On the way back to Nubium's territory, the party ran across Itsaboy's caravan, which wasn't too surprising -- the caravan was trying to carry the etheric vane, which slowed them down a lot. What was surprising was that everyone was dead.
Itsaboy wasn't dead, though -- he was just missing, along with four of his guards. Unfortunately, the party didn't have the skllls to track him, so they decided to finish getting the extremely important etheric vane back to the tower before nightfall, then look for Itsaboy in the dreamtime.
Which they did without incident. They discovered that the resurrection spell they'd resisted *had* worked... kind of. Itsaboy's assisstants hadn't realized that they weren't on a deadline, but had screwed up the spell -- they had four bodies of people who lived around the time of the cataclysm, but no spirits. Trying to summon their spirits using Vesperian's speak with dead spell ended up getting random spirits from people around the city.
Alana, seeing their condition, wanted to knock them out to have a look at why they'd aged so much. The prognosis -- most of their bodies were stolen from other people who were still alive, and someone had tried to heal them. If no other healing attempts were made, they'd survive a month at this point before their bodies disintegrated back into their component parts.
Alana thought that she knew a potion that would help, but it needed a rare ingredient that they were out of -- Itsaboy had used the last of it to make the pink fizzy potions. They needed 'highly magical blue reptile blood' -- dragon blood (from certain dragons, including the water-dragon that they'd seen in the mountain cave) would work, or basilisk, or wyverns, and there were wyverns a week's travel to the south... the recipe was easy, once you had the ingredients, so she taught it to Cane so that they wouldn't have to come all the way back, since she wasn't sure they'd last that long.
In the dreamtime... Itsaboy was 'protected'. The assassin's guild had kidnapped him to have him heal their leader, who'd been infected by the zombie plague. They gave the party an address to come meet them if they wanted to help Itsaboy with his healing -- and a list of equipment to bring with them.
They also tried to negotiate with the dragon in the dreamtime -- the idea was to tell the dragon that they'd hidden her egg in Crisium's territory, and then collect some dragon blood from the ensuing battle. If that didn't work... it was wyvern time. Somehow, Takara managed to convince the dragon to go along with it.
Then they got in the 'Deathtrap II' (a second prototype, with multiple gears! And shocks!) and raced to Crisium's territory, trying to get there before the dragon was gone - oops.
Luckily, they'd been vague enough in their directions that the dragon didn't find the egg right away. Still, by the time they got there, there was already a suspicious storm cloud over the city. But first... they had a date with the assassins.
Cane couldn't believe that Kyngeah intended to deal honorably with people who'd dishonorably slaughtered the caravan slaves and kidnapped Itsaboy, but her faith in her god overwhelmed his sense of propriety, so he agreed to play fair with them until they inevitably betrayed them. When they got to the safehouse where the sick assassin was being treated, Itsaboy was there, and together they managed to cure the zombie plague -- Kyngeah cured the disease, Cane made a cleansing incense stick to destroy the infectious pus before it could re-infect her, and Itsaboy... was useless. He didn't know any healing magic (he was a wizard, not a cleric) and his science was insignificant in the face of divine power. Although he probably could have done Cane's job if he hadn't been trying to do Kyngeah's.
At any rate, the assassins did play fair, and let them go -- they even protected them overnight, so that they didn't have to spend the night being tortured by Crisium.
The next day, it was time for the dragon (blood) hunt. Unfortuantely, the dragon was being too cautious -- instead of facing the guards directly, she was appearing in a random area in a flash of lightning, quickly searching around for her egg, then vanishing before the guards could get more than a couple hits in. So she wasn't actually hurting Crisium's forces like Itsaboy had hoped when originally asking them to plant the egg, and she wasn't bleeding much -- and what blood she did have kept turning into water.
Kyngeah and Cane tried to sop up the watery blood, planning to test and distill their contaminated water later. Takara and Nico decided to engage the dragon directly. Nico told the dragon where her egg really was in a slightly less vague way ('it's in a large body of water'), but she didn't go to the reservoir immediately anyway, so Takara had to track her down at the moat of a large military fortress. There, she offered to trade the dragon the exact location of her egg for a vial of blood, straight up.
The dragon was suspicious, but Takara told her why they needed it, and promised not to use it in any rituals aimed at using the blood against the dragon, and not to sell it to anyone (although she'd show it to Itsaboy since he was probably the best one to make the cure). Since Takara had (she thought) always dealt with her honestly, she agreed to the trade, recovered her egg, and gave Takara a vial of water.
Later, they tested their various 'dragon blood' -- Cane's magic water was contaminated with the wrong magical components, Kyngeah had some actual blood, but heavily diluted, but Takara's was pure -- three drops would be enough for one dose, so they had plenty to cure all four of them.
Unfortunately, Itsaboy told them after making the cure, it wasn't a true cure -- it would stabilize them by regenerating their own cells quickly, allowing their stolen cells to return to the original owners, but it wasn't perfect, and after about a year they'd need another dose. Still, that was much better than 'constantly sick from now until you die in a month or less'.
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