Session 30

  • The elves and group gathered together after the fight, whilst the other elves set about looting and collecting all of the stel equipment and wealth in the compound
  • Suddenly an elf came running out of the main tower carrying an egg,
  • Almost as soon as the elf reached them the egg hatched and out crawled a baby ankheg! quicker than anyone else could react misteek drew his sword and sliced the creature in half
  • The elf was ranting, there were hundreds more of them!
  • with raised eyebrows the group looked at each other and so with misteek and a small group of elves they decided to investigate
  • The tower was imposing and ancient, made of a kind of stone not seen or used anymore. Small narrow window slits could be seen in various positions going up and it was joined to the battlements by two narrow bridges on the north and south sides. The top of the tower was stepped so as if guards were positioned there they would have had good protection from ranged attacks. All in all it seemed very defensible.
  • The group entered into a large round hall whose high ceiling and floorspace was crammed full with wooden boxes. Inside each box were dozens of eggs, all identical to the one they saw earlier. Misteek ordered the elves to start smashing and destroying the eggs and boxes. Orsk requested one be saved, Misteek was less than pleased and warned him that this was on his head for the last thing he wanted was an infestation of Ankhegs as they slept!
  • At the back of the hall there were some desks upon which several maps of the Tyr region were left. On the maps were marked the vordon controlled Iron mines, something they all knew Stel had coveted for many years
  • A spiral staircase stood at the back of the hall which lead both up and down. The group decided to head up and Eben and Orsk, weapons in hand led the way
  • The top of the staircase ended in a door, locked. Orsk kicked it open bracing for attack, but instead was greeted by rays of bright daylight. The roof of the tower was no longer there and the floor had been left open to the elements. Small piles of dust and sand gathered everywhere.
  • From the blistering sun their eyes were then drawn to the floor for there lay a stone circle of ancient runes, faded, but still visible none could identify them clearly aside from that they referred to primal ritual magic, there were small bloodstains and pieces of broken shell which seemed to indicate the eggs were a component aspect of these same rituals
  • Seeing nothing more of interest in the room and fearing stepping on the circle the group decide to leave the room and head back down to the lower level of the tower
  • arriving and passing the ground floor they saw the elves gleefully smashing boxes of eggs and others were carried outside (presumably to be used as food), they continued onwards
  • the stairs ended at a lavish master bedroom and study, filled with expensive fabrics and objects of art including a portrait of a warrior general tall and proud, with squarely cropped beard, curled locks and polished bone armour and dressed in a tunic of war. An expensive looking rug covered much of the floor space and a chest stood overturned by the bed, coins spilled over the floor. Two annexes at the back of the room were concealed by curtains, which Orsk and Eben carefully made their way towards. In one swift movement the curtains were revealed and inside each small room was a table and upon which was the carcass of an ankheg, both of differing stages of development. The first was barely a few months old and the second looked like more than a year. Quite what they were doing here was anyones guess
  • Kagero, picking the pieces of ceramic from the floor, found 5 finely crafted elven longbows hidden under the chest, each had their string broken much like the one Naraaku found in house Ianto in Tyr
  • Rolling the rug up to cover the bows (lest the elves become suspicious) Kagero was then surprised to find a trapdoor beneath. The others gather round and, weapons drawn they open the trapdoor. Another set of stairs
  • Carefully they descend the stairs, Orsk lights a torch and shines it out in front of him to pierce the gloom. Nothing but an empty room greets the shimmering flame. The floor and room are made of solid stone, the same as the rest of the tower and just as ancient.
  • As they near the centre of the room the group are able to see two doors either side of them which have been reinforced and then a huge set of double doors in front that have been doubly reinforced
  • They then hear scratching sounds coming from behind the large doors, so they instead decide to go for one at the side.
  • Solzak nimbly glides over and silently picks the lock. Within seconds a reassuring click signals it is open
  • Orsk and Eben taking the lead once more open the door to reveal a long corridor with other doors either side. These doors look like cells and have sliding windows on them
  • Orsk moves up to one as the others follow, waiting signs of possible ambush
  • Inside the cell the light shines off two hideously sunburnt humans! Each wearing a similar purple crystal, very much like the ones they had seen in Tyr and worn by the silt cult ssurrans
  • the humans stared vacantly towards them and acknowledged their presence only with a faint moaning and shuffling of feet towards the door
  • Their experience with the crystals remembered the group attempted to remove them from the afflicted slaves. First Gambala stepped forward but the slave held onto his crystal tightly, but then with yakala and farjad’s help they were finally able to prize it away.
  • Almost immediately the slave fell to the floor, silent but still breathing. Then however almost sensing his companion was free from danger the other slave in the room still dominated by the crystal shuffled forward, knelt down and brought one hand up, ready to strike
  • yakala, farjad and gambala rapidly attempt to remove the second slave’s crystal just as he lets out a cry of pain as a result of the other slave digging his claw-like nails into his flesh, luckily they were just in time and the second slave collapsed, free of the hold over him
  • Orsk opened the door and rushed in to save the poor wounded slave. He was just in time and caught the worst of the bleeding.
  • After a few minutes the slave began to come round, his pupils returning from the white that had glazed over them. Initially the slave, upon seeing Orsk and the blood was shocked and feared the worst, but as he was reassured he told his name, they were part of a house Ianto caravan that was heading out of Tyr to a new compound when the caravan was ambushed. Their attackers came out of nowhere, as if completely invisible and struck down most of the guards before they even knew what was happening. Next thing he knew he was in a huge cave, trapped, other members of the caravan were there but before he could call out for help from the ceiling a huge purple crystal floated down and hovered before them. He remembers an intense pain to his mind and then everything went black. When he next opened his eyes he was here soaked in his own blood. The other slave merchant awoke and called out for his friend. He too had been part of the Ianto caravan and had gone through the same experience.
  • The group agreed that this attack had all the hallmarks of an attack by shadow elves, as they before had been seen working with the silt cult and or stel but nothing was certain
  • Quickly the other merchant slaves were rescued from the other cells and it was found that the corridor continued to meet with another door which sided onto the rear of the main room with the double doors. Returning to the entrance, the corridor opposite was laid out exactly the same, comprising of yet more merchant slaves, no leaders or superiors seemed to be found though.
  • As more slaves were moved back into the entrance hallway, what was initially a soft scratching at the huge double doors in front of them had become a thumping sound, as if a large object or creature was butting its head against it
  • With so many bodies in one room and all of the group fatigued from running all night and fighting, they decided it best to rest for a while and decide how best to tackle whatever was behind the doorway, for as long as the door held it would have seemed they were safe
  • Heading up to the surface the elves had finished destroying most of the eggs and others were being carefully stored in tents (presumably to be used as dinner!). They headed back to the caravan to give the merchant slaves somewhere to stay and to have a rest, but then as they entered the caravan realised to their horror that the slaves they had liberated earlier from house vordon had been slain, by elf hand of course! cursing the elves once more but realising they were not in any position to complain they settled to rest but with knives by their sides and a careful watch lest the elves tried something else
  • later that day the group gathered in the tower, the elves were making preparations to leave that evening as the threat of an impending stel caravan with reinforcements was inevitable any day, according to known caravan schedules that could be as little as 2 days, 1 of which they had spent, so time was certainly of the essence
  • Narissa and tybia stayed with the slaves to watch over them and ensure the elves did not kill any others although they seemed far less concerned with these new captives
  • carefully working their way down into the dungeon beneath the tower the group were instantly alerted to the sound of scratching once more. Eben and Orsk, weapons in hand strode forth to the doors bravely and on a count pushed them with great strength to reveal the room beyond
  • A large hallway, width-wise lay before them, at its centre stood two great statues of warriors fully clad in an armour that looked strangely unlike any they had seen before. Although made of stone the carving was exquisite and very lifelike. They carried shields emblazoned with a strange bronze symbol which looked like a silhouette of a sun. At the back of the room flanking a spiral staircase heading down were two braziers, made of solid bronze!
  • Before the treasure hunters could claim their plunder they would need to negotiate the hulking forms of 2 ankhegs! Creatures that they had previously fought in the warehouse of Vordon, then controlled by the silt cult. The frayed giants hair ropes around their neck sizzled from the acid that burned through them, and then they attacked
  • behind the two large ankhegs at the corners of the room stood two other ankhegs, equally as frenzied and a fifth, who seemed to be injured or sick or both
  • The two front ankhegs sprayed acid on the heroes, causing Eben and Orsk to have to dive desperately out of the way, each receiving minor burns from the accuracy of the spray
  • The ankhegs fought tough, but they were not overly intelligent and Solzak weaved the shadow forces he commanded to create a shimmering illusion of a warrior to fight alongside the group. For a while this stopped the creatures in the corridor from creeping up on them from the side, distracting their senses and making them try to attack it instead of them. Krugga too made a brave stand, howling and grimacing at them as naraaku fired volley after volley into their armoured bodies
  • from the opposite corridor, scuttling slowly and deliberately came the final ankheg, wounded but no less deadly as it charged forward and sprayed yakala, farjad and gambala with its acidic bile, each writhing and calling out in excruciating pain as they desperately tried to clean the liquid off before it caused permanent damage.
  • naraaku retorted with a devastating shot that pierced its thick carapace and made it squeal, just as solzak took aim and shot the creature right between its feelers, causing it to reel back into the corridor for a moment and then slump dead. The hallways grew quiet once more
  • Not wanting to delay further the group pressed on, Eben was in the main hall, taking a brief rest under one of the statues and sipping on his shadowfell tembo ale. He seemed in a daze, and the group were unsure if this was due to the ale or exhaustion. They called for him to snap out of it and eventually he awoke, completely refreshed and with an unusual feeling of serenity and calmness. He’d experienced visions of lush green lands and free flowing water, an eerie dream so unlike anything on athas, but somehow it all felt so very familiar
  • Kagero was examining the statues and removed the bronze emblems on the shields, saying that she recognised the symbol from an ancient tome she once caught a glimpse of, she though it may be to do with ancient worship, perhaps a spirit of the sun (as this was the shape of the symbol) or an eclipse. These kinds of objects are priceless artifacts but yet to show one in a city was certain to invoke the wrath of the templars and sorcerer king as all “worship” of any kind is forbidden. Perhaps the elves would be interested in buying it
  • Solzak picked up the bronze braziers, scattering their contents on the ground, these were certainly worth a good deal of coin
  • Their eyes then turned to the staircase, and with Eben and Orsk leading the way they explored further downwards
  • The lower level was dimly lit by two more braziers, it was another hall but this time with a much lower ceiling, almost as if at one point it was a crypt. Since then its purpose has changed and judging from the altar and sacrificial pit at the end of the room this room was or still is used for rituals. Upon the altar was another statue, smaller but still depicting a great warrior in armour and carrying a shield.
  • As they ventured into the room they were alerted to a low whimper from the bottom of the pit, it sounded humanoid at least so they approached and cast torchlight down to reveal a scrawny raven haired elf! He looked up at them with pleading eyes begging to be saved, as he had been captured some weeks ago in nibernay and had been here ever since
  • Shackled to the floor with Giant hair ropes he was unable to get out so Orsk leapt down in order to break him free and pulled him back to safety
  • His name is Yrkoon, a shaman of the Sky singers tribe, he was one of the 16 tribesmen that were looking after the market in nibernay while the rest of the tribe were away. They were ambushed one night by a foe that seemed to attack from darkness and retreat just as quickly. The other elves were taken elsewhere and he has not seen or heard from them as he has been trapped here since, forced to work for the Stel commander.
  • Yrkoon has a talent which is to accelerate growth and age of creatures, particularly insects. It is this talent that has allowed the Sky singers to gain the edge in the pets and animals markets of nibernay, for they were able to produce more products in less than half the time it would take anyone else. Stel it would seem did not like the competition and had the singers ‘removed’ from the equation.
  • since being here the Stel commander has been forcing Yrkoon to use his abilities on these Ankhegs, he has so far been able to get away with only partial successes, putting it down to fatigue and trying to delay the inevitable hoping for a rescue or at least a chance to escape, but until now the group were the first he had seen
  • With that information the group returned to the surface to discuss their next move

Session 30

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