Dark Sun: The Scorched World of Athas

Festival of the Cooling Sun
The City of Tyr

Crodlu Racing
The fourth day of the festival opened with a series of crodlu races as the individual contests began. Morg, Gwyn and Castri found themselves competing against each other and two other gladiators. The objective was simple, be the first to guide their crodlu across the finish line after two laps around the area.

The three friends vowed to work together to help Morg win the competition, knowing that only he would be available for the final day of competition. Morg pushed his crodlu hard trusting his athleticism and endurance to help his lizard carry him across the finish line. Gwyn pushed her crodlu hard, while hanging on with all of her strength, all the while maneuvering to prevent the other gladiators from overtaking her friend. Castri had more difficulty keeping up, being unused to the animals, however his skill with the Way caused a great difficulties for the others as he caused debris from the track to blind and hinder them.

Near the finish line Castri collided with another rider sending both of them tumbling across the finish line just behind Morg who finished first and Gwyn who finished in second place. After the race, the three collected their winnings and stayed at the arena to watch the other races. Members of the Red Cord were eliminated but an elf of the Moonrunner tribe showed impressive skills in the racing and looked to be a top contender for the final match of the festival.

Across the Wastes
During the fourth day, Vinara left the city to journey with the Wastewalker to a hidden location to receive training on the ways of a primal guardian. After a day of travel, where she listen to the Wastewalker discuss how all aspects of nature were interconnected, they arrived at a hidden oasis in the foothills of the Ringing Mountains.

The spirits of fire challenged her to destroy the defilers and their allies in order to prevent more damage to the world. The spirit of earth warned her that she would need to endure great hardships if she were to take up the task of restoring Athas to its former state. The spirit of water tasked Vinara with healing the world that had suffered so much at the hands of the sorcerer-kings. Finally the spirit of air challenged Vinara to be cautious in her approach to restoring Athas, knowing that the entrenched power of sorcerer-kings and their allies would not be easily overthrown.

Accepting their challenges and demonstrating her ability to overcome her adversaries, the spirits invested her with the power to become a primal guardian. She learned the power to summon a new companion to help her in quests – a living zephyr that could obscure the vision of her enemies and push them about. Satisfied that her training was complete she began her journey back to Tyr.

The Veiled Alliance
Gwyn journeyed back to the The Warrens to meet her Veiled Alliance contact Jarvix and complete her initiation on the night of the fifth day of the festival. They traveled deep into the Warrens and down into the depths of an abandoned building. From the basement they traveled down into the Under-Tyr, the ruins of the old city of Tyr.

At the gates of an ruined building Gwyn demonstrated her skill in preserving magic by opening the door without harming the fragile lichens nearby. Inside the building she found other members of the Alliance who tested her moral character and dedication to the cause of preserving magic.

More than satisfied with her responses, she was inducted into the Veiled Alliance. She learned that the cells were currently debating divulgence – whether to maintain the secrecy that has protected them for so long, or whether to reveal themselves to the population and capitalize on the death of Kalak to promote good-will towards their members. With the future of such actions uncertain, Gwyn returned to the surface to watch Morg’s final match.

Agis of Asticles
Castri to the estates of Agis in the hopes of learning more about the events surrounding the death of Kalak. Although initially suspect about his motives, Agis eventually divulged much that was previously unknown, hoping that Castri would use such knowledge to help bring about a positive change to the world.

We journeyed to the Forest Ridge where the halflings granted us the use of a Heartwood Spear, pulled from an ancient Tree of Life. They told us that Kalak was attempting to transform into a powerful dragon, and if successful he would bring great destruction to the lands. They instructed us that only by working together could we hope to overcome Kalak’s potent defenses.

During the gladiatorial contest, we struck at once; I used by talents with the Way to weaken his mental defenses, Sadira used her arcane powers to breach his other defenses. Rikus then threw the spear and landed a mortal wound, one that should have killed him, except for the massive life force he was draining from the crowd. We, along with Tithian, followed Kalak into the Ziggurat of Kalak.

Once inside, we found Kalak in the midst of his transformation and attempted to finish him off, but he was too strong, still empowered by the life forces he had stolen. Only the quick actions of Tithian, who began smashing the obsidian orbs around his chamber cut him off from the energies and allowed him to be finally defeated.

If you hope to defeat other sorcerer-kings you will have a much harder time than we did, for the other sorcerer-kings will not be distracted by the rituals that Kalak was attempting when he was slain. Even at your peak, you will need all the help you can receive, you should look find powerful artifacts to aid your quests, but where to start looking is unknown to me.

Armed with this knowledge, Castri returned to watch the final games of the festival.

The Final Duel
Aric of the MoonrunnersThe final match of games was between Morg and and elf named Aric, from the Moonrunner tribe, had earned a reputation for ruthlessness. The two gladiators closed on each other taking cover behind pillars as they did so. When they were close Morg stepped out from behind the pillar and taunted the elf into attacking.

Happy to oblige, Aric charged forth swiping with his massive obsidian blade and landing a deep wound on Morg. The wound began to sting and burn from the poison that was coated on the blade, clearly showing his intent to kill. Morg became enraged and his fury gave him the strength to ignore the wounds and continue fighting. Both gladiators maneuvered around the pillars and patches of brambleweed. The elf’s use of poison and magic during the attack gave him a slight advantage, but the crowd clearly favored Morg. A couple attacks that were parried by Aric appeared to be the turning point, but the combat ended quickly as a massive swipe from Morg’s axe removed the elf’s head.

After the celebration, Morg and the others collected the winnings from their bets and began to prepare for their next journey. They decided to search for the Face in the Stone as the urgency seemed greater. They let a disappointed Rhotan Vor of House Wavir know that when they returned, they would help him search for the lost tomb.

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Festival of the Cooling Sun
The City of Tyr

Coins in the Coffer
After a night of rest, team Obsidian Storm entered the arena once again, this time to find themselves playing against members of the Red Cord mercenary group in a game of coins in the coffer. Morg, Vinara and Gwyn formulated a strategy with Castri as the rules of the game were explained: No attacks on opposing team members, each coin placed in the teams coffer scores one point, the team with the most points after five rounds wins.

During the first round both teams moved quickly towards the center of the area, avoiding the treacherous brambleweed. Morg began to work the crowd as he taunted the other team and moved to block their coffer. Castri attempting to disrupt the charge fired arrows, but his opponents were not deterred. During the second round Castri’s arrows proved equally ineffective, however Gwyn grabbed a coin and deposited it in her team’s coffer. The Red Cord moved to the pile of coins, grabbing three, and headed towards their coffer. The halfling forest keeper conjured vines to ensnare Vinara.

Intercepting his opponents, Morg knocked them back with a ferocious roar. Gwyn’s elven speed allowed her grab a coin and drop it in the coffer, then carefully using her arcane powers, she leapt through the air and knocked the halfling down.

Seeing potential trouble, Castri used his abilities with the Way to move the remaining three coins from the center of the arena to Vinara’s feet. Still entangled by the conjured vines Vinara grabbed and tossed a coin, it just landing short of the coffer. Morg continued to push his opponents back from their coffer and making a good show of it for the crowd. Gwyn chased the halfling, who had ducked beneath he legs and grabbed one of the coins as Vinara’s feet. She used her magic again to summon claws that lifted the halfing and the coin into her coffer. Too late she realized that her attempt to conceal her magic might not have been successful. Vinara, finally free of the halflings vines, deposited the last coin into her coffer and closed the lid, with the halfling still inside.

Morg continued to do battle with his human opponents, with neither side making any real progress. When the final gong signaled the end of the game team Obsidian Storm had won with a score of 4 to 0. The members of the Red Cord retrieved their halfling and walked out the arena as the crowd cheered for team Obsidian Storm.

Finding Friends
After resting, the heroes ventured out into The Warrens to the Elven Market to collect their winnings a place new bets on the outcome of the gladiatorial contest. Although their team was gaining some amount of fame the competition was as well, making the outcome of the tournament still uncertain.

Castri left the Elven Market to meet up with Khalos the aid to Agis who was supposed to be arranging a meeting between them. Pleasantly, Agis had agreed to meet following the third day of the tournament.

JarvixGwyn and Morg made their way from the arena into the Warrens, attempting to create an opportunity to make contact with the Veiled Alliance. After a short while they realized they were being followed and maneuvered to follow their tail. Neither Morg nor Gwyn were particularly subtle and they were lead into a quiet alley where they could converse with some degree of privacy. Their new friend was a red-skinned Tiefling who introduced himself as Jarvix. As they expected, he claimed to be a member of the Veiled Alliance and announced that they had noticed Gwyn and were intending to make her an offer, once she passed their final tests. She was to meet them at dawn on the fifth day of festival.

Later that evening a freak sandstorm blew across the city, and the Wastewalker appeared to Vinara. He spoke of terrible visions that he had where a great sandstorm began to devour the world. In the vision, he saw a lost shrine where evil stirs called the Face in the Stone, and a powerful defiler who is searching for the Face, to unleash the evil. He tasked Vinara with taking up her true destiny and stopping this defiler. However, he felt she was not strong enough to take on this task, and so he offered to train her, starting at dusk on the third night of the festival. He departed with the sandstorm.

The Gaj
The following day was the last of the group battles in the arena, and Obsidian Storm intended to continue their winning streak. The arena was refitted with numerous pillars, blocking their view of the opposing gate. However, the suspense was ended when the announcer revealed that they would be fighting a dreaded Gaj.

Knowing the speed was of the utmost importance to defeat a powerful foe, the team moved quickly. Castri moved to to get a clear shot but his arrow bounced harmlessly off the creatures thick carapace. Gwyn summoned an orb of shifting arcane energy and hurled it toward the Gaj, but the nimble creature ducked just in time avoiding it despite her elven accuracy. Morg and Vinara moved up keeping cover between. The Gaj, slower to react than its opponents, moved forward and unleashed a blast of psychic energy, injuring them both. As Morg’s shrunken head amulet cackled some of the Gaj’s psychic attack was rebounded.

Castri let loose another volley of arrows, but although his aim was true, the arrows failed to penetrate its defenses. Gwyn attempted to assault the Gaj’s mind and remove all evidence from her foe’s senses, however the Gaj’s mental defenses withstood the attack and all she accomplished was to drawn the attention of the beast. Vinara used her primal magic to heal Gwyn and boost her allies defenses. The Gaj moved in while Morg waited for the most opportune moment to strike and sunk its mandibles into Gwyn, holding her in place. She was able to avoid it’s feathery antennae but her wounds were severe. Summoning all his rage, Morg unleashed a furious set of blows on the Gaj, scoring two serious wounds while the creature was occupied with Gwyn.

Finally penetrating the Gaj’s armor, Castri’s arrows finally struck home. Gwyn again failed to wound the Gaj, but she did manage to escape its powerful bite. Vinara moved into melee with burst of primal power trailing after her bronze staff, causing a halo of pr