Before a big dinner with Lady Almah to welcome us home, we take a closer look at the strange scroll we found. It’s no map or spell, but it looks like a rune of Power from the wizards of Nex, who had been famous for their feats of magic. This rune is of the wizard-king Nex, for whom the country was named. It came from the early years of his rule, when he had achieved great power but before the war with Geb which ruined the land. Runes like this could hide the contents of a page, concealing a hidden message, but certain spells could pierce the runes or certain conditions would let you see the hidden contents. The rune symbolizes a mysterious land called Kakishon.
Kakishon was said to have been created or conquered by Nex, used as a secret hideout for private research and vacation. Rune transforms into a map to Kakishon that shows how to reach it. Legend holds that a weapon of great power, the Fire Bleeder, is hidden in Kakishon along with other magical treasure. The Fire Bleeder is some sort of fiery falchion or a spell that allows control over the element of fire.
This rune is one of the early works of Nex after he surpassed mortal powers. It is not only a map to Kakishon but also a doorway to Kakishon directly, if you know the secret words and rituals to open it. This scroll is the only way to enter or leave the mystical realm and Nex used Kakishon as a place to entertain guests but also as a prison and a lab. Kakishon would have items and creatures beyond those of the normal realm.
Rags looks at the scroll in the mirror, and sees some sort of map, like the rune is clarified. Each form is an island. It includes Serpent Island, Rakshana (with a volcano), Reshindra (near isles of night), Farahani, Pleasure Palace of Nex in the middle, the Golden Bowl, Isle of the Dead, Black Spire (possible prison), Fire Forge. Comprehend Languages reveals the full map for all of us.
We think back to the bas relief carvings from the Monastery when we first arrived. The Templars of the Five Winds work for a djinni princess Nefeshti, and in one of the carving there is an epic battle between big efreet and djinn (possibly the princess). The last panel has one figure standing vigil over Pale Mountain (Vardishal) while the other four go off to the heavens. Vardishal is later killed by a half-man half-flame figure spearing him to the ground. Vardishal finally appears dead on the ground and ghostly standing by the body.
We’ll seek out libraries, research, divination for the other two unidentified figures. One of Lady Almah’s old family friends (Rayhan) lives in Katapesh and is a wizard who specializes in planar stuff.
After a couple days of scribing we then head to Katapesh by camel to sell some loot and find out more about the runescrollmap and the djinni. Lady Almah gives us letters of introduction and also some money as shares of the profits from Kelmarane and its commerce.
Our first night camping in the desert we are attacked by two Ettins, bribed and enhanced by Sayifed the djinn. We kill him and then Speak With Dead to find out about Kakishon, but we get unreliable and incomplete information. The body lies when claiming to seek to pillage the riches of Kakishon, he tells us to pour dragon’s blood over the rune to activate it, and doesn’t know where the last two djinn are.
At Katapesh we help by healing some injured in the temples of Saranrae, and offer them the Lifestealer to cleanse. We do some research in town and a bunch of crafting, then go to consult with Rayhan. Rayhan wants to do his research in private, but we insist that Osrane go with, while Easu and Anya patrol the roof, Rags the second floor and Hagrim the ground floor.
Rayhan’s research turns up: the last person to own this scroll was Nefeshti’s lover Andrathi. The templars fought Jhavhul (efreet) but the scroll was lost in their victory. Jhavhul was imprisoned in Kakishon and the scroll was lost. Rayhan has some of Andrathi’s writings in his library, and may be able to recreate the opening to Kakishon. If we do manage to open the portal, he wants to accompany us in to Kakishon to see it.
We get a scroll of Commune and cast to ask: 1. Is Jhavhul bound to Kakishon in any way beyond being stuck on the plane? NO 2. Are either of the two remaining templars alive/sentient/present or undead? NO 3. Is it possible to free Vardishal and does he want to be freed? NO 4. Is Hareen alive? Don’t know 5. Is Rayhan human? YES 6. Is he evil? Don’t know 7. Is Jhavhul still in Kakishon? YES 8. Is Vardishal in this scimitar? NO 9. Is Vardishal talking to Osrane? YES
There were also rumors of a creature attacking one of the merchants in the stalls and tearing the person to pieces.
On the way back from consulting with a Pathfinder contact, Easu meets a strange dwarf in an alleyway. The dwarf produces the dagger found at the temple of Nethys. As Easu recognizes the dagger the dwarf starts to froth and change shape. They fight a bit and Easu runs away. We then all go back to track him down and he has taken refuge in a house where he killed the five inhabitants. After subduing him the guard arrive and we talk them into letting us remove his curse before he’s tried.
Sir Osrane defends the dwarf in court before the judge, convincing him that the dwarf should help Kelmarane instead of being jailed for murders.