Burning Sands - Dark Sun 4e

Next Steps

6/22 – 7/5/1499 DR

TREASURE

ITEM RECIPIENT LOCATION FOUND NOTES

FOOD = Gees, DRINKS = Kannarrs

Xiaa, a dwarven Consortium manager, is sent to help us with anything we’ve found on our trip. We hand over the statue, the gems, the headband, and the boots for her to identify and pay us for. Jazeera hands over the items for her to check out. She offers us 1750 gold for our mundane items, or 2000 gold credit that we can use at the House Voldon comissary. Also as members of the house we’ll receive a 20% discount. Our group decides to take the credit and we buy some healing fruits to help us with future adventures. Before she leaves, Karim asks if there is some way that he can learn more about his father’s house, House Tormod? Xiaa let’s him know that Liassa is the house liason and she would be the best to help him, but she is at a party this evening.

Our movement is limited to this wing of the house until we’ve had a chance to speak with Patriarch Voldon. “Dante” tries to push his limits but he finds that he is blocked and besides visiting the comissary, we remain in our rooms.

As night falls, it sounds like a riot is breaking loose outside the compound, but as we look outside we realize that the Voldon compound is safe with extra guards posted. I stick my head outside and ask the guards what’s going on? The dwarven guard explains that King Tithian is not exporting iron from the mines so King Hamanu of Urik is getting angry. He needs iron tools to mine his obsidian mines and may be sending an army to take it by force. Besides there now being too many mouths to feed because of the freed slaves, the added threat of war is causing more chaos.

The next morning the giant Mul guard, Asai, escorts us to see the Patriarch. We begin by telling him of our findings, leaving out the part about the seedling that Dante is carrying. When we mention Yaka’tur we find that he knows nothing of the city, but mentions that maybe we should bring it up to his archivist. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice that Naivara seems to remember something, but covers it up well. While we’re in discussions, Atrena, flanked by Asai, bursts into the room, angry that we started discussions without her. Her father reminds her that he is patriarch, not her, which seems to calm her, but the Patriarch seems saddened by this reminder. The Patriarch pretends not to know what the God-bone is, but slips a couple of times. We are reminded that both father and daughter are playing games. When we have nothing else to offer them, we are dismissed with the promise that the liason and the archivist will visit with us later.

Once we’re alone, Dante checks for unwanted listeners, and then I ask Naivara what she remembered during our discussions. She explained to us a story that she’d heard as a little girl. She suddenly remembers that the capital city of the Feywild, before the coming of the (nothing) “blight” was called Yaka’tur. In this city the Circle of Guardians, a group of very powerful psionicists was based and they fought hard to fend off the blight, but they were unsuccessful. When Yaka’tur fell, many Eladrin died… but this was 10,000 years ago and prophecy heralded this as the end of the “wild.” So now we knew what the city was, but not where it is or how Ixeal Voldon or ourselves are supposed to find it.

The assassin warns us of someone’s approach, and then we hear a knock on the door. When we open it, a willowy thin, red-haired, half-elven woman, arrives. She announces that she is Liassa and that she was told that someone was looking for her? Karim admits that it was him and he was wondering about news of House Tormod? She explains that Patriarch Tormod suffered a broken leg that day during the King’s games, but due to his half-giant guards he was able to escape alive and is well, though, his house is suffering. Ee’Klek’Tyk questions who this woman is and how I can so easily trust her? She speaks to him in flawless Tri-Kreen and he realizes this is not a woman to mess with. With that done, she returns to her duties.

Next, a well-built man, who is obviously blind, enters the room and announces that he is the archivist. Inlaid on his back, as well as the back of his legs and arms are thousands of quartz crystals. The psychics recognize the psionic enhancers that he’d been enhanced with. We tell him of Yaka’tur and the God-bone, but he doesn’t know much about the latter. The first he has heard in fairytales, but there is little fact about it. He tells us that in the northern part of the city is a small cabal of psionicists who can scry info on this for a price. There are also wanderers in the city who make it their job to travel the sands, picking up scraps of history. As we repeat our story about the Tree of Life and the undead guardians, the name Avor Firesworn sounds like a gnomish name to him, a race that was wiped out by the sorcerer-king of Nibenay before the cleansing. The tales say that the Shadow-King of Nibenay was responsible for the “cleansing” of the gnomes.

’Klek asks the archivist about Asai. Just because it would anger Atrea, he will tell us. Asai was specially bred in House Asticles (Agis is now the Scion of that house), but before that his father bred the perfect human and the perfect dwarf. Asai was the perfect mul offspring of these two. He fought in the pits of Urik for a time, but he was bought by Atrena and he is more than a guard, he is also her lover. With that juicy bit of information, he returns to his research and we are given leave to go in to Tyr to find information.

Naivara and Karim go off together to a place he knows called the Silver Hide, where a lot of traders meet for inter-house trading. Many of Karim’s contacts were usually in the middle of this. On the way, they are almost pick-pocketed by a waif, but the Eladrin catches him. In front of the business, we are blocked from entrance by a butler with a silver-chain. I announce my name, but without my ring as proof he won’t let us enter. The man demands proof and all I can offer is that I’m sure that Kelek Estes, from a lesser house who trades lots of grain, will be there and will vouch for me. The silver-chained man heads inside. A little while later, the butler returns followed by a scrawny little man, who vouches for me, and really likes what he sees in Naivara. Karim picks up on this and talks about how he’s trying his best to help out this elegant creature from beyond the Wild. Kelek doesn’t want to believe it because the “Lands within the Wind” is just a fairytale. When pressed for more information, he says that his family used to do a lot of trading near Kalidnay and it was rumored that the city just disappeared one night. Nibenay was often snatching up any information they could about Kalidnay and his family made some profit off of it. The last person to trade in rumors was Tricia, but she was tried for crimes in Draj and killed. Tricia had fallen in with one of the God of the Moon’s, Tectuktitlay, senior officials, named Savon. She sent House Estes missives that Savon knew how to get to Kalidnay to open up trade routes with people with whom they’d never traded before. That was 80 years ago and was the last they’d heard from her. Naivara confirmed that a friend of hers had been to Athas before when it was green, and then later after the Cleansing Wars. Kelek isn’t interested in continuing trade since his father gave up on it with the death of Tricia.

As Klek heads through town, he hears muttering from the other races about him, how “IT” should be in the elven quarter, not the city proper. Most Thri-kreen that he passes hiss at him. There is much tension in the city. Following his hunter instincts he heads to the north into a part of the quarter where fewer elves are. Klek follows his nose and finds a Thri-Kreen settlement underground. He finds guards and asks them for information in hunting prey called Yaka’tur. They tell him that it sounds like prey which is in land beyond land beyond land. It disappeared years ago, unable to be tracked. Klek tries other clans of his kind, but they’re less than helpful.

Dante hopes to find info amongst his people in the Elven Quarter as well. He gives a coin to a waif in front of the Crystal Scarab and is allowed entrance. Dante chats up the elf behind the bar and asks about info. The barkeep admits that today is all about fairytales. He indicates 3 elves getting drunk at a nearby table. Mothers have often told their children about the Accursed Legion and the Grim Lasher, but few have ever believed it in their adult years. The 3 elves claim to have seen this ghostly group of wanderers and were the few able to escape alive. When he mentions Yaka’Tur, the barkeep tells him that all he knows is that that word is old elven meaning “Golden Spire,” but that’s a legend as well.

Dante takes drinks to the Elves at the table who had seen the Legion. He gives them drinks and asks for more info. Zik at the table can’t stop staring at Dante and mentions that he looks like one of the guys that he’d seen in the Accursed Legion. The Elves were running across the desert, when they met a motley crew asking for water. One of them was tall, bearded, and had the same light colored skin and eyes as Dante. Before they could take their money, a great beast appeared and started killing the Legion and the elven tribe. These three were the only ones to escape and they will never forget what they saw! Dante then asks about Yaka’tur and is told that Savon Icarious is the man who looked like Dante and told the Elves that he could help them find the real Kalidnay and the route to Yaka’tur. Savon was Dante’s mentor and he hated what was done to him more than anything! Dante buys the elves more drinks to thank them for their help.

Jazeera had been pretty quiet at House Voldon, relying on her partner to do all of the talking, but out on the streets she was back in her element. She decided to visit a bar where many of her loyal fans gathered and as she entered, she wasn’t disappointed. She was met with applause and adoration. She played to her audience, showering them with appreciation and love. She found out that since King Tithian had released all of the gladiators, the Games had gone to pot. The mul admitted that she might return to gladiator life once they finished off current debts.

In the corner she noticed three people studying her intently, so she made her way over and was introduced to Rolph, Alexian and Alexia (twins) from Urik. They admitted that they were huge fans of her and Karim and wondered if she’d ever fight for them in Urik? She admitted that she’d love to, but Karim was obsessed with this new floozy and until they found a way to get her home, he’d be too distracted. They asked where her home was and when she mentioned Yaka’tur they weren’t able to help her. They knew of the fairytale of the Accursed Legion, but the story of Yaka’tur was unknown to them. Rolph called over an old man, Joslin, a bard, who might know more about Yaka’tur. Once Jazeera agrees to buy him foot he shares what knows about Yaka’tur. Before it disappeared it was rumored that Kalidnay had found a way to the Land within the Winds. There was not much else to share.

We all meet back at House Voldon to share what we know. While Dante checks that we’re not being listened to, Naivara and Karim push away any psionic intruders as well. Kalidnay seems to be our best bet, and we have our Eladrin as the best source for finding it since she’d recognize a Fey Crossing. Just as Dante is explaining to us who Savon is, he hears muffled footsteps approaching and warns us just before Atrena and Asai burst in demanding information. Karim stands his ground and announces that they will share their information with her, but only in the presence of her father. She threatens them, stating that someday soon she WILL be the matriarch of House Voldon and it would behoove us to remain on her good side. When she storms off in a huff, the group asks the guards for an audience with Patriarch Voldon.

Not too much later, they are shown into the Patriarch’s study, where Atrena is wrapped in a sheet, fondling Asai’s leg overtly. I share the info that we gained about Kalidnay and we learn that it is far to the south of Tyr. Since I don’t trust Atrena my answers aren’t very detailed and the Patriarch is unhappy with my elusiveness. Dante interjects and shares info about the Fey Crossings and the fact that Naivara is our proof that these stories are more than fairy tales. Atrena can do nothing but mock us, and when her father tries to shut her up, Asai steps threateningly towards the Patriarch, whose eyes get a crystal glaze across them and Asai backs off.

The Patriarch asks what our plan is and Dante explains that we hope to hunt down the Accursed Legion so that we can find the sage (Savon) and hopefully fain more info on Kalidnay. The Patriarch just looks like a tired father, but since his normal means of hunting for his son have failed, he’s willing to take a chance with us. He provides us with an emerald cut quartz so we can communicate with him once per week. He will provide us Crodlu’s and supplies and he wants us to meet with the surviving elves.

The archivist tells us that there are fairytales about people walking among the streets of Yaka’tur at night, and back in Athas with the morning light, which means the night light might have something to do with it.

Before we leave the study, the Patriarch puts quartz into Jazeera’s right shoulder so he can record whatever we see and gather info on our travels. He apologizes to the Mul for causing her pain, but she responds that life is pain.

The next morning there are 3 Crodlu’s for us and supplies for 15 days. The assassin leads us back to the Crystal Scarab and we find 2 of the 3 Elves still in the bar. Zik took his life the night before. Dante tells the other two elves that they’re coming with us to find the Legion. They start the fight because Elves would rather die than leave this bar. We decide to take them out non-lethally as the Mul attacks. One elf is almost knocked unconscious and he threatens to kill himself. Naivara knocks him out. His “friend” agrees to show us on the map where the attack happened, near the “G” for Great Sand Wastes, 3-4 days run to the southeast. We thank him and Klek pays him the coins he didn’t know what to use them for.

First 6 days of travel no problems. 1 day away from Sand Sea the Crodlu’s go insane, buck us and run off into an area surrounded by buttes and some soft sand in the middle. Suddenly a Land Jaw (Bulette) bursts from the silt and roars at us. We all have pent up frustration from the political maneuvering, which has left us feeling powerless, that we take out on the monster. Dante and Klek beat on it mercilessly until the poor creature dies.

View
Interlude

The early morning sun blazes as it crests the flat desert behind you, casting deep shadows as you enter the eastern gate of Tyr. The half-giant guards, while normally dimwitted and brutal at the best of times, now project an air of pointless violence combined with abject apathy. The two specimens guarding the gate now gaze at you with watery eyes but make no attempt to remove you from the constant stream of people pushing into the city.

As your group enters into Tyr, you are assaulted with a combined rush of noise and rank smell of too many unwashed bodies. Beggars, peasents and former slaves line the streets, pushing for the attention of those individuals that look to have the slightest amount of coin. More than a few bodies in alleys and slumped against rickety stalls have to to-still mark of death, and blood and worse substances make parts of the sandy street clumpy and sticky.

As you forge into the crowd that mills aimlessly at the gate entrance, you notice a young woman with strawberry hair and lilted eyes that denote elven heritage in her past. Her pristine white outfit outlines her generous attributes, but crystal blue eyes hold all the warmth of the desert night. She smiles as she see’s you and steps forward. Behind her, a massive Mul raises up from his kneeling, towering over her. You clearly remember him from your meeting with the Patriarch of House Voldon.

Once she steps near you she gestures towards your group. “I hope you have good news. My father is desperately looking for his son, and of course I worry about my brother. His location….health…is important to discover. Please, follow me and we will get back to House Voldon. Once there I will make sure that you are given the attentions you require.”

The travel through the packed crown becomes noticabily easier as the massive Mul draws a steel sword that glimmers with a dark light, and within a quarter bell you stand in a large foyer of a small wing of the house devoted to your group. The young lady turns to you once again and smiles her fake smile.

“Please, relax, rest and recuperate,” she says. “My father is out on buisness today, but i’ll make sure he knows you have arrived, and i’m sure he will want to see you first thing in the morning. Until then I will send up Xiaa, our consortium manager. She will take a look at anything you may have….found….and offer you a fair price on it.”

With that, she sweeps from the room, gown trailing behind her. The Mul, after giving you a long and less than friendly look, follows in her steps, leaving you alone.

View
Mission 1: Missing Psion

6/22/1499 DR

TREASURE

ITEM RECIPIENT LOCATION FOUND NOTES
Ivory Statue with metal eyes group on Thri-Kreen unknown value
4 Gems group on Thri-Kreen unknown value
Comprehend Languages Scroll Karim on Thri-Kreen Used to read Avor’s tablets
Silver Headband ? Stone Box Left over from Avor Firesworn
Leather Boots ? Stone Box Left over from Avor Firesworn

FOOD = Kannarrs, DRINKS = David

Our group continues further into the underground and comes to a cavern with more glowing moss and low standing pools of water, something that is very unusual even at this depth. There are huge columns where stalagmites and stalagtites have met and melded… but as we look longer we realize that the water is running UP the columns. None of us have ever seen running water in nature, nonetheless running upwards. The group spreads out and checks out the large cavern. Jazeera takes point, to guard her battle-partner who kneels to check out the water, finding it drinkable. Ee’Klek’Tyk and Naivara both notice a column to the south where the shadows seem funny around it. ’Klek whistles at the group and Naivara calls out to “Dante” who is trying to be stealthy in the darkness and just gives up as she gives away his position. The Thri-Kreen draws an arrow and takes a bead on it, in case he needs to attack the darkness.

Naivara wants the Shadowy One to check out the pillar and blows his stealth.

While our attention is focused on the strange pillar, a small group of Thri-Kreen enters the cavern from a hallway to the north. In a clicking form of common, they announce that their clutch is here for the “Lifeseed” and that we should drop our weapons. ‘Klek dashes across the room, marking the leader. Karim asks the leader of the pack what the Lifeseed is and he is told that the Lifeseed is theirs, we don’t need to worry about it. Since ’Klek is attacking his own kind, we all follow suit. Most of us are amazed as Dante wraps the shadows around the leader during his attacks. The leader seems to be a Warden of sorts. Our group spreads out around the room, taking down the different groups of the “crustaceans.” When Dante kills the leader, he turns into a dark obsidian soul shard, that the Dhampire picks up and pockets.

The hallway to the north leads to the a chimney that the Thri-Kreen used to climb down here. The leader was carrying an ivory statue with metal eyes, 4 gems, and a stick covered in runes (a scroll of Comprehend Languages ritual). ‘Klek doesn’t even seem to give his kind a second glance.

Upon further inspection we find that the strange pillar is hollowed out and has a stairway leading down further into the ground. After healing up, we decide to descend deeper, following the smells of moisture and flora. The cavern below is covered in grass and green things. Vines hang down from the ceiling and water pours from the mouth of two lion statues in the northwest and southwest into fountains. Skeletons stand at attention around the room. A large, undead creature stands in front of a huge tree with fire crackling between his fingers. When it sees us, it says, “Doth Nibenay still desire to claim that which we guard. Ask your questions before we force you to join us in guarding the Tree of Life.”

Karim announces that they do not serve Nibenay, but Avor Fireswron announces that the scent of the Sorcerer Kings hangs heavily around us. The Psion counters that their King was killed, but the undead states that Sorcerer Kings don’t stay dead. The group shares an “oh crap” look, then Karim goes on to ask about the Bearer of the God-Bone, Ixeal Voldon? Avor tells us that the Tree of Life chose him to follow his destiny, but he won’t tell us anymore. When the noble asks how they can help protect the Tree, the undead laughs and tells us that we need to die so that we can be raised from the dead to do our duty. The undead seems to listen to something around him and then announces that we must die now. He reaches into the air and pulls fire whips out of nowhere. As he does so, the ground around him seems defiled and then seems to instantly heal, the whips lash out and hit Dante and ’Klek all the way across the room. While Avor was speaking, Karim noticed that the fountains glowed with a faint magical aura of healing, which he whispered to the group just as the fiery attacks struck. The group scatters and Jazeera attacks a nearby group of undead. As they fall to pieces, the mummified pieces seem to swarm her, their cuts leaving infected wounds. As the group continues to attack, Karim dashes to the fountain and scoops up some of the healing water in a waterskin, which he tosses to his partner in case the defender needs some health. The crawling swarms attach themselves to all of us and hinder our movements, shoving digits in our orifices, while Avor does a shockwave attack. The combined attacks begin to overwhelm us as the defiler seems to be pushing the healing powers of the Tree of Life to their limits. Whenever one of us heals, Avor seems to heal a little as well. While the rest of us fight the crawling swarms ’Klek chases Avor into a corner of the room and kills him there. As the defiler dies, he whispers, “release” and the swarms fall over inanimate. With his dying breath, he tells us that his “charge passes to us. May we see it through with more wisdom than he did.”

As we search the room, we notice that the Tree of Life begins to crumble and die. From one branch hangs a perfectly symmetrical seed cone. Karim calls the Ranger over and asks what they should do, to which the Thri-Kreen, who has never seen a tree before, just shrugs his shoulders in confusion. Dante doesn’t want to waste anymore time so he reaches out and plucks the seed from the dying branch. As he does so, we all see a vision/dream of a a world like none we’ve ever seen before, filled with forests, waterfalls, growing things, and great psionics. As we look out we see thousands of Eladrin like Naivara populating the land. As we watch, days fly by and the life energy seems to be sucked out of the land with growing speed. Alarmed, the Eladrin fight the destruction of the land, but even with their efforts, they seemed to be losing. With great magic and power they split their world, creating a lush mirror image of the old one, which they cast elsewhere. They also created 7 magical, golden cities that they spread out to fight the decay, but one by one they fall until 5 are destroyed. The dream changes and we see a young man kneeling before a finger bone at the base of the Tree of Life. He seems to be listening and then says, “Yes, I will carry this seedling to Yak’a’Tur, that will be my next destination.” The dream then flashes back to the previous that we’d seen before of great beings standing around a glowing being with wings stretching far out. A finger bone is removed from the god-like being and placed within the earth. At our cores, we realize that the finger bone is what spawned the Tree of Life that we have now been charged to protect.

When we wake from this dream, we find that the once lush room is now dead and drying up. The plant life has shriveled and the water has dried up in the fountains. Jazeera even finds that the water in the skin that Karim had given her had dried up. As we sit up and take stock of our surroundings, we notice in the shriveling roots of the great tree a stone box. The box is not trapped so we open it to find a silver headband and a well made pair of leather boots. There are also six small stone tablets covered in ancient hieroglyphics. Karim uses the Comprehend Languages scroll that they’d found on the Thri-Kreen to decipher the writings.

I, Avor Firesworn, do make a record of the end of my days. Nibenay’s foul defilers even now besiege our refuge; we shall not last the day. They are driven by hatred we do not understand to eradicate our people from the land. I do not know if other non-humans live still. After the battles in the Fields of Moriaton, I led my band here, where we have lived as beasts, hiding in the ground. We have prayed to Taraskir for guidance and protection but He has not answered our prayers. I no longer believe that He watches over us.

Instead, I have chosen to fight evil with evil – I have entered into the blood oath with the Dark One from the Gray beyond. It shall have my eternal soul and those of my brethren but it will grant us the power to protect our sacred Seed even after our deaths against any who try to possess it. Furthermore, I shall literally hide it within my own body and even when I fall in battle it will be protected; indeed my body will serve in death to nourish it.

I will hide this record according to the ways of my people in hopes to speak forth to the future as with the voice of dust from the earth. If you find the Seed or the Tree of Life that springs from it and I am not there to protect it, I exhort you to meditate upon the great cycle of Life. I exhort you to ask whether it be wisdom to protect the sources of Life. If you ponder these things in your own heart, with sincere intent, then you will know the truth of them and you will know what to do with the Seed.

I, Avor Firesworn, do thus end my record and seal it up.


After reading this, the group really begins to wonder what they’ve gotten themselves into.

View
Mission 1: Quest for the Caravan

6/22/1499 DR

TREASURE

ITEM RECIPIENT LOCATION FOUND NOTES

FOOD = David, DRINKS = Travis

Patriarch Voldon (Human in late 60’s, graying hair, slight elven ancestry, has a very commanding presence) meets with us and informs us that King Kalak is dead and Tithian has now been crowned king. There is rioting in the city of Tyr and the council is trying to calm things and quell the chaos.

He places a large crystal of Rose Quartz on the table. The psions notice a memory float from his head, into the quartz. A three-dimensional image of an elf laying next to a broken wall holding something out of sight appears in the air for all to see. “Patriarch, there is a storm, there is something here…” then the image of the bloody elf fades. The patriarch then tells us that he would like us to find the caravan and what they were searching for. The group feels that he’s withholding something so Karim asks for complete honesty. Patriarch Voldon admits that he knows nothing about us and isn’t sure whether he can trust the security of his house to strangers. If we succeed at this, then he’ll feel more comfortable sharing with us. He gets an agreement from each of us to serve him for a year and a day as we promised and to help him find his caravan. Each of us agrees and then the Patriarch tells us that if we need anything, Atrena can help us. He then lays out a silken map of Athas and tells us that the map is worth a king’s ransom, but it is for us. He then encourages us to get to know each other and leaves the room, as does the oppressive atmosphere that he’d brought with him.

Karim, the noble psion, leads the discussion and finds out that Naivara is an Eladrin Ardent recently arrived on Athas. “Dante” is a strange elf who doesn’t say much, but seems like he can handle himself as can Ee’Klek’Tyk the Thri-Kreen ranger. Jazeera, his Mul fighting partner battlemind, looks at him as he mumbles that they’ve fought with worse. She chuckles and mutters that they’ve killed worse!

About the time we’ve finished introducing ourselves, a huge 14’ tall Half-Giant, Asai, ducks into the room, leading the way for Atrena. She excuses her Patriarch, but explains that he is a very just and honest man. She decides to explain things further to us. There was an incident a year ago where the Patriarch’s son died. The Patriarch sent a caravan out to the last known place where his son, Ixeal, was seen. It was a very small caravan travelling under the pretext of delivering supplies to Altaruk, when they were actually searching for Ixeal. The caravan hasn’t been heard from since. Atrena then agreed to outfit us with whatever we needed and then she leaves.

The group splits off with Jazeera and Klek’ going off to practice sparring. Naivara goes to clean up, while Karim goes to look up info on Alturak, but finds that no one is allowed into the library, so he asks Atrena for a book on that area, which she delivers to him. Dante goes out to the slaughterhouse to refill his canteen with blood as stealthily as he can.

That night, as they’re sleeping, the whole group has the same Dream: We’re standing on a hill, unlike any we’ve ever known. Underfoot is a thick green plant life that we’ve never seen before. There is a lake of water with more water than we could imagine. We look around and see four other individuals dressed in heavy metal armor, with crystals floating around their heads, carrying metal arcane weapons. Not too far away lays a powerful, inhuman being and three indistinct figures surround it, drawing something something from it, to bind and seal it. A voice nearby says,“We have no other choice.” and then we all wake up.

The next morning we wake up and find the supplies that we had requested and set off early heading south-east out of Tyr, following the road. Karim uses the map to keep them on track and Klek keeps searching dangers along the road. The first day the heat takes its toll on Dante and Karim. The second day the foot traffic on the road thins, but the group grows more accustomed to the Athasian Sun.

As the day grows to an end, Klek finds a very obvious path made by a small caravan, but from 3 weeks before. Along the path lies a strange dust devil that is holding in one place, instead of moving around. The Thri-kreen scouts ahead and finds two half-starved Tembos on the path ahead. Around them swirls a strang whirlwind. Since they have no other choice than to encounter them, the group decides to take them head on. The Mul remembers that the Tembo have an aura that sucks life from their prey as the group closes in. The Whirlwind around them kicks up dust and lessens visibility during the fight. While fighting we notice that there is a mark of Nibenay on the should of each creature, almost as if these creatures were genetically enhanced in that city. As the wind starts and stops, we seem to notice that the whirlwind seems to generate from a pile of boulders to the east of our position.

We finally finish off the necrotic creatures, after a very difficult battle (we were unused to working together as a group), we notice that the wind dies down some, but a small green light from the area of the boulders catches our attention. Klek approaches and finds a vibrant green vine growing out of a crack in the ground. As Klek searches closer he finds a well hidden trap door in the ground and reports. We all go over and see that it is a stone door with glyphs in a language that none of us understand, except for Naivara. The language is old Eladrin, but hard for her to even read. Klek is impatient and pulls open the door and we all see a 6 foot tall tunnel with grass and moss growing on the sides. A scent of moisture and honey wafts up as we all enter the tunnel.

The sloping tunnel is covered in green vines further in and the floor is covered with old bones and decayed weapons. A voice speaks in old common from up ahead: Begone servants of Nibenay we harken to Avor Firesworn who protects this realm and it’s tree." Karim translates for everyone else as the group carefully advances. We notice two undead, one resembling a dwarf while the other resembles an Eladrin, who repeats the warning. Karim does his best in the old language to explain that the group hails from Tyr.

The dwarf asks,“Child of Tyr, why are you here?” as they draw their weapons and an undead cat-like creature charges us.
Klek steps forward and tells the undead the name of his clutch and clan, to which they respond, “We don’t remember any of the Hashi-Akar running with the Nibenese.”

Jazeera points out that we wear the badges of House Voldon, but the Elf counters that they remember House Voldon supporting Kalidnay, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t now aligned with Nibenay.

Dante indicates that we’re seeking the psion of House Voldon. They tell us that “the bearer left with the God-Bone and a cutting, the same way he came. We showed him out.”
Karim tells them that the bearer never returned home and we were sent to find him. They reiterate that the “bearer left the way he came.”
Naivara tells them that the Eladrin aren’t with Nibenay. The Eladrin undead stated, “We remember when the Eladrin first fell, we remember the fall of Aska-Tyr (which was an Eladrin city that fell 3000 years ago). We will remember. The tree of life is the hope of Athas. For 3000 years we have been its guardians. We will let you pass, but be aware that there are traps ahead and if you hurt the Tree, you hurt the future.” The undead then fade away and leave the group with more questions than the answers they got. Klek wants to hunt the prey (Ixeal), but we all convince him that we need to search deeper to find out more information about the psion before we follow him. Since he obviously wasn’t headed back to Tyr, we need to understand where he was headed next.

View
Chapter 1 - The Gathering Storm (Part 1)

They have arrived. I can feel it in my bones, in my heart, in that space where my soul was before the magic ripped it out. Before He destroyed all that I was and could be.

I sit here, in a ruin of a world long dead. Surrounding me are the trappings of magic which are defunct, rotted from exposure to 30 King’s Ages of dry air. Their ink, once composed of the highest quality gold and diamonds, faded to almost shadows of impressions. How appropriate, how accurate. Crystals and shard’s, trappings of the Way, lay discarded on once fine wood and marble now turned to the darkest and sharpest of rock, glimmer in my mind.

I stir, and hundreds of years of dust cascade from my mortal coil, my prison. Eyes of shimmering crystal, pristine despite my attempts to pull them from their sockets, examine the stream of possibilities behind lids of obsidian; the fall of destiny as it cascades at this event. Each of them had been reborn before dozens, even hundreds of times before, but never at the same time and never in a position to Affect. Soldier, Beggar, Prostitute, Criminal, Mage, Noble….they had each lived all walks of life, never remembering who they were. What they were.

Had I not gazed upon the broken bodies of the god’s of Athas, I would have thought one of them had arranged this concordence of births, of lessons learned, of lives. But instead it was chance, a roll of the dice.

A chance that will change Athas for all eternity….in both directions. I will be free.

View
Chapter 1 - Prelude
Chapter 1 - Prelude

A deafening explosion shakes the stadium. A great ray silver and gold flash shoots out of the lower tiers, evidence of—a magical attack. The bright flare fills the air with a peculiar stench that smells of melting copper. The bolt hits an invisible barrier at the edge of Kalak’s balcony, exploding there into a brilliant cascade of red and blue sparks. The magical wall of shimmering force fades away amidst a cacophony of loud sizzles and sharp pops

Rikus steps forward. Kalak looks away from the mul, his eyes drawn suddenly to Agis of Asticles in the High Templars Gallery. Rikus turns toward the sorcerer king and hurls the spear with all his might. As the enchanted weapon sails toward its target, an image born of Kalaks twisted mind, augmented by his mastery of the Way, appears over the entire stadium: a dragon, fierce and terrible, rises to the height of the great ziggurat. The image of the dragon rears back, ready to strike. In that instant the Heartwood Spear strikes Kalak, sorcerer king of Tyr, squarely in the chest and passes clear through his body. The kings screams fill the stadium, then the entire city. The unearthly cries do not fade as the halfgiants grab their leader and drag him into his golden palace. The stadium remains tense, but calm. Most commoners stay in their seats, too frightened or too stunned to move, filling the air with the steady drone of their astonished voices.

That image still runs through your head as you sit in the comftorable lounge of House Voldon. The early morning sun beats down on the vast fields that stretch outside the open window, and only cool shade offered by the white adobe house keep you from feeling that same heat.

Its been a two weeks since the fall of the Sorcerer-King of Tyr. You had all previously been captured by Kalak’s slave round up teams, and were meant to die in the final arena battle. As chaos enveloped the arena, the heavy slave collar sitting on your neck, an older but still attractive woman dressed in finer linen cloth approached you.

“I am Atrena Voldon, of the House Voldon enclave in Tyr. People will start dying here shortly, and I have the feeling you don’t want to be part of that. I have a simple deal for you: Serve me for a year and a day. I will remove us from this deathtrap and we can hammer out the details shortly.”

While hesitant at first, people closer to the massive Ziggurat started to drop to their knees, their life force being sucked out of them so quickly it looked like they were vomiting up their souls. As the wave of deaths came closer and closer to you, the decision was quickly made. Only five of the 15 individuals she offered this to accepted, and as you agree, she leads you over to where an elderly dwarf had scrawled a circle in the ground and filled it with soft quartz.

“Elrick, is it ready?” The senior trader asked, her tone indicating the answer had best be affirmative. Her eyes quickly scanned the crowd of near rioting Tyrians.

Elrick’s gravely voice was still deep, but scratched with age. “It is Mistress, but someone must remain here to keep the portal active. King Kalak has laid a powerful Arcane spell over the Arena and someone must focus on the psionic matrix to keep the portal open.”

For the first time Atrena looked directly at the old dwarf, and tears glimmered at the corner of her eyes. Elrick just nodded and closed his eyes, furrowed his brow and the slight hum that signaled powerful psionics reached your ears. A shimmer of crystal white light burst up from the cirlce in the ground, and stepped through, not even looking to make sure you followed. Your choices were short however, and follow you did.

The last two weeks have been some of the most relaxing in your life. The food and water had been plentiful, and while you were not allowed to leave your room without two Half-Giant guards following you, you have not been mistreated. This morning you were summoned for the first time to meet with Patriarch Voldon to discuss your future, and as your thoughts turn to him, he sweeps into the room, a small stack of clay tablets in one hand and a corncerned look in his eyes.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.