caeus takes out the purple worm god tooth that they took from Shomarrah’s belly in that episode that was absolutely part of the main campaign and not a self-insert by the dungeon master trying to promote his own publications that you could absolutely purchase at this link if you wanted to.


“What a peculiar artifact!” A turban-topped man says, appearing behind them. “My name is Mahadi, and this is my Wandering Emporium Feel free to peruse my wares, as all of these shopkeepers are in service to me,” Mahadi says.


Caeus shoves the purple worm tooth thing at Mahadi and says, “What use would you have of this?”


Sleipnir mumbles from his almost dead slump in the back of the party, “Where we come from, it’s very customary to have a place to rest until the morning… and then we negotiate deals…”


Mahadi tells them all about his super awesome It-Can-Be-Whatever-You-Want-It-To-Be restaurant and spa, the Infernal Rapture. “As the official majordomo of Asmodeus himself, I can procure safe negotiation and parlay chambers as well. I can provide any meal of any extravagance–for the right price!”


“Um… you guys going to be here tomorrow?” Tallest asks.


Mahadi nods.


“We probably need to think on it before we go shopping, so we will take a nice little rest,” Tallest says.


Mahadi peeks behind them at Jeeyan, “Who is that peculiar specimen bumbling around into things?”


“Uh yeah. He’s a mindlfayer,” Tallest says. “That’s not a problem, isn’t it?”


“Don’t worry, he can’t see anything!” Caeus says.


“Yeah he’s blind,” Tallest says.


“He’s our mindflayer,” Sleipnir says.


“I think we prefer ‘illithid’ by the way. It’s less judgmental,” Sfiros says, making everything better after they just made fun of their NPC for being blind.


Mahadi scuttles up to the motorcycle tiefling creature that is Elrich. “Oh, dear sir, if you so desire, I can help restore you to your natural devilish form–for the right price!”


“Oh…” Elrich says. “I’m actually quite happy the way I am!”


“He has headlights for eyes!” Caeus says.


“Yeah look at this!” Elrich says.


“Do you have anywhere that I can like…” Sfiros says, examining the hellscape and gore-flecked environment. “... pray?”


“Oh my gosh,” Sleipnir moos.


Mahadi gestures to the Infernal Rapture, his inner spa and sanctum, which is a tent that opens up to an interdimensional plane for anyone’s desire–for the right price.


Tallest is the first one in as well as the tallest one in, so the interdimensional relaxation spa is exactly the kind of spa he wants it to be–lots and lots of headroom, incense, 45-degree angles, and male elves tending to everyone’s need, specifically wood elves, and who knows maybe some of them look like they have emojis for names–nothing too particular. And gemstones bedazzle the entire place!


Boom!


Tallest is at peace.



“Oh,” Tallest adds. “And if this place is truly ideal, there’s a giant’s head at the entrance that you get to kick when you come in! That’s the kicking head!”


The giant’s head appears, and Tallest kicks it.


“NOT SO TALL NOW, ARE YOU?” he shouts, then proceeds to let three of the sexy servant elf dudes grab each tails and lead him off to somewhere a bit more entertaining.


“Does someone have detect evil and good? Or divine sense? Just to make sure he’s not walking off with some incubi or succubi or anything?” Caeus asks.


Tallest keeps walking like he gives no shits.


“Careful Tallest that might cost more money!” Sleipnir says.


“Have y’all seen some of the devils you guys have been hanging around with?” Tallest says.


Everyone stares at the motorcycle.


Sleipnir looks at one of the sexy elf dudes. “Um, lead us to our room… all of our rooms!” he clarifies.


After a good night of lounging, the Brazen Bulls of the First Regurgitation pay up their due with a soul coin, but they will need to stay a few more nights due to Sleipnir and Elrich getting the absolute daylights busted out of them, so the next morning they do a bit of shopping.


The next day, Sfiros bursts out of the tent and bolts his way over to the Firesnake Forge where he checks out all the hot new hotness.


“Yes, let’s check out all the shopping we can buy,” Tallest says.


Sfiros admires the firesnakes for their ability to smelt and hammer, and the stoking is so professional! They don’t even need a stoking tool. At their shop, the firesnakes have a variety of upgrades they can provide for the infernal war machines, such as hellish acid sprayers and wicked spikes to slam ghosts into.


“Whatcha workin’ on!?” Sfiros shouts.


Sfiros’ forge-boner is raging at the possibilities, and his inner Gond shines on as he tries to play it cool around the experts.


“Hey how much does it cost to repair our beat up infernal war machines?” Sfiros asks the salamander creatures while pointing at their beat up old rides.


The salamanders point to a sign that advertises repair rates at a rate of 50 gp for 1 HP of restoration.


Tallest ponders then speaks, “... I don’t think we have any gold!”


The minotaurs have gone so long with dealing only in soul coins that they’re utterly shocked to find someone who trades in gold.


Sleipnir runs around and tries to pawn off his Tzeentch robe again, but can’t find any buyers. They’re a little short on gold, and they could always use a few soul coins, so maybe they can acquire both by letting go of these treasures they’ve been hauling around for so long.


“Hey Sleipnir you should ask Mahatma if he has a thing you can ride,” Sfiros says.


“What?” Sleipnir says.


“You have that infernal tack that needs a mount! See if you can get one!”


“Oh yeah!” Sleipnir says. “We have that valuable purple worm egg don’t we?”


“Hey Mahatma!” Sfiros says.


“YES!” Mahadi says, popping up behind them.


“That’s a neat trick… do you have any nightmares for sale?” Sfiros says.


“You want a bad dream?” Mahadi says.


“No, a mount! It’s called a nightmare.”


Sleipnir jumps in. “Yeah I need to get one.


Mahadi ponders. “I can procure one,” he says, then whistles. A hellish devil woman appears next to him in a puff of smoke, kneeling down before him. “Yes, Ilzabet, put yourself to the task of procuring a nightmare infernal beast for my clients present.”


Ilzabet pauses for a bit. “It will take some time.”


Mahadi eyes the purple worm egg tooth thing that Caeus is holding.


“Okay this isn’t just my egg, it’s everyone’s egg,” Sleipnir says, huddling with the group. “But it will get me a nightmare mount.”


“What does the nightmare do?” Caeus says.


“It’s like a steed I can summon!”


“Well we can’t ride the egg anywhere,” Caeus says.


The Brazen Bulls of the First Regurgitation moo in agreement.


“I don’t want to give up the purple worm egg!” Sfiros moos in disagreement. “We could be parents of a purple worm!”


“It’s petrified, like fossilized!” Caeus says.


“This trade is going to include the night’s rent we had as well!” Sleipnir adds.


Mahadi nods in agreement, then turns to Ilzabet. “Fetch a nightmare for this nightmare,” he says, then accepts the purple worm artifact from the minotaurs.


The minotaurs begin to look through their stuff again and see what they have to barter with since they’re short on gold and don’t want to lose their soul coins. They find the Tzeetnch robe again, a roper eye, some roper rope–the brownies are all eaten, so no more of that, a Manzibar tooth, some Zanzibar statue dust…


Hrm, a roper eye…


And a blind illithid…


“Hey Jeeyan if I put this in your face, will it work?” Sleipnir says, holding up the roper eye.


Jeeyan replies to Sleipnir, <No that is not how biology works…>


Sleipnir realizes that the roper eye is the size of a softball and wouldn’t be able to fit into any regular humanoid’s head. Not even Tallest’s face is tall enough to fit an eye into a socket.


“How do you think science gets done?” Caeus says, getting ready to cast enlarge/reduce on the roper eye. “Actually why don’t we set up a booth and sell some Herd merch? Or Shommarah merch?”


The Brazen Bulls of the First Regurgitation peruse the rest of the shops and come across some truly bizarre shops.


Ichor’s Aweigh is a shop specializing in demon ichor, managed by an elderly mage named Elliach. However, the elder mage has tampered with demon ichor so much that his hands have been replaced with tentacles. Also, his ears grew wings and flew off, so he relies on lip reading and hand gestures to speak.


Nobody visits him.


Secondly, there’s From Here to Avernus, a courier service operated by Fhet’Ahla, an amnizu surrounded by multiple shapeshifting imps. Fhet’Ahla welcomes the minotaurs, and lets them peruse his offers. He, like many others in the Wandering Emporium, is enslaved to Mahadi due to a deal gone wrong. With his services, the minotaurs can send messages all over Avernus for the small price of one soul coin–


NOPE!


They’re not trading soul coins for any of that!


“We’re not really from here, so we’re short on soul coins,” Caeus says.


The third and final shop is none other than Burney the Barber… and she’s what some may call “different.” A big, dopey smile is splayed across her face, and she welcomes the minotaurs with enough cheer and joy to make any ol’ grump into a sweet and happy so-and-so!


“Haircuts! Grooming! Mani-pedis!” Burney shouts from her little shop. “One gold piece!”


Sleipnir dashes up to her. “One gold piece? Deal!”


The ragged, beat up, many-levels-of-exhaustion shadow minotaur hobbles his stain-tattered ass up to the woman and plops down in the chair.


“Oh, oh,” Burney says, analyzing the disaster in front of her. “Uh hello? Hi, I’m Burney the Barber. What’s your name!?”


“I’m Sleipnir… and I have been through hell!”


“Oh yeah gosh, well actually that just so happens to be where we’re at right now? HAHAHA!” she gleefully banters.


“I know, but I’ve been through a lot of it, and most of it is matted in my fur!”



Burney begins to speak, “I’m so sorry to hear about that! It’s all matted in your fur? I’m actually very good at any kind of fur cleaning and minor medical attention! Go ahead and get comfortable and put your clothes in this bucket! Thank you for the gold piece! I’ll use this pitchfork first to get all the matted fur out before I use the comb! How long have you been in Avernus? Ah, forever? That’s a long time! I haven’t been in Avernus for that long–maybe a week or a year. I’ve been here, but I don’t know how long. Forever sounds like a long time! I got here–a lot of us like me are just indebted to Mahadi, wew don’t remember how we got here, but I set my shop up, take it down every night, then BOOM there I am! My shop is all set back up again every morning! I only charge one gold piece to get nice good haircuts and such. I can survive on a couple of gold pieces a day. It’s not the best job but it’s not the worst job–how ‘bout you?”


Sleipnir takes a few seconds to think and unscramble what he just heard from her. “I, uh, we’re adventurers. We’re actually looking for any rumors you might have–”


“I HAVE SO MANY RUMORS–I’M A BARBER!” Burney squeals.


“Oh my gosh! You and me are best friends!” Sleipnir shouts and gets his book out.


Burney leans in close to Sleipnir, “All right. Okay. You didn’t hear it from me, okay? You didn’t hear it from me. But I heard–and you didn’t hear it from me, okay? But I hear that the Archduke of Avernus, Azariel, she just pulled an entire city down from the Material Plane! With chains and everything! Now the demons and devils are fighting all over it because ever since the Great Peace began, those two have just been at it the whole time! And now this is the new big thing like ‘oh my goodness, brand new city, brand new souls, let’s just go get them!’ You know they’ve been pulling these cities down from the skies? I think it was Kinchasa. You know there were some heroes who sailed off from there and killed a god baby or something and they saved some lady or killed a lady–Akunai or Akuno? And there was a Manzibar?”


“Yeah I have his tooth!” Sleipnir says.


“... Why!?” Burney says.


“Um have you ever heard of a memento?” Sleipnir says. “This thing is valuable! It’s worth like three soul coins!”


Burney thinks… and it’s kind of hard. “I think that might not be true. Oh, you know what else might not be true!? So I heard, and you didn’t hear it from me, okay? You didn’t hear it from me. I didn’t say it. That there is this place out there in the Avernian wastes–there is this big tower, you know, and it’s like this big beetle holding something up out of the ground and all. You know what I mean, a big beetle? It’s like some kind of Demon Zapper! I heard that if you get any kind of fiend or devil creature near that thing, then it’s just going to blast them apart! I heard that the power of the Demon Zapper is fueled by a trapped unicorn!”


“Wow that sounds like we need to go figure that out!” Sleipnir says, scribbling in his rumor book.


Burney keeps cutting hair and not shutting up, “I tell you what, you know what else I heard? I heard there has been all kinds of ruckus over the last few nights, and I think I know why–yep I think I do. Have you ever heard of Arkhan the Cruel? Well apparently he’s been getting into a real tizzy with a bunch of other folks! He’s been just praising Tiamat like he always does, typical dragon cult leader sort of situation, but then some bad stuff has been going on down here in avernus. That dragonborn cleric in service to Tiamat seeks to free her from her ancient prison! And I hear he’s been dabbling in things he shouldn’t be dabbling in! Anyways, there’s been a lot of drama going on over there, because not everyone is happy about him freeing Tiamat, so the skies above have been exploding! And, it’s kind of like a serpentine monster has been encircling his tower! And you know what I heard!? Know what I heard? There are now two serpentine monsters fighting around his tower, and guess what? If those two serpentine monsters take each other out, that just sounds like good news for Arkhan!”


“Well, depending on which one wins…” Caeus begins. “Arkhan may find himself in a very different place.”


“Speaking of different places, you know what else I heard?” Burney begins. “So Tiamat has apparently been going through some of her phases–and I think she’s in her white dragon phase–since she’s all chromatic and has that red green blue white black montage going on. So she’s all up in her white dragon aspect at the moment, so Avernus around Arkhan’s tower is starting to freeze up and snow at the moment. Anyway, there you go! That will be one gold piece!”

Sleipnir steps out of the barber chair and feels immensely improved in the cosmetic department since earlier today–and his rumor monger book is now stacked with extra scribblings!


Sfiros is next in line.


“You look like a holy person!” Burney says.


“I am!” Sfiros says.


“This must be a terrible place for you.”


“It sucks!”


“I knoooow! Good people are just so hard to find around here,” Burney leans in and says. “That’ll be one gold piece!”


Sfiros hands a coin to her. “Yes ma’am. Clean me up! Get this brimstone smell out of my holy fur.”


“Oh you’ve got holy fur? Let me get the special treatment! I’ve got perfumes, essential oils, nonessential oils, essential perfumes, and some bathbombs. Now you’re not wearing any of that crazy demon-looking armor that so many other people wear in these parts–what deity do you keep in line with?”


“Gond! Have you heard about Gond?” Sfiros says. “We can talk about Gond!”


“SURE I’ve heard of Gond! Okay let’s see, oh yeah, Gond! Right here on the bottle I’ve got over here with all the other deities,” she says, grabbing a can of WD-40 and spraying him down with the greasy engine euphoria.


Sfiros feels himself transported back to the great forge in the High House of Wonders back in Baldur’s Gate. He’s sweating, hammering away at a master suit of armor, and Numooru has bestowed the clerical rank to Sfiros that he is now the one in charge of the High House of Wonders–and there are no stoking tools in sight!



Sfiros finds himself back in Avernus… the wondrous sensation now a fleeting memory.


“So what brings you to Avernus?” Burney says.


“We’re on a mission from Gond,” Sfiros says.


“Oh a mission from Gond! I like that! Sometimes those deities just send people out on missions like that. What kind of mission are you on?” Burney says.


“Well we’re here for a city that got pulled down here–I think you were talking to my buddy about that,” Sfiros says. “I didn’t hear the whole thing, but we have to rescue them.”


“Oh you’re trying to rescue them? That’s so sweeeet!” Burney says. “So are you like from the town being rescued? Do you rescue cities often?”


“No this is new for us! Usually I’m a blacksmith and inventor–this is all a new thing,” Sfiros says.


“Well hopefully you can forge yourself to greatness! You keep me young, Sfiros, you keep me young!”


They both laugh.


“So I noticed you got like a mindflayer following you around–what’s that about?” Burney said.


“Oh he’s new to the crew, but he’s cool! He’s blind and he doesn’t flay any minds that we don’t want him to flay,” Sfiros explains.


“Good, I’m glad he isn’t wanting to flay my mind–not that there’s much up here to get! HAHA!” Burney chuckles along with Sfiros.


Caeus hears this conversation and walks over to Jeeyan, “Hey can you see what’s up with her? Can you do like a sniff test? What’s wrong with this brain?”


Jeeyan pretends like he’s shopping so that people won’t notice he’s sniffing out Burney’s mental prowess, but since he can’t see shit he’s bumping into everything. Soon he casts detect thoughts on Burney, then cocks his head in alarm.


<Caeus, there is absolutely nothing to detect in there,> Jeeyan says.


“Uh, you think she’s already been flayed?” Caeus says.


“Or is she a robot like motorcycle dad over here?” Tallest says.


“Is she ABF?” Caeus says.


<It’s a most baffling situation… It’s like reading a book written in an entirely different language by a cat who can’t even see. In illithid speech, she is what I would refer to as “empty calories.” If I flayed her brain, it would choke me to death.>


“OOH!” Burney says, “Did you feel something?”


“No I am absolutely relaxed right now,” Sfiros says as the barber keeps massaging oils into his skin, completely oblivious to Burney’s obliviousness. “Hey did I hear you say something about a cleric of Tiamat before?”


“Arkhan? Oh yeah Arkhan the Cruel? He’s like a cleric of Tiamat high up in her ecclesiarchy, and apparently he’s been up to a lot of naughty nonsense lately–there’s been a lot of fighting going on over at his place, he’s hyping up his defenses, he’s toying around with the white dragon aspect on a big scale–and I mean big scale. Like, when I mean big scale, I’m not talking about a dragon scale or a fish–you know what I mean?”


“Yes,” Sfiros says.


“Like a fish scale?”


“Mm-hmm–”


“Because a fish has scales too, and dragons do, but frogs don’t!”


“Frogs have scales!?” Caeus says.


“NO!” Burney yells.


Jeeyan is walking away at this point.


“Buy yeah,” Burney continues. “It’s getting very snowy, very icy, and uh he’s drawing some ire–apparently some demigods or something are coming along to knock him down a couple of pegs. Might be because of all that ice coming out and spreading through Avernus.”


“What does happen when hell freezes over?” Sfiros asks.


Burney puts her hands on her hips and thinks. It takes some effort. “I don’t know! That one hell did… that eighth one, Cania. It’s not the last hell, but the second to the last. Um, it’s frozen over. Heck’s not frozen over. Nessus isn’t frozen over. The Mystery Layer might be–”


“The Mystery Layer?” Sfiros says.


“Yeah, the Mystery Layer! Do you know about the Nine Hells?” she quizzes the cleric. “So this layer is the first one, Avernus.”


“Yep, got it,” Sfiros says.


Caeus immediately falls asleep.


“The second layer is Dis,” Burney says. The third layer is Minauros, which sounds kind of like–I don’t want to sound stereotypical or anything, but you know… minotaur.”


“Does hell get progressively worse the deeper you go?” Sfiros says.


“There’s definitely a progressively different the further down you go,” Burney says. “The fourth layer is Idaho–”


None of the minotaurs believe such a silly name exists, especially for hell.


“There we go! All done!” Burney says, finished doctoring up Sfiros. “You’re like a prized blue ribbon entry!”


“And now as a reward for cleaning us, you get to give us five soul coins!” Caeus tries to weasel in a terrible deal in the land of devils. He’s not good at it.


“I do not deal in soul coins!” Burney says, crossing her arms. Those are heathen! There’s trapped souls in them! Within each soul coin is the soul of someone! If you’re as pure of heart as a little, yellow elephant, then maybe I’ll trust you with soul coins–but other than that count me out!”


Caeus looks for Mahadi and finds him being suspicious somewhere. “Hey, that haircut lady over there,” he says, pointing to Burney. “What’s her deal?”


“I don’t know,” Mahadi says. “She just shows up every morning, sets up her shop, and charges people one gold piece to cut their hair. So I let her work here.”


Caeus reunites with the others, “So he just said this lady shows up and he lets her work.”


“Lets her work?” Sfiros says, eyeing all the others at their shops. He then goes to Mahadi. “Mahatma, the barber lady said something about a little, yellow elephant–and you’re finding us a nightmare–could you find us our own little yellow elephant?” he says, thinking about Lulu.


Mahadi scratches his hand, “I sold the only little yellow elephant I’ve come across to some devils long ago.”


Lulu?


“How? Why?” Caeus says.


“It’s good money.”


“That’s kind of like slavery right?” Caeus says.

Mahadi takes a step up to the minotaurs, his eyes a dark shadow of scheming imperialism. “Why do you think all of these people here work for me?”


“So when you say ‘work,’ you mean the bad kind?” Caeus says.


“I have one rule. You must pay in full, or else there are consequences,” Mahadi says, then gestures around. “Not everybody pays in full–and those who don’t, I collect on their contracts. Such is the way of Avernus.”


“Just wait until some new lords get installed–I’ve heard some things,” Caeus hint-hints.


“So when will you set all of these people free? These contracts don’t seem fair,” Tallest says, crossing his arms and standing in front of Mahadi.


“Who said anything about contracts needing to be fair?” Mahadi says. “You know where you are don’t you? You’re in hell. These people signed contracts, didn’t fulfill their end, now they belong to me.”


“Well who do you work for? And how long have you been here?” Caeus says.


“I work for Asmodeus. He’s the overlord of all Nine Hells and master of the ninth layer of Nessus. He gave me the power to traverse the hells and be his eyes and ears as I converse with the archdukes,” Mahadi says.


“Well how does ol’ Asmodeus feel about the job that Zariel is doing right now?” Caeus says.


“How do you feel about Zariel’s job so far?” Tallest adds.


“I am bound by contract to Asmodeus–not Zariel. Would the former archduke of Avernus, Bel, have done a better job? Perhaps… perhaps not…”


Caeus turns to the others. “I don’t like this guy. Let’s kill him.”


“We’re not killing him! He’s getting my steed!” Sleipnir argues. “You can’t kill every demon you come across in hell!”


“Well he’s the eyes and ears of Asmodeus. I at least want to give Asmodeus a wet willy,” Caeus says. “I’m not gonna do it, but I wanna.”


Mahadi produces a really cool magical mace and waves it in front of them, prompting a long degree of haggling where the minotaurs, after just chastizing Mahadi for slavery, try to decide which of his slaves they could trick into offering up their souls as payment to get the magical mace. They have this discussion in front of Jeeyan, their own slave.


Instead they trade a soul coin to get Jeeyan’s eyesight restored, making him no longer a blindflayer. Restoring the one crippling aspect of an evil aberration in hopes that he will still be friends with you is a great decision, right?



Sfiros does some thinking, then speaks, “Um, so Mahadi… I have a feeling you’re a pretty smart guy. We’re kind of looking for a specific little elephant, Lulu. You know here. We know her. Do you know where she’s at?”


Mahadi shrugs. “I sold her, remember? After I dumped her into the River Styx and erased her memory, I pawned her off.”


The minotaurs’ jaws all drop.


“Why did you throw her into the River Styx and erase her memory!?” Sfiros says.


“It’s easier to sell someone if they don’t know who they are,” Mahadi says.


“I don’t like that,” Sfiros says.


“I want to fight him,” Caeus says.


“NOT YET!” Sleipnir says. “Remember my horse!? You can’t just fight all the slavers we find! This one has cool stuff to sell!”


Announcing that a slaver has “cool stuff to sell” is not a way to win any good-guy points.


Sfiros and Caeus are still upset.


“Hey, haircut girl,” Caeus says to Burney, thinking she would make a nice NPC companion. “Let’s go fit you into this Grubba seat.”


“What’s a Grubba seat?” Burney says. “This has blood on it…”


“No no no that’s like hair gel or something probably,” Caeus says.


After getting their bearings, the Brazen Bulls of the First Regurgitation decide to camp out a bit more, staying in the Infernal Rapture to recuperate. Eventually, Sleipnir’s nightmare horse arrives, and he rides it all over the place like a giddy, dirty hell-creep. With their debts paid, they decide to have the salamanders at their forge upgrade their demon grinder–bedecking it with magical spikes that can impale the souls of the slain.


What’s all that previous talk about not enslaving people?


Burney shows up, ready to go on an adventure, and she hops into the Grubba seat. Jeeyan is driving the demon grinder since he can see again, and they set off across the hellish plains towards Arkhan’s tower–the site of Shommarrah and Dendar’s duel.


On the way there, they notice the ground transition from the hellish, sandy landscape of the wasteland into a frosted, snow-covered winterscape. The temperature drops, and looming in the distance is the spire of Arkhan’s upward-thrusting tower. High above in the snowdrifts, two serpentine gods collide with each other, thundering their battle across the airwaves.


As they approach, they see a discarded devil’s ride motorcycle sitting on the bank. They idle their vehicles to a stop, then scope the place out–there’s no such thing as a free devil’s ride! The DM clearly has some bullshit ready for them!


And that’s when they see it–a gleam in the snowdrift, dome-shaped, like that of a Leomund’s tiny hut with a layer of snowflakes flecking off of it.


And within the hut, staring back at them, is an elderly Kinchasan man with a metallic hand, a grim expression, and a Black Opal Crown resting on his head.



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