Dark Sun Blood and Silt

Ul-Athra Campaign Beginnings

After self exile from his dagada and the city-state of Gulg the newly vested Thri-Kreen shaman (Nathan) and his apparent half-giant fighter/gladiator follower (Josiah) meet up with members of a druidic circle in the Crescent Forest. There the thri-kreen make a new pack and begins fighting a rebellious war against the primal oppressor Lalali-Puy of Gulg and the forest raper, Nibenay of Nibenay and their dark templars.

On a foray near Nibenay to meet up with a dealer of magical components that are hard to get in the forest the “druids” and their contact, a shady half-elven high-born psion (Ziggy), are arrested after a savege battle with Nibenay’s Consort templars and their lackeys. After the battle the templars murdered several members of the druids, seemingly to try and teach the half-elf a lesson. It turns out that the half elf is the son of one of the Nibenese Consorts and his mother was arresting him for his illegal dealings. The druids were taken as slaves of the templar to keep her son in line should he decide to keep to his illegal ways. Back at home, Mongkut, the Consorts head of house commands his thri-kreen slave protector(Chris) to watch over the half-elf and keep him in line.

We start these adventures in Nibenay, City of Spires, as all the characters seem bound to a templar/Consort of the Shadowking, either with physical or psychological chains. Seeds of rebellion stir in all of you for one reason or another, with you die a slave or become freemen?

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Quest for the Crown of Dust

Aspara: Mul Ardent Templar of Nibenay, unaligned very self interested and very authoritative. Looking to depose Kovit’s mother (Isra). Trying to find this psionic artifact that everyone seems to want.

Kovit: Half-Elf Noble Adept Psion, son of a Templar and House Shom scion, heavy into the merchant side of things, want to go to Tyr. Running from his mother’s (Templar Isra Anand of Nibenay) wrath.

Elkaas: Dray (Dragonborn) Battlemind, recent addition to the group. Wants to find the “Crown of DUst”, purely for the power of it. Is after his cousin Drex, who is also searching for the crown, because he doesnt think Drex deserves it.

Klickitat: Thri-Kreen Slave Ranger, a slave of Kovit, although he understands now that he’s not a slave, but chooses to follow the group looking for a pack. Currently Aspara seems like the pack leader. Has had visions ofThe Great One and seeks to find the Crown of Dust to make sure the Dust KRaken does not return.

The characters were thrown together in Nibenay. Kovit was under house arrest from his mother for dealing spell components to some druids in the Crescent Forest. Klickitat was a slave to the House of Anand and ordered to watch Kovit and not let him leave. Aspara was made to run Isra’s household for failing to find an item that was attempting to be smuggled out of the city by a minor noble and his bodyguard Drex. In that encounter (a prelude before the group game started, Drex a Dray bodyguard fled the city leaving his master to die at hands of the templars).

In the House of Anand those who were imprisoned were eager to escape and along with two Gulgan slaves (Fahamu a Gulgan disillusioned with his Oba, and his protector Half-Giant Juba, former PCs) fled after a fight during a party thrown by Isra. Fleeing the compound they fought guards at the Serpent Tower in NIbenay then fled into the seedy Hill District. Elves of which Kovit was familiar agreed to show them a way out if they would take care of whatever had taken over the old mansion that held the way out of the city.

Entering the mansion grounds they found bodies everywhere. Heading downstairs toward where tunnels would be they eventually encountered a huge beast that appeared to be a humanoid sewn together from parts of different races. After defeating the monstrosity they found a golden coin with the markings of the ancient ruined city of Giustenal on it. Leaving the city by way of a long tunnel the group emerged in the farmlands near the Plane of Smoking Water outside the city. Taking care not to be seen by Templar partrols the group made their way east to a waypoint used by the Shom Merchant Dynasty caravans, which Kovit had previously agreed to meet his father’s (Suda Shom) people there gain their help.

Travelling to the east away from the main road the group came upon some human female refugees, who were fleeing from tarek raiders who had destroyed their village. The group was low on supplies and the Templar gave them a couple of coins to buy food/water once they got to the city. The part fought some crystal spiders who were making a crystal web ambush site. After defeating the spiders they made their way to the Stone Cabin which was being swarmed by a flock of Kes’Trek’els. Getting closer Kovit realized that the Kes’Trek’els, vulture like birds that feed on fear, were swarming a servant of his fathers who looked to be nearly dead. The group attempted to save him, but the swarms were too much and the man died after giving cryptic last words to Klickitat. Upon closer examination of the Stone Cabin, it appeared to be made of wooden logs, but getting closer they stone, perhaps once trees from an ancient time. In addition there were rusted iron tools here and there. The group stayed in the cabin and had visions/dreams. Kovit of his fathers servant, dead, but still serving House Shom’s interest, told Kovit to venture to the SE to find his father. Klickitat had a vision of a great winged kreen fighting a many headed dust worm. And Aspara had word from her Husband-King Nibenay in a cryptic dream commanding her to go to the east to find this crown.

The next morning the group traveled east and found a great sandstorm and a large group of tareks with a bunch of captives, of which Kovit’s father Suda was one, which they were throwing in to this great dust devil. The party spoke to the raiders and agreed that they would enter the dust storm with two of the human raiders to seek what they were looking for, the “Face in the Stone” in exchange for the captives’ release.

Fahamu and Juba decided they would stay with the captives while the rest of the party and the the two humans went into the dust devil. Apparently the group got separated in the strange wind storm and all but one got pushed back out. Before the tarek saw them the party killed the remaining human. Then went on to ambush the tareks, who eventually gave up and retreated, leaving the humans.

After talking with the captives it seemed like the tarek’s worked for a defiler named Yarnath, who was seeking this Crown of Dust and “Face in the Storm” and were following ancient tales/songs that said the Face in the Storm was beyond this great Dust Devil. In searching for this the tarek raiders had been razing villages and House Shom caravans. Suda asked Kovit and his friends to investigate while he got the captives back to safety.

Amongst the survivors was a Dray by the name of Elkaas. He was Drex’s cousin and had followed his cousin after coming to the clan stronghold just south of where they currently were. Fahamu and Juba decided they didn’t need to be so far into the desert and wanted to return to their forest home. So it was that Elkaas joined the group and the gulgans left.

Fighting their way through the sand storm the group came out and saw a maw in the stone wall that resembled a face. They fought their way through some lighting obelisks and some mutated hej-kin. After a hard battle the group rested within the cave and shortly saw three figures emerge from the back of the cave. It was Drex, an elf named Arneth that Apsara seemed to know, and an unknown Gith.

The group wanted the piece of the Crown that Drex was holding but Arneth seemed to be discouraging Aspara from going directly after it. Drex reasoned that the group should enter the Temple beyond on talk to the ancient one there and they could all search for the Crown of Dust fragments and bring a glorious new start to Athas. After a tense negotiation. The Drex and his party were allowed to leave and the Nibenese party went on through to the temple in the cave.

In this ancient temple they learned from it’s custodian, an ancient unliving being named Uketh that the Crown is an ancient artifact of a being known as Ul-Athra, the Mouths of Thirst, the Dust Kraken. He explained that the Crown was Created for Muldrea, high-priestess of Ul-Athra and first of the Broken Builders. Muldrea was a great defiler and servant of the Warbringer. He explains that she realized what the Warbringer wanted was broken and struck out against him and destroy all he worked for. In doing so she brought about Ul-Athra, although how us unknown. Uketh will told them how the Crown of Dust was destroyed when the great Ul-Athra was banished by Zi’ Tho’kliktet, (Teacher of Life Changing Knowledge). Uketh questioned that if the burnt world of Athas is literally forsaken by the gods, and there is precious little hope of respite from its dangers, why, then, would so many of its inhabitants cling to their meager lives when promise of rebirth is not so far away? All the people of Athas need to do is finish the job that was started long ago and destroy what is left of their surroundings—clearing the rubble of a ruined world so that a new one can be raised in its place. This is the aim of the Broken Builders and the followers of Ul-Athra. In that aim they hope to bring back Ul-Athra by finding the crown. The Crown allows its wearer to channel the will of Ul-Athra and is needed to bring the primordial back from it’s prison.

Uketh expalined that there were three parts of the crown, Zi’ Tho’kliktet, has one, one was lost to time (Drex) and the third was taken by a great champion,Aru-Madar.

As he said these last part Kovit recognized the name of Madar, as an old Merchant House that was wiped out by House Tsalaxa in the Tyr area. And Klickitat new the name Zi’Tho’kliktet and had a vision of a place near Tyr (but did not mention it to the group).

Leaving the Temple the group encountered more of Yarnath’s servants, the human raider they had thought lost in the sand storm with reinforcements, more tareks and some zombies. After defeating them the group followed their tracks, finding only an old encampment. Strangely klickitat found the track of 1 and a half mekilllots, but they looked odd. Aspara reasoned that they could be tracks similar to undead war beetles that Nibenay sometimes used. The tracks headed SW away from the mountains they were in.

Again following the tracks the group encountered a tribe of gith and their B’rohg (4 armed giant) and Cilops slaves. The gith, who heavily outnumbered the party told them that if they could kill something for them they would let them go. The party agreed and the gith took them to a waterhole where they battled two Cha’Thrang (turtle like creatures that shot out spikes from their shells).

The gith allowed them to leave peacefully and again on their way the party hit the Great Ivory Plain, a huge salt plain. Klickitat found the tracks of Drex and Arneth, but no gith, being followed by some tarek tracks. Kovit and Klickitat didn’t care what happend to Drex and wanted to go toward Gulg, across the plain, while Aspara and Elkaas wanted to find Drex and the crown fragment that he had. The group could not come to a consensus and they split up.

Kovit and Klickitat croseed the Great Ivory Plain for a day and a night without stopping, but Kovit finally had to stop to rest.

Elkaas and Aspara finally found Drex, badly wounded blood on the ground. Tracks that looked like someone being dragged led off into the Great Ivory Plain. Helping the unconscious Drex as much as they could they followed the tracks. Eventually they stopped where they intersected the giant mekillot tracks they had seen earlier, which continued toward the middle of the salt flats. Elkaas didn’t want to leave Drex to die and Aspara didn’t want to walk down the middle of the Great Ivory Plain so they returned to Drex.

Elkaas and Drex’s clan was nearby so the two attempted to drag the huge Dray toward the nearby Dray clan. After a day they were intercepted by a Dray patrol and taken to the clan.

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Finding Wheellock, the Poisoner

Suda (Kovit’s Father) and Mayena (A Pyreen) as well as a halfling without a name arrive on a Roc, Klickitat and Kovit learn more from his father and his companion as well as some of the history of the Merchant Dynasty. They must find Wheelock the Poisoner and get a magic box from him to hold the Crown of Dust.

Elkaas and Aspara are taken to the Dray Clan to see the Clan Father. There they learn that the clan mystic/healer has been having psionic visions of Drex, Elkaas and non-Dray. However; she has recently been overcome with a psionic poison after having met with the Cunning Spear Gith tribe. The Clan Father suggest that they go to the poisoner Wheellock to find a cure.

Ariving at Whellock’s encampment they must enter his underground lair, meet his assistant Toth. The wheel and deal with Wheellock and get the antidote and after a few riddles get the magic box at the cost of some poison the party had, and several favors owed to the Poisoner.

The party returned to the clan, healed the Great Mother mystic and revived Drex. The clan, thankful gave them supplied and the group headed out over the Great Ivory Plain toward Fort Kalvis, toward Tyr

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Kargash's Villa

After defeating the gladiators and tareks in the abandoned villa, the party of Athasian adventurers introduced themselves to Golmath the Half-Giant who grieved his brother’s loss and demanded revenge on Kargash.  No Name and Klickitat sat down to a meal of tarek and mul while the party discussed retribution.

Golmath explained that he had been with Kargash when they went to Slither (the strange 2 headed, 6 legged, undead beast).  Golmath said that Kargash had been hired by Yarnath to kill them and in return had been paid and given a 1/2 Elf named Arneth, to do with as he wished in his defiling experiments.

The party traveled east back toward the salt flats.  THey encounters a small band of corrupted hairless gnolls and their savage slaughter-fang hyenas.  After dispatching the gnolls they found a finely made bone dagger with gem inlays and a set of dirty arcane scrolls.

Approaching Kargash’s villa it was decided that Golmath and No Name would make a diversion while the rest sneaked in through a secret door known by Golmath and head into the defiler’s lair.  Finding a way down and being blasted by a thunder warded door the damaged group stayed for a time in the small storage room before heading deeper into the dungeon.  It was decided that the group would rest for a moment before exploring more.  Waiting was the death of two of the party for while they waited the denizens of the lair came together.  

A black obsidian snake game through the door, outside were two human with longspears.  The battle raged and their attackers retreated into the hallway where the foolish adventurers followed. Outside were kenku assassins and a salt golem.  Eventually the party was worn down from poison and the salt golem smashed Klickitat’s carapaces to goo and Elkaas’ scales to powder as Aspara and Kovit narrowly escaped the slaughter.

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To Tyr! or On the Run.

Escaping Kargash’s villa the remaining group meets up and heads away from the villa. They are approached by a half-elf that offers to help them escape, Doren a Tyrian Battlemind.

Heading offroad toward the local Fort the group sees that some pursuers follow them from the villa. Remembering a small set of ruins off the side of the road NoName guides the party to some defense, where they rest for a few moments before dealing with their followers.

A few slavers were no match for the party and they continued on to find a barn to sleep in for the night. The party was just leaving when the farmer and his son entered the barn just as the sun rose. The party quickly offered some silver to keep the farmers mouth closed and hurriedly left.

A small family was encountered on a road, they looked battered and told the party of Giants raiding nearby.

About half-way to Fort Kalvis a warparty of Gulgans discovered the party, who had tried to hide off the side of the road. Aspara, Templar of Nibenay and the Gulgan Nganaga (Templar) nearly came to blows, but Aspara placated the Gulgan with a magic item and a few psionic shards. It turns out the Gulgan was in search of some Desert Giants who had been raiding the nearby villages.

Arriving at Fort Kalvis the party got supplies and headed down the People’s Road.

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The Bounty Hunters

Kargash’s Villa:

Kargash assembles a group of Bounty Hunters to finally finish off the adventurers. Many of them have fought them in the preceding days and are eager to either get payback or finish the job.

The bounty hunters are made up of, Scrang a Braxat; Murdock, a kenku assassin being trained by Kargash, recently fought the group at the villa; Churg, one of the gnolls that escaped the previous day; Mazzax, a Tarek Assassin of Yarnath the Skull, from the party’s first ambush by Kargash; and finally Janaeus, Kargash’s own apprentice. (The PC’s took the roles of theses monsters for most of the session)

Tracking the party of adventurers was easy for the party of Bounty Hunters, the quickly found where they had killed the slavers in the small ruins then tracked them to the farm house.

At the farm house the poor family did not stand a chance before the evil bounty hunters. After the information they needed was gotten Mazzax killed the father, then Murdock began eating him before his family. The wife lost it and the boy seemed catatonic. Janaeus decided to burn down the farm to teach the locals a lesson and take the woman and boy to the Fort to be held as slaves.

The bounty hunters, moving at the Braxat’s long legged speed made it to Fort Kalvis after dark. Using Kargash’s name they were allowed in and despite insulting the head of Tsalaxa Guards, were able to get information on the whereabouts of the adventurers.

The next morning they left the Fort and headed down the People’s Road. After several hours they ran into a party of Gulgan’s that looked particularly beat up. The Nganga’s war slaves had recently been turned into zombies. After a seemingly minor encounter the groups prepared to continue on their separate ways, Murodck, the kenku assassin had seen a shiny rod that had once been owned by Templar Aspara, and tried to steal it as they walked by.

The thief was caught and before long the Gulgan’s lay dead (some of them 3 times) at the feet of the bounty hunters. Janaeus used a ritual and healed the band of murderers.

…back to the adventurers.

Finding a small village just before a silt storm grew large the party was shown an old hulk of an argosy they could stay in since the village was so small it didn’t have an inn.

Just as they were meeting a man, Xendrik, who had apparently been tracking them inside the argosy the doors flew open and there stood Scrang, Churg, and Janaeus.

A fight quickly broke out inside the argosy. Moments after the fighting started sounds like battle came from outside, which no one inside knew anything about. Teleporting momentarily outside Kovit found out that Giants were raiding the town and Gulgans appeared to be defending it. IN the next few moments of the fight an errant giants boulder crashed through the argosy sending splinters everywhere. Then a club smashed in to rotten caravan, making the structure precarious.

Despite all this the fight raged on until two giants came and lifted the argosy to throw it at the Gulgan lines with most of the combatants still in the argosy.

The gulgans hardly cared about these new combatants since they weren’t Giants, but the gulgans were attempting to push toward the giants in wave after wave. The press of gulgans threatened to carry the party toward the giants, but they were able to stay away from huge feet and swinging clubs by pushing their way through the crowd, deftly dodging the Gulgans, or through a show of strength and intimidation.

Freeing themselves from the press the fight continued on. Before long only Mazzax, the Tarek remained and he surrendered.

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The Battle of Stones

As the adrenaline from the battle slows down you look around to take in the scope of destruction. Huge boulders and spears the size of tree trunks litter the ground. The obliterated ruins of the argosy cover the old village center, surrounding it houses are crushed by giant thrown rocks and a few were crushed beneath the weight of a fallen giant.

Several Giants fell during the fight and their blood creates ponds of red mud. The remaining giants pick up their wounded comrades and retreat to the south after carrying away some of the villager’s farm animals. The Gulgan’s seemed to have suffered the worst losses. Wails of crushed soldiers can be heard from beneath rocks that have pinned them to the ground. Broken bodies flung from the booted feet of giants or the swing of a club are everywhere, dead and dying. Several Naganga, their skull-like death masks caved in, their brains leaking out. Stumbling around the battlefield are the remnants of defiling magic, zombies raised by the Nganaga wander about, their masters slain or ran away.

Huge swaths of this verdant area are now only ashen field from the Gulgan defilers, all around you is death. Many villagers wander about in shock at the destruction of their homes and their loved ones, some crying, others wailing, and still others stare catatonic. This is Athas, where death comes often, but never easily.

With these giant bodies and scores of gulgan dead there will no doubt be bestial scavengers coming soon. But before the bestial scavengers arrive the sentient scavengers have already descended upon the battlefield. Villagers and what few remaining Gulgans survive began looting the bodies of the fallen, keeping a weary eye out for a return of the Giants.

Attached are the things you find from looting the dead and dying. You still have Mazzax, the Tarek Assassin to interrogate.

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To Altaruk
Undersupplied, will the party make it to Altaruk?

A Day South of Fort Kalvis…

After the Battle of Stones the party searched the splintered rubble of the argosy searching for their damaged gear and supplies, all the while dispatching the zombies that were left by the dead Nganaga. After finding supplies Kovit began shoring the hair of the dead giants to sell as rope. As he did so and elf approached who, after introductions was known as Kaldraas (of Blood Sand Arena) of the Black Sun tribe. It seemed that the elves had lost much as bystanders in the battle between the giants and the gulgans and they offered the use of their kanks to transport the giant hair in exchange for protection on the way to Altaruk.

The party, in tow with Mazzax the Tarek assassin and the elves left the battlefield before the bestial scavengers posed danger and traveled for several hours of the night, pushing the limits of their endurance. Finally they stopped and made camp.

In the morning it was decided the Mazzax needed to talk, and after some coercion involving NoName, the halfling cutting off one of Mazzax fingers and eating it before him the assassin began to speak. Not many words left his lips regarding the locations of Yarnath the Skull’s Slither, before the two hearted humanoid shook violently and died. Moments later his dead body was animated by a presence they were soon to find out was Yarnath. The lich more or less apologized for attempting to kill them and let them know he no longer was in search for the Crown of Dust because he had found what he needed, whatever that was. They learned he had been betrayed by a red headed elf named Kivrin (See Revenge of the Marauders) and the elf had taken the Crown piece he had.

The road to Altaruk was fraught with the dangers of Athas and with little food arriving at their destination was not certain, as they traveled the Peoples Road south they came to village that was burning their dead from a giant raid fended off the desperate villagers with some fierce words by Doren the 1/2 elf, and further words and action by Aspara of Nibenay.

After another day in the verdant belt the path left the Peoples Road after finding a cache of fruit trees for another day of food as well as a dead giant, who had succumbed from his wounds from the Battle of Stones, which NoName the halflign sliced up for some means. The road and headed NW into a small strip of the sandy wastes where one of the elves’ kanks wandered off during lunch. Finding the kank being savaged by a “Kank-lion” in a deep sand funnel the characters spent a few moments saving a comrade who had slipped down the side of the funnel. After Doren was out, the group watched the kank-lion finish it’s meal, mourning the loss of only the profit from the giant hair on its pack saddle.

The next day the sandy wastes gave way to rocky badlands and cresting a ridge the party saw a group of humanoids riding strange sail craft, floating above the Estuary of the Forked Tongue to the south west (See Raiders of the Chanth (Polyhedron #44)).

The party made their way as a silt storm blew in only taking cover when they couldn’t see any longer. They camped in a depression in a canyon wall to wait out the storm. The storm raged over night and into the next day, but with little supplies the group decided to press on despite the storm. Braving the wind and silt the party made it’s way through the canyons, not know if they were on the trail or not. A small argument broke out as to which way to go among the elves and the party, eventually the party relented and went the way the elves advised and were rewarded as the silt storm died down they found they were indeed on the right trail.

The rocky badlands turned into foothills, then the mountains of the Altaruk Range. Silt from the storm still piled in cracks and crevices and footing was dangerous on the narrow mountain trails. On the second day a kank slipped after being startled by NoName and slide into a raving, breaking its legs and carapace in the fall. The party quickly left, lest the rank smell of dead kank overwhelm them.

Half-way through the next day the party paid the fee to enter the protected mountain fortress of Altaruk. They followed the elves to the elven district to unload their giant hair only to be betrayed by Kaldraas and the Black Sun elves who demanded that the goods were his. A small skirmish started but before too many elves could die Tellemon, captain of the guard arrived with a dozen heavily armed and armored town guards.

While Tellemon seemed to agree with the characters that the elves were liars, he also didn’t know if he could trust the party, as such he commanded them to fight in the area on the morrow to decide who would take ownership of the disputed giant hair.

Leaving the elven district the party left to find a bookey to take the bets they wanted to wager on themselves for the next day arena match. The met Derekk the Dwarf at the Jankx Burrow Tavern, a seedy place worthy of its name. Just as they were about to leave they saw a talk cloaked figure entered with a shock of red hair hanging from beneath his hood. They assumed this was Kivrin, the traitorous elf that Yarnath the Skull spoke of.

Someone slugged Xendrik in the arm playfully and the minstrel turned to see a friend of his, looking somewhat haggard.
Ictinus of Balic and of the Dancing Dragon minstrel troupe, an old acquaintance stood before him. Turns out that Ictinus had come to Altaruk with a small contingent of the troupe to do a job. They arrived in town the night before and had gone carrousing. Ictinus had gotten sick and went to his room early, but the next day he could not find his companions. Seeing Xendrik, he implored him to find his friends so they could meet their employer the next day after the games. Xendrik and Ictinus left suddenly to search for the missing members of the Dancing Dragon troupe.

Noname and Dores stayed to keep an eye on the red haired elf and were shortly joined by Aspara who had previously been with Kovit searching for suitable rooms. Not wanting to beat around the bush Aspara approached the elf and began talking. After a few minutes she made some headway, learning that Kivrin has stolen the piece of the Crown of Dust, but the Yarnath had taken the Jewel of Muldrea (Blood Jewel) from it already. Asking where the Crown piece was Kivris lowered his hood to show his bruised face and bruised neck where it looks like he had been strangled. Apparently he had been ambushed and beaten by a group of gith riding the most peculiar wind sailing craft in the mountains a few days ago.

Up next…
To the Arena! The characters face the Black Sun tribe for the giant hair
What happened to the Dancing Dragon troupe?
What does Kivrin know and what does he want?

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Altaruk Escapades
What the....?

Altaruk

Trying to take a relaxing bath after being on the road for weeks Kovit was disturbed by a dwarf with a sun addled mind by the name of Birk Suntouched. After a few minutes of conspirital conversation in which the dwarf raved about the second coming of Kalak and something called the True, Kovit left.

After leaving the Burrowing Jankx with his friend Ictinus, Xendrik began asking questions about his missing troupe of friends. At the same time Aspara, Doren, & Noname finished up a conversation with the elf named Kivrin about the Jewel of Muldrea and Yarnath the Skull.

Xendrik found out that a cult had previously been kidnapping people in town. While going to check the slave market he and Ictinus ran into Aspara, Noname, and Doren who had left from the meeting with Kivrin. Together they decided to look around the slave market. There they were referred to a man named Bad-aek, who it turns out was a Priest of Fire.

At the old priests home they were told of the Cult of Exquisite Agony and it’s previous incursions in Altaruk. It turns out that Tellemon one of the guard captains along with Bad-aek had rooted them out before. Bad-aek recognized that Noname was a fellow fire worshiper, but the halfling had little to say. While leaving the flame infested home of Bad-aek, Noname had a vision of a plane of ash, all freshly burned, not defiler ash. From the ash on the ground a single green sapling rose and grew into a mighty tree taller than any he had ever seen.

The next morning the party went to the arena to fight for their goods that were contested with the Black Sun elves, led by Kaldraas. In the arena they faced the elves while trying to place 7 disks into their “goal”, at the end of 5 rounds the tall was counted. After the 2nd round a trio of ferocious Jhakar trapjaws were released into the contest and the characters had to not only dodge the brambleweed and elves, but also this new threat. After the contest was deemed finished and a few of the elves had met their end, either from the trapjaws or the brambleweed it was determined that the characters, or the “waste landers” as they were called were victorious.

Prior to the fight Tellemon had approached the party in their waiting cell and told them he would give them a job if they won because they seemed like the kind of people he needed and asked to see them after the contest. He was originally supposed to give the job to the Dancing Dragon Troupe, but hey hadn’t shown up. After the fight as the party approached Tellemon the crowd shrieked and surged as the cry of “Murder” could be heard. It was soon obvious that Tellemon was down and poison was involved. After pulling a sack of coins, a dagger, and a scroll off the body the party quickly exited the arena to get there winnings from the guard district. The scroll said something to the effect of "Here’s the list, send word to the Golden Inix in Tyr when the job is done. The list was of 5 names, four of which had been crossed off and the fifth was Aristiphaneles, Altaruk’s Governor.

In the guard district, after talking to some guards and telling them that Tellemon was dead they learned that a certain dwarf had been asking questions about the dead guard captain. While the found their way to the holding house Kovit spotted a cloaked dwarf hurrying down an alley, but paid him no mind.

After getting their good, then selling them the party asked around town about the strange gith raiders, to which they found that they were snatching not only goods, but slaves as well, and that they all fought to the death. Additionally, House Rees apparently had captured a few of the flying disks. They also learned that the Cult of Exquisite Agony was holed up somewhere in the mountains. Thinking they could get more information from the fire priest they returned to his abode.

However, there Xendrik spilled some information, that Aristiphaneles and Tellemon could have been at odds. After some questioning Noname said something about Xendrik’s troupe being brought into town to kill Aristiphaneles and that really go the fire priest…hot.

Needless to say the party exited town quickly, not wanting to raise the ire of the local citizenry. They stopped by the Burrowing Jankx and Xendrik told Ictinus that they would not be looking for the rest of the troupe. Ictinus was enraged and stormed off to look for his troupe-mates.

Now the party heads to Tyr, leaving behind a dearth of questions.

• What happened to the missing troupe members and what exactly is the Cult of Exquisite Agony?
• No more questions were asked about this strange tribe of gith and humans who had apparently stolen a piece of the Crown of Dust.
• Yarnath still has the Jewel of Muldrea, a piece of the Crown of Dust. Kivrin knew it’s location and seemed willing to give the party the information, but the second meeting with him was never held due to the party’s hasty retreat.
• What was the business of Tellmon’s murder, Birk Suntouched and Governor Aristiphaneles?

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Tyr

Arriving in Tyr the party asked questions about House Madar and found out about “The Belly of the Noble”and the “Road of Crypts” sections of Under Tyr where ancient houses had crypts.

They encountered some members of House Shom, some where friendly other’s were not. Apparently a struggle for the leadership of the merchant dynasty was just beginning and people were choosing sides. Hirik who dealt with the warhouse seemed friendly enough Kovit while Jaleen, who ran the House’s house in the noble’s district was not.

Cybrian of Athas Revealed got them intouch with a dwarven noble named Bailer who offered his son to guide them into UnderTyr.

The party explored UnderTyr and eventually found the Cryps of Madar where they battled some ghouls and various other undead. Finding the crypts of Aru Madar, they unearthed some ancient books.

One story gives account of the Knights of Madar and their allies the Knights of Shom and how they assisted in fighting back the swarms of silt demons while The Great One defeated The Mouths of Thirst, a great corrupted silt elemental.

It explains that after the fight Aru-Madar, champion of the Knightly order fled with a piece of the Crown of Dust struck from the head of the high-priestess of Dust, Muldrea.

The champion was given high-honors and buried in a secret location sacred to the order in “the canyon where the moon shines”

Another book is found titled, The Decline of the Great Orders. It talks of a demonic incursion into the tablelands, and how the Knights of the Great Houses fought in an uneasy alliance with the Champions of Rajaat to push back the demons from the Tablelands. Apparently the Champions were able to hold back the demons with great magic with something called the Periphery. It was then up to the knights to eradicate the remaining demons in the surrounding lands.

The knights turned to mostly guarding caravans while they traveled through from town to town. That soon became their primary source of income as the demons influences lessened. Eventually they began to sponsor their own trading caravans and eventually they ceased guarding other’s caravans and only thought about their own.

The thri-kreen that had come along as a body guard to their dwarven guide knew of a canyon where the moon shines, The Canyon of Guthay.

Exiting Under Tyr the party asked a few questions about the Canyon of Guthay and made preparations to head there.

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