Session 37

  • River frost sat in the drunken giant inn in Tyr’s bard quarter after having been told a tale about a druid named Rolan from the ringing mountains and an ill fated ritual to summon the spirit of a primal god which resulted in catastrophe for his village. Frost indicated that he was in fact the son of Roland and, not sure of the validity of the young foreigners statement – the bard moved away.
  • Jo’Rosh, the drunken giant’s proprietor is a stern dwarf, completely hairless (as most athasian dwarves are) and with only one good eye – the other looks to be old and misted – eyes the newcomer suspiciously, as do the other inn patrons.
  • A curtain at the rear of the inn parts to reveal an emotionless face hidden by a hooded cloak of crimson and blood red velvet. His green eyes flash with electricity and as he stares at frost he places his palm into position covering his mouth, and motions for Frost to follow him.
  • Hesitating for a moment but then realising this might be the person he was looking for he rises and heads for the rear room. Jo’Rosh looks on with his one good eye and as he passes nods before returning to cleaning the ceramic broy mugs
  • Frost passes the threshold of the back room and immediately a powerful unnaturally strong grip takes him and throws him onto a seat. Several questions are fired at him by the man in red and he seems extremely agitated
  • As he calms down he explains he is named Athrialix and a member of the veil. He is waiting for some important information and his contact is late. Frost explains that he has come to Tyr to learn about an artefact called the leaf of the ancients. He has travelled far and wide for 5 years in search of the mysterious ranger who brought the object to his village but so far has found little clue
  • Athrialix is sympathetic so far as the visit of a druid was ‘unexpected’ but a welcome guest in Tyr who would be afforded the full protection of the Veil. He had not heard of this leaf but would make enquiries in Tyr on Frosts behalf. Before the sentence could continue Athrialix stopped and spoke that his contact had arrived
  • Standing in the doorway was a slim half-elf with long wavy brown hair tied behind his head. His eyes shifted quickly amongst the crowd if locals searching for something or someone and as their interested faded he strolled confidently towards Jo’Rosh. Your ‘friend’ is out back sir, the barman winked with his good eye, the two knew each other – for this was Jekall – a well known informant and ‘go-to’ individual from the ‘streets ears’ gang.
  • As Jekall slowly moved the curtain he was grabbed and pulled in. The impatient mage pulled back his cloak to reveal a long cane crackling with static charge. He accused Jekall of being late and asked him if he was followed. Jekall answered no to both, being slightly taken aback by the attitude of the mage but restraining himself (at least until he was paid)!
  • Jekall looked over at Frost, Athrialix introduced him as a guest of the veil and that he could be trusted then asked if his mission was a success. Jekall produced a rolled up scroll of papyrus, stained in places with dried blood and the mage snatched it from him rolling it out and placing it on the table. The mage then took a small bag of ceramic coins from under his cloak and tossed it to Jekall. Jekall weighed the bag with his hand, lighter than expected? Athrialix stared at him with cold emotionless features. Times are tight for the veil he said and continued to eye the paper which seemed to be a roughly scrawled diagram of the interior Kalak’s ziggurat. The lowest 2 levels were missing however. Athrialix looked up again. Damn that blasted girl, she’ll bring the whole templar guard onto us.
  • Frost and Jekall both looked at each other before hearing a commotion in the front of the inn. Athrialix was already at the curtain so Jekall and Frost followed
  • In through the door rushed a female half elf with long straight blond hair matted with blood and tears streaming down her face. Behind her a solemn looking Albino Dray dressed in heavy black carapace armour and carrying a huge Halberd. Between their legs darted a small rough looking boy who was also sobbing carrying a small wooden dagger by his side. Behind them was a badly beaten and weathered mul with a huge executioners axe slung from his back The child bawled about his friend ‘Orsk’, that he was ‘gone’
  • Enraged, athrialix hurriedly motioned for the group that entered to follow him to the back room. As the blonde female enters he thwacks her with his cane causing her to squeal and the dray growls in disapproval which only provokes a sneer from the mage. Just you try it, he snarls.
    Fools and imbeciles! Athrialix continues his tirade at the beaten and battered group. The mage berates them for being so careless and asks what did Orsk know? The group are united in despair and the knowledge that if Orsk talks they are all doomed and all their efforts so far put in jeopardy. Eben pipes up in their defence that at the moment the necromancers believe Orsk was a member of the free, so at this point they would have little reason to suspect anything. At this Athrialix seems to relax a little but shakes his head nonetheless
  • Thoughts turn to Abdiel, for he is implicated by means of his association with the group. If they can get to him before the necromancers possibly do then they would have a chance to bargain for Orsk’s release
  • The group begin discussing possible options before Athrialix picks up his cane and stands. They’re here, I knew they would follow! We must leave. Quickly Jekall gets up and moves the table where they are sat out of the way almost instinctively revealing a hidden trapdoor
  • The corridor beneath the Drunken Giant was pitch black but Drax took the lead as Athrialix instructs them to follow the corridor as fast as they can until they reach a double set of doors
  • An explosion of lightning flares behind them as they hurry down the corridor and they can clearly see part of the tunnel collapse as Athrialix attempts to throw off the pursuers
    Cilops! He shouts down the corridor urging them on, they track using their psionic senses. The group push onwards and eventually reach the doors. Without hesitation Drax charges the door. Splinters of old wood split from the door but it moves and a gust of stale air with the scent of mould fills their lungs. Jekall stops for a moment to collect some of the spores before being screamed at by Shalaya and Athrialix. The doors open to a vast area littered with pillars that could have at one point been a city street or vast temple. Small torches burn on the walls far to their left but darkness dominates their path
  • Athrialix calls out to Drax to keep to the left through the pillars and extinguish the torches when he reaches them
  • The group push on trying not to look back as torches and large luminous cilops eyes stare back at them
  • Jekall drops a few caltrops behind them as they race forward. The lights stop as one of their number is caught by the trap. The Cilopses too are stalled as they are forced to climb the pillars to evade the obstruction
  • The wall turns to the left once more and Drax urges the group onward
  • Shalaya screams out as she stumbles and falls over and Drax is forced to rush back to pick her up. It is nothing but a loose flagstone but it loses them time and the Cilopses are accelerating fast behind them
  • Ahead they can finally see a light but instead it is another cave lit only by the phosphorescence of the underground life. As they near the cave mouth they can see it open into a huge cavern at the far side of which a narrow staircase winds up to another small tunnel. Athrialix points to the staircase and shouts ‘there’ ‘we must reach the other side’. Immediately they begin jogging once more down the sloping edge of the cave down to the floor where they are confronted with a structure unlike any they had seen before.
  • An immense building of granite block, in front of which a great apron of stairs led up to several pairs of ornate doors, each set into a high arch covered by a gabled porch. Beautiful windows of coloured glass adorned the gables, each depicting a tall man with the head of an eagle, a huge pair of leathery wings, and the lower body of a coiled serpent. On the side wall four pairs of tall, dagger-shaped windows flanked a statue depicting the eagle-headed figure in flight. In the windows the figure was captured in flight, too, and from a bucket carried beneath its arm, it was sprinkling rain over a green forest.
  • The group slowed slightly as it approached the building which they realised must be the ancient place known as the crimson shrine! A place of legend that was said to have been the central place of worship for ancient Tyr, some 2000 years ago
  • From the windows Frost noticed movement, black shadowy shapes with red piercing eyes, wraiths! Solzak debated whether to pass the building and then smash the windows and let the creatures out to potentially harass their pursuers but fear of the unknown stayed his hand
  • From the mouth of the cavern they could see a couple of templars, a couple of Half-Giant guard and 4 angry looking muls, ahead of which were 5 Cilops who straight away continued their pursuit into the cavern. The templar sent a shadowy bolt of defiled energy that just fell short of the group, more of a test and warning than meant to cause real harm and demanded that the group stop and give themselves up
  • As the group carried on past the building they could see more clearly the dark figures that seemed to peer at them from behind the glass but nothing seemed to happen and they continued on their way
  • When the templar and his guard neared the building they could see two approach the building. From the angle where they were though they could not see the front door but once the guard approached the building seconds later a blast of red light shot from the door and there was a blood curdling scream. The templar they could see had but a look of sheer shock and amazement on his face. He called the other guards back while he and the other templar retreated whence they came as fast as they had arrived
  • The cilops were still in pursuit and gaining fast. Athrialix, out of breath and leaning heavily on his cane shouted to the others to climb the stairs as fast as they could. They reached the tunnel and as he dived in he slammed his cane into the ceiling causing a cave in at the end which sealed them all in
  • For now they were safe, Athrialix rested to regain his breath and then urged them forward. There was an exit up ahead and so cautiously they emerged into an old abandoned building. Straight away there were two other cloaked figures who had most likely been watching the entrance and guarding it who came forward before Athrialix gestured to them and all three disappeared into another room.
  • The group sat down, all exhausted apart from Jekall and Frost. The nights events only beginning to finally dawn on them. Jekall took a short breath and then disappeared for a short while saying that he needed to speak to his contacts. The rest spoke at length and formed the best plan they could to try to get Orsk out. Hopefully utilising Abdiel’s position and vulnerability they would bargain with him to be let into the golden tower or wherever Orsk was being held with a prisoner of their own and then try to spring him and attempt to escape via under tyr leaving the city and heading back to the Ianto fort. From there they would head to the druids in the ringing mountains to attempt to rid themselves of the obsidian orbs and ensure their own safety. Additionally they would organise for a supply of weapons and goods to be transported from Vordon to Ianto (including the fresh water) which they would rendezvous with upon leaving the city (if they escape of course!) and then fulfill the deal struck with Strabo.
  • They debated whether to rest overnight or not and risk Orsk not surviving but in the end they chose to rest so that they would all be fighting fit for the escape
  • It was late morning before Athrialix, still in a foul mood came into the ruined shelter where they camped and less than politely told them to move along. They did not appreciate this but nevertheless they had wasted much time already. The group split into 3 teams, Frost and Drax would go to Vordon to arrange the goods transport and then collect Solzaks duplicate maps of under tyr and the ringing mountains whilst Eben and Solzak would go to visit Abdiel and get him on their side. Jekall and Shalaya would…
  • Drax confidently strode through the warrens staring down the beggars and thieves that so eagerly took an interest in their passing. Frost was not so fortunate and was harassed by several of them eager for his ‘outsider’ coin. Drax was not in the mood to be messed with however and soon had them backing off
  • As they passed the Elven market they could see the days trade was in full swing and many Tyrians were out bargaining and haggling with the Elves (and most likely regretting it later). Drax and Frost cut through a side street to avoid the main thoroughfare, but then immediately came face to face with a gap toothed elf brandishing a jagged bone dagger.
  • The elf demanded they hand over their valuables to which drax, a crack of a smile breaking over his bone white leathery hide took an inward breath and then roared a deep bellyful shout.
  • The Elf looked shocked and for a moment did not know what to do, but as his brain finally processed what just happened his confidence wavered and he turned and fled
  • The two continued their journey and eventually made it to Iron Square, entering close to the House Stel emporium where they could see a large caravan full of slaves being offloaded. A score of nobles and their retainers gathered around the caravan, shouting at the quartermaster bids for slaves that had not even been disembarked! The Stel traders eagerly began taking orders and coins were flowing into their hands
  • Frost looked on and Drax could see the anger building inside him. Frost slowly approached the nobles when one of them turned round his nose held in disgust! He took one look at frost and then drax and whipped frost on the shoulder with his cane. Although his reactions were fast frost only barely managed to deflect the blow and roared angrily at the attack. The noble sneered, it was Vernassi – a well known spoilt brat and troublemaker from the minthur household. Drax knew that this was not the time for fighting especially so close to the stel compound and so as much as he felt vernassi would deserve it he restrained frost as he was about to lunge at the cocky noble’s throat. He then pushed frost back in the opposite direction so that they might continue their journey.
  • Finally reaching athas revealed they handed their note to the flamboyant proprietor Fabrizio and to which after a short conversation he gave them Solzak’s map of the sorrows and the map of the ringing mountains he requested copies of. With little else keeping them they headed to Grik’s weapons close to the main gate of Tyr.
  • In the streets the common folk looked skyward, for high above them they could see the moon of Ral pass before the dark sun, and for a moment they were bathed in an eerie twilight that put them ill at ease. A not uncommon sight but for the more superstitious a sign that something in the cosmos could be stirring…

Session 37

Dark Sun: The Tyrant of Tyr epileptickitty epileptickitty