Keeping the darkened sky of the obsidian storm behind them and moving far from any known trade routes, the adventurers began to approach the foothills of the Ringing Mountains. The day was brutally hot and the they were forced to keep a quick pace to stay ahead of the storm. Morg’s endurance allowed him to endure with little hardship while Vinara’s knowledge of nature and Gwyn’s athleticism allowed them to make good time. The party saw an oasis in the distance but recognized it as a mirage before too much time was wasted.
From a vantage point, they saw a valley littered with the exotic bones from long-extinct creatures. In a clearing, a mass of flames appeared and began beckoning them towards it. Vinara sent her companion, Bear, to investigate, as they were unsure about the potentially dangerous situation. Vinara sensed that the fire spirit was not dangerous and the group descended into the valley.
The spirit was able to communicate with Vinara and told her his tale…
I am a Spirit of the Flame, an elemental force. I once walked Athas as you do, patrolling these lands as a protector of life. I collected here centuries ago, shortly after the lush Athasian lands were destroyed by warfare. Now I am bound to this place by strong elemental forces unknown to me, awaiting the return of another Green Age to free me.
These bones are the victims of the Dragon – sacrifices made to the beast in order to appease it and preserve the cities. Each year thousands die, consumed by the Dragon to fuel its magic. It has been nearly a year since the last sacrifices were made, soon the Dragon will come to claim more sacrifices.
Athas ruined by the defilers and they must be defeated before the new Green Age can come about. You have the potential to bring about the restoration of Athas, but only a collective effort by all Athasians can restore Atha’s lands to their long-lost fertility.
During the spirits conversation with Vinara, Morg and Gwyn examined the bones. Morg sense they they had some residual primal magic, which might be used to treat some of their injuries. While they were collecting the bones, they began to notice the ground trembling slightly.
With a puff of smoke and the stench of brimstone, the fire spirit winked out of existence and the rumbling ground heaved to reveal a small swarm of kanks. With their feet clicking against the rocky terrain and bones they moved to attack the adventurers. The soldier and spitters ruthlessly attacked using their paralyzing poison to great effect on Vinara and Gwyn. Morg’s dwarf heritage allowed him to ignore the effects of the poison as he cleaved through the insects. Although they managed to defeat the kanks without too much trouble, their exertions began to take their toll, with Gwyn virtually exhausted.
Fruits of the Desert
With only a few moments to catch their breath, the obsidian storm was nearly on them, and the adventurers were forced to continue their flight. Morg’s athleticism helped his companions through increasingly treacherous terrain while Vinara continued to find the best routes through the canyons. Gwyn utilized her arcane talents to try and cover their tracks. Despite the treacherous terrain them managed to gain a good lead on the storm.
In the badland’s canyons, the adventurers lost track of the obsidian shower briefly. They stumbled upon a ripened cactus plant bearing fruit, but as they caught their breath, they were set upon by a group of human wasteland nomads clad is strange bone masks. The nomads, and their tamed spiretop drake, had the adventurers surrounded with bows drawn.
Fortunately for the adventurers, the nomads were more interested in the supplies they carried and maintaining their secret location. After a tense negotiation the two groups reached a compromise: Heroes gave several days worth of supplies and left the fruit, promising to leave quickly so the storm wouldn’t hit the nomads camp and not reveal the location of the nomads. In exchange the nomads granted them safe passage and gave them an enchanted amulet and axe. The goods were exchanged with the aid of the drake, who took a liking to Gwyn, and both groups left as night began to fall.