Burning Sands - Dark Sun 4e
EztliTecuani (blood leopard) Human female Ranger
EztliTocatl (blood spider) Tiefling Male wizard
EztliQuauhtil (Blood Eagle) Dray Male Ardent
EztliMiztli (Blood Lion) Mul Female Warden
In this world, truth is what the sorcerer kings tell you to believe.
As Tyre became visible over a shifting dune there was a chuckle. The sound can from a tall and slender elf. Dressed in the garb of a nomadic trader, what few places where skin was exposed the heat of the sun had deeply bronzed it. As the man stood at the summit of the dune the hot desert wind whipped around him pulling stands of his long black hair loose. His smoked tinted goggles hid the intensity of the elf’s gaze and the hatred that burned there. It also hid his brilliant blood red eyes, and his face wrap hid the sharp canines that were defiantly not features of a regular elf.
Fools!! Clinging to the sorcerer king’s like children. Though…once I was no more of a puppet then they are.
Draj…the city of moons, the city of blood. Long I dwelt there…
Like all sorcerer kings Tectuktitlay built his power on lies as much as he did through fear and force. In Draj there is a legend that Tectuktitlay the god, was once the subject of an attempted assassination. The assassin wounded but did not kill Tectuktitlay. The assassin seeing the sorcerer king survive fled in terror. According to legend from the king’s wound fell five drops of blood. As a god and a giver of life the drops of blood when they hit the ground each to turned into a terrible creature of vengeance. The blood eagle, the blood lion, the blood spider, leopard, and serpent all sprung to life thirsting for the blood of the assassin and all those that sought the king’s life. Once the creatures found the assassin it’s said his screams echoed throughout Draj, and the following blood bath of Draj’s citizens is still discussed in only a whisper.
..feasting on the blood of a thousand slaves, and enemies of the king…
The veiled alliance is a threat to all sorcerer kings, and the Blood of Tectuktitlay spent much of its time searching for any members that dared to establish themselves in Draj.
Eztlicoatl lay silently on the roof of the slum dwelling. The great sun had set several hours earlier and the two moons had risen. The whole day Eztlicoatl had silently observed the comings and goings of the residents. Now he waited for the signal from EztliMiztli.
“What’s keeping her.” Coatl growled to him self.
“Probably stuffing her face on a passing slave.” He thought.
Of all his brothers and sisters Miztli was the most bloodthirsty, and the most cruel. This was the reason it was believed among them that father had made her the leader. The mul was not known for her tactical abilities and was extremely hot headed.
While Coatl sat musing on the leadership structure of the unit suddenly he heard Miztli’s voice growl in his head to focus on his duty, and that it was time. With the order received Coatl sprung to action silently securing a rope to the roof he dove off the edge. As he fell through the air he gracefully arched and twisted till he was in line with the hovels window. The nights silence was broken as Coatl smashed through the window using the skills he’d honed to douse the light of the room as he entered. As the light faded and he rolled into a crouch on the floor he saw that he was not alone. They had been expected. The blast of psychic energy barely missed his head. Instinctively Coatl folded the darkness around him till he was nothing more then a shadow. A man stood perfectly still listening for any movement. For a few moments Coatl did nothing as the man tried to sense him. Suddenly the man sent a blast of psychic power to the left side of the room and there was a squeak of a dying rat. At the same moment from the floor below came the sounds of the door being kicked in. Using these two events Coatl silently stepped into the shadows reappearing behind the man. The man had barely time to turn before the knife entered his rib cage. As the light left his eyes a blast of psychic energy washed over Coatl.
Staggering back Coatl was no longer standing in the slum dwelling. Coatl was now standing deep in the heart of the temple of the moon. Tectuktitlay was standing on a platform overlooking a room with stone tables used to ritually slaughter slaves and others who anger the king. Next to the king stood the man Coatl had just killed. Below milling about the tables were priests of the moon. By their activity they appeared to have been in the process of some dark ritual for some time. On the stone tables lay five women of different races all large with child. The dark pageantry that played out in front of Coatl’s eyes was enough to make even Mitzli retch. Finally after what seemed like eternity each woman’s child was freed with slashes from the priest’s ceremonial daggers while the mothers were allowed to die. One face caught and held Coatl’s gaze more then all the others in this grizzly scene. It was the face of a small elf child his eyes the same color as the blood filling the room.
Suddenly images filled Coatl’s head at an ever quickening speed. The Blood of Tectuktitlay was not some manifestation of godhood. It was a foul experiment where by Tectuktitlay created monsters. Infants cursed from birth to a life of a dhampyr. This thirst was not the thirst for vengeance it was the thirst of a vampire. The man, he had helped create them. The things he had seen and witnessed had lead him to throw away what he believed and fight to overthrow nothing more then a mad man. The world was spinning. Sickness slowly turned to rage. The sort of rage that burns deep and refuses to be extinguished. Slowly the world stopped spinning and Coalt was standing in the room again. EztliTecuani stood in the doorway looking at Coatl concerned.
“Are you ok Coatl?” She said as she glanced at the corpse on the floor.
“Didn’t give you too much trouble did he? You look like this was the first time you killed someone.” She let said with a dark chuckle.
For a brief moment all Coatl could do was just stare at her. Then the room filled with a bestial guttural sound. It took Coatl a brief moment before he realized that it was coming from him. Coatl felt like a he was just a bystander as he let out a roar of rage and sadness. His body began to move as if on its own. Tecuani sprung into a defensive stance as Coatl charged at her screaming in fury. As Coatl approached she slashed out with her weapons. But it wasn’t quick enough. Coatl went down into a roll under the swing of her strike, and when he hit her shadow he vanished.
For the rest of the night Coatl watched as his body ran through the streets and across the rooftops of Draj. Where he was running and why he didn’t know, he just had to move. The early hours of dawn found Coatl slinking in shade form into the temple of the moon. The object of his search was the secret libraries housed there. The next several hours were spent looking for a single object; the secret histories of the moon priests. About what must have been mid-morning he found what he sought. With trembling hands Coatl searched through the pages till he found the entries in question. There it was, the truth. Tectuktitlay in his lust for power and dominion created five monsters. Everything Coatl read confirmed what the man showed him and the more he read the more the rage in Coatl’s chest turned from a furnace to the cold rage of vengeance. He had been given a gift, and with this gift he was going to tear down the lie that was the sorcerer king. He was sure he could even get his “family” to turn on the king once they too knew the truth.
Coatl left the library much calmer then he had went in, and had a purpose. As he walked up from the temple depths he couldn’t help a little chuckle. In the short time of a day his whole world had been shattered and remade, and looking back at even yesterday seemed like a small life time. Coatl spent the rest of the morning looking for the rest of the unit. As he searched the palace grounds none of his comrades were able to be found. Finally he slipped a note under Tecuani’s door to meet him that evening at the summit of the temple of the moon. For the rest of the afternoon Coatl spent his time wandering through the city for no other reason then he did not know what lay ahead.
As the hot sun began to set over Draj, Coatl sat looking over the city from the summit of the temple of the moon. Coatl watched as Tecuani warily walked up the temples steep steps. Suddenly Coatl had a terrible thought. What if she didn’t believe him? He hadn’t even thought of what would happen if they didn’t think what he said was true. Tecuani was getting closer now her hands resting on her weapons. After last night he didn’t blame her. Tecuani was of all his “family” the only one who really did feel like family. With this thought Coatl made up his mind that he had to tell her what he had learned.
“Hey Coatl….I got your note. Are you going to attack me again?” Tecuani stopped several feet from him and eyed him warily.
“No…Im sorry about that. I wasn’t myself last night.”
It was at this point that Coatl began to explain what had happened and what he had learned. As he spoke Tecuani’s hands slowly slid off their weapons and she moved to sit on the steps next to him. After he finished they sat for a long moment in silence. Coatl finally let out a small sigh and finished with his conclusion.
“I decided we have to kill father.”
Coatl sat, waiting for a response. After a long moment she finally spoke.
“Mitzli spoke with father about what happened last night. Father decided that you need to be sacrificed.” She paused at this point looking for some sort of reaction from the elf.
“Obviously none of us had any idea about why the decision was made but know it’s quite obvious.” At this point she hesitated and the next words she began to speak very carefully.
“I don’t care, if what we are are some foul creation of a mad man. Life is good, especially compared to what so many others have to endure. I am not willing to give it up for you.”
With these words Coatl let out a sigh of resignation knowing that he really couldn’t expect anything else; though the thought couldn’t fully take the sting from his heart. The two of them sat in silence for several long minutes watching the blood red sun sink over the haze that was Draj.
“So I guess this is goodbye, for now.” Coatl couldn’t bring himself to look at her.
“I guess this is.” She said not looking at him either.
“Ill give you one day. Before I tell Mitzli and we fall on you with all we have.”
“Why?” Coatl said in surprise “Why not kill me now. Im sure Mitzli and the others are already aware of our meeting.”
“Because,” she said with a wicked smile and a laugh. “Unlike you I enjoy the thrill of the hunt.”
As the two of them sat in silence once again Coatl was no longer staring at the city but at the wastes beyond. He knew that to stay in Draj was a death wish. He would still kill the king make no mistake about that. It would just have to wait for another day. For now his immediate survival seemed to be out in the wastes. With the sun finally set Coatl finally stood. Helping Tecuani up he looked down at her and smiled. Not waiting to see her response he swiftly sprinted down the steps and into the night.
Coatl’s preparations only took an hour or two and most of them were leaving subtle clues that would make the others think he was hiding somewhere in the city still. With this done he took one last look at Draj, the city of the moons, turned his back and set off into the wastes.
The next few days were a blur of sand and heat. Coatl traveled mostly at night, and he ate nothing as he was unaccustomed to hunting and desert life. By the end of day three he was clutching on the edge of life. As the crested a dune on his hands and knees he saw before him the outlines of a jagged plateau, and the glow at the base of campfires. Coatl abandoned all caution as he crawled on hands and knees toward the fires. Sentries met him before he ever made it into the camp. By the looks of them Coatl had stumbled on a caravan of elves traveling from one city to another. Though an elf like them they quickly relieved him of his weapons before they dragged him into camp when his strength failed him. The elves while weary offered him food and shelter. Half crazed with thirst and not thinking what the others may think of his desire for “food” Coatl went straight to the bucket of blood the elves had collect during the slaughter of their meal. Coatl drank long and deep. As he finished dropping the bucket to his feet, blood running down his chin he realized his mistake as the tribe enclosed around him slowly drawing their weapons.
What saved Coatl was not his own skill but that the campfires had attracted more then just a lone desert wanderer. Just as Coatl was to be in turn slaughtered the scouts issued a warning of impending danger. Tiefling raiders burst into the camp looking for blood and spoil. Instinct took over and with several quick movements Coatl was able to procure weapons from his shocked guards. Coatl lost himself in the lust of battle never fighting so fierce. When the battle was over Coatl stood panting above a heap of raider bodies.
After the raid the elves quickly saw that though strange and at sometimes repulsive in his eating habits Coatl was a useful ally. To further smooth their worries Coatl told them that he ate blood as a curse laid upon him by a sorcerer king for selling his templar worthless trinkets as items of rare value. He was then drug into the desert and abandoned to die. Over the next few weeks Coatl or “Dante” as he told his hosts he was called learned to survive and hunt in the desert. The Silt Strider clan intern over the weeks began to except Dante as one of their own and adopted him into their tribe. Now dressed as an elven desert nomad Dante headed with his new tribe toward their next destination of Tyre. Now standing on top of a dune over looking the city Dante was ready to take down the king even if it wasn’t his king.