Dark Sun: The Scorched World of Athas

The City that Waits

The Key Guardian
Although the party had seen many terrible things on Athas, the totally alien nature of the Key Guardian was enough to unsettle them. Jax collapsed to the floor of the cavern, unresponsive and curled in the fetal position. Daqiq looked at the creature and cried uncontrollably. The rest were able to master their terror and proceeded to launch attacks at it. Torakas used his skills to calm Jax and Daqiq, enabling them to fight after a few minutes.

Shortly after the creature appeared, there was a disturbance in the cavern, and Delen appeared with an entourage of undead around him. Delen sent his undead to attack and delay his former allies, while he used powerful magic against them. His betrayal was not surprising to the party, but his newfound strength was. Gwyn and Banoc attacked Delen at range as he floated above the battle. The rest of the group concentrated on his undead and the Guardian.

Delen focused his attacks on Way-lynn, disintegrating a large portion of Way-lynn’s leg. A blow from Banoc’s spiritual weapon sent Delen crashing to the floor of the cavern, alive but unconscious. Jax moved near him and with an unsympathetic thrust of her sword, she performed a coup de grâce, ending his life. His severed head rolled away into the water.

Between the attacks of the Guardian and Delen’s magic, Way-Lynn was overwhelmed and fell. None were able to get to Way-Lynn in time and Way-Lynn died, partially submerged in the cold water of the cavern. Saddened by the loss of her ally, Thea attacked with The Blade Perilous and managed to land a killing blow on the Guardian. The remains of the creature sank beneath the cold water.

The party was uneasy about spending more time in the cavern, but needed to tend to their wounds and decided to risk it. Thea performed another miracle and raised Way-Lynn from death. Jax used her own magic to summon the spirit of Delen to answer her questions. She learned that Delen had made a bargain with the Key Guardian and other undead in the city – in exchange for betraying the party, he learned that the library of Degoth was located in the lower levels of the Shadow Gate Tower in the northeastern portion of the city. Jax was unsettled by her contact with his spirit, but shrugged it off.

The Tortured Vestige
As they rested, eating bland food created by Torakas, the party discussed their next move. Although everyone wanted to leave Moil as soon as possible, the lure of the knowledge of Dregoth was strong. Gwyn knew the location of the tower from her last visit to Moil, and it was there that they fought the Tortured Vestige, loosing Kelvor in the battle. The party discussed for hours, but could not reach a final decision.

Their rest and discussion were interrupted by a low rumbling from the passageway, which grew louder and louder. The party prepared themselves for this new threat but were totally unprepared for the appearance of the Tortured Vestige. The mass of undead bodies squeezed its way out of the tunnel entrance and poured into the cave.

Daqiq directed the group to stay at range as best they could, moving around the outside of the lake. Gwyn used her magic to try and contain the creature with a wall of fire and was successful for a time. Unfortunately the creature was able to break free and caught Torakas and Thea in its grasp. Torakas was knocked unconscious, but Thea was dragged inside of the Vestige, to the horror of her allies.

Although the creature was immensely strong, the party had the advantage of the terrain and tactics. They continued their attacks, hoping to reach Thea before the Vestige consumed her. Eventually their efforts were rewarded and with a blast of fire, Gwyn blew the creature apart. Burning bodies and body parts flew across the cavern as the being fell apart. Amidst the carnage, Gwyn recovered many of the items that had been lost when Kelvor died. They also found Thea, but she was dead as a result of the prolonged time inside the Vestige.

The Rebirth
The loss of Thea was a blow to the moral of the party and they were unsure how to proceed. As they patched up their new wounds they realized that there was a slim chance to bring Thea back – the machine at the top of the Tower of Health. Jax had some additional information about the device from her conversation with Delen, but they still knew almost nothing about its capabilities. They decided the potential was worth the risk and when they were ready, they left the cavern, heading back to the Tower of Health.
The Device
The water was just as cold as before, but Torakas was able to create tokens that allowed them to breathe under water and their knowledge of the passageways allowed them to make it through without significant difficulties. They came near several groups of undead, but were able to avoid any encounters. They reached the chamber of the device and strapped Thea into it, then they waited…

The device came alive and started repairing her body…

When it was finished, there were a few more actions and then the machine went quiet as it returned to its resting state…

Thea did not stir…

Suddenly her eyes opened and she gasped, alive…

She was freed from the restraints and looked at each of the party with a look of happiness, friendship and love. Then, abruptly, a look of absolute terror came upon her and she sunk to the floor shaking and barely able to speak…

I remember my home – a far away place of goodness and beauty.

I remember finding this city by accident and wanting to provide peace to the inhabitants.

I remember serving a being of joy and light – Lathander, the Morninglord.

I remember having to put down many of the undead inhabitants, for there was no way to save them.

I remember a new arrival in the city – a undead dragon of power and abilities I’d never seen before – a being called Dregoth.

I remember spying on Dregoth, attempting to learn his weakness and his plans for the city.

I remember being caught by Dregoth and being questioned mercilessly about the various planes of existence and their inhabitants.

I defied Dregoth, confident that my faith would protect and preserve me.

I remember unrelenting torment by Dregoth and the pain when my wings were ripped from me.

I remember eventually succumbing and telling Dregoth of the Gods and how they gained power from worshipers or from defeated gods.

I remember retreating into my own mind to preserve my sanity.

I remember Dregoth reaching into my mind and locking my memories as he imprisoned me in a tower.

I remember keeping my sanity by knowing that there was no way Dregoth would be able to collect enough power to further his goals of becoming a true God.

Torakas stepped forward and offered a horrifying suggestion – that the devices he helped create, that Gwyn had found in the Lands within the Wind and the Shadow Tomb could be part of Dregoth’s plans to channel the energy needed to become a god. The sorcerer-king was already worshiped as one by the majority of the dray. The party agreed that if that was Dregoth’s goal, he must not be allowed to complete it.