The party shelter from sand swept Cairo. Hamid takes a call, Grizzop gives Azu a recap of the story so far, and Sasha goes to the head of the Cult of Aphrodite.
We left the party getting ready for bed in the Aphrodite hospital, as the ring that Barret gave Hamid grew hot. Barret’s voice comes through, asking how Hamid is doing, and Hamid asks if he’s heard about all the deaths. Barret says no, and Hamid explains that his sister and Bertie have died, before asking what Barret wants. Barret says that if Hamid is willing to deliver the ring to his brother, Saleh, Hamid will be done with the ring. Hamid says that he’s going to tell Saleh what it is before giving it to him, but Barret says not to, and then vaguely threatens what could happen to Hamid if he doesn’t listen. Hamid tells him to make an explicit threat if he’s going to make any, but Barret just says good night and the ring cools down again.
The rest of the party, who all heard Hamid talking to himself, are all playing cards. Grizzop asks what was going on, and as he turns away, Sasha goes to steal a few of his chips. He catches her. Hamid explains that he has a magic ring from Barret (describing him as a crime lord) and that Barret can talk to him through it. Sasha asks how many times he’s heard Barret, and Hamid says that this is the first time. Grizzop and Azu both ask why he has a ring from a crime lord in the first place, and Sasha and Hamid explain that Barret captured them both, and that Hamid needed to take the ring in order to leave safely. Azu says that Barret sounds like someone who should be brought to justice, and Hamid and Sasha agree, but say that there’s some more important things that they have to deal with first. Sasha mentions the connection between Barret, La Gourmande, and Mr. Ceiling; Azu is confused, and Grizzop tells her that he’ll catch her up on what the party’s been up to.
Sasha and Hamid head to bed, while Grizzop explains the party’s journey up to this point. It’s a bit choppy, since Grizzop was only there for Prague, but he covers most of the story. (Meta note: this is actually the first time Helen herself is hearing any of this information.)
The next morning, Sasha gets up to look for a healer that can help her with her condition. She wanders around for a while, and then finds herself in a room with people who look absolutely terrible, surrounded by healers in full masks, gloves, and long robes. The healers are all staring at her, and Sasha asks how many of them are familiar with deadness.
Back in the room, the rest of the party wake up, and Azu asks where Sasha is. Hamid says that she’ll probably make it back in time for breakfast. Grizzop opens the window - there’s no longer a sandstorm. Cairo itself looks almost like the Vegas strip, with a lot of leisure buildings, hotels, casinos, etc., some pyramids in the distance, etc., and piles of sand built up on the street from the storm before.
Hamid’s hand gets hot again, and Barret says good morning, which Hamid responds to. Grizzop says hello as well, thinking that Hamid is speaking to him. Hamid points to his finger, and Grizzop realizes that Hamid’s speaking to Barret. Barret repeats that Hamid needs to deliver the ring to his older brother, Saleh, and says that he'll be disappointed if Hamid doesn’t. Azu uses detect evil on the ring, but nothing shows up. Hamid asks why Barret wants the ring to go to Saleh, but Barret simply says that it’s none of his business. He asks that Hamid do it quickly, and then tells him to give his best to Sasha, which Hamid cheerfully rejects.
Hamid explains what Barret wants him to do, and Azu and Grizzop ask if he’ll be doing so. Hamid says that if it allows him to take off the ring, then maybe, but he won’t be forcing anyone else to put it on. He tries pulling the ring off, but nothing happens.
Back to Sasha: she’s escorted out of the highly contagious ward, and has been brought to the snooty elven healer who they met with yesterday - Eren Fairhands. Sasha explains her problem to him, saying that she keeps waking up covered in blood and is having a bit of an issue with being undead. Fairhands tells her to lay down on the table, and Sasha does so. There’s a bit of glowing and a bit of tingling, and then Fairhands makes a surprised noise. Sasha sits up, and Fairhands explains that she’s basically undead at this point, and says that they should have a chat about how to handle it. Sasha says that she can’t be completely dead, because she’s fought zombies before, and she’s not that yet. She asks if Fairhands can fix it, and he presents a few options to her.
The first way that he could heal her would be to completely destroy her and resurrect her (it’s not really an Aphrodite thing, so he says that they would probably have to bring in the Zeus lot). He mentions that it’s incredibly imprecise, and that destroying her might end up being permanent - they potentially would be unable to resurrect her at all. It’s very high risk, and there’s a solid chance that she would just end up in bits without completely dying.
The second option is pain management; Sasha says that it doesn’t hurt that much. Fairhands says that she would need to find a necromancer to consistently help her out, but that that might get hairy as well, as they command the undead more so than help the undead.
The third option is less of an option than the first two. Fairhands mentions an old healing object that they used to have, and says that it was confiscated and locked away by the Meritocrats. Sasha asks that, if she’s able to return the Heart of Aphrodite to the temple, if Fairhands would be able to help her, and he says yes.
Back to the rest of the party: Grizzop, Hamid, and Azu have finished eating in the canteen, and Azu says again that they should go and look for Sasha. Hamid and Grizzop aren’t that worried about her, saying that she’ll turn up eventually, but Azu presses, saying that they can’t start the adventure without all the members of their party. Grizzop suggests going to ask Eren Fairhands (he calls him Adrian, which Azu corrects). Azu doesn’t seem all that enthused about asking Fairhands, and Hamid starts grabbing random people in the canteen and asking if they’ve seen Sasha. Grizzop grabs Hamid and pulls him away as they go to find Fairhands and ask him.
Sasha asks if there’s an anti-heal potion that she could use, and Fairhands says that a potion of inflict serious wounds would be her best bet, or finding a cleric who can periodically cast it on her. Fairhands takes a moment, and says that her options are really as follows: they can try an incredibly risky procedure on her, she can convince a cleric to help her, or, if she can convince the Meritocrats to give back the Heart of Aphrodite, they can heal her using that. Sasha says that she could also buy a bunch of inflict wounds potions and take one every morning. Fairhands agrees, saying it would last a while, and Sasha asks what he means by that. He asks how long it's taken to progress to this state, and she says roughly two weeks - Fairhands explains that she’s got probably a month and a half left before she turns into something else.
There’s a knock at the door, and Fairhands tells Azu to come in. Sasha sees her, Grizzop, and Hamid, and tells them that she’s going to die in about a month. Azu says that she can’t die, and Fairhands interrupts her to say that death is the natural progression, and then asks why everyone is in his office. Azu says that they were all looking for Sasha, and Fairhands starts to usher them out of his office, saying that he’ll need to make space for some needier people. Grizzop asks what he means by that, seeing as Sasha has already only gotten a month left to live. He quickly explains to Azu that Sasha might be undead, and Azu says that she thought that Sasha only had an illness - Sasha and Grizzop both say that being undead is the illness, and Azu says that they have to stop it and save Sasha.
Hearing this, Sasha turns to Grizzop, and tells him that he’ll need to contact Einstein and then have him contact Wilde. Hamid says that it’s probably not a good idea. Sasha explains that she needs to talk to Wilde because she needs to get in touch with the Meritocrats. Since they’re in possession of the Heart, she needs to get their permission to use it. Grizzop asks why she only has a month left, and Sasha says that that’s what Fairhands told her - he jumps in and explains that he didn’t say she will die, she’ll become something else, most likely some form of lich. Hamid and Grizzop both don’t completely agree, considering that liches are evil and have the power to do magic, and all three of them discuss the nuances of neutral vs. evil for a while.
Sasha interrupts, asking who she’ll need to bring here, and Fairhands says that their hands are completely tied by the Meritocratic forces. He’ll be able to heal her, given the correct tools, which is why they need to get the Heart from the Meritocrats. They finally leave his office, Azu ushering them out.
Hamid asks what Fairhands said about the item; they’ll need to ask the Meritocrats for it, and he mentions that his sister works for Apophis, the Meritocrat that oversees Cairo, some of eastern Europe, and South America. Sasha asks which sister, and Grizzop frantically clears his throat for about three seconds before Hamid yells that it’s not the dead one. Azu asks if Hamid would like another hug, and he says yes as Azu hugs him.
They run through the options that Fairhands gave Sasha - they agree that the first option (destroying, then resurrecting) sounds like a terrible idea. The other option is to find the Heart of Aphrodite - it’s the most powerful healing relic there is, and if you have it, you can most likely heal any ailment in the world. Unlike Wishing, it’s much more reliable. It was taken by the Meritocrats years ago as part of their agreement with all the different religions. They are allowed to have their own rules in their areas, but they had to surrender any relics with significant magical power over to the Meritocrats (anything that could tip the balance). The impression that the Aphrodite lot give off regarding it is that it’s not something that could do harm, and aren’t happy that the Meritocrats have taken it.
Sasha says that it doesn’t sound like something that the Meritocrats will give up easily just to save one person. Hamid chimes in, saying that they’ve saved the world a couple of times over in their service to the Meritocrats, but Sasha counters that, saying that they broke the world as well. Grizzop suggests that they spend the next month figuring out the entire simulacrum thing, and then convince the Meritocrats to release the heart as thanks. The plan doesn’t seem to be that good to Sasha; in a month she’s going to be mostly dead anyway. Grizzop tries to encourage her, saying that death isn’t the end, and Hamid says that Sasha could maybe be the first non-evil lich in history. None of these plans seem to help, and Sasha is getting more despondent by the second. Their best plan seems to be Hamid’s sister setting up an appointment for them with Apophis, but Sasha is still incredibly pessimistic, sitting there and playing with some daggers.
- Lydia: "All these people who expect to live a long time, they have very strange aims."
- Ben: "Sasha, I’m not gonna live a long time, and it’s a bit of a sore point."
- Helen: "I’m not gonna live a long time either."
- Lydia: "Sasha never expected to live a long time."
- Ben: "I just can’t. I’ll live to 30 and that’s it."
- Lydia: "I’ve been exploded twice! Statistically…I’m actually already dead. I’m partly dead now."
- Alex: "You’re mostly dead now, I think."
- Lydia: "Yeah! “Oh, I’m not gonna live very long.” What’s it like being alive, mate?"
- ―Sasha is grappling with being mostly undead.
- Barret: "So, how are you, Hamid?"
- Hamid: "Well, not great to be honest. I mean, did you see, hear, I don’t know how this works. Are you aware of all the death?"
- Barret: "You might need to be a tad more specific there, Hamid old friend."
- Hamid: "Well, my friend Bertie died, and my sister died. So it’s not been a great week, actually."
- Barret: "Oh, fair enough."
- Hamid: "You gonna pile on?"
- Barret: "Well, I guess I am."
- Hamid: "Might as well do it now, you’ve started haven’t you?"
- Barret: "Oh, you got feisty!"
- ―Barret contacts Hamid through the ring on his finger.
- "When they get to Paris, they got stolen by ... a ceiling monster, who was made of ... brains that they nicked? And then they killed him, but actually they didn't, and then they did. And then cause they killed the ceiling monster all the banks fell over."
- Grizzop: "He [Kafka] picked up Hamid’s sister and Bertie, and strangled them both and threw her against the wall, and then Bertie died."
- Azu: "We must kill Franz Kafka."
- Grizzop: "He’s dead."
- Azu: "Oh, wonderful work!"
- Grizzop: "We already killed him, yeah."
- Azu: "Oh! A truly great quest group I have joined!"
- Grizzop: "Yeah! Well, you know, I’m pretty good. I think these guys are fine too. That’s unfair, they’ve been very competent. Well, Sasha has. Yeah, cause Hamid turned into, like, a weird animal thing. Like, a little lizard boy. I had to go catch him, he was hiding on a roof. It was really annoying. But I shouldn’t really be…it’s not a time for levity, cause while he was a lizard boy his sister died, so."
- ―Grizzop recounts the story so far to Azu.
- Barret: "So, we feeling ready to chat now, Hamid?"
- Hamid: "I suppose so."
- Barret: "So I repeat, it would be a great help to me if you would deliver the ring to your older brother."
- Hamid: "Oh! I thought you meant my father! You really should be clearer. They’ve got the same name, it’s important to distinguish."
- Barret: "I’m gonna be honest, I kind of liked you better when you were terrified."
- ―Barret asks Hamid to give the ring to his brother, Saleh.
- Barret: "Alright fine, you want to know my business with your brother? There’s an item which is to be delivered to your brother. That item is a ring that you’re wearing. This is the business that I have with your brother. Nice and clear?"
- Hamid: "I mean, if that’s all the instructions you have, then sure, let’s go with that."
- Barret: "There we go. Please do so quickly. And give my best to Sasha."
- Hamid: "No, I absolutely will not! Bye!"
- ―Barret asks Hamid to give the ring to his brother, Saleh.
- "I am obviously not what dead people usually do. Like, I’m aware there are exceptions to the dead rule. I’ve seen zombies. I have sliced zombies open. Skeletons, skeletons are not my friend. Can’t stab em’ in the kidneys, cause they ain’t got none, right. I have kidneys, I assume. Cause Zolf would have seen them. You could ask him, but he’s gone now. Not ‘cause I killed him or anything. But he’s just gone. So, right, like, just, can you fix it?"
- Sasha: "Are you saying I’ll be dead in a month?"
- Eren: "No, you are dead. I’m saying you’ll be something else."
- Sasha: "Oh, well. That takes a lot of worries of the table, doesn’t it? No retirement plans here."
- Eren: "What an incredibly positive attitude."
- ―Sasha learns that she'll be turning into a lich soon, due to her being undead.
- Sasha: "I don’t know…I mean. Are liches good at anything?"
- Grizzop: "Yeah, they’re great at stuff. Being evil, unfortunately, seems to be kind of high on that list."
- Hamid: "Just because there’s never been a non-evil lich doesn’t mean there couldn’t be one."
- Azu: "That’s a good point."
- Grizzop: "Yeah, yeah, yeah! Why not!"
- Hamid: "I mean, maybe there has, I’m not an expert at history."
- Grizzop: "Yeah, first good lich."
- ―The party learns that Sasha is turning into a lich.
Dice rolls and Mechanics
- Sasha makes a Stealth check: 20.
- Grizzop makes a Perception check: nat 20.
- Sasha makes a Knowledge (local) check: nat 1.
- Sasha makes a Stealth check: 36.
- Sasha makes a Constitution save: 15.
- Azu makes a Knowledge (religion) on the Heart: 15.
- Sasha makes a Knowledge (local) check: nat 1.
- Azu makes a Knowledge (religion) check about the Heart: 15.