Session 23

  • Silt skimmer breaks down, slows to a stop, kalid-to point their swords at orsk, tell him to stand down, eben charges and orsk joins in. Within moments the kalid-to are bloody remains in the dust
  • solzak scavenges the bodies of the templar and soldiers, finds real gold. talks to xaltan-re who says he is the leader of a small group of rebels who are all trained or trainee psions, takes group to his ‘school’, which is a set of underground caverns under a modest house on the north side of the village
  • Further knowledge is gained in that there are three major powers in shadow kalidnay, the first is thakok-an, self imposed queen of kalidnay and although not officially ‘crowned’ she is the only person with access to all the sorcerer kings spells and manuscripts. Second are the templars, just like any other city state they are as conniving and power hungry as ever and a tenuous truce exists between them and thakok-an. Thirdly and lesser known is Laylon-ka, an ex-veiled alliance, ex-dune trader now undead lich, she controls many parts of Kalidnay’s ‘empty’ districts, and worse through his powers of scrying Xaltan-re has discovered that Laylon-ka has another one of Kalid-ma’s orbs and is able to use it to look for others
  • Yakala performs a ritual to try to disguise the magical ‘scent’ of the orb and at least throw Laylon-ka off the trail for a while. The ritual doesn’t go entirely to plan but he says it will be enough to give them a few hours
  • tybia is still out, exhausted from her ordeal so no information can be gined from her
  • a plan is developed to assault laylon-ka’s fortress by stealth whilst the pupils from the school form a distraction
  • eben assesses the young psions as very unfit for battle, the majority of them are just young teenagers
  • xaltan-re asks them not to misjudge them for they are all potent psions although he agrees they are not fully ready for a full scale war against a lich
  • His star pupil, a young very dark skinned human called ‘Gambala’ steps forward and offers his services to the group. His telekinetic powers could serve them well in gaining access to hard to reach areas of Kalidnay
  • Suddenly they are interrupted as a villager comes bursting into the cavern, raving and ranting about ‘hundreds’ of undead approaching the town. At that point however the poor villager falls over and dies in front of their very eyes
  • wasting no time, naraaku heads out to scout ahead and see if this is true or it is indeed a rouse
  • minutes later he returns with a grave look upon his face, it is true, he replies, but he thinks the number was exaggerated and it is more like 50. He sees no leader amongst them however
  • Eben, Orsk, Ali and Kagero set about organising a defence of the village, there is no time to do anything else
  • xaltan-re raises enough of an alarm to assemble a basic rag-tag of what could be called ‘soldiers’ but who were little more than peasant farmers, ones who were not quick enough to bolt their doors when they called
  • two lines of defence are set up and a plan to use oil to set part of the field on fire to delay their approach and provide cover and light for the archers and crossbowmen
  • Crackles of lightning ripple across the sky as the lines are formed at the south end of the village. Nervous villagers peek over the barrier and whimper in fear as they know what is coming towards them in the gloom
  • Ali marches up the ranks, encouraging the nervous villagers and inspiring them to not falter
  • Together a strategy is formed that orsk will ride out on rex to lay a line of oil in the fields and when close enough solzak will shoot a flaming arrow into the grasses, lighting up their foe in the gloom and hindering their progress
  • A call out from naraaku signalled their coming, shuffling, moaning and grasping for fresh flesh the zombie horde approached the tiny village
  • They waited and waited nervously as the zombies shambled forwards in the gloom through the field and ever closer
  • The villagers were tense, saying silent oaths to the primal spirits for strength
  • Lightning struck the ground immediately behind the zombie horde, lighting them up for a brief moment to show the true horror of their ranks. Amongst the dead were especially rotted corpses with the filth of the grave held in their hands, parts of rotting flesh melting from their bodies and blistering with pus. Ahead of the group was the largest and most bloated corpse any of them had ever seen, carrying a huge bone club and with a slack-jawed expression on his brutally disfigured face
  • Then the shot rang out from Solzak and almost immediately the fields lit up with red hot fire, casting a fiendish light on the approaching horde and giving a shimmer to their odutline from the billowing heat
  • Still they waited and still the zombies shambled ever closer. Ali and Kagero paced the lines, each experienced veterans they steadied the eager and encouraged the frightened, biding time until it was right to strike
  • All at once the defence began, as a shower of crossbow bolts rained through the night sky just as the horde reached the line of fire. Some of the creatures adjusted their line of movement whilst others walked straight through, unconcerned that their bodies and flesh visibly burnt and melted away
  • The first volley did little to sway the attackers, the villagers were lacking in experience but they fought with spirit
  • More volleys of bolts clattered into the attackers and although many stuck it still did little to deter them
  • The horde were breathing down on the defenders secured behind the wall, when a flash of lightning struck the ground, much closer than before. There, silhouetted by the brief flash of light, was a cloaked figure, a long gnarled staff in his hand topped by a wooden lantern in which a strange purplish-greenish light floated. An insane cackle emanated from under his hood and then black smoke appeared at his feet, swirling around his body as he weaved with his hands
  • Solzak stood upon the roof of one of the buildings when suddenly tendrils of dark magic crept up from the roof, appearing from nowhere, rooting him to the spot and draining his strength. A vortex of necrotic energy blew up around him, sending a couple of the villagers flying off the roof to their deaths and Solzak cried out in pain and anguish
  • Back on the front line the corrupted zombies had lumbered close enough to be able to throw their filth at the defenders. Many villagers lost their lives as the deadly cursed earth splashed on their exposed flesh burning them to the bone, screams of terror and pain sent panic through the ranks before the warriors shouted and steadied their nerve. The zombies came on relentlessly and despite numerous volleys of bolts and now close quarters fighting their numbers had not noticeably dropped
  • Naraaku and Ali held the western front for a while but this side was getting hit hard from zombies tearing through the barricade in places and the cursed filth that was being thrown
  • Then the huge hulking brute of a zombie threw his weight into the centre of the field, lunging forward to crush all resistance in front of him. Eben and Orsk, waiting for their chance, acted quickly to strike the brute and push him back so that he was out of reach to attack. Eben leapt in with his axe, carving a huge gash in his chest and then Orsk, bringing a huge swing with his hammer to bear sending the creature staggering back, dazed momentarily by the sheer force of the blows.
  • The hulking creature kept on however, relentlessly returning to try to catch Orsk and Eben with their guard down and still he was pushed back again and again, until finally a blow to his skull sent him crashing to one knee and then with an almighty groan he fell flat into the dusty cracked earth with a dull thud
  • The necromancer, seeing his prize specimen fall, cackled to himself and uttering words of unspeakable evil began weaving his arms once more, black smoke and arcane tendrils reaching out and as the flew across the battlefield they picked up speed until like lightning bolts they struck the downed creature. Infused with dark magic the creature twitched, black gore seeping from its wounds, and then at once it stood and came back to the fight!
  • Solzak was still trapped by the necromancer’s powerful vortex, the group could see that he was weakening, unable to escape as rapidly his life force was sapping away
  • Gambala, seeing the plight of Solzak rushed out from behind the cover where he had been commanded to stay, and closing his eyes began to concentrate. As he did so a halo of white light appeared around his head, and then that same light seemed to glow around solzak, permeating the blackness of the vortex and pushing it back. Pulling harder with his mind Gambala fought the vortex to set Solzak free, and then, as if an invisible cord had been snapped, he was free, floating above the fighting below until coming to a safe landing on the ground where he collapsed briefly to try to regain his strength…

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Session 23

Dark Sun: The Tyrant of Tyr epileptickitty epileptickitty