Under the Steel Web

This is Cursed, Those are Wasted, This is Bad

The Warrens continue to reveal their awfulness

Jabiri and Victor climb up the hatch, and then see something in the darkness of the shaft far above them: a spider? Jabiri shoots at it, and it is indeed a spider, which drops terribly fast almost crushing the Muster before he dodges. The two fight it, while all the other calculate the chances that the spider can get to them, and assess it as not possible. The elevator lurches slightly down more than once as the fight progresses. Victor proves able to injure the spider: his ferocious dueling style is dangerous even to whatever alien things they are. But Jabiri is hurt, reasonably badly, and retreats; Victor is injured as well, and retreats, and the spider returns to its haven. All agree that the place is just as cursed as recommended.
They return to Zulema’s tribe, who have no patience for them. Passing back to the entry hall, they head the other way, toward the tattooed man, who they soon in fact encounter. He is a fanatic psychic who is against technology with fervancy. His tribe do not use it, and will not trade for it, but he will let the characters take any they find. He tells them of the Steel Priests beyond him, and of the Huli Hulis just inward of them, and they decide to pass through his territory to that of the Huli Hulis, who grow much fungus. On a hill of rubble in the black-coated territory of that tribe, they encounter a rather distracted young man, lean and covered in black smears that turn out to be fungal growths. His tribe produces many kinds of fungus, and are constantly afflicted by various mental fugues, it seems. But they agree in theory to trade darts for their blowguns for various poisons and drugs. From the Huli Huli territory the characters push back out to the gates of the Steel Priests, where they are welcomed with some hesitation, and taken to meet with Brother Blessing, spiritual head of the group (their martial head is called Sister Steel). Brother Blessing rests in a fancy bed in a chamber above a guard room and a room filled with large wooden lockers. He speaks gently, and is friendly, and offers even to heal the injured ones, as he is of the Sanctuary Aeon. But his belief is admittedly heretical: the Steel Priests are bound together by wounding and healing. Brother Blessing injures them all, and heals all the injured. He himself is not much more than a torso with a right arm, needed for his rites. He tells them that unless they “join” by being healed, which requires them to be wounded, there will be no trade for the valuable goods that Sister Steel secures. But he can freely give healing to the two injured men, who accept it; then Allen Sook accepts the burning ritual and the healing which follows; but all three of the tech contingent refuse for different reasons, and the impasse of whether and how to trade remain.

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