Part 8 - The Search for Kadralhu
They emerged from an identical monolith to find themselves in a vast desert with a walled city in the distance. They immediately felt the absence of the elemental Ka that normally surrounded them. They suspected they were in an alternate dimension. They headed towards the city, assuming it to be Kadralhu.
When they entered the desert city, they found it filled with people who spoke a language they had never heard before, but bore some similarities to Sumerian. The buildings were all constructed of mud brick, with large copper bowls on the roofs.
They opened the jar given to them by The Witch of Irem, and released Rylan. Rylan incarnated into a cobbler named Kint. Using his language skills, they were able to interact with the townsfolk. The city they were in was called Ekaba, and it was walled in to protect them from both desert raiders and giants.
In speaking with the people, the learned that the city of Kadralhu was an ancient lost city that legends said used to float amongst the clouds. It was said to be home to giants much more intelligent and sophisticated than the ones that now roamed the desert. It was said that the giants worshiped a god that kept the city afloat. When they took their god for granted, the city crashed in the western desert. They learned that a man from the village of Halenpor claimed to have stumbled upon the ruins of the city recently.
They also learned that the Ekaba was in crisis. The limited water supply that they had seemed to have become tainted, with people becoming sick or mad from drinking it. This was why they were had the bowls on the roofs, trying to collect the rain that would sometimes fall in the late evenings.
At the cobbler’s home, they used sorcery to create jugs of clean water. As the witch had warned them, even a simple ritual to create water was very taxing and prone to failure. They knew that more complex ritual would likely be next to impossible. By the next morning however, they had managed to create enough water to barter for the supplies they would need to go out and search for the lost city.
Once properly equipped, they headed out. On the third day of their journey, they saw three men in loincloths approaching. Distances were hard to determine in the flat landscape and the men turned out to have been much further away than they had initially thought due to the men’s large size. The shortest was at least eight feet in height with the tallest close to 10 feet tall.
They attacked the group, the tallest snatching up the mule-like creature they had bought in town. They were able to drive off the giants, but were unable to recover their mule, which unfortunately was carrying most of their supplies.
Four days later, out of food, and nearly dead from dehydration, they found the village of Halenpor. There they found the man who claimed to have visited Kadralhu. He was apparently quite mad, but they had no choice but to let him lead them to the city. That night they created more water to trade the next day for more supplies, and once again headed out into the desert, with Solaneker the Mad, leading them.
Another five days of travel brought them to a sand dune. Solaneker began digging at one side of the dune, eventually revealing a rotted wooden door. Inside was a small circular room with spiral steps descending. Solaneker explained that they were at the top of a tall tower, possibly the highest one I Kadralhu. The simply needed to travel down to the base of the tower and they would be in the lost city.
They began to climb down the stairs. They knew they had descended quite far, occasionally having to leap across chasms where the steps were shattered. The paintings on the walls seemed to mark their progress. At first the paintings depicted stars, and then clouds and birds, then the views from balconies and roofs, and then eventually pictures of streets.
The finally reached the bottom in which four giant statues stood guard. Once they stepped out of the painted circle that was around the steps, the statues animated and attacked. They were extremely powerful, killing Vincent in a single blow, forcing Janu to incarnate into Solaneker.
The doors out of the chamber did not budge, and judging by the sand that would seep in when they hit the doors, they figured they would never open again. Instead, they escaped the statues by pulling up a sewer grate and dropping into the sewer below.
They were at a four way intersection with no idea which way to go. So they picked one at random and headed into the city.