They decided to take a long rest before heading to Mahadi’s Wandering Emporium. They went to the building that Maggie had provided for them. With Lulu and Polydamus watching over them, the settled in for hopefully a peaceful rest. As peaceful as one could be on the first level of Hell.
They were given access to two of the Devil’s Rides. Polydamus allowed Sylvie to ride on his back. Tharja and Justen polymorphed into giant eagles. Jazulon and Nym hopped on the Devil’s Rides and they were off. Jazulon decided to use the map that they were given back in Candlekeep. He noticed that as the map neared an area marked on the map, an old man’s voice began mumbling about this or that landmark.
“A breeder of horrors and a hoarder of secrets, a sibriex is said to be as old as the Abyss.”
Jazulon did not try to talk back to the map but he also did mention this strange function of the map to the others. They could not hear it since over the noise of the Devil’s Rides and the others were all flying.
Jazulon and Nym were the first to spot what they thought was a mirage. As they got closer they knew that their eyes were not deceiving them.
A collection of brightly colored tents stands clustered together, creating an oasis of comfort amid the dread landscape of Avernus. Huge infernal war machines form a horseshoe about the tents, with curtains made of small, rectangular iron plates and lamps dangling from chains strung between them. Soft, lilting music and wondrous smells drift across the hot winds, inviting a closer look.
As they entered the horseshoe they saw a large sign. It read:
“All are welcome here. No fighting! No spellcasting! No exceptions!”
A large human comes out of the large center tent and welcomes them. “Greetings travelers! I am Mahadi and welcome to the Wandering Emporium. While you are here you will be able to rest from the ravages of Avernus. You can shop for those items you forget or have used up. You can sell your hard earned loot. You can enjoy a great meal and drink. I can give you a short tour from here.
Infernal Rapture - Mahadi’s restaurant/bar and spa. Advertised as the best food on Avernus. In addition to food and drink, spa treatments of all kinds are available. For the right price. Once you have done the business you came to the Emporium, stop by the Infernal Rapture for some rest and relaxation.
Firesnake Forge - This establishment is run by three salamanders named Rassh, Skids, and Slagg. They maintain Mahadi’s infernal war while also crafting wares for sale to visitors.
Burney the Barber - Burney is Calishite woman. She provides all services any proficient barber might, up to and including medical attention for those with injuries or ailments. Burney charges 1 gp for each service involving grooming (shave, shampoo, feet washing, mani or pedi).
From Here to Avernus - Fhet’Ahla, an amnizu who provides imps as couriers for deliveries as well as an official notary for the signing of infernal contracts.
Ichor’s Aweigh - Elliach collects and sells flasks of demon ichor.
Z’Neth’s Larva Farm - Z’neth is an old (stoned?) hobgoblin who buys and sells larvae. Yugoloth larvae.
While Tharja and Sylvie went to Firesnake Forge, Nym, Jazulon and Lulach went to check out Z’Neth’s Larvae Farm described.
Tharja and Sylvie were approached by one of the salamanders who had been working the forge. He had told a magmin and an animated armor to take over for him so he could speak with his customers. He introduced himself as Skids and said his brothers were off duty. Tharja asked Skids if he had a nirvnan cogbox for sale. Skids said No, I do not but I may have information on where to find one. But it will cost you. Are you interested? Tharja thought for a moment and said yes, we do need one. Skids said that the information would cost 3 soul coins or 400 gold. While he would prefer the soul coins, he would take the 400 gold because he knew a guy. Tharja paid him the 400 gold. Skids said okay here is the information and coordinates in case you have a map. Sylvie went to get the map from Jazulon while Tharja got the directions and information from Skids.
Skids said “It is the literal heart of a Modron. If you can get it out of a “living” modron that is all for the better. There is a a place called the Avernus Junkyard. Of course there are other junkyards on Avernus but once you see it you will understand why it is called what it is called. We do have to make stops at it for parts from time to time and it does not disappoint it what can be found there. These are the coordinates and these are the landmarks to look for.
Sylvie got the map from Jazulon and for a brief moment she felt like the map was attempting to reach out to her. But the feeling left as quickly as it appeared and she took the map to Tharja. They received the coordinates for the Avernus Junkyard. Sylvie wanted to check out Ichor’s Aweigh and had just told Tharja that is where she would be when a little girl, maybe 10 or 11 appeared from somewhere and approached Tharja.
“You are Tharja…I am Dara, Chosen of Illmater. He told me that you and your friends would be arriving.”
I had a vision from Ilmater that you would arrive and that you could handle the situation better than I. Someone not known to the Wandering Emporium.
You see, I have not been seen a single Fai Chen in several days (Tharja had heard the name before. He was a well known traveling merchant on the prime material plane that was known for having items that others did not). I prayed to Illmater and he gave me the vision I spoke of. And then it arrived.”
As Nym, Lulach and Jazulon joined the group from the other side of the emporium, an imp emerged from Dara’s backpack and handed Thraja a letter.
If you are reading this, it is because I am in a lot of trouble. For days my others have been disappearing. I fear none of me may be left in this camp, so I paid quite a bit for this imp to deliver this letter to you without its master, the amnizu Fhet’Ahla, knowing of its delivery should all myselves disappear.
I cannot trust any others in camp. Please investigate my disappearance, find myself and my doubles, and save me… us…you know what I mean. In case your time in Avernus has enhanced your greed and you need motivation—yes, there is a magic item in it for you if you rescue me…us…whatever. You know what I mean.
Save me, please. Trust no one. I know not who is behind this, but Mahadi and his servants have always been curious about my self-duplicating methods. They cannot know you are searching for me.
Fai Chen #216
Dara continued “Let me explain – Fai Chen, a well-known and respected purveyor of worldly and other-worldly goods with some kind of connection to Avernus, helped a group of adventurers bring me on a holy mission to Avernus. We followed Fai Chen to the Wandering Emporium for healing and rest. We found out that Fai Chen had a previous (strained at best) relationship with Mahadi, the owner of the emporium. It seems that he was once in service to Mahadi but no longer is. We found safety with Mahadi in exchange for favors. While doing these favors I learned that Fai Chen has made copies of himself (!), which is somehow responsible for how he escaped Mahadi’s service.”
The adventurers I arrived with have left to continue their exploration of Avernus while I remain he waiting for Illmater to instruct me.
Dara proposed that the characters investigate the following emporium members:
• Burney the Barber, a female Calishite human who offers healing service for gold.
• Fhet’Ahla, an amnizu devil who watches over the emporium’s imps and serves as a notary for infernal contract dealings at From Here to Avernus.
• Elliach, a human transmuter who deals in demon ichor at Ichor’s Aweigh.
They agreed to help her and the Fai Chen’s.
She thanked them and reminded them to remain careful in the camp: Mahadi has eyes and ears everywhere. She also warned them to remember the rules of the emporium: No fighting. No stealing. No spellcasting. No exceptions.
They decided to go to Ichor’s Away since that is where Sylvie wanted to go before they met Dara. They entered the tent:
Noxious fumes and colored smoke fill this tent. A man with no ears runs his elongated, tentacle-like arms along the flasks lining the many shelves in the tent.
The man turned to them and said “I am Elliach. I trade in demon ichor. Need some? Or need to get rid of it? I am your man. So, how can I help you?”
They asked him if he had any Phlegethosian sand? They had heard of a merchant who was able to get hard to find items such as this sand. Elliach said no, I do not know where you could get sand from the 4th layer of hell besides going to the fourth layer. But you do not need sand. You need demon ichor. You see what it has done for me. Also, I have figured out a great use for it. I can remove memories from one’s brain and then can store it in a potion!
They began to scan the flasks. Jazulon saw one on a high shelf labeled Fai. He cautiously pointed it out to the others. Sylvie started scanning for any flask with Lulu’s name on it. Not seeing one she asked if any were labeled Lulu. Elliach said he did not remember any flask labeled that. Tharja then asked if this demon ichor potion could restore one’s lost memory? Elliach said no, only remove those not wanted for whatever reason but wanted to keep. Tharja then asked how much does a flask cost? Depends said Elliach. A short memory from a lesser know person would not be as expensive has a larger memory from a well known person. What the one labeled Fai said Tharja? Is that well known merchant I have heard of? Elliach said I think he was. That one will be 3 soul coins. Tharja hesitated and was about to speak when Elliach said. Or I will give it to you in exchange for the purple quasit that is in my friend Burney the Barber’s tent. I would really like to have it. He had become even creepier that he already was. Tharja and Sylvie were ready to go but they wanted to visit the other places that Dara had mentioned before purchasing the potion. Tharja said I need to search through my bag of holding for those coins. I will be back shortly. Elliach nodded and then all left Ichor’s Aweigh.
They decided to go to see Burney the Barber next.
This simple canvas tent is filled with sweet incense and several strange animals in cages, including a tiny purple demon. A Calishite woman places a wet cloth on the head of a young boy lying on a cot, his veins bulging as sweat pours down his brow.
As each one of them entered the tent they were greeted: Welcome, friend are you in need of healing? They all said no but some of them would like to some of the spa treatments she offered such as a bath. Tharja really wanted to wash her hair. Burney said I will do what I can but I fear I will lose this boy. I am on the edge of a cure but his weak body will not last the day. If I had assistance I would be able to finish that cure. What do you need?
I need someone that will take on the disease so he will not suffer anymore but it hard to find selfless people in Avernus. Sylvie and Jazulon said that they would take the disease at the exact time. The argued briefly who would take it and they finally settled on a session of “rock, paper, scissors” which Sylvie won so she would take on the disease. She asked how will the disease move from him to me?
Burney said I have a ritual that can do it. You will need to stand within 5ft of him. It should not take long.
Sylvie moved within 5ft of the boy and Burney began to chant the ritual. The Infernal Wasting hit Sylvie hard. (She lost two levels of exhaustion.) The boy stopped sweating, his veins were no longer bulging and he slowly closed his eyes and went into a deep peaceful sleep.
Thank you said Burney. Now tell the real reason you have come to visit. They asked first about the Phlegethosian sand. Burney did not know where to find that but on the 4th layer of hell. They then asked about the merchant Fai Chen and that they had heard he may have such items but they could not find them in emporium. Burney says “Shortly before the Fais began disappearing, a Shou man in black robes named Su Zhen Kang visited Burney. While he requested only for a shave, the man asked several questions about the Fais—how many there were, where they spent their time, etc. Before he left, he also asked where he could find Ichor’s Aweigh and From Here to Avernus.
Tharja was sure she wanted to go back and purchase the Fai flask. Sylvie and Jazulon said we should at least visit From Here to Avernus. Tharja, Nym and Lulach agreed. They went over to From Here to Avernus. The first thing that they noticed was the number of imps flying in and out. As they entered the tent:
An obese devil with small wings poking through its purple robes makes notes in a book as he places it back on his counter. Imps fly all about his tent, squabbling with each other over who is responsible for carrying the next letter.
The amnizu spoke “Greetings friends. Do you have a message or parcel that you need to delivered? You have come to the right place. I charge a single soul coin for parcel deliveries weighing 5 pounds or less. For a larger parcel (up to 50 pounds), he charges twosoul coins. Anything larger than 50 pounds I am not able to move for you.
They asked Fhet’Ahla about Phlegethosian sand and he too did not know where to get any. Jazulon then asked about the letter that they had received from Fai Chen. Fhet’Ahla said I do not recall having sent this letter you speak of. They said thank you and they all left.
They decided that Tharja would go back and buy Fai’s flask for 3 soul coins. She would use the empty ones that they had found. She entered the tent and asked to buy the flask. Before she left she asked if Elliach could tell more about the Fai flask? Elliach said I do not know as that is my memory that I removed. I had to test it to make sure that it worked, right? Tharja thanked him and left.
They decided that they would ask Burney if she had a bed or cot available for Tharja so she could drink this potion that they were not sure what would happen once she did. Burney agreed. Tharja sat on the edge of a cot and slowly drank the potion.
As Tharja drank the foul-tasting potion, her eyes clouded over as she experienced the following memories from Elliach’s perspective:
• A male Shou human in black robes enters Ichor’s Aweigh. He made a large order for several hundred vials of a special poison made from demon ichor that leaves the victim unable to harness its ki. The man told Elliach to bill the order to Mahadi.
• The man asked Elliach if Fai Chen ever came into Ichor’s Aweigh. Elliach said he did not, but that he had a soft spot for the strange merchant. The customer scowled at this and gave Elliach a dirty look filled with rage.
• Before leaving, the man said that his name was Su Zhen Kang, and told Elliach to deliver the poison to his orange tent in the emporium.