3.5 UNDER A DARKSUN: ELEMENTS - Page 2
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  1. #11
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    DARKSUN: THE ELEMENTS OF EVIL
    SEGMENT 010
    “TO ALTURAK”
    05/17/19
    SEASON: FRIEND’S VENGEANCE YEAR 24
    MONTH: THE SUN
    DAY: 20
    KA: 190


    Yaesha calls everyone available. Koe sets out from meditating. Choro and Olan come out from the Kes’trekel’s Roost along with Drak. They met up in front of the storage house where the House leader is tying down a tarp.

    “The House has a special delivery to do. A rich client wishes to have some of our dyed fabrics for his daughter and fourth wife. He is willing to pay extra to receive it quickly. Most of the other caravan people are near Urik at this point so I will ask if you would like to go.”

    “I can.” Answers the mul monk.

    “We all can go.” Follows Choro.

    “Good. We leave within the hour.”

    “Standard…. Pay?” asks the thri-kreen.

    “Yes.” And the caravan leader stalks off and into the storage building.

    “Really?” asks Olan.

    “Need food. Need sweet drink. Need money.” Answers the Thri-kreen barbarian in his own defense.

    The group gathers their equipment and traveling gear and return to the wagon. A lone wagon is being loaded with several crates, bundles and barrels. “Choro- I have something for you.” Yaesha calls out to the half-giant psion.

    With obvious curiosity, the psion looks to see what it is. Within the animal pen is a large strong looking lizard called an Inix. “A new mount for you. I believe she will carry you far batter than the crodlu.

    “Thankyou. You did not have to do that.”

    “Yes. Yes I did. You were slowing down the crodlu and thus the entire caravan. The Inix can carry you and still keep up.”

    They leave the trade house compound and reach the gates of Draj within twenty minutes. The templars here are extremely thorough and even with double the normal rate bribe, take a long time and touch nearly every crate, box or barrel within the lone cart.

    DAY 22 OF THE SUN-

    The small caravan arrives at the city-state of Raam. The templars here dressed in white and golden yellow poke and prod but mainly ask the typical questions. “Who, What and When” while holding out their hand for money. They rush to make it within the trade house grounds before darkness settles in.

    Choro is tired and goes upstairs to the sleeping quarters and falls asleep quickly. Drak wanders around outside within the walled area. Olan and Koe talk for a short bit. Koe asks a bit about if they stop at Silver Springs will he visit the elven defiler witch doctor. With a short laugh, the Tiefling smiles and suggests he is not certain. He is almost afraid to learn anything about his family- his father. What kind of man is Lord Balor. “Outsider…alien being. Not man.” Koe stiffly answers. Without any further words or actions, the monk walks silently up the stairs and goes to sleep near the snoring half-giant.

    Olan stares at the cart. A special trip just for fabric? He doubts it. It will cost nearly 80 silver just for wages for them alone. There to be more to it than that. He climbs into the cart risking getting into trouble and finds where the fabric is. He is tired and curls up over the softest section of the cart’s contents and soon finds himself asleep.

    Near midnight, the two guards in the watch tower are still watching outside the compound walls. Raam is well known for its thieves. Yaesha has long since gone to bed in the main building that is the most comfortable. Its good to be the leader.

    Drak stops. He thought he saw a shadow move in Ral’s light. He slowly moves closer and now knows he has seen movement as the door slowly opens a small bit and a shadow moves by it. “KLIK! KLIK! Intruder! KLIK! KLIK! Intruder!” and the thri-kreen happily leaps to the entrance to the storage building.

    A tall and slender humanoid dressed in black that covers their entire body except for their eyes and nose is in the doorway. The guards can not see and call to the thri-kreen for details as another guard pulls on a rope. The ropes crosses across a ten foot space to the top floor of the storage building where guards and caravan members sleep. Koe awakens immediately. Down stairs, the rogue dimly becomes aware he is not alone. Silently he rolls over and sees Drak reaching in through a mostly closed door at a figure dressed in black.

    He throws a bone dagger at the intruder and misses. It strikes the door and falls nearby. The intruder looks briefly then tries to use the door as a shield. Olan softly drops to the floor and spots movement under the cart- another intruder! This one skips his dagger off the rogue’s boot. He was trying to hamstring the rogue from a position of surprise. If Drak did not interrupt the two they may have killed him in his sleep.

    He stabs straight down with his rapier and puts it through the sneaky intruder’s eye and head. One down and one to- two to go! A dagger strikes Olan as he works his sword free from the skull. Another blackened tall gaunt figure was hiding within the crates and has thrown a dagger. Olan hopes it is not poisoned.

    Koe hurries down the stairs which go behind this just exposed intruder. With two swift kicks from above the intruder is taken out. Koe hoped to take this intruder alive but is not clear as there is a sharp crack sound and the figure crumples to the floor instantly.

    The third intruder, the first one spotted attempts to get past Drak. Drak kills it quickly. One shouldn’t play with its food. It might get foolish thoughts.

    Yaesha hurries over calling to the thri-kreen. “Keep at least one alive! I want answers!”

    The thri-kreen looks down at the dead person in its hands…. “Keep one- klik- alive. This one…. dead… food.”

    Choro has finally awoken and wandered down the stairs. Seeing everything is done, he yawns deeply and begins to return to bed. “Wait a moment Choro. I may need you.” Calls out the caravan captain as he looks for a survivor to question.

    Olan is attempting to tie up an elf. Koe shakes his head. “You do it all wrong. Let me show you how it is done in Nibenay.”

    The elf is tied up securely and begins to come around. Yaesha moves a heavy table and several chairs to expose a trap door. “Down here. No sense allowing anyone to know what we have and we are about to do.”

    Koe have carries and half drags the thrashing elf down the hidden stairs into the basement. Yaesha winks at the half-giant- “Mind Bender- I have need for you.” He says much louder than required.

    Olan lights a handful of torches and sits back to see what happens.

    “What were you looking to find?” demands Yaesha.

    Silence.

    In Elven now- “What were you hoping to find?” repeats the caravan leader. He waves for Choro to step up after the elf answers with a dirty look mainly aimed at the thri-kreen.

    Koe positions the elf so that he can see the half-giant better. Choro is pulling out his Gloves of object reading. “With these I can separate your body from your soul. At first will tingle… even tickle a bit. Then my power will reach into your mind. I will peel it like a crying root (onion)…. You can scream then if you wish.” He gives an exaggerated tug on the glove cuffs to make them snug.

    “Can I eat him?” asks Drak.

    “Later.” Answers Yaesha… not sure where the intimidation and the anticipation separates.

    “Elf.”

    “Obviously.”

    “Male.”

    His bluff begins to dwindle as the elf recognizes the glove’s powers and how harmless they are.

    “Rogue….. killer”

    He is safe from the half-giant but knows he can not avoid revealing secrets for long. The elf attempts to get someone- anyone to kill him ( 1 hp remains). In elven he declares the mul and the thri-kreen should have sexual relations with each other. Then, remembering who reacted to elven and who reacted to common the elf tries new tactics. In common- “The mul stinks of elder berries”.

    “Raam.” Says Choro as he continues to read the history of the Shadow Elf.

    “I want to kilik-klik-kik- eat him. Please Clutch Master! Just a little piece.”

    “Elf-Male-Rogue/assassin- from Raam- here to steal stuff” continues the half-giant.

    “Enough Choro. He is not scared by you any more.” Growls Yaesha. Perhaps a new tactic is required.” And he nods to Koe.

    In elven the desperate elf starts after Olan. “You are ugly even for a new race. You are a discarded child of a mutation.”

    “Whatever.” Olan replies in elven. Only the elf, Olan and Choro understand the elven language.

    “Who sent you?” Demands the leader.

    In elven and aimed at Olan- “Your father. He has a message for you.”

    “Huh?!?” the tiefling, seeking to understand his family, is stunned.

    Koe slides a dagger behind the elf’s ear. “We don’t understand that language. Tell us in common.” And he flicks the blade and an ear flies through the air and the thri-kreen reaches out and catches it. He first shows the elf the ear then begins to nibble on it.

    The elf begins to scream and scream.

    “Very well. We are not going to get anywhere without a telepath. And even then, elves are resilient to a psion’s power.”

    “Finish him?” asks Koe.

    Choro looks away suddenly as Yaesha drives a dagger through the elf’s neck.

    No one speaks after this. The horror of their actions bothers all of to some degree (well….maybe not Drak). Olan is paranoid the elf may have speaking the truth. Is his father seeking his and his friend’s deaths? Choro has too gentle of a heart for this. He truly wishes the elf spoke so that he didn’t need to be killed. Or would have Yaesha killed him anyway?

    Everyone goes back to their beds or activities. Few sleep well and those that do sleep are bothered by bad dreams. Drak spots Yaesha coming out of the main house about one hour before daybreak. He doesn’t follow. The caravan leader goes into the basement and does what ever he sought to in solitude.

    Son, everyone awakens and grabs some food. No one speaks as they gather their animals and cart and leave. They have just only begun their trip to Alturak.

  2. #12
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    DARKSUN: THE ELEMENTS OF EVIL
    SEGMENT 011
    “BRIEF STOP AT THE SPRING”
    05/17/19
    SEASON: FRIEND’S VENGEANCE YEAR 24
    MONTH: THE SUN
    DAY: 23
    KA: 190

    There are still sprouts of green grass from the rolling hills of Raam along the side of the road when Koe spots an attack. Skeletons? So close to a city state?

    Like the others, these have green fungi growing on them. One is heavily armored with thick chitin and a solid shield.

    The group make short work of them. Eyeing the armor, they strip it off the skeleton and load it into the cart. Maybe they can sell it at Silver Springs.

    DAY 24 of The Sun-

    Everyone except for Choro whom is in the very back (his Inix is not liking the weight of the heavy half-giant) spot a mysterious and obviously dangerous situation before them. A tembo.

    The creature is laying on the road with its front paws together as if relaxing and enjoying the day. It’s one ear flickers in agitation. It doesn’t wan to move. The group stops about 50 feet before it.

    “Strange creature.” States Koe. “Are there more?”

    “Check for an ambush!” calls out Yaesha from his seat on the cart.

    As they do so, Koe takes a step forward and suddenly the trap is triggered. A second tembo, hiding close to a rock near the road charges Koe from behind. He sees it at the last moment. This may have saved his life. He drops to a knee and the beast grazes him in the air. It lands and turns to attack again in a cloud of dust.

    The original tembo suddenly leaps forward on its feet and does a full charge at the thri-kreen. The thri-kreen dodges the worse of it and pokes it back using his Gythka. Koe turns to face the sneaky tembo. Choro- from the back, calls up his powers of the mind. Olan throws a bone dagger that does no good as it strikes boney plates on its spine.

    Koe’s tembo erupts into a fire burst and howls in pain. Koe kicks it breaking its thick neck. With his back turned to the thri-kreen’s foe, this foe leaps at Koe’s back. More blood is drawn as it drags its massive talons across his back. Yaesha misses as he tries to shot it with arrows. Surrounded, the tembo finds itself with no where to go and howls and stops to power up. It contorts as ice forms on it’s back from another psionic attack and Koe finishes this one off also. He gives the half-giant a nod of gratitude.

    DAY 26 of the Sun-

    Silver Springs is before them. Olan takes a deep breath as the “Master of The Wall” and Yaesha make agreements for the animals to get water. They have half of an hour. Choro opts to help the caravan leader with the Crodlu and Inix. Koe and Olan walk towards the defiler’s tent. Drak is feeling good. He is finishing off the last of the elven meat from Raam. He also likes the show of respect and fear as every elf on the wall watches and follows his movement. Most with their bows drawn and aimed.

    Koe moves around the thri-kreen as it stops. He walks around the large tent and stands at the back hoping to listen in on any conversation inside. He is certain she hexed his mind last time and wants to avoid direct contact with her. The thri-kreen twitches as a gentle whispering wind blows over his head. “You are not wanted here. Go away and allow the Prince in.” The thri-kreen is uncertain what to do. He looks up and sees more elves are moving within range. He can dodge an arrow but dozens? He decides to see if Yaesha needs any help… this time.

    Several warriors from the warrior tents walk over to Koe with their scimitars drawn. “No one is permitted to stand here. You have been told this.”

    “Sorry. Meant no harm.” And the mul reluctantly moves away as the tiefling enters the tent. He joins Drak on the main road near the tent. “I don not like this. She is a witch. She hexes the mind.”

    “Klik-klix…. And places spells…. On you.” The Thri-kreen adds with his antennae crossed in distrust.

    Lilapaul is laying across her pillows. Her black hair covers half of her face. Her sheer and clear clothes cover less than half of her body. “Come and sit next to me My prince.” She pats the pillows by her with a seductive smile. “Tell me about your concerns. I am here to relieve you of your pains.”

    “Ah…. Well…. Okay.” And he sits next to her and sinks into the cushions. “Have you learned….. learned anything new about…. My father?” He is becoming uncomfortable as she places her fingers on his leg and begins to trace the muscles of his thigh.

    “You have siblings. Lord Balor is the father.” She purrs as she traces the legs onto the inner thigh. “Is your family history all you crave?”

    “Hah!” he calls out and hops a little as her hand bumps into something. “Yes. Yes that is all….”

    “Ah. I had hoped for more. Very well my Prince…….”, she places her head on his thigh, “You have siblings. Brothers and sisters like you.”

    “Where? Are they nearby?”

    “One lives within a city within the tablelands. The others live within or beyond the Sea of Silt.”

    “Which city?”

    “I don not know. The sibling did not wish to be scryed.” And she lazily reaches out and points to several pillows with scorch marks on them.

    “Can you learn more?”

    “Yes. But it will not be easy. There are risks.” She purrs.

    From a vest pocket he removes a gold colored coin. She rolls over giving him a clear view of her face and chest. “A gold?”

    The tiefling pulls out more coin from his winnings at the Tembo’s Nest fights. She smiles as she takes the five coins. She briefly plays with the coins as she rolls them between her fingers then looks up and smiles. “We have time…..”

    “Nope!” And he tries to scooch over but can not since he has sunken into the pillows and cushions. He is forced to gently lift her head and stand up.

    “Oh my……!” she exclaims quietly.

    “Ah….awkward. Gotta go. Later.” The aroused tiefling says as he makes for the tent exit. He hurries out and she watches him go with a smile and happy thoughts.

    She sits up and puts the coins in a pouch and returns it to a secret hidden spot. “Like putty in my hands…..”

    Day 27 of The Sun-

    The group are away from Silver Springs now. Olan’s thoughts are scattered as he thinks about Lord Balor, siblings and….. those eyes…those lips…… those- his thoughts are interrupted as Koe sees a large group of individuals on the road ahead of them

    Elves.

    They are patiently waiting for the small caravan to reach them or pass them. Koe directs himself to walk to them.

    “Hello traveler.” The lead elf says with a closed eye nod of his head.

    “Yes.” Koe states simply.

    Olan pauses. “Going to Silver Springs?”

    “We travel that way- yes.”

    “Pilgrimage?” stats the mul.

    “Yes.”

    “Fine- continue on then. Go north as we go south.” And with that the mul is done talking to the elves. Drak gives them a look but doesn’t stop moving.

  3. #13
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    DARKSUN: THE ELEMENTS OF EVIL
    SEGMENT 012
    “BLACK SAND RAIDERS”
    05/17/19
    SEASON: FRIEND’S VENGEANCE YEAR 24
    MONTH: THE SUN
    DAY: 28
    KA: 190

    The noon time sun is brutal. If there was any shade, Yaesha would have considered pausing and taking a break. Instead, it is 125 degrees and a brutally dry wind does little to relieve the heat. At first they think it is a mirage in the desert as they see something coming at them. A lot of something and its moving quickly.

    Everyone sees them but only Yaesha knows who they are. “Raiders! Black Sand Raiders!” He grabs his quiver and bow. “Shoot to kill.”

    Having a few moments to prepare, they move the cart and animals into a defensive position and ready themselves for when the raiders get into position. Choro suggests he has something he wants to try (leveled up- got new powers). Yaesha answers by firing arrows once they are within range.

    Seven riders on kanks waving weapons and celebrating as if they have already won charge. Suddenly fire washes over them- Several kanks drop and tumble throwing the riders to the course sand. The apparent leader drives forward.

    Koe leaps forward and takes advantage of fallen riders while Drak attacks kanks to halt the charge. Another raider is on one knee when a dagger pierces his throat. Olan then moves forward with his scimitar readied.

    With a mix of raiders and his caravan mates, Choro now switches to a power that allows precise strikes. Bursts of flames drop biting kanks and cursing human barbarians.

    Koe leaves one alive. The human crawls on his knees and begs for mercy…. And his life. “Please do not kill me! I am only 94! Please! Koe and Olan look at each other. They remove the raider’s helmet. He is a young man…maybe 17 or 18….. not 94. Poe grumbles how pathetic this boy is but even as he begins to ask what to do with the raider, Yaesha savagely fires an arrow into his chest. The young not-yet-a man human is dead.

    As they collect kank honey and search the bodies. Olan notices they have green fungi on their skin. It appears to be the same fungi as the skeletons. Drak decides he can skip this meat.

    DAY 1 of The Elements-

    They are nearing Alturak. A small but still steep mountains are to their right and open land with silt lays to their left. The King’s Road splits here. It curves to the west to Alturak and to the South East towards Grak’s Pool and the City-state of Balic.

    Everyone sees what comes stumbling out from the silt- a Giant!

    It waves to them in a goofy gesture to suggest it means no harm and wants to talk. Koe notes it has a sack in its hand.

    “What should we do?!? It’s a damned giant!” calls out Olan both amazed and intimidated.

    “It can outrun the Inix and the Crodlu with the wagon. We humor it but be ready.” Yaesha turns to the thri-kreen. “Be ready but don’t attack unless it attacks.”

    The giant sits down on the road and begins to open its sack. It has large misshapen ears and a large warty nose. It is bald and has very long chin hair (nearly 8ft) which is bundled together with the chitin of a boney serpent-like creature. It growls, grunts and comments in a deep voice. Koe, Choro and Drak stand before it trying to understand it. No one here speaks giant.

    The giant looks up and suddenly realizes no one can understand him. His voice changes completely as he begins to speak in very broken elven. Olan translates.

    “His mother has sent him here to get ten silvers. If he doesn’t return with ten silvers… she will…. She will beat him.”

    “The world has family issues.” Sighs the monk.

    Bones, recently slain silt serpent, giant rat skulls and a smelly bag with brown and yellow stains are presents. The giants pleads again and again Olan translates. “He wants to sell this…. Stuff for silver. If he doesn’t-“

    A chorus of “His mother will beat him.”

    Olan raises an eyebrow as Choro steps up. In elven he says- “I have something worth more than ten silvers…. I have a gold.” The giant’s eyebrows raise with amazement. “Gold? But momma said silver.”

    Koe can not help himself. He wants to know what is in the bag. He risks being hit and begins to untie the bag. It is crap. Bat and rat crap. Some very old and dry and some still fresh. Koe regrets his curiosity and reties the bag and looks for somewhere to clean his hands.

    “Gold….. and you can keep your…. Goods. I just have questions.” Continues the half-giant.

    “Keep? And get better than ten silver? Okay little man.”

    “Have you seen Black Sand raiders near here? Do they have a camp nearby?”

    “Can you ask the giant about the raiders?” asks Yaesha.

    “It is what he is doing.” Answers the rogue in common.

    “North of here.”

    “Where north?”

    “North.”

    “and the undead? The bone men?”

    “North. Momma says to stay away.”

    “Your mom is a wise woman.”

    “Momma says stay away or will beat me.”

    Choro rolls his eyes. Not a good mother. “Have you seen other half-giants like me?”

    “Not half. You smaller than half.”

    “It’s a name. Have you?”

    The giant closes his eyes and concentrates. “No.”

    “Are you sure? There is one I seek named Goro.”

    “Momma would beat me for talking to a half-giant stranger.”

    “ I am a half-giant stranger. My name is Choro.”

    “Momma beat me!”

    “I gave you my name. I am no longer a stranger to you.”

    “Momma-“

    “Here is your gold. Collect your goods and maybe you can sell them to someone else.”

    The giant gathers his goods and lumbers towards the silt.

    Within two hours they will be in Alturak.

  4. #14
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    DARKSUN: THE ELEMENTS OF EVIL
    SEGMENT 013
    “ALTURAK”
    05/23/19
    SEASON: FRIEND’S VENGEANCE YEAR 24
    MONTH: THE ELEMENTS
    DAY: 01
    KA: 190

    While riding to Alturak, Yaesha asks what they know about the trade village. Drak has been here once. He remembers it is a village built into steep cliffs of a split in the mountains. Yaesha agrees and hopes the kreen remembers more. “Bright colored flags…clic…. ribbons and banners. Distracting. Klik…. Barely wide enough for the klik…..bigger caravans. Some homes are klik….tents made on …clack….ledges. Most are short caves ….built or carved into the …..klick…..walls.”

    “Anything else?” encourages the caravan leader.

    “Distrustful.” The kreen says with his antennae crossed showing his dislike of the memory.

    “As a thri-kreen- yes. On the outside of the village the villagers raise herd animals. The thri-kreen often…. Feed on the herd.”

    “Alturak is also known for being open to the use of magic.”

    Koe grimaces hearing this.

    “But that destroys life.” Adds the rogue.

    “Does it?” questions Yaesha.

    Choros doesn’t add anything to the conversation. He is in deep thought he may not even be aware of the conversation his caravan is having. He absently pats the shoulders of his huge inix traveling lizard and looks just ahead of the animal as it follows the cart driven by Yaesha. No one asks the half-giant what or whom he is thinking about.

    Ahead of them are tall wooden gates. There are three doors in the vine and flower covered wall. A massive gate for the main caravan road, a huge gate for animals like theirs and a man sized one that workers come in and out of.

    Yaesha talks to the guard. Olan, the tiefling rogue tries to listen in. As does Drak. They catch a bit about not having been here in a long time and that he is here to see Master Winsor. He shows the guard something pinned to the inside of his traveling vest. The guard nods and motions for the middle sized gate to open.

    They enter a large courtyard with many tents and a few doors or curtains on the ledge work. What Drak failed to mention was the village has several ledge levels. Caravans travel through the village on the lowest level. Ladders, ramps and stairs lead about twenty feet up to the next level that overlooks the caravan passageway. Many tents and entrances into the walls of this “crack” in the mountain are here. Colorful banners, flags and streamers hang and move in the breeze which is booth distracting and sometimes offers cover. There are signs of another ledge higher up with their own stairs and walkways. Some of these are guarded.

    “I want you to watch over the cart as I deliver the silk to the client. Theft is rare here but one can never be too careful.” He pulls turns down a narrower crack from the main caravan passage. This one would never fit a mekillot but can their crodlu and Inix. He dismounts as does Olan. Drak and Koe walk so they just secure crodlu to the cart. Choro sits on top of his inix and looks around as if he just reliezed they are within the village.

    Yaesha gives a knowing and almost mirthful smile as he uncovers the crate that holds the silk. Olan eyes it. That is the silk he slept on when attacked by the Shadows in Raam. The same silk that hid something within. Every time he got close to inspecting it, Yaesha would appear. The next action surprises everyone- Yaesha pulls out a wand with an open-hand on it. “Turn-Draxa-Up” Nothing happens except the hand seemed to glow briefly. “Turn-Draxa-Up!” he repeats and a glowing disk appears beside him. “Helpful even if frowned on.” The caravan leader offers. “Koe?” Koe helps him lift the crate of silk and place it on the disk. The disk supports the wait easily.

    “I should be back shortly- an hour at most. Just keep an eye on the cart and the remaining goods.” And with that he turns and the disk with the crate follows him.

    “Huh.” Grunts the mul monk. “I didn’t expect that of the comrade.”

    “Klick….magic…. he destroy…. Plants?” questions the thri-kreen scouting barbarian.

    “Not that I saw. Maybe when the magic was placed into that odd wand.” Offers Olan with a humorous shrug and smirk.

    Choro remains quiet.

    Yaesha walk to a set of carved stairs and goes up. The disk requires specific concentration to climb the stairs with him. A man and a young girl (daughter?) excuse themselves as they go down the stairs after him. They seem to have seen nothing and do not react to the magic in plain sight.

    These kind of reactions both please and cause alarm with Yaesha. Magic should be feared. It is dangerous in the wrong hands. But, it does make certain jobs easier like carrying this crate of 20 pounds of silk and stuff. Yada, the matron of the house, speaks of Alturak often. Now he feels he is beginning to understand why.

    He pauses and looks behind him. He had expected Olan to be following him. The tiefling has been curious about the contents of the cart since leaving Draj. There were signs of the fabric being touched in Raam. The Shadow Elves didn’t live long enough to tell him what they saw hidden in the silk. His temper will be his downfall someday. He comes to a large tent and steps in holding the flap for the floating disk. He briefly wonders if the mage Tenser worked for a caravan all those hundreds or more years ago when he created this spell effect.

    He walks to the back of the tent. A man is poking and prodding fabrics and silks and nods to him. He looks harmless but the tradesman knows this sentry is a powerful mage or psion. No need to provoke him with idle chitter-chatter. He pulls aside a large 10X6 foot carpet set up on the wall revealing a hidden area and he and the silk with its secret contents disappear.

    “Why do you resent families?” asks Olan of Koe.

    Sigh….. “They disappoint.”

    “Really? Isn’t that kinda a dark and negative way of looking at them?”

    “Ask Giant.”

    “Why?”

    “Momma beat him.”

    “So…. You mother beat you growing up? Not all families are like that.”

    “No.”

    Silence. “No what?”

    “What of YOUR family? Rats brought you up. Very strange.”

    “Can’t deny that. But they did look after me when others didn’t.”

    “Others like true parents?” Challenges the uncomfortable mul. “Your parents left you to die in Raam’s sewers.”

    “It’s like that at all.” Defends the tiefling.

    “Until the witch in Silver Springs told you otherwise- you thought you were human or a race that was altered in the desert. A new-race. Now you have parents. Parents that are gone and left you.”

    Olan pauses to think that over. “I am sure they had their reasons. I will met them… and my siblings.”

    “Bah. Families.”

    “Good family. Good…. Clik…. Clutch.” Interjects the thri-kreen. “Kaesha good…. Clutch leader.”

    “YAEsha. With a ‘Y’. corrects the defensive mul.

    “He is kreen. Some sounds are harder for him to say than others. You should be more open to family. Someday, Balor, my father, and my mother and siblings will get together.”

    “Have a party.” Koe says simmering as he begins to look around. He spots a man in a black cloak hurrying on the ledge. He is looking over his shoulder behind him.

    “You need to look beyond your past. See the future. Make the future what you want.” Offers Olan as he pulls out a knife and begins to clean his dark nails.

    “Whatever.”

    Though Choro doesn’t add anything, he thinks about the word ‘family’. Where is his mother and father? Where is brother? Could they be in Alturak and he doesn’t know it? Could they be behind one of these doors or up high on a ledge looking down at him…..not knowing who he is?

    “You should stay away from the Witch.” States the mul. “She is controlling you.”

    “Really? How is that?”

    “Magic.”

    “Klik…. Pheromones.” Adds the kreen with his sensitive sense of smell.

    “She is not controlling me.” Says Olan more to convince himself than the mul.

    “She put a spell…. A charm on you.” Continues the mul as he continues to watch the robed man whom is running their way but on one level higher than themselves.

    “Lilapaul has many talents…. I am certain”, begins Olan, “Some better than others…..are you going to look at me or-“ then he sees the activity. The robed man is struck by two swerving beams of energy. He staggers and turns to face his attacker….. A woman is bright blue robes wielding a staff. Beside her is an older man also holding a staff. He reaches out and a sphere of fire pops into view near the first fleeing man. The sphere rolls at the fleeing man and just grazes him.

    “Now what do you think about that?” Asks Olan.

    “We are to watch cart. We watch cart.” States the mul.

    “Klik…. Security?” Questions the kreen as he adjusts his grip on his Gythka.

    “No templars anywhere. If fact, I have not seen many people.”

    Three beams of energy strike the woman and she drops and nearly falls off a bridge crossing over the caravan path. The flaming sphere strikes the robed man who calls out.

    The Tsalaxa caravan members merely watch as the battle comes closer to them.

    “Remember…. The cart.” Koe says.

    “Yeah yeah the cart.” Mutters Olan.

    A beam of light shots out from the flames. The older man is struck and stumbles before falling to all fours. Furiously patting out flames, the original mage hurries closer to the area the Caravan is. He looks back as if he expecting more attackers to arrive. He looks at the caravan but charges on.

    “I don’t think he intends to stop.” Says Olan as he adjusts his knife belt for better availability.

    “Protect….klick….”

    “…The cart.” Finishes the mul.

    The black robed man staggers to a stop above them. He speaks a few arcane words and his hand glows green. He touches his own chest then leaps over the edge, As he falls tentacles grow out of his sides and his lower jaw opens up- sideways. Koe tilts his head to one side making sure he is seeing what he is seeing. The mage doesn’t even touch the ground before the monk kicks him and sends him slamming into the wall. The tentacles slither back to his body and his lower jaw draws back together then emits blood.

    “Impressive.” States Olan as he walks over to the now dead body and checks it out. He spots a ring made of a light wood with feathers inscribed on it. Looks good and takes it. Drak finds a small pouch with many odd items within it. Mouse skulls, silt, dust, twigs…. Scales?

    Koe looks away from them and searches for the downed woman. She and the other man can not be seen. Gone.

    Yaesha arrives about twenty minutes later. He looks at them then to the body near the wall and back to tell. “Any troubles?”

    As Yaesha climbs back onto his crodlu Koe steps up to him. “Yes Koe?”

    “I would like to visit a shop. Buy materials for Olan. Drak also want to shop.”

    “What are you looking to find? We are here to sell…. Not buy. And for Tsalaxa.”

    “I hope Olan can make me a weapon. I need materials for it.”

    “Why not just buy the weapon?”

    “Unique weapon. One of my training and teaching. Can help Olan also.”

    Yaesha weighs out the possibilities but agrees. “I have one more stop. Choro can go with me. I can show you where the best place to buy materials for weapons can be found. Tell the owner I sent you. He will help you.”

    “Thankyou….comrade.”

    Koe and Olan find and visit Rill’s Arms. It takes several moments to discuss and describe the weapon and materials required. After inspection by both Olan and Koe, several bones and wooden handles are selected and bought. Nearby, Drak is selling the armor and what items they have found. The money is split up, putting a percentage aside for the House and Choro. He tries to sell weapons he has made but so close to lands with thri-kreen there is no need for the weapons.

    The pouch of misc goods Drak learns are often used for magic. He asks several stores about where to sell these and finds one. The shop owner is not overly impressed. “Necromancy”. The goods are bought for a very little by the shop keeper.

    Choro and Yaesha are alone delivering the last of the goods. Breaking his silence Choro speaks up. “You have traveled most of Athas working for the house….” He begins.

    “Yes Choro…..”

    “I am seeking my family. I was wondering if you have seen any other half-giants that look like me.”

    “Like you…. No.”

    “My brother…. He is me but where I have a strong mind he has a strong arm.”

    They continue to talk until they reach the meeting place for the others. The five of them leave together. Koe notes they are being watched as they leave by possible residents.

  5. #15
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    DARKSUN: THE ELEMENTS OF EVIL
    SEGMENT 014
    “LEAVING ALTURAK”
    05/23/19
    SEASON: FRIEND’S VENGEANCE YEAR 24
    MONTH: THE ELEMENTS
    DAY: 01
    KA: 190

    The caravan is still in sight of the walls of Alturak when they spot something on the road ahead of them. Something big…. Something huge.

    Koe recognizes it quickly. House Shom.

    A lead scout, flying a flag of black and red with a trio of white dragonflies, rides a crodlu to meet them. “House Shom requests you to give them room.” The elf rider makes it clear it is not a request- it is a command. “The mekillot is unruly today. House Shom can not guarantee the safety of those before it.”

    Koe has stepped back and put the cart between the elf and himself. Olan then sees him pulling his hood up. Yaesha notices also. “House Tsalaxa understands and will respectfully give space for your ailing beast.”

    Everyone steps to the side into the loss sand and grit. The gargantuan beast lumbers by. As it trained to intimidate them the tongue flits out and tastes the air. Drak feels adrenaline pumping within him. This is how elves feel around him. Glorious.

    Olan looks up and watches as from windows, on the third level (yes- third!) of the wagon, archers peer down. Their arrows notched. A psion concentrates on the beast and another man, possibly a defiler, looks down with hate.

    Shortly the mekillot lumbers by and the rear guard passes. Yaesha spits on the ground. “Shom.”

    DAY 2

    “Black Sand?” Asks Koe. Two small clouds of dust rise from the desert that are converging onto the King’s Road where they are.

    Yaesha sneers. “Yes- I believe so.”

    The tiefling shrugs. “At least they give us some warning.” He adds.

    They stop the crodlu and prepare their ranged weapons and powers.

    As the riders become more visible, Koe cracks his neck and pulls out the sling. Sling bullets made of stone zing out with a loud snap. Arrows from a +3 compound longbow twang repeatedly and a tingling sound emits as Choro powers up and release a wave of energy. Riders begin to drop. Then they are onto the group.

    Choro’s Inix is bitten by the leader’s kank and immediately begins to quiver. He is in trouble. Speaking of trouble, Koe finds three riders and their kanks surround him. Dust rises and clouds the area. As the inix falls, paralyzed from the kank bite, Choro falls off his mount. The leader can now see Olan whom was using Choro as a visual shield. “Zeburon?!?” the leader calls out. “Is that you?!?”

    Before she gets an answer, Yaesha’s arrows strike her. [DM NOTES: 2 crits! One confirmed!].

    Koe notes these riders have the green fungi on them also and avoids any prolonged contact with them. Drak has no fears and tears through the raiders, Gythka and bite.

    The leader sees how this is going to end and calls out a retreat. Yaesha rains down arrows on them as they flee.

    “These ones…. They have the sickness also. Like the skeletons.” Notes Koe.

    “The raiders got into something they should have avoided.” Adds Yaesha. “I hope it wipes them out.”

    “Can it spread?” asks the concerned mul.

    “Avoid them. Let the kes’trels have them.”

    “Tell that to Drak.” Olan points and calls attention to Drak. The thri-kreen is looking for goods on the dead bodies. Happily, he collects 32 silver after going through all thirteen bodies.

    [DM NOTES: Rolled for him to see if he contracts the disease. 18, 17 19, 16 then nat 1 and a 3……]

    DAY 3
    “Drak….. the elves do not like you and you can not help yourself- you encourage it. Stay outside of the walls of Silver Springs and meet us on the other side.” Suggests Yaesha.

    “Klik….. like being inside….Enjoy it….”

    “But the unease is increasing. I don’t trust them to attack you or deny us entrée. Please.”

    The mul watches this exchange. Yaesha is hiding something.

    “Very well. Clutch asks….kli….. me to stay out. I do.”

    The Master of The Wall watches as the thri-kreen breaks away. Yaesha and he speak and payment is made. Yashae tends to the animals as Olan walks away to see the Silver Hand elven tribe’s defiler. Koe, not happy by it, follows. Choro follows. His curiosity is growing about this woman. Maybe she can find Goro and his parents.

    Olan is stopped by two warriors. “Lilapaul is not here today. Perreau can see to your wants if you wish.”

    Olan declines the companion service. He wants Lilapaul for her magics, not her body.

    Yaesha asks about potions. With Lilapaul being out, there are no potions available. Yaesha thanks them and asks about the Black Sand Raiders. The elves at the water have little to add. They have been more confrontational lately but nothing more.

    They step out and collect Drak. It will be a long way back to Draj.

    The next two nights Olan attempts to make an unique weapon for Koe. Each night he does a poor job and breaks the goods. Olan is deeply sorry.

  6. #16
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    DARKSUN: THE ELEMENTS OF EVIL
    SEGMENT 015
    “OTHER EVENTS”
    05/23/19
    SEASON: FRIEND’S VENGEANCE YEAR 24
    MONTH: THE SUN
    DAY: 28
    KA: 190

    The elven defiler has spent several minutes preparing a spell. Looking around her, she checks on the protection circle she is kneeling within. Then she chants slowly and slumps forward. Her mind lifts and drifts away in search. Her mind drifts to the streams of thought and dream. The spirit of Lilapaul swims and sees a beacon. She goes to it.

    Though she is invisible to those on the material plane, she still hides as she lands within a room with dark shadows, columns and dark curtains. A large fire crackles and seems to move in a distorted fast & slow motion.

    There is a large stone throne made of skulls and bone. All resemble humanoids but many are not human. Nor elven or dwarven. Outsiders. The throne gives power to the one that sits apon it.

    She watches from the dark shadows. The creature sitting on the throne has long black course hair and red skin. Long reserve sweeping horns grow from the top of the forehead. Black leather straps and blackened metal armor pieces make up its armor. It sits with a restless depression and brooding. Many women of several races lay about his feet and the stairs leading up to his cloven feet.

    His eyes stare straight ahead…. Lifeless but suddenly they turn to the shadows and he smiles revealing sharp canine teeth. “Helllllo….. visitor. What brings you to me?”

    MONTH: THE ELEMENTS
    DAY: 01
    KA: 190

    The cart moves slowly over the wooden bridge over the silt. It has been a good growing season. The cart is loaded with Drajah Weed roots and stems. Psions pay good money for this drug created by it. The gentle wind picks up. Something is not right. The House Tsalaxa agent pauses. A buzz can be heard. It is growing louder and closer. Worried, the man begins to pick up the pace.

    Too late.

    MONTH: THE SUN
    DAY: 07
    KA: 190

    Rib Breaker is treating his own ribs with Ral’s Breath hoping to ease the pain of the deep bruises the mul gave him in Tyr. He is in the Shom compound in Urik. The tarek winces not from the pain but he can hear a raised voice in the hallway.

    “Where is that thick skulled son of a dung giant?!?” A dwarf dressed in black leather armor wearing a cape of red with spurs on the legs and boots snarls as he enters the room. “There you are!” The tarek puts his eyes to the ground and will not face the dwarf.

    “I had heard you lost in a fist fight. I didn’t believe the man. Now I have to apologize to the half-breed. You know how much I hate that!” and the dwarf slaps the cowering tarek.

    “Who did this to you?” He demands.
    “Mul. Very strong Mul. Tricky fighter. Fights dirty. Uses his feet.”

    “What?!?” The dwarf rages. “His name before I have you whipped!”

    “Poe or Koe…. Not clear.”

    Hugo Hark the second is outraged. Someone has humiliated House Shom. That someone needs to die.

  7. #17
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    DARKSUN: THE ELEMENTS OF EVIL
    SEGMENT 016
    “AVOID AND AVOIDED”
    05/30/19
    SEASON: FRIEND’S VENGEANCE YEAR 24
    MONTH: THE ELEMENTS
    DAY: 02
    KA: 190

    “Stay away Drak. Please stay away.” Yaesha strongly suggests.

    “Why? What is wrong?”

    “How do you feel?” asks Choro.

    “Weak. Still hunt for clutch.”

    “Not for this clutch you won’t. You have it. You have the disease.”

    The thri-kreen looks over his body. Green fuzz is appearing in his arm joints.

    “I looked for a means to remove possible disease at the elven market but there was none. I was told they were all in use.” Says Yaesha.

    “All?” asks Olan.

    “Yes. When we reach Raam I need you to stay away from the city. At just in site distance. The templars there watch for disease. They will drive you and us away or worse. I am certain we have some disease treatments available to us within Raam.

    Later that day they are traveling the King’s Road and spot a huge bright red lizard at the edge of the road. It is twisting and moving its head as it trying to see them. At 100 feet Yaesha sees it well enough to know what it is- a Fire Lizard. Under his direction, they take the wagon off the road giving the dangerous fire breathing lizard a wide birth. At one point Koe fires a rock from his sling at it. It misses and the pebble bounces before the huge animal. Twisting its head and blinking its black eyes it snaps at the pebble.

    MONTH: THE ELEMENTS DAY: 03
    Yaesha keeps the visitation to Raam very short. There is a remove disease magic item at the compound and he signs it out and succeeds using it on the thri-kreen. This is good since at this point the green fungus has covered much of his arms and neck.

    MONTH: THE ELEMENTS DAY: 04
    On the last day before reaching Draj, the caravan is still moving along. Though Drak feels better he is still weak from the disease he got from the Black Sand Raiders. This slightly slower pace may have saved Koe. He spotted a flash of something highly reflective behind a few barrel cacti. As a precaution, he slings a stone at the flash. Just before the stone would have hit the area it strikes something with a loud crack and a tingle sound as pieces of crystal strands fall.

    “Crystal Spider!” calls out Yaesha. As he fires several arrows at it. Flecks of crystal shot up as two arrows strike the crystalline elemental. The spider attacks Olan which opens it up to other attacks from the caravan. The creature is destroyed quickly.

    That night they reach Draj. Once they pay tribute (bribe) the gate guards they go in with little trouble. The group are paid their wages with a small bonus.

    During the next week, Drak makes a few more weapons. He sells the shortbows and arrows. He even finds an elf in the black market willing to buy the shadow weave suit. He is cautious but business is business.

    Olan, with Koe’s aid successfully creates a MW level Kama. It took a lot of silver and attempts.

  8. #18
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    DARKSUN: THE ELEMENTS OF EVIL
    SEGMENT 017
    “WHAT HAPPENED IN KET?”
    05/30/19
    SEASON: FRIEND’S VENGEANCE YEAR 24
    MONTH: THE ELEMENTS
    DAY: 10
    KA: 190

    The group is hanging out at Kes’trel’s Roost. Koe is having a rare Broy drink as Drak has his “sweet drink” (elven wine). Olan and Choro are talking about life in general- the weather, certain templars, nobles and people.

    Yaesha stomps in from outside. He is clearly upset about something. He grabs a jug of broy and plops down hard in a chair making it creak loudly. He takes a deep gulp and slaps down the jug. Choro considers going over to him to cheer him up but a messenger comes in. The messenger quietly but with great urgency gives the message to Yaesha. His face becomes red with anger and shouts at the messenger to leave. For a few brief and quick moments his mind races through what he has been told. He turns and stares the group. “Koe. If I could have a word with you.”

    Drak watches as the mul gets up and humbly walks over and sits down next to his caravan leader. He and the others try to eavesdrop without being obvious. They have little success.

    “I have a problem Koe. I have urgent business that only I can do elsewhere. Now…. Now I have learned of another urgent bit of business. One I can not do. Bartis and the others are away on other jobs near Tyr. This leaves you. You and the other three.” Koe nods showing he understands and to go on. “For a trade company to get to the size we are, to get to the power and influence we are, we often must deal in….. grey areas.”

    “Go on.” Koe says.

    “I am certain you are aware we brought something to Alturak in secret. Something considered illegal in the larger cities. While there, a dispute broke out between preservers and defilers. You defended the caravan’s wagon as asked of you. I appreciate that. It has proved to me you can be trusted. We have lost a small caravan north-east of here. A small but very profitable delivery. Have you ever heard of Drajah Weed?”

    “No.”

    “In our books it is listed as a spice. It is really a drug that empowers people with psionic talents. It makes them stronger for a short time period. It is considered illegal contraband in the cities. As such, it is highly sought after and expensive. We get two crops a year from a little known town called Ket. The last shipment was due last week. It never came. It STILL has not arrived.”

    Koe awaits and knows what is to come.

    “I need you Koe, I need you to lead them to Ket. I need you to find and recover the shipment. I need to know what happened to it so that it can not happen again.”

    Drak crosses his antenna in agitation. Koe is the leader.

    “To find Ket, travel the King’s Road NE. It does exist. It is merely rarely used beyond Draj. Most of the places on it are not very understanding of the cities on the Tablelands. About four days away you will see a standing stone. It has the mark of Tsalaxa on it. That is where you now travel towards an inland silt basin with an island made of mud, sand and silt. A very long wooden bridge connects the island with the mainland. Find the house agent Massa Hickxen. She can help you if you need help.”

    “Race?”

    “Race… half-elf.”

    “Very well. We go.”

    “Go as soon as possible.”

    Within the hour, the four of them are exiting the gate and turn NE. There is only a small footpath that connects small villages to Draj. Then there is not even that. Drak uses his tracking skill to find sand and silt covered hardened dirt- the remains of the King’s Road going NE.

    They packed some food and water. They didn’t take any animal mounts except for Choro’s Inix. Koe never asked about the size of the cart. So he went with the biggest animal they had available for them.

    MONTH: THE ELEMENTS DAY: 14

    “klik…. This is it…?” asks the thri-kreen as he pauses at a pile of cemented stones with a single rune carved on the top stone.

    “Yes.” States Koe.

    They turn to go past the standing stone towards a grey mass on the horizon. A basin of silt. Shortly they spot a dark line within the greyness. A bridge!

    Koe frowns at what he sees. The bridge is old dry wood tied together with giant-hair rope. It is between 7 and 10 feet wide. A small cart would take up the entire space. The inix will not fit on the bridge. An inix left alone would soon die in this silt covered area. A problem.

    “Inix must stay. Choro, your power is great but you must stay also. Guard your mount.”

    “…… okay.” Answers the half-giant- clearly disappointed.

    “I will stay with you also.” Offers the tiefling.

    Koe considers this. “Fine. Drak and I will go to Ket. Get answers. Return with cargo. Then inix pull it back to Draj.”

    The thri-kreen clicks his mandibles twice then starts across the bridge. The wooden structure stretches from a series of stone piles every 150 to 200 feet.

    “This bridge…. Klik klik …is long.”

    “Over a half-mile according to Yaesha.”

    “Half-way then?”

    “Possibly.”

    “Klik…. Hear something.”

    “Wind… blowing silt.” Begins Koe. Then he hears it. A low level buzzing. The two bridge walkers look out across the silt horizon. “The sound is coming from the bridge ahead of us.”

    “No. Klik. Next to.” And the thri-kreen prepares for battle.

    Dots of dark grey appear near the bridge. Five creatures, about the size of a small dog can be seen flying side to side near the bridge coming at them at a high speed. Koe readies his sling. This bridge is a bad place to fight.

    “Bad… idea to …click.. separate… clik-kik…. Group.”

    The giant Silt Flies fly directly past them following the bridge’s edge towards land.

    “Drak…. Do we have a problem?”

    “Olan…. Do we have a problem?”

    “Boredom. We have boredom.”

    “Then let’s talk.” Offers the half-giant.

    “About?”

    A moment or two goes by. “Silver Springs.” Offers Choro.

    “Silver Springs. You mean the elves- especially Lilapaul.” Olan smirks.

    Choro sheepishly smiles. “Yes. The temptress.”

    “It is merely a job…. A service she does to earn income for the elves. There is no shame in that.”

    “Would you…. You know. Would you?”

    “I go to her to learn who I am. Nothing more.”

    “You are Olan.”

    “I know I am Olan- but WHO am I?”

    “I do not understand.”

    “As a baby I was found in a dirty alley in Raam by my father. He managed to bring me to his home- his nest. Not an easy task. As a he is a tari- I weighted more than he did even then.”

    “I thought you were a new race…. Born of the desert.”

    “No. I am something else. According to Lilapaul I am not a new race. I am a … Tiefling.”

    “Do all tieflings have red skin, horns and a tail?”

    “ I don’t know. But she said I have brothers and sisters. At least one lives within a city here. The others on islands in the Sea of Silt.”

    “Do you believe her?”

    “I have no reason to disbelieve her.”

    “She is an elf.”

    “Racist.”

    They both laugh softly and without mirth at that. They watch the silt blow about for a while before Olan speaks up again.

    “What about you. You are looking for family also.”

    “Yes. My mother, father and Goro- my brother. I have not seen them in two years. I miss them. Miss them greatly.”

    “Those gloves you have…. You use them to find your family.”

    “Yes. They give me answers. They give psychic impressions to me.”

    “Psychic impressions?”

    “May I borrow one of your daggers?” Olan unsheathes a bone dagger

    “Hmmmmm…..” Choro works his gloves over the dagger. “Outsider……a being not of our world. Male.”

    “Last I knew.”

    “Rogue….. ugh! This is one of the blades you made from a Gith. It wasn’t dead yet when Drak started to remove the bone.”

    Olan takes the blade back but staring in disgust and disbelief. Then he hears something. Buzzing.

    “Something is coming. From the silt.”

    Choro spots the sound. Giant insects. He doesn’t want to be bothered. He reaches out with his mind and the flies become glazed with ice and heavy. They fly lower and nearly into the silt. A second shot kills them as they fall into and sink into the depths of the silt.

  9. #19
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    DARKSUN: THE ELEMENTS OF EVIL
    SEGMENT 018
    “KET NO MORE”
    05/30/19
    SEASON: FRIEND’S VENGEANCE YEAR 24
    MONTH: THE ELEMENTS
    DAY: 14
    KA: 190

    “Land?” asks the thri-kreen.

    “Yes.” Answers the Mul as he spies the dark grey land mass partially hidden by the air-born silt.

    As they reach the island Koe notes the change of environment. The silt is crumbly as it has absorbed moisture from below and the mud of the island. Tall stands of grass rise out of the silt at the edge of the mud. A packed mud path leads from the bridge to a series of old wooden shacks.

    The path has a knocked over wheel barrel. Several doors are ajar. Koe gently pushes one open. It creaks louder than he had hoped. Inside…horror. There are no windows on this large 20X30 foot structure. Inside are shredded blankets. Bits of chewed leather and afgari manticles. A few small metal locks. Blood stains. Koe breaks down the scene quickly. Slaves were kept here. Something slaughtered them as they slept. Something that shredded their bodies, restraints and blankets.

    Koe breaks through the doorway and goes to another building. Again…. Slain slaves. Koe is becoming irate. His mul aggression is building and looking for an escape. Drak finds a better built building. Koe snarls and goes in.

    A storage area. It has been gone through. Boxes and crates are tumbled over and some opened with their contents spilled on the floor. All food and water has been taken. Curtains are set up as barriers and walls. He pulls one aside and finds….. beds.

    Outside Drak is checking out another building. Shredded cloth… the smell of blood. Tiny tracks made in the pools of blood that once were people. Drak is hungry.

    Clean, soft beds. Quality sheets and blankets. Locked chests that he ignores. In small dressers are quality clothing. Travel and work clothes. All clean and well kept. One set belongs to a female and the other to a male. Non-slaves…..

    Outside, the thri-kreen steps out of a building and hears something. People. He looking up the path and sees two shuffling humans. Their hands and feet are chained.

    “Help us!” they cry out sobbing.

    The thri-kreen watches. And waits.

    Silt begins to ripple and puff into the air from the side of the two surviving slaves. Suddenly two centipedes burst from the silt and attack the slaves. One screams out “Save us!” then dies. The other tries to fend off the centipede but goes down. Drak watches until he is sure there is no immediate danger to him or the mul. The Clutch leader.

    Koe searches the rest of the building. The people in this building had it much better than the…. Others. Furniture, clothes, possessions….. even a card table with a game set up but never finished. Koe storms out of the buildings furious at these events. He sees the thri-kreen barbarian scout looking with interest ahead of them. Koe sees a bloody leg rising from the silt ahead of him. He rushes to it.

    “They just died. Just now. They look… chewed…..”

    “Yes. They called. Centipedes attacked. They leave after dropping them.”

    “YOU. WATCHED. THIS?” Says Koe as he slowly turns to face the thri-kreen.

    “YOU COULD HAVE…. STOPPED IT?”

    “klik…. No.”

    “DID. YOU. EVEN…TRY?”

    Before Drak can answer the monk attacks him with a trip.

    The thri-kreen easily leaps over the attempt. “No. klik…. No try. They die.”

    “WHY?!? Because they were slaves?!?”

    A second attempt that strikes the kreen but he holds his ground. “No. Dead.”

    The barbarian pushes back and the mul, very emotional and unbalanced, falls over as he stumbles into the gooey mud. The thri-kreen tries to pin him and finds himself pulled into the mud. They grapple and roll in the mud. Dry silt sticks to the wet mud making both look like diseased earth elementals.

    Someone begins to clap and laugh at the sight of the two of them fighting.

    Back at the bridge, the half-giant Choro and the Tiefling Olan are talking about life in general. Then Choro spots movement in the silt. Several white shells ride to the surface of the silt traveling along the edge of the land about fifty feet out.

    Choro calls up power to psionically defend them while Olan pulls out two daggers. The ripple in the silt disappears as it dives under the silt and under the bridge. They resurface after the bridge- dozens of them.

    “Uh…. What are those?” asks Choro as his imagination races.

    Spitting out mud, Koe looks up, his anger spent and his awareness of being watched takes hold. Two people dressed in light grey tattered robes stands about forty feet away. Near them stands a 20 foot tall skeleton. On its shoulder sits another grey cloaked man. Even from here, they can tell his skin is dark grey in color.

    “Who are you?” The mul demands.

    “Magic users.” Answers the thri-kreen.

    “Take care of them. I need to check on the patrol.” Calls out the humanoid on the shoulder of the giant.
    The giant skeleton turns away even as Koe charges. He knows these are magic users. The best way to deal with them is up close and personal.

    Drak takes a step forward then thinks about the damaged chitin. The monk attacked with the intention of taking him down. Take down a clutch mate.

    The two opponents are startled at how quickly the mul has charged even in the hardened mud. One is stunned and stumbles back unable to breath. The other calls up a spiritual weapon in the shape of a large club.

    Koe keeps them busy so that the spells do not work. One cleric, the non-stunned one, decides this mul is too dangerous for him. He castes a spell on himself and he turns into air-bourn silt and drifts away with the gentle breeze in the direction of the huge skeleton.

    Unable to caste a spell still, the remaining Silt Cleric is easily tripped into the mud and grappled to the mud face first. “Tell me what is happening? Where is Massa? Where is the Drajah? What did you do with…. The people?” Koe can not bring himself to say the word- slaves.

    “I say nothing! May the Silt rise and swallow you whoooooole-ahghgh!” The cleric curses at the mul as his face is pushed deep into the mud. Koe lifts his head up to allow him to breath.

    “It will enter your eyes and lungs. It will-“ SNAP

    Koe has broken his neck.

    “There is great evil here.” Then he pauses. Drak is not there.

    Several buildings up, Drak is being watched from within a building.

  10. #20
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    Magsman (Lvl 14)

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    DARKSUN: THE ELEMENTS OF EVIL
    SEGMENT 019
    “MASSA HICKXEN”
    05/31/19
    SEASON: FRIEND’S VENGEANCE YEAR 24
    MONTH: THE ELEMENTS
    DAY: 14
    KA: 190

    Drak moves to and from on the path waiting for the mul. Koe is checking over the silt cleric’s body. He is hoping for clues. All he finds is two slabs of mica encasing a bit of silt used as a necklace and focus piece. It may not be a clue but it is proof…. Of sorts. He rips it off the cleric’s body and stands up to survey the area. There is no sign of the giant skeleton nor the cleric riding it.

    It is not here so he walks up to the thri-kreen. “Where do you think you are going Drak?”

    “Klik- all dead…….vik vik….. nothing to be found here. Collect others. Go home.”

    “No.”

    “Why? All dead. No ….weed.”

    “No answers. We need to learn more first.”

    The kreen crosses his antennae in aggravation. Then he hears something- something in the storage building Koe was in before. Koe has also heard it and has moved to the doors to enter the building. The door slowly opens with a creak. A human head slowly and cautiously comes out. Koe grabs a headful of hair and pulls the human out abruptly. The poorly dressed human man squeals in pain and surprise as he is dragged to a kneeling position. Even as Koe notes that the man’s hands are bound, a second slave is thrust out the door between the monk and the person inside. A woman dressed in fine leather armor and a fine light blue scarf steps out using the two slaves as a meat shield.

    Drak hopes to reach the conflict from the backside. He hops up into an opening that acts as a window. He lands quietly and walks up through the storage area. He spots two beds. One has two chests on it. Both are open- one unlocked and the other broken into. The contents of both are gone.

    “Who are you?” demands Koe.

    “No. Who are you?” Commands the woman. Koe notes her hand is one the hilt of the short sword she has sheathed on her belt.

    “Koe.” He states. “House Tsalaxa.”

    “Really? I rather doubt that.” She says peering side to side. Then she hears the chitin shelled feet of the thri-kreen behind her. “You with the Silt Clerics?!?”

    “Tik Tik No. Tsalaxa. We come from…Draj. Come for caravan…..weed.”

    She frowns as she directs her attention and glare from the mul to the kreen and back.

    “Why are you here? You have come to get me away?”

    Koe seems furiously stunned. “Drajah Weed…. And the people.”

    “All of the slaves are dead. Over 100. Twenty men and woman- good men and women have also died. Only I and four slaves remain.”

    “Over 100 good men and women are dead. Down to you and two more good people.” He says with growing fury in his eyes. “What has happened? Where is the caravan of Drajah Weed?”

    She stares at the mul hoping to intimidate him. She doesn’t. “The caravan delivery should have reached Draj by now.”

    “No. No caravan.”

    “He left last week. He was on the bridge….. then the undead came. Dozens of skeletons. The leader of the silt clerics referred to them as his Patrol. His undead came. Killed nearly every man and woman here….even the others.”

    “Others? Slaves?”

    She doesn’t answer. She understands what muls are capable of. Especially angry ones.

    She begins towards the bridge. “There is nothing left in Ket to salvage. Let’s go back. Back to Draj and House Tsalaxa.”

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