Dark Sun: The Scorched World of Athas

Nightmares Unleashed

Tapestries of Time
From the alcove, a great feast hall could be seen shrouded in shadow, and a fire pit blazing with a bright white flame illuminated numerous tapestries long the walls. A number of high tables were scattered throughout this area, each set with fine silver and porcelain plates and heaped high with succulent roast meats and sweet fruits. There was one place setting for each of the heroes. Kezmit and the others examined the food and although it appeared to have been created by magic, there was no sign of poison, disease or other harmful effects. Starving and exhausted from their ordeals, they ate and drank the food.

Brightly colored tapestries were hung along the walls and between the tables displaying scenes of battle, with hundreds of heroes of a dozen races rendered life-sized detail – all of them swarmed by swirling shadows as they fight for their lives. Jarvix noted that the armor and clothing of those portrayed in the tapestries was an odd mix of times and places. Ancient warriors in full suits of metal armor could be seen fighting alongside what appeared to be contemporary gladiators of Athas. In addition, many of the races observed were not recognized as those of Athas, although Kira was able to name them.

Still suffering from from the effects of the portals, Gwyn attempted to use her ritual magic to remove the afflictions lingering on her and Kira. Aided by Li-Am and Elleandra, the afflictions were removed, returning Kira to her normal size and restoring Gwyn to her proper age. However, the process was very taxing and both were left tired, even with the rest they were enjoying.

Elleandra used her magic to read the mystic signs and glean a notion of the future. She and the rest of her companions were intensely curious if the path they were following to find the next orb would also bring them back to Athas. Peering into the patterns created by the bones and drippings from the meat along with a few drops of wine, she had a vision of a new orb being united with the ones she carries and a pathway to Athas opening before them. Satisfied that their present course of action was right, the group decided to get a few hours of rest and then continue to explore this new structure. They set watch and all was uneventful, however, Kira was unable to stay awake during her watch and drifted off to sleep as well.

The Vernal Grove
The party all awoke at the same time to find themselves is strange surroundings – what appeared to be the ruins of a town. They sky overhead was dark and cloudy, the town appeared to have been abandoned and the few remaining buildings that were intact showed signs of neglect. The confusion over where they were only increased as Elleandra was sure that they were in the Lands Within the Wind, while Li-Am was convinced they still remained in the Gray. Iorskan suggested that they could be a a crossing point between the two realms. Elleandra remembered vague stories of a place called the Vernal Grove that fit the general description of where they were. Kira too had some vague recollection regarding the Vernal Grove from her studies with Evan.

Seeing no other immediate options, they began to explore the few intact buildings that remained in the town, starting with what appeared to be a house. The outside was run down and as the group peered through the boarded windows, there were no signs of inhabitants. Li-Am kicked down the door and they began to search the house finding little more than rubble. Jarvix located a fragment of a journal in the upper level of the house which contained some information…

He has come again to me in my dreams, a horrible evil creature that torments me. I am sure that my parents know of him and the evil he committed in life.

I learned that he was killed by my parents twenty years ago and supposedly buried in the town graveyard. However I am not sure my parents have told me everything. I’m sure that I am being punished for their crimes.

I have arranged a carriage to carry my daughter Kristal and newborn granddaughter Redra far from this place. Hopefully they will escape my fate and the fate of the other children.

Elleandra was able to decipher a bit more information that suggested her tormentor drew strength from the fear it created. The author believed that by turning her back on the fiend, it would loose some of its strength. Nothing else was located in the house, and the group moved on to a large building that Kira described as a church.

The church also showed signs of massive neglect, although there was some evidence to suggest that a struggle took place at some point in the distant past. Kira uncovered fragments of a broken mirror as well as some church documents, one of which was coded. Together the group worked out the coding and learned more about the town’s past and a rhyme…

It is with great sadness that Sister Amelia has left us. Her choice to return to Occidental Mountain Asylum, the site of the most unfortunate incident, is surprising. Still, the staff there might help her to deal with the recent event regarding her son.

I can’t help think that I should not have told her of the trouble with her son. The adopted parents at 1428 appeared to be a good fit, but the troubles he is having too cannot be denied.

We must trust that there is a reason for all this, but to have so many buried so young is our graveyard is so tragic.

Now I lay me down to sleep, the Soul Collector my life shall keep. In the reflection of my minds eye, evil will see itself and it shall die.

The Iorskan surmised that they could use the mirror as a weapon and Jarvix used his talents with the Way to reforge the mirror using some of the items they found in the church. They headed out to the large intact building with a growing sense of apprehension.

The large building appeared to be the Aslym mentioned in the church notes. They found that it was unlocked and began to search. A few pages from what appeared to be a log book were found, providing more of the history of this place.

941: A terrible tragedy occurred over the holiday weekend – Sister Amelia was trapped with the inmates and brutally assaulted. She is now with child.

966: Sister Amelia has returned to us following the death of her son at the hands of an angry mob. She has locked herself away in one of the unused rooms and will not see anyone.

999: We are overrun with adults who are overcome with grief at the loss of so many children. The parents blame themselves and a supernatural force they refer to only as the Soul Collector. Our new administrator knows little of the town history.

1025: The last of the town has moved away or died, the Asylum will be closed.

In the uppermost floor of the asylum, the parts found a locked room and when it was opened they saw the dead body of a woman in white, kneeling as if in prayer. They assumed this to be sister Amelia, and when Kira examined her, she saw the spirit of Amelia. She silently responded to their questions by pointing to the house, the church and the graveyard, then to the center of the town. Her spirit departed, but Elleandra felt sure that she would be a help in the fight against the mysterious Soul Collector.

The party made the trip to the graveyard and found a massive number of graves having deaths between the years 981 and 995. Most of the dead appeared to have been between 12 and 20 years old. Many of the gravestones had been damaged by what appeared to be three cuts or slash marks. Finding nothing else in the graveyard, they moved back into the center of town. Throughout the investigation of the town most of the party began to find themselves preoccupied with fears from their pasts. Only Jarvix and Gwyn appeared to be untroubled by their fears.

The Soul Collector
As they explored the center of the town, several creatures appeared and moved towards the party, with obvious evil intent. Each of the creatures appeared to be one of the fears that they had been dwelling upon… Kira was approached by a being that appeared to be Evan Moreau, Elleandra’s fear too the shape of a twisted version of her tree, Li-Am was approached by Thakok-An, Iorskan by Yarnath and Kezmit by a great nothingness.

The party reacted quickly thanks to Iorskan’s encouragement and Gwyn’s magic. Although these creatures were born out of their fears, they did not hesitate to act, although Kira refused to attack Evan and helped to bring down Yarnath. Gwyn disposed of the Thakok-An after it was damaged by Li-Am’s magic. During the fight the fears were joined by a being in a dirty brown hat, tattered red and green sweater and a bladed glove in his right hand – the Soul Collector.

The Soul CollectorThe Soul Collector moved towards Gwyn calling out to her that she was the last left and that the bargain she made was over. He pushed away Gwyn’s nearby allies and brutally slashed her with his clawed glove, leaving three cuts in her back. The group largely focused on the Soul Collector who proved to be incredibly resilient to injuries. Eventually Iorskan was able to defeat the fear of Evan, allowing everyone to concentrate on the Soul Collector.

The Soul Collector had been pushed closer to Elleandra and called out to her that she wouldn’t escape like she did in Dempsy. He was able to push away her allies and nearly killed her with his glove, but somehow she managed to cling to life. Iorskan and Kezmit used their powers to heal the majority of the injuries and bolster their friends but their resources appeared more limited than the Soul Collectors.

Using what they learned in the town, Iorskan and Elleandra were able to seriously injure the Soul Collector. Iorskan was able to force him to look upon the mirror carried by Jarvix causing the creature much anguish as it looked upon its own hideous nature. Elleandra called for the spirit of Amelia whose love for the creature drained away its power. Summoning her our courage, Elleandra turned her back on the Soul Collector in an act of defiance, causing it to scream in rage and once again set its sight on Gwyn. Screaming “I’m what’s up Bitch!” he cut her again with the balded glove.

Li-Am unleashed a blast of hellfire that burned the already burned creature and he was eventually defeated, collapsing into a heap with only the sweater, hat and glove remaining. Kira collected the hat as a memento of the event, thought about taking the glove for Evan, but decided to leave it alone. Moments later, the party awoke back in the feast hall. The entire adventure appeared to have been a dream, but they all bore the scars the suffered in the encounters and Kira had the dirty brown hat in her hand.