Friday, 24 February 2012

Dark Sun Marauders - Episode 17

The group moved on down the secret tunnel that led beneath the sand drake's lair, the goliaths having to duck as they wandered down. It went for some distance before ending abruptly, Kuroar!'s head finding itself against a trap door in the roof, which openend out into a corridor that ran East/West. The consensus was to head East and after examining the winding corridors, they came upon a door, which opened easily,. It revealed a room, the walls and roof painted again to resemble the open deserts of Athas, the sandy floor dotted with sizeable boulders emerging from the sands. Behind several of the boulders lurked a clutch of Thri-kreen, their leader a big warrior whose prowess gave the group pause, yet they did not attack.

Kulo, entered the room and began to edge past the wary kreen towards a second door to the north whilst engaging the leader in some sort of conversation. The absence of Tak-tha and his kreen ways was felt as in halting common the group learned of the plight of this clutch. Captured by Kalak's agents and imprisoned here, the kreen have been kept alive. Gretchan's arcane knowledge was able to locate a powerful ward placed on the exits to the room that seemed keyed to the kreen themselves as the companions seemed unaffected by it. Due to their predicament the kreen were unable to provide any further information about the ziggurat, though they did mention seeing Kalak perhaps 10 days or so ago briefly.

With the hope that the kreen may somehow be freed, the group continued on through the other door, winding their way cautiously along the passages until they stepped out into a silty waste of a room as the deafening sound of a twisting spiral of dust increased in intensity as they entered. The silt cyclone came at them as tendrils snaked out from the centre to trip up some and buffet others about the room. As the group saw more of the room a deep hole in the northern section of the room hid a fall to unknown depths. The swirling winds pushed Kuroar!, Kulo,, and Garidias close to the edge. The goliath's size prevented them toppling into the hole, but the slender eladrin was blown back and over the edge, crashing into a  substantial section of branches some 30ft below. The impact jarring the breath from his body and a hit on the head sent him into unconsciousness.

Meanwhile the remaining companions redoubled their efforts to disperse the cyclonic storm with Beren holding firm and shrugging off the effects of the silt and sand & Gretchan doing a good job of adding support from the safety of the doorway and corridor behind. Finally one of Kuroar!'s powerful charges was enough to discorporate the cyclone and the silt and dust settled all around the room, coating all with it.

Moving quickly Gretchan's mastery of travel through the dimensions allowed Garidias to be brought back up to the room and she was able to bring the eladrin back to consciousness. Not wishing to leave a stone unturned, the group explored the corridors to the west of where they emerged from the hidden passage and came across only another of the portcullis conundrums that this time crisped the hairs on Kuroar! before being successfully negotiated.

The group then lowered themselves down into the trees that Garidias had found and they were transported from the deserts of Athas to the woods of the Forest Ridge. The real location west of Tyr was known to be the haunt of savage tribes of halflings and even rumours of a few goliaths who had descended into the forest from the mountains. The trees seemed eerily quiet with no breeze rustling the leaves and no sound of birds. The group was able to pick up a set of human footprints after heading through the trees for a while, which they duly followed until they abruptly ended. A quick search of the surrounding area could find no continuing footprints, though they did find another set of smaller footprints, these fainter and harder to spot.

With more trekking, the northern and then western walls were located. This level of the ziggurat was not a series of rooms like the other, but appeared to be one enormous room. Further to the south and west a set of several smaller footprints were found, clearly an area with more traffic. Cautiously heading eastwards now, Gretchan spies ahead a small hut, hidden up in the branches of a large tree. Not a large house, but not the size of a child's play house. The companions moved slowly towards it, wondering what it may house.

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