We took to exploring the island of Ghazra, meandering our way to the large temple that loomed over it. Mars, we were told, resided there and was in the middle of some kind of ritual.
Most of what little we saw of the place seemed somewhat underdeveloped, though judging by their style of dress it is possible that it’s residents prefer a more austere lifestyle. Passing by one of the small villages on the way to the temple we heard cries of pain, and went in to investigate.
The villagers were in the middle of their own ritual, which apparently involved flaying some poor wretch alive. My first impulse is, of course, to interfere, but first I wanted to ascertain exactly why this was happening. Perhaps the man is being punished for some heinous crime?
Unfortunately, victim was chosen against his will because they claimed he talked funny, and the only person on the island with the power to stop said ritual resided in the temple. Simply attacking the villagers to free the flayed man would have ultimately stopped nothing. They could have picked him back up after we left, or chosen a new victim entirely. Also, we have no idea what’s happening over the rest of the island.
So, naturally, the only recourse left was to offer to stand in for substitute flaying victim duty, while the rest of the crew hopefully persuades Mars to call off the ritual. If they were unable to do so, I of course expect to be rescued. What that means was open to interpretation. The way the crew interpreted it was that they do indeed slaughter the village wholesale to free me. Luckily, their wounds were not so grievous that they could not be treated.
Upon arriving at the temple, we were able to convince the doorman to give us a tour of the facility. This is apparently somewhat common practice. How accommodating! The structure looped around the pit of an active volcano. It was complete with a barracks and temple section. We learned that Mars was in the process of completing a ceremony that would herald in a new age. And the island was helping. With our knowledge of what was taking place on the island coupled with the ominous nature of the meteor citadel we found Mars coming from, we decided that this was very bad for business.
Our tour guide was easy enough to render unconscious. Cho slid him under a bed with minimal molestation, although it was surprisingly difficult to talk him out of drowning the poor man to death with their communion wine. We skulked about the temple donut, and eventually found a heavy metal door that leads deeper into the volcano. Winston opened the door with some ‘aggressive lockpicking’, and we found Mars, floating on a disk over the volcano, with a bunch of her closest friends crucified and bleeding to death around her. Then, we rolled initiative.