Arrive Sigeus Portis.
Escorted in by 2 sweeper scouts who intercept us about 40 miles outside. We tow the ship to the naval yard where we dock.
Fairly large amount of freedom here, for instance starting a business is easy here if you have a merchant protector/benefactor/promoter.
Take our wounded to medical facilities.
Our audience with Prince in 3 days, after Percy’s hospital stay where the Prince, upon hearing of the reason for our delay, sends his personal physician.
Covey, Grant and Scottie make the small repairs to the NImrod necessary.Covey also spends time in invention research.
Dinner with Prince, lots of merchants and army officers, who hit on Annabelle. Luckily Percy puts Covington in charge of her ‘protection’ so the advances stop soon enough. Percy notices many of the merchants, especially a particular skinny one, don’t seem to like us much.
Percy of course talks about his future tin, and they are extremely interested. Tin is rare here. Percy butters them with the possibilities of this being his tin import hub on Mars.
Hamonius Bilba and M. Glavius Silva really probe the possibilities of cornering the market. A woman objects to their scheming.
All do a simple bow to prince out of reverence. We find out he is not allowed by law to enter into business ventures, but he owns large tracks of land from which he makes great cash from. Taxes are used for civic and military upkeep.
Royal family stays out of the businesses, both sides are happy here.
Prince shows us his ‘collection’: table that is a topographic map, with tiny airships made with real liftwood floating above it tethered to fine wire. The models he builds himself, very very impressive. All the rigging and liftwood panels move. Its genius.
We’re invited to sit at upper table with him.
A bell rings in the distance, High Martians moving on Sevonus Lacis in force! One of their towns south on the canal. Prince becomes all action. We say the Nimrod is coming with them, they are all for it.
They get 2 hullcutter fleets, 2 merchant ships packed with troops, and us under way.
First a victory in the air pg 17; bottom 0:4:00
Land at palace after aerial victory.
Large Land Battle the next morning. Bottom pg 17; Restart
Our side is victorious. Over 4000 enemy are killed. Over 400 of our side killed! It is a heavily lopsided victory.
Back to Sigeus Portis and palace for a visit with the Prince. Oenetrians, we find, used the Hill Martians to attack. There was a small attack on the capitol but it failed while we were gone, but even got as far as street to street. Some people were kidnapped.
There is a celebration, and they give us their gratitude.
Percy is given a quality suit of armor. Percy assures they will go down as great allies of us, and slyly brings up how great it would be if some marines from here would travel with us.
That night, we go out for a night on the town! There is a very small human population here, but there is a single human pub. We hit that first. About a dozen humans and the same of Martians in human like dress. We walk in like our usual boisterous selves. One human is wearing a martian desert attire like he just walked in from the wilds. Non military boots, more explorer type, but also a pair of green rifle regiment pants, drinking a snifter of brandy.
Not many women in this bar. We joke about leaving soon.
A 3 man Martian band starts to play, some traditional Martian dance starts by some patrons. Percy and Covey with Percival approach the desert man and sit with him. His name is Aristotle. He’s a scout, spy, general agent for England, has been in the Martian Guides out of Sirtus Major but knows Archimedes. Was sent a heliograph message by Archie to seek us out. Finally found us by accident, but a few friends of his have disappeared to the north in the desert.
Shows us 2 Sirtis Star clippings: a tremor in Moab Desert on Feb. 16, felt as far away as Sigius Portis; geological survey team dispatched; then, team is missing, led by Dr. Fairbanks and Lillian DeWitt. Reward offered. 50L reward by paper for info and 300L reward for their return to Sigius Portis. We get the info on their destination and inform the Prince of our plans.
Spend the day working on ship, and provisioning for the short land expedition. The Prince provides everything after our help in the attack, and the businesses we need supplies from put all other matters on hold in order to get us ready to leave by tomorrow morning! They are so thankful for our assistance. It would have taken us days or more to prepare otherwise.
Percival and Gawain will stay here with the pirates, spreading the word of Seldan to try to get some more men.
All the 5 PC’s will go, 6 handlers and such, and 5 Guides with Aristotle, plus Kipper, Crammond and Grommet.
Depart first thing in morning for ethge earthquake epicenter. First couple days or so is through settled territory, all disguised in Martian garb. Once an Oenetrian scout ship flies over and by but nothing results from it.
A strange buzzing noise. Dirge flies! Covey red all about them on the aether voyage to Mars, knows their commonality so we came prepared. Named after first earthling ever eaten alive by them, appearing in swarms. They hate smoke, so we set light out smoke pots and burn liquid fire to make it smoke fast to turn them off of us and light nearby scrub. As we are at work, Percy sits heroically atop a gaushaunt, barking orders but really repeating everything he sees Covington doing. His mount, however, is scared to death of the sound the dirges make and bolts. He slips off, haning on by one hand as it gallops! One of our guides rushes to and saves him. As they turn around, the gaushaunt kicks a skull out of the desert as it turns.
A quick dig reveals remains of a camp, no equimpent but for broken camera and broken surveyors tripod, also more bones. Otherwise well looted. The clothing are those usually worn by earthlings, and some foreign legion uniforms! We are a long way from any foreign legion garrison. Hmm. On one skull, we find a bullet wound. The round is still sitting in the skull. Its a rifle round to be sure, not musket ball. We then find some brass casings, we think its from a mauser round. We immediately blame the Belgians.
Further we find more soldier remains, and a journal of a German Sgt, and that of a French scholar or doctor. Covey knows of him, this Dr. Charles. Bellaire: historian, military analyst, cartographer. There are references to ‘the mission’ but no specifics on what that was.
Met with Gen. Henri, commander of all French forces on Mars. Important that neither Brits nor Belgians discovered what they were up to; not confident of finding location on their map; scouts reported Belgians in are. Then nothing after that.
A Col. Pierre LeBeauf was in charge, his journal starts pleasantly, then gets depressing as they had been searching for months and months with no success, many skirmishes with bandits and hiding from airships, defeating high martian attack, killed a Belgian force, and on.
From journan entries, seemed to have been zigzagging the area, but there map is no where to be found.
All bodies stripped by flies. Nomads must have then looted what was left. We move on.
A scout rides back warning of sandstorm. We see it in distance so we start orgainizing and hunker down. Wagons and large animals in tight circle, tents and blankets to cover them and us up against and behind them, etc.
By the size, Aristotle estimated to last about 3 hours.
Soon after it hits, our watchmen think they see vague figures moving in the sand but figure its an illusion.
In 3rd hour of storm as it is lessening, they see it more assuredly. A guide with Covey tries to take a peak at the news, but Covey pulls him back just as a huge claw misses his head! We are under attack by something! Covey dubs it an abominable sandman! There’s more than 1! Aristotle fires his shotgun at the nearest foe; then into the fray charges Lord Percy under where we almost lose track of him, as the guides fire following Aristotle’s lead. Covey runs for the gattling gun and starts loading in case we can bring it to bear. Martin starts looking for the nearest movement. Percy orders all non fighters to stay under cover. Crammond, Kip, and Grommet get ready to to help us.
The gattling gun roars into action!
The rest of the PC’s and friends engage now.
Martin leaps off a wagon as the last one comes into view and closes in, brass knuckled fists going to work to the shock of our guides. They don’t realize an Irishman is always armed.
One of the beasts goes after a mount, Crammond fires upon it drawing as it attacks the gashaunt.
We kill the attackers and move on, losing 1 gashaunt and a few guide casualties. After skinning the one Martin did the most damage to. LP wants to let it dry out and taxidermy it.
late afternoon come to a temporary Moab hill martian settlement, desert nomads. Rarely for Martians, they have cut down shrubbery and created an impromptu barrier with wagons and such around the village.
LP carries a spear with the head of one of the abominable sandmen, standared of Seldan flying. Aristotle speaks their language, though some do speak a little Parhooni. At first they only want us to go away. Aristotle explains to the chief’s son, and warleader, we search for a lost party of redmen.
Aristotle makes a remark to LP about “it’s not like you’re going to marry a local any time soon.”
Covey “Don’t give him any ideas.”
They’re animals have been stolen by marauding redmen. Several nights in a row now they have attacked from north straight down the dried up canal, but have stopped them from getting in the compound since they stole the animals. If we killed any, they took the dead with them.
LP first thinks to let them as close to breaking in front gate as possible, then let them have it with the gattling gun.
Aristotle questions further: they come literally down the canal to shelter their advance upon the village, which is tall enough on each side to be a big disadvantage vs our gunfire and gattling gun. He also finds fire marks in the fence and ground outside. They may a a flame weapon.
Chief “Its a great spear, flashes like the lightning of a sky god!”
Aristotle finds their entry point about half mile away, and their exit point nearby. So, we set up an ambush upon them while they march sneak down the canal just when they get to their exit point, native warriors fully in the assault, LP on the gatling gun.
The things are humanoid but hunched over, large eyes glowing like a night hunter’s. We unleash hell, and lights are lit for our vision. The enemy are short, pale skin and hair, reddish accents like an albino, webs tween fingers. We have never seen these before.
The glare into their large eyes bewilders them, very sensitive to light, and their assault is chaotic especially at first.
Then a bolt of lightning streaks into the fight just missing our men.
We throttle them like they never thought they’d be throttled and the remaining flee into the dark and try to sneak away. As we mop up the remainder that can’t escape our midst, Aristotle gives chase, tailing them. He he finds them out there as they start running again once they figure they are ahead enougg. He rushes back, several of us moung gashaunts and he leads us too them easily. Then, we start shooting and trampling into them.
One of them unleashes the lightning bolt upon Aristotle but he dodges it!
Once we finish them off, we find the metal spear that must be what unleashes the lt. bolt, but absolutely no means of activation upon its surface. We take it.
Back at the settlement, LP talks with the chief, offering his abominable sandman heads as gifts. The chief’s daugher falls for LP hard.
LP talls Covey later he wants to write a ‘disentary’ on martian women eventually!
Covey “I think you mean a disertation.”
Kip “What did you learn in years of college?”
LP “Artillery, tactics!”
The chief offers LP the daugher in marriage. LP agrees! Marriage is consumated overnight!
He declares he is on the path to reveal himself as the next Seldan ‘a foretold by the canal martian priests’. He makes an eloquent speech to the Chief ‘any that chooses to join him on his epic quest will, names will be sung in legend for generations and written in the annals of all races of Mars in all languages, and will be known as peers of Seldan. And shall be named after knights of the round table, perhaps’. His speech is rousing, basically turning these Moabs into Seldan loyalists!
He feels the canals will lack the passion of the high martians, who lack in technique. Covey offers to create a bar or other type of graph for his presentation.
The chief helps provision us for any losses. LP’s new wife will travel with us. He’s really going native.
5 natives are ready in the morning to travel with us permanently!
We continue on our way, Aristotle finding a blindign white spire sticking partially out of the sand, as if a large building or city is completely buried here! a 4’ high, 2’ wide opening leads in. The floor is 1’ lower. In we go. The sand is very fine and loose, LP’s foot sinks several inches with more sand underneath. Ceiling is about 8’ above. We have entered via a window.
On the other side the sand slopes down forming a ramp, so we descend under the desert. This is a nervous proposition. All we can thing is ‘what if we get stuck in here forever. We wonder how Rathbone makes a living at this. All the characters and 3 guides go, the others stay up to make and guard camp and LP’s wife and our supplies/mounts. Quickly, we need plenty of artificial light.
We pass ancient writings on the walls, indecipherable not surprisingly. Stained glass windows. Covey guesses this place is at least hundreds of years old.
We come across recently disturbed sand, tracks. Aristotle can’t be sure of whom exactly, but they’re humanoid.
We come across 2 of the pigmy albinos wielding martian blades who attack. We dispose of them, finding a rack with 6 of the lightning rod staff things on them!
Continuing on, we find other but different writings. Aristotle thinks they are of arcane nature in some way, in honor of a Martian god, as is the room we find them in. Ancient Martian magic he figures. Not Mythos however. Likely a retreat for priests.
He finds what may be evidence of small attempt to carve it out. The expedition may have gotten this far.
We come to another room with ceiling glowing in blue of breathtaking abstract art, also providing light for the room.
Next is a slight red hue lit, something unsettling about it. We leave it for now.
We come to another spire less visible from the ground level.
We have to go through the red room to go further, so we risk it, finding below a forest of giant mushrooms, stream running through it, and doorways.
Covey “Absolutely bazaar.”
Aristotle is amazed, giant underground city he exclaims!
The fungis has a green phosphoresence. Similar to the moon, stuff, naturally occuring.
The whole place shudders slightly, a crash behind us. One of the windows in a side room cracked in with sand pooring in blocking our path out. A small crack in one of the walls leaks some but stops soon enough.
From above we hear then yell they will start digging us out.
Down further we continue to explore.
Aristotle still sees sporadic passage of people, this is the main trail for certain.
We take out more albino pigmy guards. A female shows herself briefly from the room they watch over. We found the expedition!
00:50:00 top pg 18
Willy leads us into sewer to rescue Lillian. Parceval and Gawain join us as Will is taken to hospital.
Gawain say “watch out for Galag Po. A sewer creature, 6’ long, long teeth, reptilian, always hungry. Eat anything that moves.”
Martin “How common are they?”
“Not too many cause they eat each other too. Usually you only run into 1. But at times a whole colony. Especially during breeding season.”
Covey “How can you tell if they’re coming?”
“You don’t until their right on top of you. And they hide under the filth and wait. Martian sewer rats, sometimes come into the streets and steal the occasional dog.”
Willy “We must hurry before doctor tortures young lady.”
Martin “He tortures them eh.”
“No, most he just changes. But he say he teach her who is master and who is grovelling slave.”
A splash ahead. Willy looks around nervously “We must go back, its an eater, its an eater.”
Gerald hears it coming and warns Martin as it is about to attack. It spashes out at him and Martin jumps to the other side over its gaping maw landing on the other side. Gerald slashes at it 10. End surprise round.
Gerald hits 6/dagger miss, Martin jumps on its back and punches it in the neck for 6; Gerald makes opportunist attack 10; Tail misses Gawain, imprinting in the stone; Covington hits with sword 10 DEAD.
Covey “That’s easy!”
Keep going, and at T intersection Willy forgets way.
Bangs head on wall “Willy just so stupid!” We stop him from hurting himself. A few moments later “Me know, this way” to right. Just then we hear a female scream from left “That way”.
We rush, and suddenly he stop “Here we are.”
Nothing is there.
Covey “Is the door secret?”
Willy “NO, WIlly know.” There is, he opens it. “See, no secret, Willy knows.”
Down a corridor there are electric lights. We rush on.
Row of cages along the wall, with animals in them. Couple are ape like, maybe earth. Most are Martian creatures. Inside the Baron is standing in his pseudo german uniform, puffing on big cigar. In front of him Lillians tied up semi nude (ripped and torn), legs tied by ankles and knees stapled to floor, rope tied to waste from above her so she is sitting back. Another rope on shoulders to wall behind her so she can;t move, hands tied above her head holding a rope that goes through a pulley and back down to a hatch on a metal bucket suspended above her chest. The door on it will open if a lever is pulled out. The lever has a rope on it running to another pulley to a tray with large metal weights at other end of rope. So, she is holding the weight up so that it does not open.
He yanks on it a bit and a couple hot coals drop onto her. Then he puts another weight on.
Covey “Save the girl.”
“Oh, let me take care of one thng first.” Takes the cigar from his mouth and puts it on her nipple and puts another weight on the tray."
Covey moves for the ape as the unaffected ape attacks the other. Martin and Gerald rush to free the girl.
Percival and Gawain follow Covey; Saw Sword turned on; Baron misses LP;
Covey hits 20. Our martians miss, LP crit 13, Baron crits Percy 16. Martin rushes to girl.
Other 2 apes go at it. Ape hits covey 13 total.
Martin and Gerald get weights off and coals from above her.
Percy hits 9; Gerald gives her her jacket; Baron hits LP 7 (card halved it); Percival hits 1; Martin cuts girl free; Gawain hits 4; Ape attacks Covey and misses with all 3.
The apes kill each other.
LP misses; Covey misses the ape; Baron hits 8, steps and opens an individual cage “My feral Moon Man will kill you.”
It picks up its spear and stabs at the Baron “That spear doesn’t work on me!” and hits 12;
Percival hits ape 4; Gawain misses; Ape attacks Covey ("I say, there’s 1 2 3 of us, can’t you count). It hits both claws. Martin and Gerald get the girl out into the hallway.
Percy, with 1 fatigue left, pulls the revolver and shoots Baron 20 (makes save); Sam kills the ape “Thanks men” to our Martians ‘A valiant effort". Gerald re enters room; Baron opens 2 more cages, AoO by Moon Man misses. One is a croc Gulag Po like thing from earlier, the other is a bear like creature but with a glint of intelligence. Baron yells to it “Get the woman, my pretty!”
Percival and Gawain rush the Gulag Po crit 12/10; Gulag Po attacks Gawain miss; the Bear thing charges to hall after women. Sam’s AoO 17; Bear reaches Martin and Gerald, claws Martin 9 and grapples Martin. Percy fires at Baron miss/surge 11; Gerald hits bear 12 cutlass/7 dagger; Covey charges bear 19; moon man stabs Baron 14; Baron, badly hurt, opens one last cage "Now face my greatest creation and die!!); Percival hits G Po 7, Gawain hits it 8; Martin “I’ve got him right where I want him” 25 and a gout of blood spews from its mouth. G Po attacks Gawain miss and catches his teeth in a workbench (fumble); The bear drops Martin and full attacks him: 1 claw hits 13, other misses as does bite.
New creature like some kind of giant squid, but a land creature. Only found in deepest desert on Mars. They are horrible opponents but his serum actually backfired and weakened it. Its tentacles hit the Baron twice 9/7 miss as 2 others miss!! DEAD!! It attacks moon man with 4 other tentacles hitting three times for 21, and grapples #1 as it sloshes out of the cage. Percy shoots it 8. Gerald hits bear 12; Lillian appears with her derringer 7; Sam takes it down DEAD. Against Gulag Po, Percival misses, Gawain crits 16; moon man escapes grapple! Martin pulls revolver on the move and fires at squid but misses, its AoO with reach hits 6 and grapples Martin; Lillian reloads; Willy who had been lurking around stuff leaps upon the crocodile with an iron bar from the furniture the croc bit and hits 10.
Gulag Po clears its mouth of debris; squid constricts Martin 11; #1 hit once 6 and grapples him; Percy is missed twice; Gerald is missed; 4 tentacles on crocodile all hit 30 total and it grapples croc; it bites the squid 23.
Percy shoots squid 14, its AoO hits 8 fails grapple; Lillian fires 4; Sam rushes at the squid and hits 15, Gerald follows and hits 10 DEAD!! #1 performs a power lunge for 15; Percical crits 10 DEAD!!
Lilian puts bullet in the groin of the dead Baron, then through the roof of his mouth.
We go back to surface and tell cops what happened.
Medical attention for Percy now as well as Will. We have to make our report to police, making a medical examination of Lillian.
Back at ship, Scotty meets us “Lord Percy, there is a lizard man here to see you, from Venus.”
LP “Right, bring him to my office” which is right next to that sail.
It is Thyman from our adventures there.
Percy “I shall call you Brutus.”
We are happy to see him and he is welcomed with open arms.
“Had a jolly good time in the swamps with you in my homeland. I craved a bit more of it, and was afraid I’d never get off the planet to see you. Then the British agent there sent me by courier ship with a message for you.”
There are 2: They believe that the poison gas that we uncovered in north Africa is not from Mars, but on Venus! They would like us to look into it. See if there is a group of Cult of the Worm or Ground Cleansers operating off of Venus.
Second is from someone in England named Archimedes: an agent of his has uncovered a possible cult worshiping old one on Venus, he is sending a group to investigate. We are the backup if anything happens to them.
He joins us permanently.