The Flumphs Are Freed
Spending a few minutes to heal their wounds from their battle with the monstrosity, the party then makes their way out of the tunnel. Soon they are standing on the ledge – to where the flumphs had delivered them just a short time ago. As they worked their way out of the hole, Abban’s foul mood had seemed to infect them all. The choice to gather the treasure chest while the party was besieged by the creature weighed on him. More so especially since the treasure was sacrificed in destroying the creature. Losing a great treasure defeating the monster seemed a heavy price to pay. And now doubt of his decisions gnawed away at him greedily.
Looking up, Sever sees several of the flumphs hovering above. Waving to gain their attention, they begin to ascend towards the party. But as they approach closer, they suddenly swerve and race back upwards. The flumphs then rapidly gather together in a clump, forming a circle of some twenty or so. Then slowly, the mass of flumphs begin to rotate. It is a wonderful spectacle from below, but the party cannot divine its intent.
After rotating several times, it becomes apparent that the flumphs are creating a slow, downward spinning spiral. The end point of the spiral slowly descends towards the party.
“What in Orcus’ vile name is this?” exclaims Mertat.
“Wait” says Sever. “There is something else moving above.”
And surely, from the top of the spiral of flumphs, now near the ledge from which the party had first entered the cavern, a figure appears. Leaping from the ledge, it lands on the highest flumph at the top of the spiral. Wavering just a bit as it throws out short arms to steady itself, the figure at last gains a firm footing on top of the flumph. Then, crouching down, the figure springs through the air, leaping to the next flumph down, landing solidly this time. Pausing but a moment, it then leaps down onto the next flumph. The flumphs continue their spiral rotation, continuing to lower as a uniform mass closer and closer to the party. The figure continues its leaps, following the spiral path of the descending flumphs, coming closer and closer towards the party.
“Well, that was not expected” Sever states.
“What? What do you see?” demands Abban.
“Soon enough, you’ll see” Sever ends, with a smile now beginning to cross his face.
The bottom-most flumph is now closing in on the party, with the figure continuing the leaping from flumph to flumph. Bright colored clothes the figure wears, and is not much larger than the flumphs themselves. Musical instruments can now be seen by all, strapped to his back. And above his head he now wields a whip, swirling it above his head and cracking into the air as of an inferno announcing his coming.
“Well, may I be regarded a simpleton” Kael declares. “Ridiculous Sabus. Flumph Rider.”
And in truth, the entire party can now see Sabus leaping and tumbling from flumph to flumph, even as the creatures continue their spinning rotation. Landing securely on each new flumph, Sabus continues twirling his whip overhead as he leaps. And with a grand flourish, he makes a final magnificent leap and tumble, landing solidly on the ledge, thus joining the rest of his party.
Sever and Kael laugh at the display and greet Sabus with slaps on the back, amused and entertained, and quite a bit impressed, by Sabus’ acrobatics.
“That was tittering” declares Kael, grinning widely at the performance. “Flumph Rider, welcome!”
Sabus takes a quick bow before his admiring friends. All but Abban, who despite the display remains still in his poor mood.
Sabus quickly explains that as he and Jeru had set out to the Fairy City to deliver the update regarding Eccial’s status…..
“WHAT? WAIT! ECCIAL!?!” Sabus exclaims. “How did…. Who… Why… Agggh! Come here!”
With that, Sabus saves his last leap and tumble, landing on Eccial’s breast and applying such a bear hug as his stature allows. “It matters not. Surely, this is a gift from the gods! It is a great and kind act that has brought you back to continue with us.”
Eccial, clearly now uncomfortable at the attention, extricates himself from the grasp of Sabus, and backs away. Nothing is betrayed by his face, now hidden securely behind the Skull Mask which, despite its gruesome visage, affords him a livelier appearance. The skin on Eccial’s face and neck is now almost completely gone and his eyes pushed inside their sockets. Thankfully, the Skull Mask hides the most hideous countenance.
“Fine, Eccial” Sabus now continues, in a just slightly more restrained voice, beaming a happy and ecstatic smile “but great it is to have you again with us.”
“Well, anyway, I met my sister right outside of Zelkor’s Ferry. She was coming to town with a group of seers to see if they could find success in divining anything more about the fog and perhaps how to lift it. I delivered my message to her, and then they agreed to assist by delivering me deep within Rappan Athuk, using guidance I provided.
“I then made it the rest of the way through, and discovered the flumphs” Sabus continues. “They were quite kind – it was almost as if they were expecting me. It must have been right after you all went to fight the second beast below when I arrived. I found some success talking with the flumphs – well, communicating of a sort, anyway. They were able to relay to me how you had assisted the flumphs with their dangers, and had promised to complete the task by disposing of the threats below.
“And now here we are all once again. Gathered together, we can defeat this next challenge the flumphs have set for us.”
“If this next fight the flumphs have set for us is greater than the last, I shall bring us all to ruin!” Abban had remained apart during Sabus’ arrival, still wrapped in his own dire thoughts. But now that he has joined in the discussion, immediately the mood turns from welcoming reunion to one of gloom.
Seeing the confused look on Sabus, Mertat relays the tale of the past several encounters, and how Abban has shouldered the blame for decisions he believe were incorrect.
“Not just incorrect” Abban corrects. “I have strayed from my teachings, and I do not know why. My faith has been weakened, and I no longer am sure if I can continue in my present course.”
“Abban” Sever quickly interrupts. “It is your faith that has inspired me. For so long, I acted in greed for myself. But since we have journeyed together, I now understand how great a failing my selfish acts were.”
“True, we have all been heartened by your dedication” Mertat picks up from Sever. “We are mortal. Not all our decisions are correct and wise. Mistakes, many we have, and many shall we make. Our duty is to strive forward as best we are able, and to learn from our failings. That is the greatest challenge posed to mortal-kind.”
“I am just now beginning my path” Sever continues. “Your guidance has inspired me, and I admit I continue to need such. For I see, and fear, the paths I may chose without your guidance.”
Abban bows his head as if in torture. He then kneels to the ground, pondering these words of support. For several minutes, the party stays silent while Abban deliberates his course. Then, standing up, he addresses the party “I appreciate the confidence you have all displayed in me. But the confidence that sustains me comes from within, built upon my faith and relationship with the gods. If I cannot touch that confidence, that faith, then I cannot serve the party well. I need time for reflection.”
As he finishes his words, one of the flumphs, the larger one that Sever had first ridden, floats forward. He positions himself near Abban, and gently wraps his tentacles around his arm, pulling him upward. Looking into the single good eye of the flumph, Abban seems to understand.
“You will take me to a place of refuge where I can delve into my worries?” Abban asks.
The flumph hums pleasantly, and again gently pulls Abban’s arm.
“Very well. I will accept your offer.” Then turning to the party, Abban continues “I will go with the flumphs and take time to reflect. I must take my relief while you finish this third mission for the flumphs. I only hope that my leaving you before this third task is complete does not leave you outnumbered against your foes. Yet another poor decision I make, perhaps.”
“But go now, I plead. And perhaps when you’ve gain your success, I’ll be prepared to make a decision on my future travels.”
“We have all known doubt” Mertat guides. “Go and seek your peace and know that doubt cannot be the thing that undoes us. You are strong, Abban. You will soon understand and know this once again.”
With that, Abban moves to the edge of the ledge, and once again climbs aboard a pair of flumphs. Once standing solidly on top of them, they begin to rise, and take Abban to the ledge far above where Sever had met the leader of the flumphs. The party, each in their own way, sends prayers of support, joining in a combined hope that he finds his way once again.
But for now, the last mission awaits. The other flumphs have gathered, ready to take the party across the cavern to an obscured passageway concealed by the mist of the waterfall.
Stepping aboard the flumphs, they then drift across, floating cautiously near the passageway. And that caution is well heeded. There is no ledge on this side of the cavern allowing for a landing location for the party. Rather, the large passage yawns open at the very edge of the cavern wall, easily 4 paces across and from top to bottom. The mist from the waterfall is thick here, quickly wetting the clothes of the party. The floor leading into the passage is slick with moisture as well, and would be treacherous footing at the best of times.
But now, that footing is precarious indeed. For just a short distance within the passage a great shape looms. Plant-like in appearance, as of a short stocky tree, the shape is covered in slick dripping moss, and moves slightly back and forth as if waiting anxiously for the party and flumphs to come closer.
The flumphs stop their progress, and no urging of the party will get the flumphs to get closer.
“I believe I know what that guardian is” Sabus declares. “I’ve seen readings that describe creatures such as these when I was gaining knowledge after our encounter with the vampires.”
“Humankind is not the only living creature susceptible to being converted to foul purpose. These plant creatures exhibit some of the same qualities as vampires, only they are in plant form. They are intelligent, or can be – and thus may be able to cast magic. Their bite drains blood and fortitude as does that of the vampire.”
“There’s only one of the creatures. If we rush it, we should be able to overcome it” Sever says.
“Drop – ‘den me,, kill – ting” Eccial urges.
“Fine” concurs Mertat, quickly spelling out his plan. “I have a spell that will create a stone landing for us in front of the passageway. Once in place, the flumphs can hover us over the landing and we can drop down onto it. Sever, have you one of your fireball necklace beads to help clear the way and distract the monster while we land?”
“Happy to oblige” Sever calls out, reaching and pulling one of the few remaining beads dangling from the chain around his neck.
With that, Mertat calls forth his blessings, causing a thick and sturdy ledge to grow out from the side of the cavern wall. It has space for several of the party to stand upon. Now in place, Sever casts the necklace bead up the passageway, eliciting a high pitched screech as a burst of flame quickly fills the passage and spouts out into the cavern.
Eccial then leads the way, urging his flumphs close enough to the newly created ledge to drop down safely upon it. Charging into the passageway as the rest of the party lands onto the ledge, he finds the creature has fled up the passageway and abandoned his guardian post. Black smoke hangs in the air from the fireball, but naught else. Eccial begins to make his way down the passage, waving for the rest of the party to follow. And with the party now safely deposited, the flumphs once again quickly ascends back up, leaving the party of heroes to their task.
Going just a short distance, Eccial stops to allow the rest of the party to join him. Sever moves forward, and offers that perhaps it would be amusing to send one of his little friends down the passage to lead the way.
“Never been too fond of vampires. And these vampire plants don’t seem to be to my liking, either” Sever admits. “So let’s send one of my fire elemental pets down the passage and see how they deal with that.”
Reaching into his satchel, Sever produces a small wooden box which is heavily inscribed with runes. Whispering a few words, he flips open the lid and reaches into the soft velvet confines, extracting a clear red crystal stone the size of his thumb. With a few more murmurs, Sever tosses the stone up the passage a short distance, shattering it upon impact with the floor.
And from the shards, a burst of flame erupt, brightly illuminated the passage. Blinking from the sudden brilliant flame, the party now sees a tall burning torrent of flames, waiting patiently for Sever’s command.
“Forward” Sever calls out, and the elemental begins to move up the passage. Traveling slowly, it reaches the end of the single passage after a few minutes. Instead, the passage now branches out to the right and left. As the elemental stops at the intersection, awaiting further direction from Sever, a pair of the large plant creatures drops down from the ceiling, one on either side of the elemental. Jumping forward, they send lashing and cutting vines out to strike at the elemental, ripping thru and disrupting its flames, causing it to howl in pain.
The trap thus sprung, the party reacts quickly and moves up to aid the elemental. Eccial leads the way, quickly followed by Sever who both begin to swing at the plant creatures. Their blows land with effect, and it is clear that the initial advantage the plants had by dropping on both sides of the elemental has been lost as the party swarms over them.
Mertat begins a spell, calling for the aid of the gods to allow the party to strike true. Sabus rolls forward and tumbles past the creature blocking the right-hand passage, tumbling behind it and allowing easier strikes at its exposed flanks. But Sabus doesn’t notice that a third creature awaits, and drops from the ceiling behind him and attacks. Sabus is now stuck between the two, and the plant easily ensnares him, drawing him in and under its large petals to feed upon his blood.
With a desperate twist of his body, Sabus manages to reach into his satchel and pulls out his frost wand. With a strangled shout, he then calls forth a storm of ice to fall upon the plant. But the plant seems unaffected by the cold assault, ice shards glancing harmlessly of the bark and skin of the creature. It then tightens its grip around Sabus, and begins climbing up the wall to the top of the ceiling where he can feast upon Sabus unhindered.
Mertat, seeing the distressed state Sabus has found himself in, races past the plant that Sever is busily engaging, and pokes the plant which is holding Sabus. Trembling from the forceful shock of Mertat’s spear, the plant briefly loses its grip upon Sabus and drops him. As he falls to the ground, Mertat dashes forward, tumbling and rolling underneath the now elevated plant, catching Sabus along the way as he slides to a sudden stop on the far side of the plant. Untangling themselves from each other, caused from the sudden movement and tumbling, Mertat and Sabus stand up and advance upon the plant, weapons in hand, intent on destroying the foul thing.
During this brief period, Eccial and Kael had been busy teaming up against the plant which came from the left passage. A series of hard-struck blows from Eccial and well-aimed shots from Kael, and the plant soon collapses into a heap upon the ground.
“They carry a bite, but they’re a bit soft in the middle” Kael proclaims.
Despite the proclamation, the plant that Sever had focused on has delivered a series of gripping and rending strikes upon the fire elemental. Weakened already by being the first focus of the plants’ assaults, the elemental cannot stand any more damage, and is itself in a bright poof extinguished into darkness. Another one of Sever’s pets has proven its worth, acting as a diversion and striking force. It has attracted the monster’s assault upon itself, thus allowing the party to maneuver and attack without taking damage themselves.
Soon, Sever lays low the plant with a quick series of mace strikes, exacting a measure of revenge upon it for destroying his elemental. With a single plant now remaining, and being surrounded by Mertat and Sabus on one side, Eccial Kael and Sever on the other, the last plant quickly succumbs to a flurry of fresh blows.
Quickly gathering their breath, the party decides to take advantage of their success, and continue right down the right-hand passage. They follow the passage a short ways, with the slope of the ground going slightly up at a steady angle. The end of the passage opens up into a large cavern, dimly lit, but sufficient for the party to see its full extent, offering a much tougher challenge to come.
The cavern is irregular in shape, with its floor covered in a slightly slick moist moss. Two large chasms open up and yawn deep into unknown black depths below. They are matched by two broad stalagmite columns running from ceiling to floor, giving the impression that they hold up the ceiling of this vast cavern. As they approached the entrance to the cavern, Sever had quickly gulped a potion, disappearing from sight. The party is afforded but a glance at the cavern, as most of the attention of the party falls upon a grouping of more of the plant creatures which they had just fought.
Five creatures appear similar in size and girth to the ones the party had just encountered and defeated in the passageway. These were closest to the party, and upon seeing the intrusion into their domain, have turned to face the intruders – the party.
Two other plants are situated a bit further away, behind the first line of plants. These appear different, a bit slimmer, a bit more keen in their sight. Positioned as they are, the party recognizes the deployment of the creatures as though they have a higher intellect. And as if they divined the party’s thoughts, they begin to move and sway in motions that can only be those of spell casters.
A final plant, clearly larger than any of the others, directs the others to the attack. Hovering up above near the ceiling of the cavern, this leader is outside the range of the hand-held weapons of the party. Obeying their leader’s orders, the first five creatures begin to move towards the party to the attack, evil intent clearly displayed.
Not waiting for a grand assault plan, Sever, using the advantage of his invisibility, charges at the nearest plant creature and surprise attacks the creature. His dual maces twirl rapidly, landing sold blow after solid blow upon the creature. Almost instantly, bits of the plant are sprayed across the room as the creature screams in pain. With a final delivery of solid blows, the plant creature collapses and folds into an unmoving mass upon the cavern floor. Now visible, Sever gives his maces a final twirl of victory, and with a smirk, advances towards the next unlucky plant.
But the large plant hovering in the rear sees the danger it faces. A single human destroying one his servants without even having a chance to retaliate – this was a threat that required immediate response. So as Sever begins swinging at one of the smaller plants, the leader maneuvers into a blind spot of Sever’s, and lashes down with numerous tendrils ensnaring Sever in its grasp. Pulling Sever up, the plant delivers a powerful poison, stunning Sever into unconsciousness as it begins to draw forth the life force from Sever.
Kael, seeing the grave danger Sever is in, takes careful aim at the plant. Many times have Sever and Kael fought together, and have saved each other countless times. Many are the mugs they have lifted and drained together – Kael would not now allow this evil vampiric creature to drain the life from his friend. Squeezing the trigger, a blast and burst of flame shots forward propelling the lead slug with accuracy, hitting the plant square. Stunned by the perfect shot, and tortured by the pain inflicted, the plant releases Sever from his grasp. Tumbling loosely from the creatures grasp, the unconscious Sever tumbles and falls down one of the chasms, landing with a wet thud after a brief fall.
Out of reach for the moment, no succor can come to Sever. But the party reacts quickly and falls upon the plant creatures. Mertat goes after the spell casting plants, using his spear to keep them at bay. Eccial turns his focus at the plants who initially attacked as the party entered the cavern, slashing the creatures opening great gaping wounds upon them. Sabus, seeing that his whip would be of little use against these creatures, falls back on his spells for assistance aiding the party with his bardic inspiration.
But the plant creatures fight fiercely. The numbers of the creatures are weighing in their favor, allowing a steady drain of power with each successive successful lash of their tendrils. The fight is going poorly, and the party struggles on in silence, each member intent on their own particular struggle against the plant they face.
It is at this point that Eccial decides to unleash the full fury of his potential. Having been locked in combat with the leader plant, who had so callously deposited Sever into the chasm, Eccial unleashes his Skull Mask. With a word and a curse, the mask flies off his face, smashing into the huge plant and knocking it out of the air. A bloodied lifeless plant carcass strew upon the cavern floor is the result.
Heartened by the destruction of the plant leader, the party renews a furious assault, and soon the last of the plants are finished off, while a few escape down a side passage. These creatures would move quickly, and delve deep into the endless passages beneath Rappan Athuk – they will not readily show themselves again so near to the surface dwellers for many a long age.
But with no time to rejoice, Sabus quickly goes down the dark chasm to retrieve Sever. Using a spell to lower himself gently, Sabus finds himself at the bottom of the chasm, some twenty paces below the floor of the cavern. Lighting a quick torch, Sabus soon finds an unmoving, but breathing, Sever. He has arrived in time. Pouring a potion of healing down Sever’s throat, Sever begins to gag and chock a bit. Attending him a few moments longer, soon Sabus soon has Sever sitting up and blinking a bit.
“I’ll be alright. Give me a few breathes, though” Sever manages. “The fight?”
“Success” Sabus answers, continuing his assistance. After a few deep breathes, Sever’s breathing becomes more regular, and his eyes begin to regain their focus. “The last of the plant creatures have been destroyed, or have fled – good tidings for the flumphs.”
“Yes – and good for Abban that all ended well with us”, replies Sever. “What is this that is down here?”
Casting about the light, Sabus sees what Sever had been viewing as Sabus ministered to his wounds. Quickly scanning the area, Sabus sees several sacks of coin and a number of weapons that appear to hold some measure of magic. Calling up to the rest of the party, the others soon join them and assists in the collection of the treasure. After losing the treasure from their last combat assisting the flumphs, there is a sense of vindication that at least now they will gain some reward.
The party searches the area some more at their leisure while Mertat goes to each and cures their hurts as much as possible. The fight with the plant creatures had been relatively short, but the creatures were able to inflict considerable wounds upon each of them. After curing the rest of the party, Mertat sits down and decides a short rest is in order. This place seems as good as any, so they rest a bit while digging through the piles of debris throughout the room, making sure that no treasure is left behind.
But their greater award yet awaits.
Abban steps onto the ledge and enters through the passage above. As Mertat and Sever before him, as he enters the passage all magic is extinguished from him. Standing and gazing down the brightly lit hallway, the old flumph who carried him leads him forward. Down the passageway he notices a strong glow, which must be the mirror room that Sever had described. But that is not the room that calls to him. After a short distance, the flumph stops before a door, gently pushing it open. It is this room that Abban knows is beckoning him to enter.
The flumph acts almost with reverence, and floats to the side to allow for Abban’s entrance. Silently thanking the floater, Abban accepts the offer, and slowly enters the chamber. Before him, the room is mostly unadorned, a small table set off to the side holding some artifacts, with a few faded coverings adorning the wall. But before him, in the center of the room, a sarcophagus rests atop a series of short granite pillars. A pair of pedestals stand on each side, each containing a neat stack of softly glowing crystals. And before the sarcophagus is a kneeler, upon which visitors to this grave may approach to pay respects to the departed and for contemplation. It is clear that this room has been long undisturbed, and Abban feels a sense of peace and comfort within the room.
Moving forward to the kneeler bathed in soft blue light, Abban views the sarcophagus. It is intricately carved stone with peaceful runes, displays of fealty and love. It is clear that the flumphs have created this resting place and have great respect for it, and that within surely must be the remains of the great hero of past ages who had fought so valiantly against Orcus and his minions, had become trapped with Athuk, and then had acted as a teacher for the flumphs. And finally, after long years, had passed, the flumphs created this memorial to him as his final resting place.
Behind him, the flumph retreats from the room, and gently nudges the door shut to grant Abban privacy. Abban kneels. How unselfish the acts of this long-departed warrior. Risking all to defeat Orcus the Hideous, he had become separated from family and all he loved. And yet in his entrapment, rather than despair, he flourished. He continued his good deeds. He acted as protector of the flumphs of the evils within Athuk. And recalling Sever’s words, the warrior had certainly passed along much knowledge to the flumphs as a teacher. For long years, the warrior accepted his exile, and became adored by the flumphs.
Instead of attempting to escape, or falling into bitterness, he instead found new purpose – put aside selfish desires and become ward of the flumphs. Those deeds bore precious fruit, and the flumphs had flourished.
Now Abban compares to his own recent choices. How had he gone so amiss? He had abandoned one of his party to his death. Though the gods had deemed it appropriate to return Eccial, it was poor relief to his torment. For Abban knew his decision to be deeply flawed even as he made it. And also damning was his choice to abandon the party during combat – to instead focus efforts on the retrieval of treasure. Surely the gods had actively intervened when they had taken away the treasure the party had earned due to his selfishness. That the creature had been sent away along with the treasure was certainly a decision by the gods to not overly punish the rest of the party for Abban’s actions. But his current torment continues to reveal the gods are not pleased.
True, not all recent choices have been self-serving. Just a short time ago, when Mertat had fallen as his magic was de-activated by the runes as he tried to enter this area. Uncaring of his own well-being, Abban had quickly quaffed a flying potion himself and flew out to save Mertat, a dangerous maneuver performed so quickly that the magic of his potion may not have had enough time to activate. But he had taken the selfless risk.
And also Sever is now an apt pupil, eager to change his self-serving ways. He claims to use Abban as his mentor. A poor mentor he may have been, but some things he must have done right. These must be his focus. He could set aside his burdens – he knows the flumphs would offer a place of refuge. And thus removed from the world, he could exist in exile, protecting the flumphs.
Not a choice a mentor should take.
That is not his path. This Abban knows as surely as his knees ache from the long period of contemplation. He must shake off the malaise that he himself has inflicted upon himself. He must once again lead the party – and use the wisdom gained from his strife to choose better paths. Sever will continue to be trained and lead down proper paths. His sword will remain relentless in the pursuit and furtherance of goodly causes. The town of Zelkor’s Ferry will feel relief, and Orcus the Horrid with be banished finally from Golarian. This is Abban’s path. A path now willingly chosen, one to which he now recommits himself. And when in future days defeat and despair once again approach Abban, he can look upon this moment of grace that the fallen warrior before him has granted. Even in repose, this ancient warrior is teacher – not only of the flumphs, but of the new breed of heroes. And Abban will be among those new heroes, doing all in the furtherance in service to his gods.
Having rested a bit below after defeating the vampiric plants, the rest of the party returns to the cavern, and stand upon the new stone ledge Mertat has created. The flumphs see them emerge, and descend down in anticipation. After a quick exchange of words and motions, the flumphs understand the plant creatures have been vanquished. Purring and humming in pleasure, they float about a bit enjoying their newfound peace. The heroes have been successful – all three of the threats have been removed, and the flumphs can prosper in peace, as fate has intended. Then, as before, the flumphs come close to the party, and once again act to courier the party, this time up to the top of the cavern to be re-united with Abban, and collect their reward.
Arriving at the top ledge, the party is deposited through the entrance. As before when Mertat came to this point, and then Sever and Abban, all magic is de-activated. But they are safe. And as they move forward down the passage, Abban exits from one of the side rooms.
Mertat instantly notices there is something different about Abban. His shoulders are no longer slumped, and his eyes are bright once again, and gaze intently at the party. A great smile then breaks across his face, and he knows the Abban’s turmoil had passed. Stepping forward, he then embraces Abban.
“Welcome back to us, Abban” he says. “You have been away but a short time. Our hearts have been heavy with worry. But you now look like the great weight has been lifted.”
“It has” he replies. “I have gone through the struggle. But I have found my path once more. The great hero who lays in rest here continues to serve – his sacrifice has shown me how little I have offered thus far. And it has restored my faith. And I see that you also have found success – the flumphs deserve the peace that we can offer.”
Mertat smiles and nods. Abban has indeed come through the great struggle, and the party will be stronger for the conflict.
“And Sever, quite digging into the wall with your dagger” Abban admonishes ”a bit of respect is appropriate to be shown to the fine hosts we have.”
Thus kindly rebuked, Sever slides his dagger back into its sheath, but then gives a sly smile to Abban. ”Ok, maybe I’m not perfect” Sever thinks “and I have more to learn. But Abban is back – he’s back, and he’ll get me down the correct paths.” Then aloud “Of course, oh mighty and wise teacher” Sever delivers, with a deep mocking bow.
Abban emits a tormented groan. “Already am I to be tried?” Then delivering Sever a mild push, “Go on, Sever. Lead us to the great flumph leader. We must pay our respects.”
Turning, Sever leads the party down the passageway to the throne room. And within, the ancient withered flumph makes good on his promise. A great staff of healing is gifted to the party, and Mertat takes position of the prize with careful reverence and thanks. The flumph then also offers these halls and rooms as a refuge to the party, a safe place where they may rest when wandering the halls of Athuk. A great gift, and a welcome one. The party then accepts the offer, and rests for the evening, or what they believe must be evening deep below Golarian’s surface, to renew their strength and resolve for the next struggle.