Trent and Jescha rejoined the group to see them in dire shape after their battle. Trent offered to take them all to a specially prepared Dimensional Envelope he had made previously which would allow a full day to pass for those within while only a few minutes passed in the real world. The group took him up on this offer and everyone was able to rest and recover back up to nearly full strength in that time. Pall Mall, Steve, McGreggor, James, Trent and Jescha all discussed their next move, and came to the conclusion that since they had thus far hit five of the seven locations noted on the star map, they should check out the others.
Trent neglected to mention to the group that he had already explored the other location, Hyrcania, and that what he had discovered there currently lay secret and safe within his personal dimensional pockets.
The group left Trent’s dimensional envelope and traveled to one of the remaining two locations – which turned out to be the city of Uruk. The first impression of the city of Uruk was that it seemed untouched by the Chaos afflicting the rest of the land. Walking through the city towards the center McGreggor noticed the smells of smoking and curing meat, but none of the smells one would expect in a city full of people like this. By the time the group reached the ziggurat in the center of the city the group had come to the realization through observation, magical senses and deductive reasoning that the hustle and bustle of a busy city was merely an illusion.
They walked into the ziggurat and found the place filled with carcass hanging from the ceiling like a butcher’s shop and mounted on the walls as trophies. Even Demons and Deevils were on display, which was odd since their bodies should have faded away upon death. Investigating them further Trent noticed a tiny dimensional anomaly on each of the supernatural corpses which appeared to anchor them in this dimension even after death. James’ investigation of the corpses shows they all had been killed by a massive arrow which bored right through them.
Up in the throne room the scene was similar, with corpses and hunting trophies littering the room. Searching around, Steve was able to find a concealed passage but Pall Mall was able to recognize a ward on the door, barring entry without consequences. Pall Mall cast a negation spell and unraveled the ward, allowing them all to enter unimpeded. This room was filled with treasure, but it was all illusionary like the people outside. Trent finally recognized this wasn’t just an illusion, but was a temporal effect encompassing the entire city that projected illusions of the past into the present day.
Trent cast a Temporal Barrier spell, centered on the ziggurat, and the true face of Uruk became visible under the barrier. The city streets were deserted with no people anywhere. The treasure room was empty, except for a massive, hairy body handing upside down from the ceiling. James recognized the body as that of as Enkidu, Gilgamesh’s oldest friend and Shamhat’s husband, due to his knowledge of The Epic of Gilgamesh. He was not dead, but near death and kept alive only by suspended animation.
James recalled a flower mentioned in The Epic of Gilgamesh, called “How He Who Once Was Old Becomes A Young Man Again,” which grew not too far from the city of Uruk. Or did, anyway. WIth McGreggor’s help, the two of them raced together to obtain this flower, using McGreggor’s special beads of travel to get them there in the blink of an eye. They found the flower guarded by a demonic being but were able to outsmart it long enough to grab the flower and run back to the ziggurat.
While they were away, Trent and Pall Mall went outside to survey the scene and saw two Scorpion people dragging more dead bodies through the town, into the ziggurat. Pall Mall and Trent engaged the creatures in conversation. They learned that the Scorpion people were allied with a mysterious “Huntsman,” also referred to as “The Stalker,” who had taken over Uruk in Gilgamesh’s absence. He was waging a “Great Hunt” and was the one responsible for all these kills. They couldn’t be goaded into any further communication so Pall Mall and Trent left them to their business.
When McGreggor and James came back the group reconvened in the throne room, prepared the flower and when ready broke the suspended animation spell in order to feed Enkidu the cure. Once he stabilized and talked with the group for a while about who he was and how he ended up there, they realized that his wife, Shamhat, was the dead woman who was last found to be wearing the crown back in the Cave Shrine of Ishtar – this meant that the spirit trapped within was that of Shamhat, his wife! James volunteered to be her vessel to be allow her to speak with her husband, and had the crown placed upon his head. When Enkidu was not convinced, Trent put a Deevil amulet on James’ body so that Shamhat could use it to “reveal her form” to Enkidu.
A pornographic scene nearly ensued between the husband and wife, finally reunited after so long. It was however stopped when the group used the crown to switch James and Shamhat’s minds back again, giving James possession of his body, wherein he metamorphed back into his normal form. Enkidu was not pleased but listened while being informed of his his wife’s unfortunate fate. Enkidu took his leave of them in order to mourn for Shamhat. James pieced together the information he received from Enkidu during their earlier talk, and the information Trent and Pall Mall received from the the scorpion people, to realize that “The Stalker” must somehow be Orion, the same “Huntsman” who was, in their present time, hunting his mother/aunt goddess, Artemis.
Having done all they felt they could do here in Uruk, the group discussed going to the remaining location noted by the celestial map (Hyrcania, but only Trent knew that), and also whether or not they would return to Mummuu to barter for Sonja’s freedom. Steve was very adamant about not turning the crown over to Mummuu, and instead tried to convince the group that they needed to return to Ali Babba and make him pay for his crimes. Ultimately, the group made the decision to stop putting off the inevitable, lollygagging around Ancient Babylon, and return to the Tower of Babel in order to try and end The Plague of Tongues. The only way Chaos would be stopped here would be to remove it’s biggest factor – the barrier to communication created by the plague. Anything else could be handled after that was finally solved.
The six of them traveled to the Tower and found it to be exactly the same as the last time they were here, except for the addition of more spiderwebs now clearly visible from the entranceway. Everyone began preparing themselves for what looked to be a major challenge of fighting. Pall Mall began summoning creatures to serve him, the greatest of which was a Demon Locust. Once everyone was ready and without waiting for consent from the group, Trent cast a spell on the webs which were visible, causing them ignite on fire. A spectacular fwoosh echoed throughout the tower that lasted for several minutes and visibly traveled up the tower, blowing fire out of each level as the network of webs ignited and burned away everywhere within the Tower. With the entrance now “all clear,” the group entered and began their descent.
They ran into a lot of spider demons on the way down. Although they were nowhere near as tough without their queen (the reborn goddess Ereshkigal, now temporarily deceased at the hands of the Naked Man), there were still a lot of them to fight through. As they defeated each group they encountered Jescha cast a spell to erect a sturdy wall of ice behind them, slowing down or blocking any potential pursuers which may come down after them. Deeper into the tower’s depths they began to encounter webbing again – sturdier, hardier webbing this time, which was not so easily destroyed. The combination of this enhanced webbing and the constant fighting which the group kept finding themselves engaged in slowed their descent considerably, and they realized a new plan was needed. Trent opened a portal to the same time-accelerated Dimensional Envelope they had rested in previously when he first rejoined the party, and urged the group to enter and seek temporary refuge from the battle long enough to come up with a new plan and refocus their efforts.
The group entered and Trent closed the portal behind them to prevent being followed. While in the Dimensional Space Trent left a one-way portal open that connected back to where they came from. The group could watch as Pall Mall’s minions and the spider-demons continued to fight in super-slow motion and didn’t even register their absence yet. With this extra time to breathe, the group concocted a new plan.
They would secure an area and block it off with walls of ice, while Trent would use the Mystic Portal spell to bore through the stairways to the levels beneath. They would drop down the tower in this manner to avoid fighting and weakening their heavy hitters, while Trent and Jescha would fuel all their extra casting with energy spheres held in reserve until now. The group would concurrently guard James while he meditated with his sword to project his astral spirit out of his body. As an astral spirit, James would then reconnoiter the path the group was travelling in order to discover if their goal was within reach with their current plan/resources, or if they needed to develop yet another new plan.
When James returned he informed the group that his reconnaissance showed they had the resources to reach the bottom. He then described what he found down there: a room with an unmoving body, a giant stone tablet covered in cuneiform script, and an open dimensional portal with writhing tentacles coming out of it. To everyone’s surprise, James actually knew a lot about the creature – it was called a Nexus Maw. It reached into other dimensions (even dimensional envelopes weren’t sacred) in order to feed and in each dimension released tiny, worm like beings to be its eyes and ears. As James described these creatures, which looked like tongues, pieces started falling into place for the group.
Upon reaching the bottom of the tower the group found a long hallway stretched out before them, leading into this open room. Again the group ensured they were well prepared to face a creature of such strange power, and tried to prepare to face whatever else may be currently unknowingly waiting. A large part of this discussion was Steve trying to convince McGreggor to use the anti-matter helmet device he had as a bomb, which Steve would heroically carry into the creatures gaping maw. All Steve needed (besides the antimatter helmet) was a dimensional portal scroll to allow him to escape. Ultimately the group decided against this plan and decided instead to go in, weapons at the ready, and try to retrieve both the unmoving body and the stone, which those with history skills quickly realized was the Code of Hammurabi – a powerful symbol of Order.
Steve sheathed his swords and drew the new rune weapon he recently acquired from McGreggor’s swimming expedition – the rune sword Conan. Pall Mall sent all his minions in first and they froze at the entrance. Trent quickly realized they had been caught in a Time Stop effect and, knowing it would block his own Temporal Powers, cast a Time Barrier out to his full range of effect, easily removing the Time Stop effect from the room but also releasing anything else within the tower which may have been caught up in it. Steve, McGreggor and James all entered the room to fight off the creature and enact the plan. Pall Mall, Trent and Jescha stopped at the entrance when they recognized an Anti-Magic Cloud hanging over the room. After a few unsuccessful attempts to dispel it, Pall Mall decided to negate it by just casting his own above it, negating THAT one!
Though the Nexus Maw was using its psionic abilities against Steve, it did not use any magic. The question was raised, if this wasn’t the Nexus Maw’s Anti-Magic Cloud, then whose was it? There was no time to search for answers to that question, though.
Inside the room Steve had succumbed to psionic possession from the Nexus Maw, only to be broken out of it by succumbing to the beserker rage that the sword Conan bestowed upon its owner! Steve began delighting in shedding the blood of the tentacles which got in his way AND any of Pall Mall’s minions he came across. James and McGreggor did their best to stay out of Steve’s way while also dealing with more of the creature’s tentacles themselves. Eventually McGreggor got an opportunity to use his necklace to grab the unmoving body with lightning speed, and also tried to grab the Code of Hammurabi on his way out. The Code proved to be too heavy and McGreggor got caught by a tentacle while he had his guard down. McGreggor fought his way out of the creature’s grasp while James grabbed the unmoving body and fled the room with it. In the hallway, James, Pall Mall, Jescha and Trent could see it looked like a younger version of The Naked Man.
At that moment, The Naked Man strode into the hallway through an Ice Wall which melted around him. Before he could say or do anything more, he saw his own body lying on the ground there and created a Temporal Paradox – the same object cannot exist in the same space at the same time. He fell to the ground, apparently dead, and the feedback from the paradoxical event caused another shimmering Temporal portal to appear, very similar to the one which brought them to this time in the first place.
James ran back in the room to retrieve the Code of Hammurabi and bring it back out into the hallway. McGreggor had finally freed himself and was firing his plasma rifle straight into the maw of the beast. Steve continued to go berserk on everything around him, and in this state even slew the Demon Locust minion Pall Mall had summoned. With the Temporal portal now in existence, Trent (incorrectly) feared they did not have much time before it closed and used a scroll of Teleport: Superior to take himself, Jescha and the Code of Hammurabi out to the front of the ziggurat Entemenaki. It was Trent’s hope that the Code being prominently displayed in public might break the spell of the plague – it did not. Frustrated, Trent re-examined the stone closer and noticed cracks, and small amounts of light coming from them.
Trent pulled out a weapon and shattered the Code of Hammurabi, freeing the trapped god Marduk from within. Trent verified this wasn’t another trick by using his Dragon’s Eye gem and poking the body with cold iron. The god was unresponsive and his tongue had been ripped out. Everything fell into place then, and Trent knew the tongue of the god must have been hidden in plain sight, in the top rooms of the Tower – buried within the mass of trapped spawn collected from the Nexus Maw!
Meanwhile back in the basement room of the Tower of Babel, Steve in his bloodlust beserker rage was getting more and more out of control. Pall Mall finally rooted him to the spot with a Carpet of Adhesion spell in order to prevent him from coming after the rest of his companions but it wouldn’t hold him for long. The Nexus Maw, though appearing to be badly injured, still lived and was super pissed and cranky now. Hope, although now on the horizon for Ancient Babylon, still seemed far away for those still fighting deep within the bowels of the Tower of Babylon.