New arrivals at the Hotel Borse
While they awaited the Collector’s ‘package’, Felix Tarse and Kitra of House Vlaros were staying at the Hotel Borse, near the aeroport in Newt’n. The hotel started to get some strange visitors. The first of these was Alpha One, a Cyberdroid wanderer from the far north. Another was the Deru pilot Groo. Each had been recruited by the Collector for this mission.
The Deru couldn’t wait to see Tarse’s fancy aeroship Tears of Chador. He scrambled aboard. Felix Tarse wandered around town while Kitra ventured outside into Ruside, looking for Samirians (but she found none). Tarse returned to his hotel to find that Stig of the Dump had delivered a crate of material from the Collector (much to the interest of the hotel staff). All was in readiness; it was time to depart Tagrum.
The Mountain of Power
The Tears of Chador lifted off from Tagrum aeroport and flew westward over the badlands of Haru, a broken land of forests and gullies. Once during the journey, some bandit shot a few potshots at the vessel.
The aeroship approached the Mountain of Power at dusk. It was a squarish mesa jutting out from the hills around, on top was a jagged array of huge rock spikes at crazy angles. A cleft in the mesa contained some huts, with a wooden stockade and a small lake at the bottom. Groo gave the Mountain a wide berth, circling around to the forested back hills. They threw down the anchor and disembarked, leaving the aeroship swaying gently in the breeze.
It was cold and dark; snow crunched underfoot. The trees rustled in the the wind. Fortunately they had come prepared, thanks to the Collector’s stash. They donned environment suits and night vision goggles. Alpha One noted a humaniform through the trees. This turned out to be a barbarian gathering wood. He seemed friendly and offered to lead them back to his nearby village. The four followed.
The village turned out to be a small collection of huts, camouflaged by mats of twigs and leaves. Inside the main hut was a warm fire and about twenty villagers. Some were Samirians, some were Awan. At the head was a bearded smiling man, who greeted the humans telepathically (Alpha One was confused because he received no signals). He was the Mystic, once a priest of the Power Seekers death-cult of the Mountain of Power. He had questioned too much and been sacrificed to the Cave of Power, but had found an escape route and made it to the forest here. He welcomed any and all other escapees from the Mountain.