Our heroes made a mad dash for the rear of the train, and noticed the screams crescendo until they stepped into the brothel, where the sections connected, and a huge torrent of air had muffled out the wailing.
There was smoke billowing out of Pearl’s office, and as they approached, a tall and almost emaciated figure stepped through the door.
Any citizen of Mir would immediately recognize the face of terror. Masked and draped in black leather, the few pieces of exposed skin could barely be called skin at all. They were nearly translucent, bulging blue veins explored the surface, and not an inch unmarred by some sort of scar or burn.
He was dusting himself off as he regarded our heroes, and with not so much as a nod, proceeded towards the front of the 2-star section. Billy Rabbit and Riggy Squanch approached him, but were shuffled out of his path by an invisible force before they could lay a hand on him. Cassidy Gale fired a round from his revolver, but the bullet sailed away unnaturally as it approached. Ubiytsa turned as he reached for the door and brushed away a portion of his coat to reveal a small, glowing cube on his belt. He looked over the baffled adventurers once more, and despite the mask , they could feel his sickening grin. He held up a small, shining piece of metal, gold in hue, but no thinner than a piece of paper with 7 stars emblazoned on its surface. With that quick display, and small bow he departed.
Why would such a man even need a ticket our heroes thought… What is protecting this train that such a man could not force his way beyond?
That thought did not linger long however, and as they barged into Pearl’s office, where the adjoining door lay, they were shocked at what they saw in the 1-star car. Half of the roof was completely shorn off, but it’s not as if Ubiysta merely blew the top off with powder, no… It appeared as though the section of the roof had ceased to exist. Then what was the explosive sound they all heard? Once again, these thoughts fled our heroes’ minds when they noticed that all the while, hundreds of tiny, buzzing, clockwork creatures were calmly repairing the missing ceiling.
“Wild” Biff had heard tales of these creatures during his travels… They were called monodromes, and as far as anybody could tell, they saw to it that the train ran as it was intended. One of the dromes fluttered into the brothel’s office where it noticed that the grate that led to the ventilation area of the train had been knocked loose, but when it began to attempt the repair, a passel of oozes began dropping out of the ceiling. Obediah and Cassidy recognized these from the shafts above where they were observed them “cleaning” the shafts as they ambled along the surfaces,. They did not think much about them until the oozes began to try and “clean” the room, and that meant digesting everything thing around them.
The monodrome recognized that oozes were not operating as intended and began to approach them individually and initiate a repair. This caused them to dissolve whatever contents they had engulfed and return to shafts. This also caused Billy Rabbit to nearly be digested, but he managed to escape his gelatinous confines, and snag a ticket bearing 4 stars from within the creature to boot.
With the mess being cleaned up by the monodromes, and the wounded being attended to by Pearl’s employees, our adventurers headed back towards the front of the section in an attempt to catch up with Ubiytsa, but he was nowhere to be found… Rather an overly excited Gina Tonic met them with the reminder that the show was about to start!
They each entered the Opry, but as the last of them stepped through, the door was slammed in Gina’s face. On the stage were four hooded figures, and Ubiytsa who whispering to the tallest of them… He turned, grinning menacingly under his mask, and bid our heroes to enjoy their show as he disappeared through shimmering portal.
After some theatrics on the part of “Throbbing Boss” the battle for the 2-star train began. It became evident very early that underneath the overly large cloaks, the exposed bits of the enemies skin was of the same texture and hue of Ubiytsa’s, and with the surgical scarring as well.
The battle raged, and a very angry Gina Tonic finally managed to kick the door in when the lead singer of Throbbing Boss collapsed into a pile of viscous fluid only to reanimate herself a horrifying, dripping spider-like creature.
Ubiytsa’s underworldly connection was becoming evident…
Despite a few near casualties, our heroes emerged victorious after Armstrong was able to knock the ichor beast from the ceiling by hurling his maul at it. Obediah noticed the swirling energies of life in the staff the Yochol once wielded and took it for his own. Each of the slain follower’s had more of the same strange coins they found in the safe belonging to the demonic Lucy Diamonds, as well as enough 3 star tickets to bring Gina and Pim along with them to the next section.
As our adventurer’s rummaged through their slain foes belongings, looking for clues as to the physical location of the map aboard the train, they noticed the approach of a very cheerful, slightly intoxicated, halfling bard. The bard walked straight to the now dissolving corpse of the yochol and reached her arm up the elbow in the sludge of its body. She yanked back and freed an extraordinarily slimy lute from the ichor, smiled, and walked back towards the door.
She turned to thank the adventurers, explaining that she’s been looking for that lute for some time, when Rigi Squanch approached, not ready to give up “his” treasure so willingly… With uncanny swiftness, the halfling struck a powerful chord on the instrument and Rigi immediately fell asleep.
“The name’s Cactus Molasses, Pleased to meet ya!” She exclaimed as she gestured pointing two imaginary pistols at the rest of the party. And with that, she was out the door.
Our heroes gathered themselves, and made their way to the 3-star section, where the next obstacle that stood between them and the map awaited.