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A Desert Escapade

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February 22, 2010 23:27

Knowledge is what everyone sought when the group booked guides and rented camels to guide them through the harsh desert to the city of Abbashan, one more piece of the puzzle left to gather before the stolen goods would finally be returned to the adventurers. The twelve camels trudged on most of the day burdened by supplies and riders. Slightly after noon every day the party had a small break to cool off and attempt to sleep under shade formed by four poles and a outstretched tarp overhead, though the sheer heat held them from true sleep. Traveling with metal armor on was impossible so everyone with these supplies left them on their camels. The days consisted of a dry heat, sand occasionally whipping up and stinging any exposed skin, risk of sunburn loomed over head of the adventurers constantly. The nights offered no more comfort, leaving most everyone besides the guides shivering as they finally fell to sleep.

This routine continued for a few days before trouble was seen on the horizon. Four horsemen rode towards the adventurers and their guides. When questioned by Kethlan with a general ‘who are they?’, using a scroll with some useful desert sayings translated on them, the guides offered no additional information just mumbling something in their own language which no one else besides them was able to understand. The guides did not seem afraid. Nevertheless, Eckhart decided it was a good time to don his scale mail. Getting off his camel the warrior quickly stripped down and dressed himself in the armor. Everyone else was forced to wait as Eckhart did so, and by the time he had finished the horsemen were already upon them. The adventurers decided it was best to get off their camels as none of them were inclined to start a fight on the back of such a beast. Closer inspection revealed the lead horseman was wearing leather armor and the rest light black clothing and scimitars with a few javelins secured to their horse.

Their horses stopped dangerously close to the party, and one man took off his mask. This man addressed them in broken Thyatian insulting the party and attempted several times to incur a reaction out of the adventurers even attempting to snatch the translation scroll out of Kethlan’s hand while he attempted to read from it. Finally, the horseman looked to Eckhart and asked him why he wore metal in the desert, following up by calling him a metal fish and asking him what kind of fish he was. Eckhart responded that he was a deadly fish, and received a kick to the chest from the leader of these desert people. Stumbling backwards Eckhart did not fall over, and was challenged to pick up a weapon by the horseman. Eckhart did so and after turning to his horse Eil stepped in the way his shield raised. When questioned he responded that he was protecting Eckhart until he was armed. A few seconds later Eckhart turned around, halbert in hand. Eil stepped out of the way and their leader galloped his horse away before making a dash towards Eckhart his curved sword drawn. Eckhart braced the halberd to thwart his foe’s charge. The desert man ran right into Eckhart’s halberd, a direct hit to the heart the tip pushing all the way through the now dead man’s body. Afterward Eckhart dropped the weapon, seeing as it was lodged in the man’s chest.

The other three horsemen shouted words in what the party assumed was anger, drawing their swords. Now the guides looked very scared, and when asked again by Kethlan who those men were they responded with a name of their tribe. The small skirmish that incurred ended with Eil sprawled on the ground, sand in his mouth, thanks to being bowled over by a horse. As well as Eckhart being kicked down by a desert fighter willingly as a sign of given up resistance. Eil got to his feet and drew his crossbow when they went to tie Eckhart up, the rest of his friends had already put down their weapons to convince the hostiles that they had no quarrel with them. At suggestions from the group, mostly on the parts of Moridin and Kethlan, Eil lowered his crossbow with much regret as Eckhart was tied up and thrown on the back of one of the men’s horses. The desert natives rode away with Eckhart and the slain desert warrior, leaving the group where they stood with one less member. The guides were eager to leave and continued on, it was time to be left behind in a desert without guides and help Eckhart, or continue on to Abbashan with people who knew this unforgiving environment. Choosing the only safe option they had the adventurer’s continued on without their friend, a few more days awaited them until Abbashan.

With Abbashan finally in sight the party sighed with relief, their wandering through the desert had come to an end for now. They stopped at a small camp around an oasis before the city, deciding to stay there the night. There they met Phaecius a Thyation who told the party that the city is currently holding an arms convention where many weapons are being bought, this making Abbashan even more hostile than normal. He came here running from the Thyation’s but found it pretty terrible here. Phaecius is offered a job on the ship once they get out of here if all goes well and decided to take up the party on that offer and come with them. Deciding to abandon Eckhart and after seriously thinking of quitting here the group continued onwards the next day.

Nearing Abbashan was greeted with both excitement and anxiety, hopefully today they would get more clues as to where the rest of their stolen cargo was and who exactly had stolen it. Just outside the gates were many buildings that seemed very poor in quality, off to the side the group spots a child being beat up by some other children. Adanel could not walk past this scene and do nothing, so she walked over to the rascals despite Phaecius’s advice to not get involved. At seeing the towering Elf most of the kids ran, one of them wet himself before running, and another one threw a rock at Adanel, missing. The rest of the group walked up to see Adanel helping the child up and offering him food and water. He was very underfed and dirty, he thanked her in Thyation before he darted into the crowd and escaped the adventurer’s sights. They thought nothing on it as they continued towards the gates of Abbashan.

Getting close to the gates of the city the party was bumped repeatedly by desert folks attempting to get a reaction out of the foreigners. Unbeknownst to them there was an earlier agreement between the adventurer’s to keep the number of retaliations at zero. Before reaching the gate there was a ‘tink’ off the back of Adanel’s shield, turning around she saw the child from before waving her over. Informing the group everyone turned around and went over to the child, the burly guards at the gate gave them hard questioning looks as they walked towards the alley. The child said thanks for earlier and informed them it would be a bad idea to go into town today. When questioned about any wagons that had come into town the child said he had seen one not even go into town but take one of the side roads out of the area instead which struck him very odd. When asked his name he replied Ravi and gave the group a back story. Eil admitted that he would not be able to leave a orphaned child here and the group agreed to bring Ravi along. Phaecius tracked the wagon out of town and down a dirt path, which the party followed.

A while later they came upon a small set of stores and spent some of Phaecius’s dinars, used for trade in the desert, to buy some fruit and a desert traveling set for Ravi. After that Phaecius was reimbursed with Minrothan coin and Moridin gave Ravi a dagger. The child looked so happy, as if about to cry from all the things he received, after which he said he looked forward to wearing this dagger once he had a belt to put it on but until then he would carry it proudly. This gave a chuckle to the party and a belt was found for him at one of the stands before continuing.

Phaecius tracked the wagon to a mansion, the group approached the building as the night encroached upon the lands, there was a light on in one of the windows and the door into the mansion was cracked open. The party argued for a good five minutes on what to do before Ravi called out to them saying that there was a wagon in the barn. They decided to go over there and found that there was indeed a wagon in the barn, filled with all the books but a few that had been stolen from the adventurer’s as well as four horses. The other books must be inside so they thought, again they argued what to do before Ravi remarked that the door to the house was open. After a slight bit of talk here Eil opened the door the rest of the way and went inside, shield out, weapon ready. Then he went up the stairs followed by the rest of the party and into the room with the light on. Upon entering a blue robed man looks up from his book after exclaiming that he had found it. Seeing them he exclaimed something about the group paying with their lives for this invasion before he lifted a hand. In seconds Eil was there, his long sword landed a good hit to the man who preceded to fall over dead from the blow. Eil remarked how easy it was to kill him and punched the man in the stomach for good measure, nothing happened and Eil withdrew a bloody hand from his victim. Kethlan was displeased with Eil’s leap to action but Kethlan quickly turned his focus to a man with weapons walking up the stairs. Before Kethlan could close the full distance the man raised up his hands and explained that he was thankful and a friend.

This man introduced himself as Urian and said he was forced to serve that sorcerer because the man threatened his family. He explained that there were three herders under the same threat as him and he would tell them shortly that they were free. After hearing this information Kethlan saw an arcane scroll on the table and held it over a small flame. Moridin shouted for the monk to stop and failed at snatching the paper away. Eil decided he wanted to hear Moridin’s reason for wanting that scroll and blew out the small flame. Kethlan tore it in two and accused Moridin of being a sorcerer. Moridin explained that he would not delve into black magic that Kethlan spoke of but rather more tame and helpful forms. Kethlan told Moridin that he would be Moridin’s watcher, else Moridin would be learning no magic while Kethlan was still around. Moridin agreed and was handed the two pieces of the arcane scroll which were luckily ripped between paragraphs not messing up the wording at all. Urian then continued to explain that he had scouted out this place with an evil artifact of great power that the sorcerer was after. He asked the group to come with him to get there and destroy it. The party agreed to do so, the sorcerer is looted, the house was given a look around but nothing was found, and everyone went to sleep.

The next day the group took several camels as well as horses and set off on the quest to destroy this artifact with Urian as their guide. During this time Eil began to teach Ravi some moves with his dagger. After a few days they got to a small settlement on the edge of a salt basin and rested there before continuing. Onward they marched until the next morning when they were attacked by a huge mole like creature that dug out of the ground with white crystals all along its back. Fighting this creature proved a difficult task as it launched these crystals out of its back in every direction, the party found out the hard way the properties of these crystals as some of them got stuck within them. It turned out the crystals were made out of almost pure salt and did as much damage coming out as they did coming in. They slayed the creature then continue for a few more days going the long way around a dangerous area. There are sand storms all around them, but the worst the group gets is small amounts of stinging sand in their faces.

Finally they made it to a huge crevice in the earth, Urian informs them that it leads to a underground city and suggested that he might stay up here to watch the stuff while they explore and later return with the artifact. The group convinces Ravi to stay up there as well. Urian secures some rope for everyone to climb down and the adventurer’s disappeared into the large crevice. Once down there they find that it opened up into a large underground cave like area, and thanks to a small quake that shook them they assume the place was also very unstable.

The party ran into a few exploding beetles during their exploration, the trick they discovered was kill the beetles before they get to close so that their explosion was not near allies. Nothing was discovered for a good while but soon there was a large slab that presumably acted as a barrier that could be pulled aside via a lever. Eil could not push it open, and the group looked for the lever with no success, only pinpointing the location to a small crevice that led down into the earth deeper about 20 feet. After Kethlan was lowered down there he quickly found out that it was far to hot for anyone to bear, the rope caught on fire and burnt up somewhat.

With no luck the adventurer’s turned to one of their own for a solution, and a knock spell was used on the slab which proceeded to recede back into the wall. One more scroll with a knock spell on it was left, and the party went on.

Down the stairs on the other side of the slab the group came upon a alter of Thanetos, a God of death along with two statues. Nothing was found in this room so they went further into the dungeon. Walking down some more stairs they came to a huge room with four statues in it, with bodies of men and heads of a jackal; holding two handed swords in their hands. After entering the room the adventurers quickly retreated up the stairs, the statues slowly advanced after them with glowing red eyes.

The party took to long to discuss at the top of the stairs and suddenly the statues were on them, Eil asked for Sergei to magically enhance his mace with divine power after seeing that Adanel’s hit did nothing. Eil took a hard hit from the statue and returned the hit to make a crack in the statue’s shoulder. Adanel took opportunity of this on her next possible chance and landed a direct hit to that same spot, smashing the statue and sending it down the stairs past the three other statues. Another statue steped up to take its place and after another hard blow Eil decided to fight more defensively. Adanel landed another good hit but nothing happened, and Moridin hits one of them in the eye and only cracked the stone slightly. Kethlan asked for his quarterstaff to be blessed like Eil’s weapon was and Sergei does this. The fight continued with Adanel landing solid hits but doing little damage with her normal weapon, Kethlan smacking the statues thanks to the reach of his quarterstaff, and Eil occasionally hitting the statues with his weapon. Sergei heals Eil some and Eil began to feel very fatigued, his armor started to glow a slight red from the extream heat that was down there with them. This eventually gets to him and he collapsed, his friend Sergei risked his own safety to block the incoming blow on the helpless Eil. Sergei took this blow himself and returned with one of his own which seemed to do nothing to the statue. With the enchanted quarterstaff of Kethlan and his skills wielding it the battle finally comes to the end. Adanel’s shield was completely destroyed from the onslaught of the statues, she had provided good cover for her friends. They help Eil get out of his chainmail which Eil threw in his pack and continued without wearing it. After that room was roughly 100 feet of spiraling stairs with an open middle, Adanel steped on the first step and got darts into her, she was promptly pulled back by Eil and Phaecius after passing out. Eil attempted the stairs first next time, after Adanel woke up, his shield over his head and the party confirmed that the first step was indeed the trapped one. Continuing down the stairs many get tiered but no one ended up falling off down the middle.

The next room had a tree in it, gleaming with red shapes in it’s branches. Two men are chained the trunk of the tree, and seem to be ill fed. Eil and Phaecius see this tree as full of rubies and jumped the gap that separated the tree from the rest of the room, despite the flames that laid in-between the crack. Eil and Phaecius quickly ascend into the tree and start picking rubies, it was not long until Eil discovered the relationship between them being on this side and the flames slowly rising in-between them and their friends. He shouts for Phaecius to stop and get down, but soon gave up and then jumped back across through the flames ending up on the other side with little damage. Phaecius however kept picking the rubies off the tree, before realizing this, then climbed down. Upon getting down he talked to a man chained on the tree but tried to free him. Failing at that Phaecius finally decided to jump through the fire, he also suffered minor injuries despite the height and intensity of the flames.

The group came upon a room with three doors in it, Phaecius and Adanel lead the way into the room. Adanel was unable to resist the urge to open one of the doors, and was asked by Phaecius to wait up for the rest of the group. Her response was something along the lines of ‘No, I have to get out of here.’ As she continued to shamble towards the middle door Eil and Kethlan jumped in to hold her back, finally she snaped out of it. The doors are examined and it is found that two had the symbol for fire and one is a spiral symbol, the middle one. After a small discussion they decided to leave this room for later.

The condition of the ruins were very concerning to the group as the place began to rumble again, and another door was opened. This room was large, had a table and four chests in it. A figure steped out of a portal that formed in the room before disappearing. A man made of mostly bronze, humanoid height and seemingly hotter than the room itself which was a mystery to how that could even be possible. Everyone decided to stay and fight except for Phaecius who fled upon seeing this foe. The battle started by Adanel receiving a sword to the chest by the bronze man. It seemed a lost battle when Sergei got his chance; he casted the create water spell he had prepared earlier to allow easier travel through the desert over top the bronze man. This seemed to do a good bit of damage to him, the water sizzled as it hit. Moridin tried to open his water skin to spray the contents onto the bronze man but did not anticipate how hot it would be, he sprayed the contents in the wrong direction instead. The fight ended a little bit later with the bronze man collapsed on the floor. There was no time to celebrate however because the inevitable finally started happening, the place was coming down on itself.

Quickly the party stuffed as much treasure as they could from the tables into their backpacks, Moridin grabbed the huge black book and casted his lack knock spell on one of the chests, taking it’s contents. Eil felt as if he could not make it due to the heat but pressed onward through the door along with the group, they ran up the stairs which proved a challenging feat for the adventurers but all survived. With a few more tests of endurance the party finally could see the rope at the end of the tunnel. But none of them ascend up after making it there.

Above stood Urian, holding Ravi at sword point, ordering them to tie the book to the rope and let him pull it up, he claimed he will throw the rope back down afterwards and that Ravi would not be killed. They had no choice but to accept the deal. The rope was not thrown back down; instead he laughed and threw Ravi away from the edge. Sure doom awaited the adventurer’s when the rope was suddenly fell down. Eil volunteered to go last and the party started up the rope. Upon reaching the top Adanel finds out that Ravi is bleeding to death because of a slash across the stomach. Sergei makes it to the top before Ravi dies and heals the child, saving his life as he saved the partys. The rest of the group made it to the top just as below them collapsed. Safe at last, gathering the camels they could find the adventurers prepared to set out again after this rough experience.

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Minrothad onsilius Eil