Session 25

  • Group woke and a lone rider approached on an erdlu (small feathered version of crodlu), coming from the direction of the village it was Gambala
  • He had left the school, eager to prove himself and willing to help the group to escape Kalidnay. There was debate as to whether he should be allowed to stay, but eventually he was allowed to join
  • Even though the sun had risen (or time had said it had risen) the heat was the same as on athas but the light was not, it became an eerie twilight at best, and dark clouds obscured most of the sky
  • Mounting up and boarding the silt skimmer they headed south towards the silhouette of Kalidnay, just about a days ride from their current position
  • About an hour into the journey, naraaku, who was scouting ahead, held up a signal for the group to halt. A little way off their position was a small camp comprised of several tents, weather beaten and covered in sand. They had obviously been there for many months or even years
  • Eben then noticed a small shrine that had been built up outside the camp, of dwarven origin but at this distance it was difficult for him to tell exactly what it was for, it was reminiscent of a burial shrine. Otherwise the camp looked empty
  • There was deliberation as to whether it was worth investigating. In the end it was decided that they would carry on and ignore it for fear that it would have been an easy ambush site
  • The rest of the journey south to Kalidnay went smoothly, almost too smoothly in a way, almost as if on this festival day the entire island was asleep
  • Nearing Kalidnay the first thing that came into view was the ziggurat, a chilling reminder of what lay back in Tyr, yet this was structure was complete aside from a huge crack in its centre. An ill omen perhaps or just a coincidence?
  • They reached the city limits just as the sun was beginning to set behind the shadow Kalidnay. Deciding rather than travelling in the city at night they would try in morning posing as the templar from thakok-an and his guards. With Naraaku to help they set up camp as best as they could about a kilometer from the city
  • The entire group were exhausted, luckily eben, the extremely tough mul that he is required no sleep at this point having rested reasonably fully the night before. He therefore took up watch for the whole night so that the group would be able to rest fully for the trials that lay ahead in Kalidnay.
  • During the night about 3 hours into his watch eben spotted the city gates slowly lurch open and then a chariot rode forth! Several more followed as they headed to the north-east?! This was no ordinary chariot either, as it shimmered in the pale moonlight with a blue-green iridescence that could only mean it was some kind of ghostly apparition. Even from this distance it was possible to recognise that the figure driving the chariot was once a mighty templar, dressed in ornate robes that were embellished within pieces of spiked bone for protection and carrying a long bone spear. Upon his head rested a characteristically large headdress ornately decorated and finished in excellent detail. Eben had but one thought as they rode off and that it maybe had something to do with the dwarves?
  • The city doors closed and then all was quiet for a few hours. The group had no camp fire so as not to draw attention to themselves, but the night was bitterly cold, Eben clung to what little clothing he had and drew from his flagon of broy, allowing the rich nectar to stave of the attack of the elements
  • A few hours pass uneventfully but then a chilling sound pierces the gloom, a gut-churning howl that rattles Eben to the bone. Instinctively he grabbed his axe, gathers his clothing around him and moved to a better position. Waiting patiently, eyes straining in the gloom and muscles tense with adrenaline. Another howl and Eben knew they were getting close, ahead of him on crest of the next sand dune there came 3 shapes, shimmering blue-green visages of terror! Three hounds, slavering and loping along towards him and the camp. Keeping low Eben quickly picked up and covered himself with sand, hoping to disguise his scent from the hunters.
  • The hounds stopped, sniffing the air and clawing the ground, greenish-glowing saliva around their jaws and their eyes burning like arcane torches. They set off again, coming closer still but then stopped once more, sniffing and clawing again, waiting for a sign of life. Luck was with the group it seemed, as almost immediately as they had arrived the hounds bounded off fueled with infernal enthusiasm for the unlucky souls of the damned
  • Morning came not quick enough for Eben, who’s replies to Orsk about his watch were anything but joyous. Eben was still puzzled by the chariot though and came to wonder if they should have investigated the Dwarven shrine after all
  • Setting off early they made their way on the Silt wagon towards the main gates, they figured with solzaks ability to disguise himself and noble mannerisms they would have a good chance of him being able to pose as a templar and get away with it. The others would pose as the remaining ‘guards’ and their prisoners
  • At the gate they were asked why they had taken so long in Artan-Ak and that it had been nearly 2 days since they left. Solzak replied that they had run into resistance at the village and had lost many men. They did have prisoners however to bring for hte arena activities today. The guards conversed briefly but within moments the gate was opened and the skiff proceeded inside.
  • The imposing sight of the Ziggurat then swung fully into view but also the interior of the city, grey, dilapidated and generally falling apart. Two guards sat near to the gate at a small blackened wooden table, playing cards and drinking Broy. Already one of them was quite drunk. Orsk set about them like a superior giving them a dressing down. Their replies were sarcastic at best until Solzak waded in once more, berating them for their drunkenness and shocking the life out of them, so much so that it sent them running off to the garrison leaving the group to pick up the left over broy!
  • Not wasting time they decided that their first port of call should be Laylon-ka and the house vordon compound with the intention of getting in and out as quickly as possible. Kagero had other ideas it seemed though as she wandered into the slimy imp, a tavern just a few yards from the main city gates. It was a long dark stone cut building, with large windows opening up the otherwise dark interior to the only ever so slightly less gloomy outside
  • The inn was a long rectangular structure of rough cut sandstone, inside it was dark and rather drab. There were another couple of soldiers in various states of sleep and or drunkenness and the group were barely even noticed save for the land lady, a half-elven shadowfolk. She introduced herself as Eva Breakstone. Kagero questioned her about Kalidnay, even daring to drink the wine, which was foul by any standards. Little was discovered however and it soon became apparent that she was just keeping Kagero talking. Eben noticed that the guards that were inside the inn had now left.
  • Sensing danger he ran outside to see the now fully awake guards talking to the gate guards and pointing in their direction, quickly he motioned everyone to get out and they hopped aboard the skimmer to head off further into the city
  • just a few minutes out of the sight of the guards the skimmer slowed as naraaku picked up nearby sounds of battle.
  • It was decided that naraaku and solzak will scout ahead and report back to determine if it was worth investigating
  • Solzak leapt off the skimmer and straight away nearly disappeared from sight such as the strange half light of the city cast so many shadows. Naraaku did the same and they ventured into the gloomy streets to see what was going on
  • Low and behold they found a small ruined square, perhaps that used to have been part of a large building’s courtyard but now was just rubble and a couple of broken down walls. This was not the main source of attention however as they saw four Athasians (non shadow-folk) fighting against a templar and his guards
  • the templar was commanding them to surrender but their leader a mul defiantly thrust his black scimitar into the nearest guard and pronounced there was no chance they were going anywhere.
  • They were surrounded however and although the mul seemed to be okay there was a cloaked human female, a crazed looking halfling and an elf, naraaku identified it as a clearwater tribe as he spat into the ground ‘perhaps they are better off on their own’ was his thoughts as they quickly returned back to the others
  • This wasn’t a sentiment shared by the rest of the group and it was decided to help them out even if it were just to find out what they know
  • Dismounting from the skimmer the group moved quickly towards the square, just in time as the halfing took a nasty cut to the arm. He winced in pain and clambered up the ruined walls to stand on top of the roof, flinging insults at the guards
  • The mul leader swung his scimitar left and right cutting a swathe through the soldiers but they were determined and had forced them tighter together
  • Orsk and Eben let forth a howl and charged into combat taking both sides by surprise
    seeing that they were vastly outnumbered the templar screamed for retreat and ran south towards the arena
  • naraaku rushed forward loosing off arrows to slow him down. Meanwhile eben, seeing the templar try to escape and fearing reinforcements changes targets so that he too chases the temlplar
  • after a brief chase the templar is caught and an axe stuck in his back, striking him down an leaving him face down in the black and grey ashen sands of kalidnay
  • returning to the group orsk and solzak are busy talking to this new group of strangers, however the strangers seem to be asking more questions than answering
  • They Introduce themselves as Porgo of Balic (the mul), Gheena Falorn, Zijan Fireshaper and madrick the halfling.
  • A shaky truce is formed as the party find out what the group are planning to do and where they are headed and they continue onwards together
  • A short way onwards in another narrow alleyway eben and orsk spot up ahead a small group of street children
  • almost immediately the children rush up to them, begging for food and money
  • before they can react more children come out from the alleyways, running around them and through their legs
  • instinctively solzak and naraaku looked to protect their valuables, and just in time too as they find light fingers and pocket knives slashing at their purses. Orsk whips his backpack (containing the orb) into the air too, just as a small child tries to slit the base of it open.
  • Orsk and kagero try to shout the children down, which seems to work for a moment but then Porgo takes out his scimitar and runs a small child through, much to the cackling delight of his female companion Gheena
  • The group are shocked and so are the children who start crying
  • orsk demands that they return the money they stole at which point several coins drop on the floor and the children flee
  • gathering up the coins and giving stern looks to the cold hearted mul, the group continue their journey.
  • Continuing through the winding streets and more ruined buildings the group pass another small square. Both naraaku and solzak turn to one another in silent appreciation of how much this reminds them both of shadow square. Too much so in fact as out of the shadows waddles a bulky dwarf, solid as stone and almost the same colour and carrying heavy robes and pouches. He is followed by 4 guards carrying large heavy bone and obsidian spiked chains. Each one smugly smirking at the group.
  • Looks like you walked into the wrong part of the city?’ proclaims the dwarf.
  • The Dwarf introduces himself as Erathis Stonefang and that they are to pay him all the gold the party own as a tax to pass through the area
  • naturally the group refuse and so clapping his hands from the shadows and cracks of the square a large group of thugs wander out, brandishing clubs and knives and improvised weaponry.
  • By chance or fate however the villains positioning is awry and what would otherwise be an ambush situation is turned to the favour of the group, giving them defensible cover and superior positioning
  • Erathis and his retainers hang back, waiting to see the prowess of the defenders, the retainers circling their leader and swinging their chains around them menacingly
  • Rather than charge the leader Orsk and rex charge a group of thugs, rex’s claws raking one of them and another coming face to face with a hammer, sending him limp to the ground
  • eben too does the same, confronting the thugs straight on while naraaku sends some missiles into the leader group
  • Gambala, concentrating on the lead group warps the space around Erathis, pulling and pushing the air to create a mini warp. Erathis is caught inside as well as some of his lieutenants, the warp then implodes just before regurgitating Erathis and his men, separating them from their defensive formation and leaving Erathis exopsed
  • Solzak, seeing the opportune moment fires a bolt from his crossbow. His aim is immaculate. The arrow pierces Erathis’s skull right between his eyes. For a moment a look of dumbfounded surprise wipes across his face, before he drops to his knees. A small trickle of blood escapes from his mouth and as his eyes roll back into their sockets he collapses, face down with a crunch on the cold grey sand…

Session 25

Dark Sun: The Tyrant of Tyr epileptickitty epileptickitty