Ymyk used the mechanical bow taken from the Xarj' corpse that Tybylt had fetched after his hideous near-petrification event last session. Although his physical strength isn't high, Ymyk has the equivalent to the GW mutation 'Heightened Strength', which adds a flat +3d6 to all melee damage he does. I have also allowed him, at times, to simply add 3d6 to his various prowess-related rolls to simulate the idea of his great strength. Anywho, this bow adds an additional 3d6, an the javelin-like projectiles do 1d10 each, for a whopping 6d6+1d10 (07 | 26.5 | 46) points of damage. This proved instrumental in the upcoming fight with these things.
Tybylt decided to investigate a malign-looking metal torch the party had picked up earlier in the weird complex (in a vast jungle, under lavender skies) and discovered that its operation required the immersion of the crown in blood. With handy fallen baddies nearby, and after a bit of jumping up and down on the cadavers, said blood was procured and the item (after the undisclosed command word was uttered) spouted a blood-red flame in which the writhing souls of the deceased could bee seen. This fell arcane light was shed to 30' and looked like rivulets of blood in water, and proved effective in countering the effects of The Void in which the citadel was located (behind the mean/nasty door that had led Tyb to the petrification trap he only narrowly escaped).
--Armed with this, the group left their +/- Lightning followers behind, and moved on to retrieve Tybylt's two fey daughters. Coming to one of the many portculli in the citadel's wall, they looked through and saw Khark and Kaukara humans dressed in very little clothing going about their business. I made it clear that this was a caste society, and that many of the porters showed signs of early and frequent flogging; their backs carven with scourge scars.
The party, stealthy as ever, lasso the lever and let themselves in, at which point, one said slave backs away without drawing attention to anyone else, namely the four-armed 12-15'-tall critters. Sadly, that didn't last, as one of the creatures spotted them and moved forward to investigate/hold the choke-point. I rolled for CiCi's behaviour and she lobbed an alchemical firebomb at it and scored a direct hit, but the spatter caught a noble-woman's gossamer 'dress' alight and surprise was utterly lost.
--Although there were four of these creatures, and each had 4 attacks per Round, I was not rolling well, and the party was, and the four were quickly neutralised.
---Horns were sounded throughout the citadel.
Spellcasters cast at the party and Mela was bedazzled by the pretty blue lightning bugs she saw, and was out of commission for three or so Rounds. During all of the fighting, Ashta had pressed on, always looking for a fight, while everyone else was still controlling the gateway of the portcullis, being badasses.
--A glittering whirlwind of chert and gypsum shards would have made short work of Tybylt, but we rolled off to see if his Shield spell was effective, and his player won that Round. His action was to grab the female caster's imp or whatever (that was the one actually casting the spell) and fling it away, upon which time Ymyk shot and slew it.
A shield wall of heavy infantry blocked off the street they were nearest and poked poisoned spears through the wall for added effect.
--A Round or two later, a 'rhino-rider' smashed through the shield wall and used his flaming segmented sword to attack the force-field enshrouded Darius, who took about 30 points, but transmitted about twelve electrical back along the weapon and ticked the rider off. More importantly, Tybylt cast Sleep on the steed and it took a nap, but the rider was able to jump off without getting pinned under it. He didn't last too long: First a Bleeding (Condition Three) leg wound, then enough wallop to KO him.
The party again asked for the two fae-girls, and a few minutes later, down the two streets that hug the citadel's walls, came two litters preceded by scribes and virgins carrying bowls of lit incense, and made their way to the area in which the party had entered, and stayed (hoping to demonstrate that they were not invaders, but merely interested in collecting what was theirs).
--Each street procession was attended by a temple representative carried upon a litter. On the right was a bald man with a bright red chevron painted upon each side of his head and wearing a necklace of large gilded wooden links. He was accompanied by an Undead man thickly covered in aromatic resin. This individual (clearly a reasoning being) acted as the priest's representative and addressed Tybylt, asking him to accompany them back to the temple for a feast. At roughly the same time, down the left street came a reddish-brown haired woman wearing a solid (green) jade torc. She was represented by a perfectly symmetrical and flawlessly beautiful nude woman. Tybylt was forced to attempt a Control (Spells) Critical Test (due to her unearthly beauty and the lust it provoked) and just succeeded.
---The Undead and this Symmetrical Woman both spoke via some sort of translating magic, and both spoke of their patron's respective temple (The Devouring Worm, and The Golden Goddess), and I made certain to demonstrate that their source language was significantly different than anything they'd ever heard before, with only Ymyk understanding one word in ten of untranslated speech. Tybylt, much to the Horse-archer's protests, accepted the invitation to the feast, and was encouraged to hear that the girls were still intact and could be traded for, and slaves were offered but instantly refused, with brief mention that they had battled slavers. This was translated back to the priest of the Devouring Worm by a scribe who had not been addressed by the priest. After receiving the impertinent informant's info., the priest smacked the other's head sending him to the ground, whereupon he was speared by at least three guards in the procession.
Following the priest's procession (they would have been carried upon shoulders, but all refused, and those kicked away by Ymyk were also slain by the guards for failing to please the 'demons' --as the PCs were addressed). The central plaza contained a cubic temple decorated with electric blue and electrum-inlain murals of the dragon-headed Devouring Worm, replete with images of wailing corpses and undead falling from his maw and clawed hands as he writhed in and out of the ground of the surrounding jungle countryside. The Golden Goddess' temple was a tall, stylised phallus atop an irregular-faced dais.
The party entered the temple of the Devouring Worm where they were asked to kindly extinguish their blood torch. Tybylt asked for blood to re-ignite it, and a temple virgin girl was slain on the spot and her blood collected in a golden bowl. The players were dismayed, and my SO, Tybylt's player's sister, made a comment about morality as did Ymyk's player, to which Tyb's replied that having already died once and his spirit being used to power a Dryvv Shadowdrive craft, there wasn't much worse he thought could happen in an afterlife. I laughed knowingly and we proceeded. The party saw that the priestess of the Golden Goddess and her retinue entered from an underground passage on the side nearest their temple.
--Within the rather large structure were hundreds of face-painted adherents, dragon-masked warriors, undead, and other monsters, including upright reptilian warriors, some of whom sported maces at their tail tips (this starting to sound familiar yet?). These reptilian warriors demonstrated feats of strength by fighting amongst themselves in mock combat with their wickedly curved and serrated longswords, and then fought 7-8' tall powerfully-built humans in dragon-motif armour > wink < who invariably lost the fight and were torn, limb-from-limb as the party either sat or stood at the banquet table (only Mela partook of the fare and found it richly flavoured: for example, long-grain and wild rice with blanched almonds and currants, mixed with cinnamon and slivers of mango-like fruit). Eventually the two fae-girls were brought out, and Ahni (the eldest of the three girls) Jaunted to the stage and attempted to save her favourite of the two (Vania), but was prevented from doing so by one of the lesser Worm priests.
---Ymyk took that cue to shoot the man, but suffered half of the damage as both he and his target saw that the 'arrow' occupied both places simultaneously before disappearing in a flash. This, however, was enough to disrupt the psychie/spell, at which point Ahni Jaunted back with Vania and urged their father to ingest the Shadow Travel potion he had received directly from Lord Shadow. The chief priest then cast a mass Hold spell, and only Mela saved, but had to burn through two DP to be able to act and re-ignite the torch by lifting the bowl of blood to the item and encanting the command word. Rather than leaving one of his daughters behind, Tybylt used his new combination of Levitation and his Shadow mysteries to pick up the cage in which the third (we've forgotten her name) was held. There was a moment where all looked lost, but as the priestess of the GG and her retinue departed, one dispelled the priest's Hold spell and the party dipped by falling into Tybylt's shadow. There were shots fired and a few characters took hits, but not enough to '86 them. He left last and made certain they weren't being followed.
They emerged, not in Shadow, but back at the canal in the underground gypsum city of the Lightning Undead. They navigated the marketplace after purchasing a few grounding staves, and DiDi'd back to the still-cloaked Aelbaan craft (outlined nicely by the rain).
--We held it there. The secondary characters (and Ymyk) each received about 4500 Adventure Points, and the Primaries one half that much. A few were close to matriculating to the next higher Magnitude, but were still at least 1k or so away.