Dark Sun: The Scorched World of Athas

The Island of Mytilene

Sailing to the Island
Having decided to head towards the giant’s island, the party turns the Sinful Kraken northward and follows the edge of the Silt Sea and their giant guides. Although they might have been able to move faster with the giant’s carrying them, the party did not want to abandon the ship and its crew for fear of being stranded on a strange island. The giants complained a bit about the slower pace, but the promise of the power to control weather was enough to placate them.

The weather took a turn for the worse as the temperatures and winds increased significantly, threatening the party and the giants with the gray death. Banoc was able to continue to use his magic during the day to suppress the winds and bring the temperatures down. During the cooler nights, he rested for the next day.

The pirates and the legionaires found something to agree on – their distrust of the giants and began to question the wisdom of the party’s plan. Lena and Jax were able to convince them that the plan was sound and ultimately in their best interests. Their travel was mercifully free from encounters, no doubt to the presence of the giants and other than the weather, they encountered no hardships.

After four day’s of travel, they arrived in at the island of Mytilene, the home of the giants. Daqiq had learned that the two clans of giants, the Jorsh and the Saram had traded possession of the Oracle and gained wisdom from it for as long as they could remember. From time to time, when one clan became more powerful than the other, they refused to let go of the Oracle. This was one of those times. The Saram were clear that they didn’t want the Jorsh slaughtered, but just driven from the caves.

The Dwarven Ruins
Just east of the shore the party discovered some curious ruins. They deduced that the ruins were ancient dwarven buildings, which had withstood the ravages of time. There were other ruins of lesser quality and built for larger beings that had not held up as well.

Dwarven Ruins

In one of the more intact ruins, Way-Lynn discovered a stone chest containing an ancient book. Gwyn had seen a book nearly identical to this one in the village of Kled – a copy of the Book of Kemalok Kings. Jax used her magic to help translate the ancient writing and they made a profound discovery. This tome contained more information about the fate of the last dwarven knights of Kemalok Jo’orsh and Sa’ram. They deduced that the two dwarves had ended up on this island and were somehow the progenitors of the two giant clans whose names were very similar.

The Plan
As the party made the long journey to the crystal caves they discussed many options on how to deal with the giants. The crew of the Sinful Kraken remained with the boat to guard it, but Iulius was convinced to join with the rest of the adventurers. They had learned from the giants that the cave system had but one entrance and that they would like have to face several dozen giants.

Although they prepared themselves as best they could for a battle with all the giants, they felt it was much more likely they would have to face the giants in small groups and hopefully be able to break their morale and force them to flee. They decided that, while they would not attempt to kill more than they were forced to, they would be prepared to do what was needed to obtain access to the Oracle.

Along the way the were attacked by a flock of wyverns, but the beasts proved to be little more than a minor distraction to the battle-hardened adventurers.

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Sailing the Sea of Silt

Small Distractions
As the Sinful Kraken headed away from the site of the roc attack, there was more rumblings among the crew that that ship was being targeted by some unknown force. Even the party had to admit that the string of attacks they had suffered felt like more than coincidence. Banoc communed with the elemental spirits trying to determine if the ship or those aboard were being attacked for a purpose and the elements responded that the attacks were simply chance.

The crew and adventurers passed the remainder of the day socializing and gambling. Gwyn and Way-lynn joined some of the crew in a lizard racing game. Each chose one small lizard that raced through a maze. Despite Gwyn’s good intuition and Way-lynn’s coaxing of the lizard, one of the crew, Salty Kester, had luck on his side and won the race. Lena and Daqiq played a dice game called “portholes” and soundly beat the crew, although an older pirate, Blue, gave them a good challenge. Jax and one of the legionary captains, Aurelius, played a game of Balican Chess and although she rarely played the game, Jax was able to best the more experienced player.

Later that night, Lena was on watch and noticed that there was a disturbance ahead. After being alerted to the danger, the deck psion, Gloomy Rashad, identified it as a bloom of floaters. Barking orders, Lena helped secure the ship quickly to minimize the chance of a floater contacting the crew or ship and exploding. Lena’s fast action proved more than adequate and the ship passed through without any trouble.

Unseen Dangers
Shortly after midnight, Way-lynn noticed that the Sinful Kraken was slowing down and veering off course. When they confronted the deck psion on duty, Gloomy Rashad appeared calm, perhaps a little too much. However, Way-lynn soon felt it was the right choice as well. The rest of the adventurers awoke to the ship coming to a stop and moved out to see Way-lynn and Rashad heading out to a small mudflat.

Banoc guessed they might be under some type of external influence and attempted to dispel the effect on Way-lynn, but there was no change in his behavior. Before they could be reached by the party, they were found by a brown silt horror, that had apparently been calling them to their doom. Rashad was badly injured in the attacks, but the horror was easily defeated.

In the predawn hours, Gwyn was on watch and noticed a strange depression in the silt, moving towards the vessel. When alerted, the crew became panicked as it was the clear sign of a sink worm, a gargantuan creature which could easily destroy ships. They prepared as best they could, but were unable to attack the creature until it emerged from beneath the silt close to the ship.

The party unleashed a series of spells and attacks on the worm, injuring it horribly, but it continued its attack. Jax suffered some injuries but managed to avoid being swallowed by the monstrosity. Daqiq shot deadly arrow after deadly arrow into it and eventually the beast was driven off or killed. Once again, the crew looked at the adventurers with a sense of awe.

Giant Problems
Continuing on towards the Sea of Silt, the day brought temperatures rising to an unbearable level of heat. Banoc was able to use his control of the elements to make the temperature more tolerable around the ship, although doing so taxed him greatly. Mid-morning brought a new threat to the ship and crew – a group of beastheaded giants moving to intercept the Sinful Kraken. The giants did not appear hostile, but the crew manned the vessel’s weapons, just in case. They warned the adventurers that the giants were unpredictable and easily angered.

The giants stopped at a respectful distance and asked why the weather was so nice around the ship. As they talked, the party learned that the giants were hunting roc and came within range of Banoc’s weather control and investigated. The giants, who called themselves the Saram, wanted to learn how to control the weather and became somewhat agitated when Banoc didn’t think they were capable.

The groups negotiated for a bit and eventually decided that the vessel would accompany the giants back to their island and help them regain their Oracle, who had been taken by a rival group of giants, the Jorsh, and not given back. The beastheads thought that the Oracle could help them locate Ehwahla and perhaps be useful in controlling the weather.

Charting the Course

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Sailing the Sea of Silt

The Plan of Attack
The Sinful Kraken headed east towards the Sea of Silt without incident until the early afternoon when they encountered at mudflat. Regulus asked the party to spend some time and explore the mudflat, as they often contain water and possibly vegetation to help provision the ship. Banoc didn’t sense that there was any ill intent, but had noticed a growing tension between Regulus and his pirates and Iulius and the legionary troops. However, all three groups needed each other, so the uneasy alliance held.

On the mudflat, the party discovered some relatively clean water but no plant life, suggesting that the mudflat was relatively new. While they were gathering the water, they were set upon by a small group of black silt horrors that burst from beneath the mud. Although initially caught off guard, they creatures were defeated without too many injuries being taken. In less than an hour, they were back underway.

Later in the afternoon, Iulius approached the party and wanted to know more about their plans for bringing about a new age of Athas. As a strategist and military captain, he was apparently uneasy about not knowing their plan. The group described many of the wonders that they had seen in their encounters including the other planes of existence, the knowledge of the true history of Athas and the powerful weapons useful for taking down the sorcerer-kings. These stories, along with the camaraderie with Lena and Way-lynn helped dispel his concerns.

Iulius shared that the stories of the giants preparing to march on Balic were a ruse to keep the citizens in a heightened state of alert. An unknown army had sacked Tyr and was marching towards Urik in the north. According to Iulius, the forces of Gulg and Nibeany were marching towards Urik as well to defend it against the unknown aggressor. He was terrified to think about what creature or army could be such a threat to Urik that two other sorcerer-kings would be willing to set aside their differences. Gwyn and Banoc recalled the tales of the sorcerer-kings moving to destroy Dregoth thousands of years ago and thought that it could be a similar situation. Banoc remembered the legends of Kalak of Tyr, Hamanu of Urik and Borys the Dragon marching on Kalidnay to stop Kalid-Ma after his transformation. With the two city-states the targets, and the forces moving from the south, they felt like the unknown aggressor might be Kalid-Ma.

Threat From Below
Early the next morning, just as dawn’s light was starting to show, Gwyn was on watch and noticed a disturbance in the silt headed towards the Sinful Kraken. It was quickly revealed to be a gray silt horror, a huge beast far more powerful and deadly than the silt horrors encountered in the mudflat. Thanks to the keen eyes of Gwyn, she and her friends had time to prepare for the attack. The horror lashed out with barbed tentacles that threatened to pull them overboard. Way-lynn started hacking at the tentacles, severing them with each powerful blow from their axe. Gwyn and Banoc launched fire spells at the creatures body, while Daqiq shot one deadly arrow after another into its partially exposed head. Just as it was about to pull Jax overboard, it was defeated and sank beneath the silt.

Later that day, while Lena and Daqiq were learning about the operation of the psionic orb Regulus approached the others to complain about Iulius and his soldiers making too many demands on the pirates. They listened to his concerns and attempted to smooth over the differences, emphasizing that they all needed each other at this time. After promising to speak to Iulius and get him to ease up a bit, Regulus appeared to feel better about the situation. Iulius and his men were unhappy about the perceived lazy attitude of the pirates but was eventually convinced that the common good would require sacrifices on everyone’s part.

Threat From Above
Just as things were starting to calm down, Daqiq noticed a large bird diving for the Sinful Kraken. The bird, a roc, was moving fast and they only had moments to prepare. Way-Lynn and Lena manned the ships weapons and fired at the gargantuan bird of prey. Although the bird was struck several times and shot by Daqiq, it was barely injured and dove towards Jax, biting her and grasping her in its talons. As it flew off it took more hits but still held onto Jax until it was over a hundred feet in the air when it let go. Luckily she landed on the deck of the Sinful Kraken instead of the silt. A final arrow from Daqiq finished off the bird and it fell into the Sea of Silt.

The crew and adventurers began to wonder if something wasn’t putting its will against their own. Each of these encounters would not be a cause for concern, but together it appeared to be suspicious. Although they were concerned, there was nothing to do but keep moving on towards the east.

Charting the Course

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Sailing the Sea of Silt

Charting the Course

Boarding Action
The battle simply began as the crew of the Sinful Kraken attempted to defend themselves against the forces of the Sand Dragon. The fires started by Gwyn and Banoc occupied many of the Sand Dragon’s crew, otherwise the battle would have been even more uneven. Fireballs and flamestrikes flew back and forth attempting to kill as many of the opposing crew as possible before they became so intermixed that it would be impossible to target foes without hitting friends.

Daqiq took the high ground on a mast and fired arrow after arrow at the defiler and praetor on the Sand Dragon. Way-Lynn held the line and attempted to prevent too many enemies from reaching the Sinful Kraken, but the numbers were too great. Lena lead a charge onto the Sand Dragon hoping to do further damage to the ship and slow the advance of the crew and draw attacks away from her crew. Unfortunately she was successful and fell under the numerous attacks directed at her. Banoc moved quickly to get her back on her feet, but the tide of battle was clearly going against the adventurers.

Gwyn was able to take down the praetor but his surviving guards knocked Banoc down and if not for the quick action of Jax, he would have perished. Daqiq, ever practical, read the current situation and laid down his weapons, the other’s did so as well. Lena, however, made a desperate attempt and challenged the legionary captain, Iulius, to single-combat.

The Duel
Iulius agreed, much to Gwyn’s surprise, and even gave Lena a few moments to catch her breath and compose herself. The two combatants squared off on the deck of the Sand Dragon and Lena, seizing the moment, charged at Iulius and with a skillful lunge, knocked him over the edge of the ship into the silt. Although he began sinking quickly, his crew was able to toss him a rope and pull him out before he suffocated.

Gwyn was once again surprised when Iulius honored the outcome of the single combat and agreed to let them go. The crew of the Sinful Kraken grabbed the majority of supplies from the Sand Dragon to provision their ship for the long journey ahead. They left enough so that the other crew could make it back to Balic without danger and keep their ship in good repair.

A Change of Heart
While the supplies were being transferred to the Sinful Kraken, the adventurers had a chance to converse with Iulius. Gwyn and Way-lynn told him more about their adventures with his brother Dravus. Lena listened to the stories and attempted to convince the captain that he was better off coming with them than returning to Balic to face punishment for his failure.

Iulius was eventually convinced to join the crew of the Sinful Kraken and air them in the quest. Despite his military training and loyalty to Balic, he appeared to be genuinely interested in the groups quest to try and make Athas into a better place. He said that he would be dishonoring his ancestors and the people of Balic if he were to pass up a change to truly improve the lives of all.

Iulius was such a charismatic and popular leader that a number of the Sand Dragon’s crew and some of the legionary joined with him. The combined crew was enough to keep the vessel moving and they could function in combat, although they would not be at optimal efficiency. Once everything was secured, the Sinful Kraken started east towards the Sea of Silt.

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Sailing the Sea of Silt

Convincing the Crew
After two hours of sailing into the rising sun, Banoc’s charm on the officer began to diminish. The adventurers quickly tried to convince the crew of their vessel, the Sinful Kraken, that templar Haraxes (still being impersonated by Jax) had a change of heart and was heading out on a mission to make Athas into a better world. Although Jax was convincing, the party, especially Way-Lynn, Lena and Gwyn, tried a heavy-handed approach and it was not well received by the crew. In a moment of desperation, Banoc revealed himself as a water genasi, but the crew turned out to be superstitious about water elementals, and thought that he was an ill omen.

Despite their best efforts, the crew was not convinced and decided to attack the party, hoping they could turn around and make it back to Balic quickly to sort things out. The crew underestimated the abilities of the adventurers and the battle was over quickly, with the last half-dozen crew surrendering rather than be killed. They held fast to their sense of duty and were confined to the lower deck as prisoners.

The group decided to take the south turn around the Dragon’s Palate in hopes of making it to the Sea of Silt as quickly as possible. Tired from their long night, the party rested, although they still took watch, not fully trusting the pirate crew. Banoc did not take to their mode of travel well and suffered from silt sickness for the first few hours. Eventually he got a bit of rest and was refreshed.

The Sand Dragon

The Sand Dragon
Daqiq startled from his nap to a commotion on the upper deck. He ran up to see what was the matter and found everyone looking behind at another silt dromond moving to intercept them. The vessel was similar to their own, but moving much faster, indicating a more powerful psion at the helm. As it approached they could see the sail had a icon of a dragon atop a mound of sand.

Helpless, the pirates and adventurers watched as the Sand Dragon closed on them. Banoc thought of trying to cover their movements by controlling the weather, but the Sand Dragon would be in range to fire long before his magic could start to take effect. They crew prepared for battle, knowing that they were outnumbered by least a factor of two.

As the Sand Dragon neared to two-hundred feet, they party heard the voice of the Sand Dragon’s commander ordering them to stand down and prepare to be boarded. Gwyn recognized the voice as that of Kelvor’s brother. He had apparently decided to hunt down their group personally. The party unanimously agreed to not give up without a fight. Banoc and Gwyn moved to the back of the Sinful Kraken while the rest started to man the ship’s weapons.

The two ships exchanged a volley of shots from ballista and mangonel with only minimal damage to either ship. Gwyn and Banoc release a storm of fire at the Sand Dragon as it closed to just over a hundred feet. The fire ripped through the vessel, destroying most of its weapons and setting it ablaze. The Sand Dragon’s crew was able to take cover and avoid the majority of the fire, but now had to concern themselves with the ship, which was damaged.

The Sand Dragon’s helm was becoming mangled by fire as it continued on at full speed directly into the aft of the Sinful Kraken. The horrible sounds of splintering wood and bone from the ships was soon quieted and overtaken by the shouts of both crews as they prepared to do battle. To the surprise and terror of those aboard the Sinful Kraken, they appeared to be outnumbered three-to-one.

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City of Sails

Infiltrating the Arsenal
Jax (still in the form of Darian Haraxes), Gwyn (still posing as Darian’s companion for the evening) and Lena made their way towards the Arsenal. Trusting in Jax’s ability to convincingly play the part of the templar, they simply marched up to one of the gates and demanded entrance. Although there was a little confusion about the unorthodox nature of an inspection so early in the morning and the presence of an elf companion, the gate guards decided not to question the powerful templar and allowed them in.

As Gwyn passed but the gate captain, she his face and thought for a moment that he was Kelvor! The resemblance was very striking, but she knew that he was lost in Moil to the Tortured Vestige. She tried to get the captains attention in a subtle way, but he either did not notice or did not recognize Gwyn. They moved on quickly to avoid suspicions, but Gwyn was very curious about this other “Kelvor”.

The group began to search along the wall of the Arsenal for an ideal spot to help the others over. The Arsenal was well guarded and the walls were tall making the search difficult. Eventually the settled on an out-of-the-way spot that appeared to be slightly less guarded than the rest. There they waited for their friends to arrive.

Old Friends and New Enemies
Daqiq, Way-Lynn and Banoc accompanied Regulus and his crew through the Harbor Precinct towards the Arsenal. They didn’t know how long it would take for their friends to get in and find a spot, so they waited in an area that provided a good view for Daqiq. The rest tried to be as inconspicuous as possible for a group of over forty people.

While they were waiting Banoc saw his Veiled Alliance friend Sestus nearby and the two had a brief conversation. Banoc explained that the city was no longer safe for himself and his friends and, trusting Sestus, confessed to killing Darian Haraxes. Sestus was confused and shocked to hear the Praetor responsible for the virtual destruction of the Veiled Alliance was now dead. Banoc was likewise confused and shocked when Sestus turned on him and attacked, backed up by assassins and thugs.

Banoc took numerous injuries before his allies could come to his aid. He survived but Sestus did not, falling victim to several of Daqiq’s arrows. The thugs stood their ground and were likewise dispatched, however, the assassins stayed in the shadows and not even Daqiq could find them until they were almost out of range. Daqiq and Lena’s crodlu gave chase, but the assassin disappeared from sight.

With the assassin likely reporting in, the sense of urgency was even greater than before. Luckily, not long after the fight had concluded, Daqiq spotted his allies and the two groups joined back up. Through combination of Way-lynn’s massive strength and Banoc’s intuition about the patrols, the majority of the group was able to scale the wall quickly. Jax was able to distract the one patrol that got too close and the rest of the crew got over the wall with help from Daqiq to keep them in the shadows and out of sight.

The Heist
Daqiq and some of the crew went up ahead quickly and quietly to scout out a ship and hopefully start to prepare it for departure. Deciding that one ship was as good as the next, they moved to the closest dromond and started to make the adjustments to the rigging. Regulus’ crew was experienced, and this vessel was considerably better maintained, and they appeared to have no trouble.

Silt Dromond

A commotion from below deck stopped Daqiq cold – apparently the ship still had crew aboard and the activities above deck drew their attention. Doing their best to hide, Daqiq and his scouts could do nothing but wait…

Hoping they had given Daqiq enough time, the rest of the party and crew started to move out. Luck appeared to be against them as they ran into a Legionary patrol lead by the gate captain, who resembled Kelvor. Gwyn, determined to not let the opportunity slip by again addressed the captain as “Dravus” (Kelvor’s real name) while using her talent with the Way to try and determine if he was a human or something less natural. To her surprise, he did appear to be human, but her allies, except for Lena, all appeared to be undead. There was no time to explore this, but she wondered if it had something to do with the long time they had spent in the Gray.

The captain, spit at the mention of the name Dravus, who was his brother. The captain believed that Dravus had abandoned his city, his post and his family and was a traitor. Gwyn tried to convince him that that wasn’t the case and told him of how he had been subjected to horrible experiments by Tethrades and had to flee to save himself. She also told of how he had sacrificed himself to protect his friends and that he was a hero. All of the conversation appeared to shake the captains sense of reality and he was visibly having trouble processing the information. Jax was easily able to use this confusion to convince him to let the group pass without further delays.

They arrived at the silt dromond just as its crew was about to find Daqiq. Quickly Jax tried to convince them that this was a readiness drill and that he needed to take the ship out quickly. The officer appeared to believe Jax, but was required to verify the command while the prepared the ship – a new protocol. Banoc used his gift with the Way to charm the officer into believing that it wasn’t needed, and to their relief, the officer agreed. Less than 20 minutes later, the vessel was heading away from the dock, the City of Sails starting to grow smaller…

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City of Sails

After an uneventful night in Villa Nauripides the party woke and ate together as they continued their discussion about current events. Eventually they agreed to split up and pursue several different goals simultaneously. They also agreed to meet back at the villa in the early evening and share information and devise a more coherent plan.

Hunting the Hunter
Daqiq and Jax set out to do what they did best, learn about their prey and set a plan in motion to take him out. Today their prey was the templar Darian Haraxes who was responsible for the destruction of the Veiled Alliance in Balic. After Daqiq eliminated a minor templar guard and Jax assume her persona of a minor patrician, the pair entered The Praetorium and began to investigate. Through several conversations they learned the following…

  • Since the recent election of Darian Haraxes he has been rising in influence among the ranks of the templars with his successful purge of the Veiled Alliance.
  • His campaign against the Veiled Alliance began with applying pressure to businesses and individuals who were sympathetic to the Veiled Alliance and culminated three months ago following the removal of an Alliance member from the Ivory Dungeon.
  • Haraxes likes to spend his off hours drinking at the Parched Throat in the Market Precinct. He also has a fondness for elven women.
  • Since his success, there has been an increase in the number of elf murders. There are whispers, but nobody has been able to trace it to Haraxes.
  • The monthly arena matches were set to begin in a week and many of the templars are likely to be in attendance at the games.

Armed Forces
Lena and Way-lynn headed to the Guilder’s Precinct to look for weapons, armor and information about the current events in Balic and the other city-states. Lena stuck to the shops pretending to be a soldier of fortune and Way-lynn stuck to the drinking establishments attempting to learn any information that they could. After the day was spent, they learned the following…

  • The threat of giants is believed to be a cover for other larger issues at work across the entire Tyr Region, as the crops are not ready for harvesting and that is the time for the normal incursions by giants from the Sea of Silt.
  • Darian Haraxes spent a lot of good money hiring mercenaries to rough up merchants and shop owners who might be sympathetic to the Veiled Alliance. This undermining of their support structure helped to bring about their eradication.
  • The upcoming games at The Criterion will feature a week-long event with many different daily events and registration will begin in a few days. The matches are deadly but have the potential to make the winners rich. The most influential templars and Andropinis himself usually attend the games near the end of the week.
  • The Wounded Lirr, an inn, is a reputable location and Lena requested information about the availability of high-quality weapons be sent there for her.

Transportation
Gwyn traveled to the Elven Market outside the Agora, to try and gather information about passage out of the city to the deep Sea of Silt. She found that the market was really a collection of peddlers and not a permanent establishment like the one in Nibenayshe grew up in. She was shocked at how shabby the merchandise was and for once realized why the elves had such a poor reputation. After carefully observing, she made contact with Karis, of the Wind Dancer tribe, and learned the following…

  • Those looking for transportation out of the city via the Sea of Silt should go to the Furled Sail in the Harbor Precinct.
  • The days of relatively easy access to the silt dromonds is over and all the under heavy guard in the Arsenal.
  • The pirates, smugglers and merchant ships with psionically powered vessels stay away from Balic for fear of their ships being commandeered. As such only silt skimmers are available for hire.

The Veiled Alliance
Balic Slums Banoc went searching for any signs of surviving members of the Veiled Alliance. He was not hopeful, given the efficiency of the eradication, but there were some newer members, Sestus for one, who might have escaped based on their relatively unknown status. The Elven Market did not turn up any clues but he did find Sestus at the Sandtiger’s Tail, a seedy establishment used from time to time as a meeting point for Alliance members.

Although both men were somewhat reluctant to divulge too much information, Banoc was convinced that Sestus was a good man. As they talked, Banoc learned the following…

  • During the purge the veiled alliance cells were systematically compromised and eliminated. The Alliance attempted to reorganize and scatter, but the templars were too efficient.
  • Darian Haraxes had already laid a foundation in the businesses and applied pressure to discover the new cells.
  • Rumors persisted that some of the Alliance members are being held in the Ivory Dungeon, but nobody knows for sure.
  • Sestus was attending a meeting at the Nauripdes Villa when it was attacked. He was knocked out early in the fight and does not know what happened to Zaethias or Venithia. He is certain that he saw Ramphion taken down by the templars.
  • Sestus has been hiding for the last few months and only just now started venturing out to look for other Alliance members.
  • There is a meeting of Alliance sympathizers in the ruins of Mount Laeron and Sestus wanted Banoc to be there as a face of the Alliance and to provide hope. Banoc would not commit to the meeting as he wanted to check with his companions.

Assassination
Jax and the others returned to the Villa while Daqiq stalked his prey inside the Parched Throat. After discussing the situation they agreed to head over to the Parched Throat and see if they couldn’t take out Haraxes tonight. While the others were at a nearby tavern, Jax assumed the form of an elven woman and went into the Parched Throat. This was not her and Daqiq first set-up and it worked well.

Darian Haraxes took a liking to Jax and after a while he suggested that they leave and go some place more quiet. Daqiq had set himself up on a nearby roof and was waiting to ambush the praetor. As the pair came out, and Daqiq drew his bow, something alerted the praetor to trouble and he quickly cast a protective spell, Daqiq’s arrow hit and hit hard, but the spell absorbed most of the damage. The fight became more complicated as two other rooftop assassins, likely guards of the praetor, started firing at Jax. Jax summoned her Sword of Tyr and she and Daqiq manged to finish off the praetor. There was a brief chase and exchange of arrows, but the other assassins were defeated.

Lena and the others arrived to help clean up and they put the praetor’s body in Gwyn’s bag. Feeling pleased with the justice they dispensed, the group was also suddenly rather nervous and eager to leave the city before they were found out. At Gwyn’s suggestion they headed to the Furled Sail to attempt find a way out of Balic and onto the Sea of Silt.

Fleeing the City
At the Furled Sail, Jax assumed the form of Darian Haraxes and stayed off to the side with Gwyn. Daqiq kept his distance acting as a look out in case they were followed. The rest made contact with Regulus, the captain of a silt skimmer who was available and able to take people out of the city with no questions asked. Unfortunately, although he was willing, his price was too high and he couldn’t be talked down to a an amount that the party could afford. However, there was another, more dangerous option – to steal a silt dromond from the Arsenal.

Regulus agreed to provide the crew for the ship, including a psion who would be able to power the helm and take the party into the Sea of Silt. The party agreed to steal the vessel and give it to Regulus. They decided the best course of action would be for Jax (still in the form of Darian Haraxes), Gwyn (posing as his companion) and Daqiq (in the templar guard attire) to make their way into the Arsenal. They felt that they could allow the others, Regulus and his crew into the Arsenal and steal a ship.

Given the urgency, they immediately headed for the Arsenal…

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City of Sails

The Astral Engine
Deep in the Ruins of Pluton the situation was dire. Jax was dead, her life snuffed out by Dregoth. Gwyn, Banoc and Lena were dying quickly for each had been battered by Dregoth and their life drained to fuel his spells. Only Way-lynn and Daqiq were standing and neither was normally one that someone would turn to fore healing.

Daqiq knew that Banoc was the key to surviving and he did his best to patch up his wounds and stabilize him, as Banoc had done many time to Daqiq in the past. Banoc’s, breathing eased and the blood stopped flowing from his wounds. Daqiq breathed a sigh of relief as it looked like he would live.

Way-lynn attempted to follow Banoc’s instructions, but the new halfling was not as successful and they were unable to make any progress towards stabilizing their dying friends. In the commotion, Lena’s life slipped away and she grew still.

Gwyn managed to find the will to keep going and she also stabilized with the help of Daqiq.

For the next several hours all Daqiq could do is wait and hope for the best. As time slowly passed he felt a wide range of emotions – hopelessness, anger, fear and more. After about two hours Gwyn slowly came back to consciousness, but Daqiq was still inconsolable at the loss of Jax. An hour or so later Banoc woke from unconsciousness and Daqiq became manic, wanting Jax brought back to life. Weakened from his near death experience, Banoc did his best to curb the mania.

Searching through the components of Absalom, Banoc discovered that he had all he needed. He proclaimed that he would be able to revive both Lena and Jax, but needed time. Waiting was not what Daqiq wanted to do, but there was little choice. After regaining his strength and meditating on the elements, Banoc used his magic to restore life to Jax and Lena – an impressive display of power.

For two more days, the party rested and regained their strength while they pondered their options for getting out of the chamber. They could find no exits or portals and there was nothing of value that survived the explosion of the dragon skull phylactery of Dregoth.

Banoc calmly announced that he could use his magic to send them back to Athas, assuming that the chamber was not warded against such magics. However, he and Gwyn felt confident that the protections on the room only prevented people from entering, not leaving. Banoc warned the group that they would travel to a Veiled Alliance safe house in the city-state of Balic and that there was no telling what they would find there.

Villa Nauripides
With a strange sensation of being immersed in cool water, Banoc’s magic transported them to a shrine to the elements of water. Banoc explained that they were beneath Villa Nauripides on the southern edge of Balic and that this was a concealed room beneath the basement of the villa. They cautiously exited and found that the villa had been ransacked leaving nothing of value and no inhabitants.

Unsure what to do or where to go, they separated and headed into the city-state to look for supplies and information. Those that needed new gear were able to procure it and there was enough gems and jewelry to obtain a large number of survival days and food for whatever journey they decided to embark on. They also gained a lot of useful information regarding current events…

Balic

  • Although it had been three weeks for Banoc, Jax and Daqiq since they left Balic, three months had passed making what little information they had horribly outdated.
  • The Veiled Alliance appeared to have been completely wiped out by a Praetor named Darian Haraxes following the raid on the Ivory Dungeon.
  • Tyr had been sacked by a mysterious gray warrior and that most of the population was stricken by some sort of plague.
  • Urik was likely going to come under siege within a few days bu the armies of Nibenay and Glug were marching to Urik’s defense. Some even whispered that the Dragon itself would be aiding the city-state.
  • Raam was still in chaos and the situation there was worsening. Rumors of the undead and dray marching on the city-state from Giustenal were plentiful.
  • The Black Spine Mountains had grown more dangerous with strange armies of well-armed gith attacking the slave tribes and anyone else who dared come too close to the mountains.
  • Gwyn felt urging from the Crown of Dust, pushing her towards the Silt Sea and the last fragment held by Ul-Athra’s consort Ehwahla.

That night they all returned to the villa and discussed what they learned and where they wanted to go.

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The Ruins of Pluton

Liquid Night
The party was able to tend to their wounds and recover their strength without interruption in the ruins of the rusted tower. As the hours passed, the intensity and pulsing of the colors, now only red and blue noticeably increased. Once they were ready, the group hurried towards the red beam, however, it was too late…

Just as they reached an area filled with dead vegetation where all of the grass and the few trees were dried and brittle to the touch, there was one final flash and the beams stopped. Those that had recovered gems saw that, although they still shone, their light was diminished. Unsure what to expect, the party continued on with the earth beneath their feet leaving puffs of dust ans ash.

They approached the nearest structure and found a small shrine and graveyard with a circular wall and a twisted and rusted gate. There was no red beam coming from the structure and when they entered they found a dull gray gem resting on the floor. The room was filled with shelves containing nick-knacks that were mostly decayed and nothing of value was found. Jax took the gem, which appeared to be utterly mundane.

There was a great debate on whether or not to grab the last gem or head back to the skull mountain. While they argued, several saw a large shadow move across the land. They could not be sure, but Way-lynn believed that whatever created the shadow was flying and ended at the skull mountain. Finally a decision was made to head towards the mountain, and they did so with haste and dread.

Reaper’s End
They reached the skull mountain and found it to be dark and lifeless. The once bright device that merged the individual beams was now floating above a central air shaft and a narrow staircase could be seen leading down. The party tried their gems in the various sockets in the floor and found a few that would fit, but when nothing happened, they stopped trying and headed down.

They followed the cramped staircase down for several hundred feet, eventually arriving in a chamber of red and black stone. Another crowned skull image was carved into the floor and the skull’s mouth was positioned to receive the beam of white light from above.

Out of one alcove stepped a tall dray with decaying black scales that Gwyn recognized as Abaslom. In one hand he wielding a large black blade – The Blade Perilous. The party was unwilling to talk or listen and simply launched an attack on the dray. The battle was fierce for Absalom was a powerful master of the Way as well as a Templar of Dregoth. The earth shook and fire rained down from the sky as he swung the evil blade, but the combined strength of the party was too much and he was defeated. For good measure, Way-lynn used the Headsman’s Axe of Moil to decapitate him. Banoc wrapped the black blade in his cloak and carried it, careful not to touch it.

After the fight, they wondered how he got the blade and how he had returned from the dead – questions that they would likely never get answers to. They also searched the room and found that there was a shimmering portal in the skull’s mouth. Although they could see nothing through it, it appeared to be the only exit from the room. There was some discussion, but eventually they all went through the portal.

Astral Engine
They passed into a vast chamber whose floor as covered with bones. Arcs of lightning illuminated the enormous eldritch engine that was floating in the center of the chamber. Tightly wound cables and rods of silvery metal twisted along rune-covered walls like a spider’s web. Beneath the engine was an enormous dragon skull with two large glowing rubies for eyes. From behind the skull stepped a massive dray with blue scales, a swirl of energy moved between him and the skull.

Dregoth's Phylactery

As they feared the dray was Dregoth come to complete this part of his plan for godhood. Despite herself, Gwyn simply laughed at the dragon king. Banoc cast aside his hood and revealed himself for the first time as a agent of the element of water. However, Dregoth did not appear to be impressed. Lena attempted to contact him using her skill with the Way, but he was ready for such an attack and battle ensued.

The party felt their life being drained by Dregoth to power a spell and with a single word, Lena fell over dead. Gwyn summoned an incendiary cloud which burned away some of Dregoth’s flesh, but he appeared to take little damage. With another word Jax dropped lifeless to the ground, enraging Daqiq. Banoc started throwing tears from his vial at Dregoth and, although the tears struck true, the sorcerer-king did not succumb to their power.

Gwyn, Way-lynn and Banoc shifted their target to the giant skull and quickly began to damage it, chipping away at bone and gem. Way-lynn was the next target of Dregoth, but they were able to resist the magic, Daqiq died shortly thereafter with another word of power. Suddenly the skull exploded in a powerful flash of energy, knocking everyone to the ground. Daqiq and Lena rose up from the ground, having been restored by the energy of their gems.

Enraged, Dregoth used his magic to drain the life out of the party and teleport away. Although the dragon king fled, the effect of his magic was too great and only Way-lynn and Daqiq were left standing. Jax remained dead and Banoc, Gwyn and Lena were an inch away from death. They appeared to have thwarted Dregoth’s plans, but the price was higher than they could have imagined.

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The Ruins of Pluton

Wild Game
Having exhausted the staff’s power, Gwyn and the other could find now way to the island with the pyramid and decide to move further inland towards the purple light. They found the violet beam to be coming from a tower that was overgrown with vines and other plant life. Gwyn could feel the energy of the Feywild radiating from the tower.

The interior of the tower was easily accessible and consisted of a large ground floor chamber and an array of wooden platforms and walkways which provided access to the violet gem floating in the center of the tower. As they took in the sights and attempted to figure out the best way to reach the gem, a garishly dressed figure appeared out of thin air. He introduced himself as Hespotherad and insisted that the party play a game with him. He agreed to let the party retrieve the gem if they bested him in a contest call the “Cones of Dunshire” an obtuse game of strategy, bluffing, resource management and luck.

While the party played Jax learned that Hespotherad was from the Lands within the Wind and that it had continued to deteriorate despite the destruction of the Fey Engine. Hespotherad spoke of a new primordial tree of life that started to grow but recently had begun to wither. Only Gwyn knew of Elleandra’s tree of life beneath Kled, and she feared for what the dying tree might mean for her friend. Hespotherad became irrationally angry when he was out-maneuvered and even more upset when he thought the party deliberately tried to throw the game. In the end the party was able to best him and the close final score, as well as Lena intimidating presence, caused him to storm off instead of attacking the party.

Moving quickly, before he returned, the group studied the gem and felt sure that in order to master it, someone would need exceptional strength. Way-Lynn was the obvious choice and grasped the gem in his large had. Although Way-lynn was by far the strongest, there was a backlash of energy and Way-lynn was thrown back and crashed to the floor. The others rushed to his side and watched as his body contorted and began to shrink. Within moments, the once gargantuan half-giant had shrunk to the size of a halfling. After a few minutes, Way-lynn came back to consciousness and although very confused, appeared okay.

Unsure if the condition was temporary or permanent, and having no ideas on how to correct it, Way-lynn soldiered on and attempted to obtain the violet gem again. This time Way-lynn was successful and he attuned to the gem. Once again the energy beam ceased.

A Prayer For He Who Was
Island Pyramid
Back outside, Banoc said a desperate prayer and was able to summon several strange winged-creatures that they used to travel to the island with the pyramid. The creatures waited at the edge of the land although Banoc knew they would only remain for short period of time. They group entered the pyramid and followed the orange light as it reflected off of polished mirrors to go around corners. Eventually they reached a large central chamber.

The chamber had a wide pool of red liquid in the center, above which floated the orange gem. The slanted white marble walls of the chamber are decorated with corpses of numerous humanoid species. Their blood once flowed in small rivers down the walls and into the pool. In the shadows behind it, a half-dozen alcoves can be seen on the back wall of the chamber.

While the rest of the party was discussing the ominous nature of the room and trying to determine the best way to obtain the gem, Lena moved into action. Before anyone could stop her, she struck the nearest mirror with the haft of her spear and shattered it. The resulting breaks sent numerous small orange beams firing off in random directions. Way-lynn and Gwyn were hit hard and fell unconscious, nearly drained of all their vitality. Banoc and Lena were hit by a lesser strength beam and were only severely weakened.

In the chaos following the destruction of the mirror, five women emerged from the shadows. They moved unnaturally fast and had very pale skin an long fangs. Their murderous intent was obvious. Daqiq shot the lead creature with an arrow and although the aim was true, the arrow only wounded the creature. Banoc rushed to the aid of Gwyn and Way-lynn attempting to bring them back to life. The wounded creature compelled Lena to start to position herself against the wall next to the corpses and she was powerless to resist.

Gwyn and Way-lynn were able to stand and the group began a fighting retreat. They were able to lure the lesser creatures out and barely defeated the leader before her ritual was completed on Lena. Once she came to her senses, Lena was able to attune to the orange gem and took possession of it, although she was badly injured during the attempt.

A Slime Party
Heading back to the center portion of the island, the group followed the yellow beam to the mouth of a cave. As they descended into the cave, the walls became damp and dripped with a viscous slime. The rough cavern had several pools of slime and the yellow gem was floating in the air above one of the large pools. A woman was seated next to the slime pool and rose to her feet when the party entered.

The woman appeared to be a human female with long blonde hair and a shimmering, flowing blue gown made of many layers of thin cloth. She spoke in an excited tone…

“I’m so glad that you are here, there was nothing to do for the longest time. Nothing fun at all since Ania was taken away. But now that you are here you can play with Elsia!” She is clearly referring to herself in the third person. She continues, “What are we going to do?” They party made several suggestions, all of which she rejected. At last she spoke excitedly again – “Oh, of course. We can have a slime party. This will be so much fun!” As she spoke, the slime on the walls and from the pools began to move. “Woah, there is so much slime!”

The group found themselves surrounded by animated puddles and cubes of slimes that moved threateningly towards them. Elsia start to hum a tune and twirled around, a spray of slime issuing from her and striking the party members. The woman and the slimes were much harder to defeat than they looked, being resistant to most of the weapons and spells the party had prepared. Elsia was eventually struck down by Daqiq’s arrows and the slimes were burned awayed.

Banoc was able to retrieve the yellow gem of insight and the exhausted party retreated to the rusted tower to tend to their wound and get some much needed rest.

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