UNDER A DARKSUN: ELEMENTS

DARKSUN: THE ELEMENTS OF EVIL
SEGMENT 000
“THE INTRO”

SEASON: FRIEND’S VENGEANCE YEAR 24
MONTH: NOBLE
DAY: 10
KA: 190


Recently, my group wanted to try something different so I did a short-TERM Darksun game. They enjoyed it enough that we will now try a Darksun campaign.

My Darksun campaign is 3.5 that is a mix of several conversions. Along with these are some of my own changes.

One change is time, months mainly. I have 13 months of 28 days each. This was done to make time easier to track in my DM Notes. As with my past Eberron Storyhours/campaigns, I carefully record events from campaigns, novels and books. I feel it creates a more “realistic” world.

Advanced beings are still 20 psionic class and 20 of a magic user class. I am hoping to run this campaign into Epic Levels. We will start at level 5.

Since to reach high levels in 3.5 edition one must battle high level opponents to advance I am allowing more planar type creatures to appear within the game. There are some references to fiends and other planes but it is no where near as common as say Forgotten Realms or even Eberron.

We may also be playing a less “Lawful Good” kind of campaign. One player, learning I had detailed how to become a dragon as a prestige class has voiced hopes of exploring this. Darksun tends to be a darker style of playing so it is expected.

Themes I will touch on include the individual city-states, their rulers and the trade houses associated with the city-states. Slavery and People on the run will have a chance to tell their story. The battle between Preserving magic and Defiler magic will be dealt with. I hope to explore Athas beyond the Tablelands including maybe a trip to Ur Draxa. Then there is the stuff my players are talking about. “Good Intensions” and “Ambition” being some of what is being hinted at.

I will also be picking up where I left off with my “Under A Darksun” storyhour which may influence events here. That remains to be seen.

As always, I encourage questions, comments or critiques of the story content. I am not a professional writer and this shows but I still care and like interaction.
 

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DARKSUN: THE ELEMENTS OF EVIL
SEGMENT 001
“CREATURES OF THE NIGHT”
SEASON: FRIEND’S VENGEANCE YEAR 24
MONTH: NOBLE
DAY: 10
KA: 190

The lair is dark and cool since it is deep underground. It is in a section of broken up land known as badlands between the city-states of Raam and Draj but to the south. The humanoids and new races that live here avoid this section. Many raiding parties have come here and never return. Never. Return.

The underground lair was once a temple dedicated to the water. A lot of water. Water of the likes that have not been seen in 1000’s of years. Maybe longer. Myth and Legend is like that. Hard to define and even harder to prove. A secret door leads to secret tunnels that travel deep into the earth- under the badlands. The tunnels have mosaics of blue tiles with creatures similar to those of today. Creatures in purple and green with thick shells on their backs and others with tentacles.

Thin roots and moss grow here, cultivated by the current resident. The resident consumes it for energy. But unlike most gardeners, the consumption is not food but to power spells. Though the resident is a defiler, these plants are not destroyed. They are the emergency back-up. The resident also uses The Will & The Way. Psionics.

Psionics and Magic.

A deadly mix.

A deadly mix made worse with knowledge.

“Did you find the amulet Quarrell?” A woman hidden in shadows that dance under the influence of several lit candles.

“Maaaaaybe. Maybe not. Why ask that you already know?”

“Do not make me punish you. Do you still possess it? Do you possess the amulet held by Clu?”

“Clu no longer needs it. Clu has no throat for it. Clu wanders the realm of The Grey.”

“Go to the caravan. It leaves at daybreak when Kalak’s lackey’s open the main gate. Hide the amulet in the usual way. When it reaches Draj I will collect it. You will get your reward then.”

“Oh Gooooody-goody-goody. I do like my playthings. The last one you gave me broke.”

“Stupid Imp. Don’t play so rough.”

“You would call me names? Some day….. some day….”

A soft but malicious giggle followed by a warning tone- “Some day what dear Quarrell? Some day what?”

Heeeeee-hee-hee….. “Nothing. Just saying.”

The resident waves over the reflective Mica and ends the scrying spell. “Someday indeed.”

Meanwhile- hidden to the north- outside of the Tyr Valley several people sit in a circle around a camp fire. They try to meet once or twice a year within this grove. They met out of respect, friendship and to learn what can be done to heal the world.

Earth Cleric Jenner, a member of the Preserver Knights and Korgunard, a powerful psion and preserver were the last to arrive. Before them came a pyreen (powerful fey creature) Par-Alar , Grate, an ex-gladiator dwarf now member of a nearby slave tribe and the druid Zero whom watches over this camp and the grove it sits hidden within. One other man sits here. He looks human but his eyes speak of pain and sorrow. His one arm seems mutated. It is scaly and has talons on it. He is known now only as The Wanderer.

“Is it true? You have discovered an answer to the Sorcerer-Kings and Queens?” asks the tall elf like woman.

The man with the strange arm smiles and nods in the affirmative. “Yes. I believe so.”

“What is it?” asks the Cleric covered with dirt and grit, more than one should have from long days and nights of traveling.

“Surely a powerful weapon from the days of war. As a gladiator I should be the one to wield it.” Declares the hairless dwarf. “I would gladly take it and stuff it up Kalak’s shriveled old man butt!”

“I have little doubt you would Grate. But it is not a hand-held weapon. It is a new weapon. One much like them. It came from a scroll I found in the Silt Sea. A preserver with psionics named Avangion wrote it hundreds…. May longer…. Years ago. It is a spell powered by psionics.”

“oh.” Mumbles the disappointed gladiator.

Zero speaks up with concern in his voice. “Magic? Will that harm our world further?”

“It will be preserver magic. On a grand scale…. But not destructive.”

“Then let us use it. I can gather up the leaders of the Veiled Alliance of each city-state-…”

“No. It is untested. It suggests a possible mutation. I will not wish that onto anyone.” Korgunard whispers while trying (and failing miserably) to not look at The Wanderer’s arm. “I will research it further then, when it is time to test it, I shall be the first test subject.”

“Then it is agreed. We will return here on the 10th day of month of Elements.”

Each place a hand over their mouths, signifying silence and an oath to save the world. The meeting is over. Some leave. Some stay to talk. All have a lighter spirit.




On an island long forgotten about, sits a ruin half buried in blowing silt. Few have been here since the days of Silt. Few but there have been. A lone tall standing elf dressed in worn rags with a facemask that resembles a Silt Horror with mica shields to see through, climbs within the ruins.

He defies the element of air as it blows against him. He struggles to climb a broken but sturdy wall but does so. Soon the sun, a dark sun, will rise. But first- he wants to call out. He wants to call out to the silt around him.

He shouts and waves his arms in triumph. The silt billows up into a series of waves. “Thankyou! Thankyou for your gifts!” the elf calls out in his native tongue. Strangely, the silt doesn’t seem to choke him nor bother him. Each have accepted the other.

He turns and looks below and motions. Others, mostly elves, begin to climb the wall…. To welcome the power of…. Silt.



A man sits on a straw mat facing the tall and stabbing Ringing Mountains. From his vantage point he believes he can see and sense everything beyond the mountains before him and down the steep cliffs into the Kreen country. The world has become wretched and dying. He has been meditating and focusing on that very subject. How can Athas be saved? Can Athas be saved? Should one even bother?

Yes.

There is beauty and compassion in the world. Not so much within the city-states like Tyr and Urik, but in the surrounding country side. His mind travels through the valley searching for ideas and clues. A child… of all persons… an innocent child is thinking about this very subject in a dwarven village near Tyr. The child shows wisdom for his age.

“Mother…. Mother where is father?”

An answer is given. One that saddens the child.

“War? Perhaps King Kalak and King Hamanu should have a sit-down like we do. Maybe they need a time out. You know- a redo. To make things better.”

The powerful psion can sense and feel the mother grasp and hug the child. It calms him and gives him a sense of security.

Still in a dream-like state the psion, Pharistes, thinks out loud….. “…. A redo. To make things better.”

His eyes snap open and he exclaims “The Psionatrix!”.



There are many forces out on this day. Many indeed. But they will all crossover. It begins on a trade road between Raam and Draj. Several travelers looking for not just survival….. but also for direction.
 

DARKSUN: THE ELEMENTS OF EVIL
SEGMENT 002
“ELEMENTAL BEAST: EARTH”
05/07/19
SEASON: FRIEND’S VENGEANCE YEAR 24
MONTH: NOBLE
DAY: 15
KA: 190

“Stop him!” calls out the lumbering half-giant. “He’s our…. Gasp…. Guide.”

“You stop him! He and that creature are too fast!” yells back the new race creature. His black hair flaps about his horns and red fore head.

The mul in robes wearing a thick leather belt says nothing. He is chasing down the rogue teammate- Drak’Chka, a Thri-kreen.

Drak was on guard and heard something running their way. As he called to the others in his new Click, his mind was invaded with thoughts of “Run with me”. So he did. Koe, the Mul monk has heard of these creatures before. A Dune Runner. Undead elves that are cursed to run the remainder of their unnatural existence. Now the newly formed group are chasing the Kreen and the undead.

Even though it is the coolest time of day (pre-dawn) the Half-giant is sweating and unsteady on his feet. Despite his size, he is a mindbender, a psion, not a conditioned warrior. Chasing insect people and undead in the dark is no fun. To make matters worse- they are moving into Boulder Fields which have loose rock and stone covering the ground. It makes footing dangerous.

As the sun begins to rise giving a stunning purple skyline, the undead begins to drift away. The thri-kreen slows down then stops- utterly confused on what he is doing here. Koe is the first to catch up with Drak. As he understands the power of the undead elven runner, he says little. Olan, the horned red skinned new race is not so quiet or understanding. “What is the meaning of running after that?!? You couldn’t be hungry already.” Choro can’t speak. The half-giant his knees and pants.

“We….. have lost…. The King’s Road.” He gasps in short gasps of air.

The Thri-kreen barbarian looks about. “North.” And looks NE.

“North…. Is that ….way. Aw Crap…. I hurt.”

The four of them rest for a few minutes then begin North again. They are headed towards Draj hoping for work or a good (and paying) cause to do. They had camped the night before within sight of the famous trade road connecting all of the City-States on the Tablelands.

Around noon, the sun is brutally bearing down on the four. Drak seems to be enjoying himself as he hopes from large stone to large stone. Koe and Olan move forward hoping the lose stones will give way to sand soon. Choro brings up the rear. He is not much of an outdoorsman. That said, it is he that hears the creature first.

The sun’s heat is making the rocks hot to the touch and in some cases even pop as trapped gases within or under the rocks escape suddenly. Choro doesn’t hear a single pop but a grating sound. Something is nearby….. on the other side of a very large boulder.

Koe marches on even with a quiet warning and spots a rising mound of dark stone and earth. It has a slightly lizard-like shape but measures over eight feet long. Black obsidian eyes lock onto the monk and it charges at him. The rocks seem to part way for this Elemental Earth Beast. It charges into and slams into him. Not backing down, Koe steps into a defensive posture. Before he can strike the psion of the group, Choro, concentrates on the foe. Everyone picks up a slight and quiet swirl of a raging fire then suddenly the elemental is encased by localized fire. The Thri-kreen stabs at it with his javelin. Olan throws a bone dagger at it. The bone dagger shatters (Nat 1 with second nat 1) striking the elemental. Koe punches at it doing some damage but the psion blasts it again with an Energy Ray and the elemental breaks apart into a pile of stone and earth.
 

DARKSUN: THE ELEMENTS OF EVIL
SEGMENT 003
“GITH AMBUSHERS & HOUSE TSALAXA”
05/07/19
SEASON: FRIEND’S VENGEANCE YEAR 24
MONTH: NOBLE
DAY: 15
KA: 190

Moving on, the Thri-kreen spots movement ahead of them. Gith.

These hunched over gaunt creatures wield thick obsidian heavy spears that are equal parts spear and club. There are seven of them and they have their backs to them. Poe and Olan are beginning to back-up and away from them when Choro has a misstep on the rocks and creates a loud crack sound. Not that it mattered, Drak’Chka was already moving in to attack. He leaps up onto a large boulder and moves in throwing his javelins.

The four of them make short work of the gith. Looking further ahead, they can see the King’s Road and a caravan. If they hurry, they can reach the caravan before it passes them.

There are four heavy Crodlu, two with riders that are pulling wagons and two that have a few extra bags on their saddles. The two riders seem nervous as they are searching the boulder fields for trouble.

The four of them walk slowly from the rocks and boulders to the edge of the road. The two riders seem uncomfortable with a half-giant and a thri-kreen coming to them but they slow down and stop anyway. The crodlu are restless and requires effort to keep them steady.

“Have you seen any Gith near here?” commands a bearded man with a thick compound bow and a longsword (metal!) at his side. “They are raiding again and I fear they have killed most of my riders and their mounts.”

“Yes. We just encountered several of them. They were watching you from back there.” Choro says while pointing behind him.

Koe looks at his house flag. Black with yellow serpentine eyes….. Draj’s House Tsalaxa.

“I am Yaesha Tsalaxa. I offer you employment. I have need of new guards to get us and this cargo to Draj. If you agree, I can pay you well.”

Three of the travelers look at each other. This is what they had hoped for so why are they not jumping at the opportunity? Koe looks at him. He has done some caravan work before. No house can be truly trusted, especially House Shom. Tsalaxa has some dark rumors….. “Very well. If you then get us into Draj also.”

“Agreed.”

No one speaks for the first hour as they ride on. The caravan is moving slower than Yaesha would prefer. The half-giant is too big and heavy to ride these already tired crodlus. Koe also refuses to ride. Drak has no problem moving ahead of the caravan. He remains always within fifty feet however. If the gith are hunting, it is important to stay together.

And it was a wise decision on his part as the Thri-kreen spots a Gith ambush. He calls out the warning and moves towards the gith hiding behind a few boulders. Over 20 gith are hiding and ambushing the caravan.

Yaesha begins to call out orders as silt and dust rise into the air (Obscuring Mist Darksun style). Koe quickly moves up and defends the caravan leader. The others move to the edge of the cloud to defend the remaining portions of the caravan.

Yaesha is surprised as he witnesses the mul stand his ground then punch, kick and swirl about like a dancer. The whole time Gith are dropping with broken necks and crushed ribcages. The Thri-kreen takes down a few with his javelins until he is out of them. With klic-klak of his mandibles, he beckons the gith on. Olan throws daggers at anything that moves. The half-giant animates a spear held by the leading gith whom stops to control his own spear. This draws the attention of a specific gith. Several more duplicate gith appear and encircle the half-giant.

The battle goes back and forth with no clear winner until the Thri-kreen welcomes his hunter’s rage and attacks. His four clawed arms tear into gith dropping them in his path. Yaesha goes for his sword which beckons on a stronger looking gith. Koe steps between them.

The psion is forced to back up as he finds himself without the mental energy to continue his psychic attacks. He surprises even himself as he downs gith with a single blow from his normal sized staff. When the second caravan rider tries to run over gith in the way of his mount and wagon, their “wall” of gith breaks apart. Drak and Koe clean up the gith quickly. The magic user sees what is happening and calls for a retreat.

Only he escapes and that is after the thri-kreen has attacked on illusion (Mirror Image) instead of the real gith.

Tired and slightly beaten, the caravan camps a few hours out of Draj. Draj would have closed their doors before they reached the mud flats so it is better to camp here.

With renewed respect for their abilities, Yaesha offers food, water and bandaging. Drak turns him down. The thri-kreen is happily eating gith and giving the bones to Olan to craft new replacement dangers made of bone.

The caravan leader learns a little bit about each new member. Some of this is outright spoken and other bits are deduced by tone and reaction. Koe has caravan experience. He doesn’t like House Shom and has mixed feelings about being in a caravan. Drak is like any kreen. So long as he hunts and has a click to belong to he is happy. Choro is a mindbender. Despite being a half-giant, his talents are psionics but he doesn’t seem to have much for combative abilities. Olan is a mystery. He is a new race (Tiefling- NOT a new race) and has a focus on skills. This is not a bad thing. He also admires the New Race’s crafting ability of bone daggers.

From talking to Yaesha Tsalaxa, the group has a sense he is an honest man but capable of hiding the truth. He is a house leader after all. Olan really wants to check out the carts but never gets a chance to.

Before they know it, they sleep with Drak watching over them and happily- there are no undead this time to interrupt him.
 

DARKSUN: THE ELEMENTS OF EVIL
SEGMENT 004
“DRAJ”
05/07/19
SEASON: FRIEND’S VENGEANCE YEAR 24
MONTH: NOBLE
DAY: 16
KA: 190

In the distance the four travelers and two caravan members spot birds in the sky. These are not the vulture-like kes’trals they typically see in the desert. These are different birds. Gentle song singing birds. Beyond them you see the rising distant walls of Draj.

The cracked dry earth becomes red and high in nutrients as you move closer. Then becomes damp in areas with low shrubs and spaced out grass. The city is surrounded by mud fields. A lone Stone block road connects the desert to the city. To access the bridge, one must bypass the city’s templars.

Nearly a dozen of these robed men and women stand on the bridgeway. They have headbands with brightly colored feathers and tassels made from cloth or leather that are equally bright.

Olan eavesdrops carefully as several templars walk up to Yaesha. “Is there a problem Gracco?”

“Only if you or house have decided to smuggle in goods on the restricted list.” Answers the lead templar. “I have orders to inspect every caravan, every rider and every cart or wagon that crosses this way. And you know how I follow my King’s laws.”

“Yes. Yes I do.” The caravan leader motions slightly. A small bag of coin drops from his hand into the templar’s and the pouch disappears into the folds instantly. The templars draw back and return to their stations as Gracco motions you forward.

“Problems?” asks Choro.

“Nothing already budgeted into the cost of doing business.”

The crodlu hop over cracks in the stone and the wagons thump and thud along. “What are we bringing in?” Yaesha gives a stern look of don’t ask.

The half-giant and the others walk by slaves that are growing crops in the mud flats. Another scarier sight is the slaves dumping and submerging the dead into the mud. “Fertilizer” comments the one rider. Choro wonders how many other dead are buried here…. And what other secrets are here- under the mud’s surface.

After a mile of riding over the mud they arrive at the city gates. Yaesha looks at the templars here. Another shakedown. There has been increased Veiled Alliance activity. The King of the Two Moons, King Tectuktitlay, has declared a state of heightened vigilance. Another payoff later and they find themselves in the city.

It is not long before they reach the Tsalaxa Compound. Two buildings and a watchtower are within high walls. There is even an animal pen for the crodlus.

“You have done well. You would make excellent caravan workers…. If you so wished.” Yaesha directs this comment at the mul. The mul remains silent. “At least allow me to offer some drink and shelter for the night. Then we can maybe talk shop.”

“Welcome to The Kes’stral’s Roost.” The first floor of the biggest building a small tavern. Several tables are available. One has a dwarf and two humans whom watch with curiosity as the group come in. “These are my friends and deserve to be treated as such.” Yaesha declares as he stands by the bar. The elf is scared of the thri-kreen. And for good reason, ask any travelers or elf- thri-kreen eat elves.

“What do you have?” asks the monk.

“We… we have water…. Broy and ah… ahahaha….. wine.”

“Water.” And the elf is quick to get his water.

“What is….clik… Broy?” asks the kreen oblivious to the elf’s discomfort.

“Fermented Kank…. Ah nectar.”

“Try” and the elf with unsteady hands gets the thri-kreen some broy.

Choro understands they do not need to pay. “Broy- make it three.”

Scared but now annoyed at the half-giant’s greed- the elf gets a half-cup. The half-giant looks like someone just kicked his puppy.

Olan watches two other employees playing darts. He moves to them and begins a discussion with Shim and Sham.

“All of this could be offered to you. Silver a day. Free food and water. Little perks like this. We have similar outposts in each city. All of this and get paid.”

Koe frowns as he stares down his water.

“Every city?” asks Choro as he motions for a refill.

“Yes.”

Koe is the last to agree but he does. Even though he dislikes caravans and trade houses.
 

DARKSUN: THE ELEMENTS OF EVIL
SEGMENT 005
“RAAM”
05/10/19
SEASON: FRIEND’S VENGEANCE YEAR 24
MONTH: NOBLE
DAY: 23
KA: 190

Drak is busy checking over the edges of the throwing stars he has made for sharpness. He has been using his saliva to make the Chatkcha to bide his time. And maybe raise some money. Olan has finished crafting his bone daggers. Koe has been meditating and keeping to himself in the bunkhouse. Choros has been asking around about a half-giant within Draj.

Yaesha Tsalaxa checks in daily with all four of them. He has looked at the rogue’s dagger. He appreciates the craftsmanship. Though he feels the thri-kreen is no doubt creating excellent weapons himself, he doesn’t like bothering the kreen. The kreen is a hunter and keeping him within the city is making him dangerous.

Koe does as asked though he mentally questions everything. Choros is like a puppet. A mysterious puppet but a puppet none the less.

Yaesha Tsalaxa of House Tsalaxa feels he understands enough about the four to trust them. And even if he didn’t, Yada has supported them. She is the Matron of the family.

Three carts full of bright and colorful fabric, spices, dried rice and hemp rope are readied for trade. Due to increased Gith activity, Yaesha has decided on 16 total riders. 5 scouts (himself and the four new recruits), 3 cargo riders, four guards and four rear guards. He hopes this will persuade any raids by Gith.

Shortly after daybreak, the Tsalaxa compound seems to awaken. Crodlus, reptilian bi-pedal mounts. Heavy Crodlu can pull wagons and defend themselves effectively.

Yaesha leads the caravan out of the compound. He is wishes to be the second caravan to leave the city. The first caravan is generally hit with the full effect of the templar’s greed and any new surprise laws the king as decreed. The second caravan generally gets a gentler attack as the first uses up most templar’s energy.

The crodlus drive a wedge through the few remaining crowds from the night and those setting up for the day. Unless there is someone the king wants, there are generally no stopping by guards as you leave the city- only going in. The caravan is meeting up with the main guard once they exit the stone block bridge. The three carts thump and thud over the cracks as you go out. Slaves are already at work in the mud. They are collecting weeds with strong tasting roots that can be used for flavoring spice.

Before long you see eight crodlu and their riders. They do not look happy which further bothers Yaesha as he comes up to the final guard station. A female templar comes out onto the stone wielding a staff. She thumps it twice on the stone. Two large half-giants come out of brush along with additional guards and templars.

“What do you carry today Tsalaxa?” the woman more demands than asks. With more than a hint of intimidation she further goes on “Where do go with this ….caravan?” She walks over to the closest cart and pulls back a tarp to begin inspecting. “Well? Does the kirre have your tongue?”

“Gate Templar Marpuma- Praise the Moons. We carry Hemp ropes of Draj, Fabrics by the city’s best weavers and….coin.” Yaesha, with a pleasant smile on his face, bows. A small pouch is in his hand , caught in his fingers. The raven haired templar notes the pouch but continues to look at the colorful and extremely soft fabric in the cart.

Choros can not help himself as he rolls his eyes. He understands the need for it but is not impressed by this custom. Worse- one of the half-giant guards has picked his nose. A dry gummy green snot is rolled between his fingers and he wipes it off on the shoulder of the other half-giant whom is busy checking out one of the female caravan riders.

She pokes around the cart again and returns to the fabric. “I do not want your petty coins Tsalaxa. There are reports of the Alliance planning something to embarrass the king. I am to inspect ALL carts that come and go. She walks up to him and swiftly swings about snatching the pouch from his hand. “I hope you would inform me of any and all illegal passage of magic contraband if you were aware of it.”

She walks to the edge of the stone block as it makes contact with the soft earth then spins around abruptly and with drama. Her dark purple robe spins and lifts above her shins as she does this. “You have new workers. Slaves?” She asks as she peers at Choro, a half-giant and Koe, a Mul. “I pay them as any freeman.”

“Really?”

“Paid men want to be paid- while a slave would allow any to attack and take the caravan and myself away.”

“Indeed- never trust a slave.” She pauses as if remembering something from less than deep memory. “Begone! Take your crap and you ex-slaves and leave my sight. If attacked by Gith- kill as many as you can before dying yourselves.” She thumps her staff twice again and the half-giants step aside along with the other templars and guards.

It takes two days for the Heavy Crodlu caravan to cross the King’s Road to Raam. As much as he can, Yaesha teaches what he can of traveling and survival skills to the new employees. Occasionally they spot signs of Gith or other creatures but encounter none otherwise.

DAY 25 RAAM

The dry pebbly sand slowly gives way to green sprouts of grass. In the distance, as the green grass rises in rolling hills, you can see the white walls of Raam. The road sweeps to and fro with deep ditches and ledges. It is clear, no army could quickly charge the city and any attempt would break up the formation. It is a simple defense but a good one.

No one asks much about the city itself. Olan does mention he grew up here but offers little else. Yaesha has mentioned during the campfires that Raam was once a great mining city. Gems, silver and crystals were in great abundance within the hillsides and nearby mountains. The city worships the nature goddess- Badna. The sorcerer-Queen- Abalach-Re, acts as the goddess’ high priestess.

As they near the city’s caravan gate, several templars come directly at the Tsalaxa Caravan. “A good day to you, Templars of Raam. I am Yaesha Tsalaxa and this is Tsalaxa’s caravan. We bring much needed rice to your city for sale or trade.”

The lead templar, a man with a series of scars on his right cheek, snarls at Yaesha. “I care little for you or this cursed city. What do you carry? More than rice I dare hope.” Yaesha, ever pleasant to a templar at a city gate, waves to a crodlu rider. As the rider moves back the templar waves his own hand and makes a very quickly spoken words with a “Move Slowly.” The man, entranced, moves slowly. He lifts a small tarp exposing small blankets of bright colored cloth and patterns. The eyes on the templar rise sharply. “Raam silk is the world’s best. Why sell it back to us?”

“Your silk is truly beautiful. Draj can only dying it. It looks very nice on you.”

The templar yanks it free from the crodlu. “Aye, my third wife would love it.”

“Then please- take it as a gift.”

“Bah! Crussa is an ugly whore. But Vara….. my lover……” He walks away with it. As he passes a templar that was watching, this templar rushes forward. “I have a wife… and a lover also.”

“I would be a poor guest if I did not offer you….. and her a gift also.”

Once inside the gate Yaesha begins to grumble. The templars are getting greedy in Raam. “Aid the others to unload the remaining blankets, fabric and dried rice. Leave the hemp rope and silk line for Tyr. You have two hours before we leave. Here is what I owe you thus far. Get a drink or a woman…. Whatever you wish but return within the two hours. I will leave without you.”

Not far away is a tavern aimed at caravan workers. It is called The Traveler’s Triumph. The sign has a happy, slightly drunken caravan worker holding a foaming mug.

Inside there five tables and a small stage for women (or men) to dance. A merchant sits back enjoying a drink. Two others are at another table. One is clearly drunk, Two tables have been dragged together and are very rowdy. The six travelers are wearing a black and red shield with three white dragonflies. House Shom.

The noble gets up. Between the rowdy Shom caravanners and this new group of travelers made up of summoned creatures and ex-slaves…..

Drak has never had alcohol and asks for one- anything alcoholic. Koe requests water. Choro and Olan get Broy. Drak isn’t overly impressed with broy. Olan makes a comment that sounds more like a squeak of an animal. Poe asks what that was. Olan answers in more squeaks then in common- “Tari.”

“What is…. Tari?” the gruff Monk asks.

“My adopted father speaks it. He and his entire father speak it.”

“And a good day” spoken in Tari can be heard from the table with two men. Keeping to the traditional greeting Olan answers back “May it get better for both of us.”

“I thought only my house spoke Tari. Welcome to Raam. I am Elias. I am of House Blewes.”

“I have not heard of this…. House Blewes.” Answers Koe. Drak swaps cups with Koe to wash out the taste of Broy. It doesn’t go unseen but is tolerated by the mul.

“Who are Tari?” asks Choros.

“Survivors.” Answers Olan.

“They live in Tyr and Raam. Some also live in the ruins. They have an incredible knack for finding items- especially in the ruins.

A loud roar of laughter erupts from the Shom table as one worker has grabbed a dancer and wrestles with her. Koe tenses up but know to fight one Shom member means fighting all Shom members. An experience he doesn’t want to repeat again any time soon. The man’s belt somehow comes undone and his pants fall to the floor. The girl escapes his grasp and moves to a different section- more wary of the grabbing Shom workers. Choros smirks as he finishes his drink using the cup to hide his smirk.

“House Tsalaxa you say. I understand they pay well but once in you are in for life….. as long of a life as you have.”

“Klik kik….. Kouse Klewes…?” asks the thri-kreen.

“House Blewes is owned and run by Greene Blewes. We are a very small trade house. We hire ourselves out to other tradehouses.”

Elias looks over and sees his drunken friend is waking up. “I must go now. It was good to meet you Olan. May your day get better.”

“We should be going too.” Replies Koe while staring down the Shom table. “The air will be much better out there.”
 

DARKSUN: THE ELEMENTS OF EVIL
SEGMENT 006
“ID FIEND & SILVER SPRINGS”
05/10/19
SEASON: FRIEND’S VENGEANCE YEAR 24
MONTH: NOBLE
DAY: 27
KA: 190

During camp, House of Blewes is brought up. Yaesha seems to like them but feels they will never amount to anything. They are too small and Greene Blewes seems happy being small. Their chief caravanner, Butch, he respects a great deal.

Several days later they spot a large lizard standing next to the road. Yaesha recognizes it as an Id Fiend. A psionic creature that is a danger to slow moving caravans. He has the new four take it down. He watches and learns. Poe and Choro are the most dangerous. The thri-kreen can be dangerous but seems to not have matured yet. Olan….. he makes great looking bone daggers.

MONTH: THE SUN
DAY 1

During the morning meal, Yaesha warns everyone about their next stop- Silver Springs. There is nothing Silver about this place he warns.

There is no known oasis that can support a caravan within 30 miles of this place. This is why they do so well. The Silver Hands run it. Yes- elves that are not nomadic. They have rules within their clan that hold only within the walls. They try not to directly steal from people but will outside of the walls. What they do within the walls is no less dangerous or treacherous however. They will try to sell whatever they find in ruins nearby and “raided” by others caravans.

We will be there for three hours. One hour will be taken to watch over the animals and our cargo. Any damage our animals do they expect payment for and generally will get. See those walls? Highly skilled archers sit there. They can hit anything within the walls with ease. They are rumored to have defilers on their payroll also.

And Drak- they don’t much like Thri-kreen. Just stay with the animals and the carts.

Olan has the first two shifts off and decides to look around. Looking around is safe. What could happen?

He decides to visit a small series of tents that are used to sell goods. A female elf is here and smiles sweetly at him. Her smile falters briefly as she looks at his facial features. Red skin, course black hair, pointed ears and ridged horns that begin on his forehead and sweep back over his ears. The woman has cheap knives and clubs for sale. Olan’s own work is much better than these. “How much?” The price she gives is higher than he sells his for also.

Another elven woman strolls over. She wears thin robes with bits of leather on them. It covers just enough to conceal her womanly bits but entices. “Hello traveler.” She glares at the original elf whom nods and leaves without further comments. “What do you seek?”

Olan smiles. He remembers the wording….”Don’t touch.” “Nothing really. Just looking.” She flirts further then steps out from the booth.

“I like the look. I like the horns and…. It that a tail?”

“No….. that …aw…. Is in the back.”

She gently trails her fingers across his chest. “I have never actually seen one of you…. In person.”

“I uh…. I’m a New Race.”

“ummmm-hummmmm” and she traces his thickest vein up his neck to his chin.

“New Race? Perhaps. But I don’t think so.”

She stands before him and slides a hand gently up his jaw line and teases his ear. It is driving him crazy.

Yaesha looks over and frown. He motions for Choro to come over.

“ummmm… hee…. Not a New Race? Wha…What makes you say that?” His tail is flitting about now.

“I have seen your kind. In my dreams. Mummmmmm….. have you seen me in your dreams?” Her hand, above his ear swirls about and she purrs a few words….. magical words. He likes her. Yaesha must be wrong suggesting she or any of the elves here could be trouble.

“Ummmm….. I was told….. uh….”

“Tell me sweetie. Tell Lilapaul everything. Tell me all of your desires and… secrets.” She plucks a few hairs free from his horn.

“Olan- you should come back to the carts. Your watch will begin soon.” Offers the half-giant.

“I was about to tell Lilapaul about my childhood….”

“Charmed. I’m certain of it. Come over and tell us about the Tari instead. Good day ma’am.” And Choro leads the charmed tiefling away from her.

She watches them leave. She knows she will meet him again. Yes- most clearly. As she holds up several dark strands of black hair.
 

DARKSUN: THE ELEMENTS OF EVIL
SEGMENT 007
“TO TYR”
05/10/19
SEASON: FRIEND’S VENGEANCE YEAR 24
MONTH: THE SUN
DAY: 2
KA: 190

One day away from the infamous Silver Springs, the caravan is attacked by twelve skeletons covered in a dark green fungus. Drak hops up onto a large flat rock and throws javelins down at the passing skeletons. Choro blows them up with a sickening crack of pure cold. Poe punches and kicks them down growing wary of the sludge on their boney bodies. Olan takes done one after borrowing a weapon from another guard. Yaesha takes down several with his arrows as he destroys skulls and rib cages.

DAY 4
A crazed Air Elemental Beast is spotted flanking the caravan. It roars and stirs up dust and sand as it watches the group. The mixed in sand further enrages it but the group has bypassed it before it attacks.

DAY 5
The caravan spots a reflective golden dome in the distance. Behind it are the ever tall Ringing Mountains. The Golden Dome is King Kalak’s palace in Tyr.

“Remember, once we stop at the Tsalaxa House, you have until dawn to return. After that, our gates close and will not open. Any caught outside in the streets are questioned then generally put to work as a slave to work on the Rainbow Ziggurat.” Yaesha Tsalaxa reminds everyone- the new four scouts and the veterans.

As is the case with all city guards and templars, the caravan is stopped and quested. A bribe speeds the search along. The bigger the bribe, the quicker and easier the caravan moves through. The unexpected levels of bribery at Draj and Raam has depleted most of the house’s set aside moneys for this. Yaesha must put up with a full fifteen minutes of inspection and hold up by Tyr’s Templars. Templar Tam especially seems determined to hold them up.

Inside, they go to their walled in section and other workers begin to unpack the carts. Barkus Tsalaxa seems impatient with them. He is the lead man here in Tyr. He seems very impatient and quick to temper. The scouts are not impressed with him but feel they can move on. Its not their problem.

Drak wants to but a quarterstaff. They have little luck talking to people about where to go but one of the caravan men suggests Grik’s Weapons. It is located near the entrance of the city.

Near the beginning of Caravan Way, they find a sign with several weapons crossed and a yellow head on it. They guess this to be Grik’s. As they enter a robed man and a heavily scarred mul are arguing. “I am sorry, but I have no magical weapons- especially a spear made from Afgari wood. “Kalak Lives Another Day!” curses the man as he turns. The mul waits until the man leaves then welcomes them.

“I am….looking for ….quarterstaff.” Stats the Thri-kreen.

“I have a few.” The mul pulls some staffs he had set a side. “Are any of these what you are looking for?” The thri-kreen looks at each.

Before a decision is made Koe speaks up. “I know much about weapons of the arena. And even more about weapons like these. You are taller than many. You need a taller staff.”

Drak and Grik look at him with a look a parent gives a disruptive child. “Longer….please.”

Grik looks directly at the other mul then goes to the back. A few moments later, Grik comes out with a staff six foot long. Based on the marking on one end, this was once a longspear. Drak wants it and buys it. Grik notices the several Chatkchas on his belt harness.

“Did you make those yourself?”

“Yes. Do you like? Do you buy?” responds the kreen as he detaches on to show the ex-gladiator.

Grik pulls three of them.

Olan offers his bone daggers but Grik has dozens already.

“We have several hours still. Where to?” asks the thirsty half-giant.

They wander back through Caravan Way and the Tsalaxa Compound. The market is near the Ziggurat so they walk that way. They spot a sign depicting a yelling or belching dwarf and a cask of wine. They go here (The Screaming Cellar). Koe gets water and the rest get the cheaper wine. This, This Drak likes and asks for more with his antennas outreaching and bopping.

Sitting here they talk about what they have seen and done in the past three weeks together. Especially about Olan and the prostitute at Silver Springs. “But she was nice!” he defends himself by saying. Choro, lost in thought, stares at the cup before him. He then pulls out a pair of leather gloves from his hip pouch and puts them on. Koe watches out of curiosity.

Seeing the mul watching the half-giant, Olan asks about the gloves. “I was just thinkin’.”

“Your brother?”

“Yes. Maybe Goro was here…. Like we are.”

“That’s why you agreed to caravan work- to travel and maybe find your missing family that way.”

“Might..klik=klik…. Work.”

“Would you like more?” asks a happy and merry dwarf. “Yes” answers the Thri-kreen. “I like….wine.”

“My grandfather would be proud. He started this wineshop some fifty plus years ago.”

“Is that-“Koe points to a picture on the wall of a happy dwarf holding a wine casket-“ him?”

“Yes. That is… was Portus. This shop was and still is his focus.”

“He is still here?” asks Choro.

“Yes. In the cellar. He keeps the thieves out- especially at night.”

Choros eye brows raise at that. He suspects what is being hinted at. The others take the dwarf very literally.

After they finish their drinks they leave again. They wander towards the front of the construction and make the mistake of looking at the many thousands of slaves working. A templar chases them away whom threatens to put them to work.

They wander back to the market but see nothing that interests them. Koe however spots a man dressed in fine clothes walk into a rougher and poor area. Curious he follows and the others follow.

The man looks around as he stops at the stoop of a badly kept building. He then goes inside. There are no signs outside suggesting the name or type of business done inside. Koe directly travels to the building. Pauses only to listen then moves onward.

A curtain blocks his view but he hears from inside “The Nest is Clean”.

The mul waits until the others arrives then goes inside through the curtain. A large and muscular half-giant blocks his way. There appears to be a tavern with merchants, artisans and travelers all inside drinking and talking.

He goes in and notes a curtain blocking the entire wall. Shadows below reveal there are people behind the curtain. Noting his curiosity, a man dressed in dirt covered brown and tan robes comes up to him. “Hello. Password?”

Koe is caught flat footed. What could be the password and for what? Then remembers what he heard- “The nest is clean.”

The man looks him over nods and steps aside. Choro peeks in. He looks around then steps back to tell the others what he sees. When he turns next he is head to chin with the guard. “Password.”

“Password?!?” Choro stumbles. He wish he had better thought reading skills. “I’m thirsty?”

“Go Way.”

“But my-“

“Go Way or Cujo Hurt.”

A few more men come in. “The nest is clean.” And they go by.

Smiling even though the psion hates to take advantage of the guard’s inept skills he begins to recite what he just heard- “The nest is-“

“Wait- Choro help me. Drak is acting strangely!” calls out the “New Race”.

Choro turns and instead of seeing his two friends he sees a large Tarek marching up to the door. His musk is strong and nearly brings tears to his eyes. He brushes past Choro with great ease and storms into the tavern. “Rib Breaker has returned!” He bellows.

Cujo seems more impressed with the Tarek than doing his work guarding the doorway. Choro steps in easily and after a few moments trying to reason with the kreen, Olan also steps in.

“Rib Breaker want Champion. Rib Breaker break champion!”

“Is he starting trouble? I don’t think your doorman can handle him.” Says Koe to the man in the dirty clothes.

“Think you can though?!?” snarls a drunken man dressed with hides of a green and black animal.

“Yes.” Koe states as a matter of fact.

The man leaps from his chair and Koe open palm strikes him in the neck. He tumbles back into and beyond his chair. The robed man is quick to pull dirt from a pocket and hold it to the barbarian’s throat.
“Made from dirt, Dirt can made man. Thankyou earth and your spirit. Thank you.”

The earth cleric slowly gets up. “You are here to fight? If so, I suspect you will have willing partners.”

Poe looks to the crowd. “Pit Fight?”.

“Such a nasty word and one that suggests it is illegal. Which it isn’t unless a templar gets a share of it- a big share. If you believe you can fight and win the cost of entry is three silver. You get a share of the house’s take. The house take is a piece of the bets made here. We keep a clean fight. No weapons- only armor is allowed. No magic. No purposeful deaths. I am here to keep people functioning. I do a bit of healing with each fight. Extra healing will cost you.”

“I want you!” calls out a man wearing House Shom colors.

“Yes.” Is all the monk replies.

Olan is in and begins to take bets. He knows the mul is a monk. Easy money. The room almost brings tears to the people’s eyes as the musk increases as the Tarek becomes excited by the prospect of fighting. This musk keeps Drak out of the tavern.

The human caravanner lasts longer than the barbarian…. But that is all. This outrages many of the Shom people and locals.

A New Race covered in fur leaps into the arena made of a 20x25 foot sand covered floor. It is roped off separating the combatants from the crowd. This creature howls and snarls. His hair thickens and becomes much like bristles and his muscles and skin thicken. The fight is fairer. This Shifter seems to know some hand-to-hand fighting himself. Koe strikes several times but the beast-man snarls and smiles at the strikes. He strikes back raking him slightly drawing a warning from the cleric about illegal combat techniques. The shifter tries to trip the mul monk with a leg sweep. It is the beginning of the end. With his off leg, Koe steps on his swinging ankle pinning it and then with a short and strong step up he snaps the extended knee. The audible snap makes a few viewers pale. To give the man the benefit, he doesn’t quit. The cleric stops the fight however. The shifter can not defend himself.

Both are given healing treatments. Koe uses his healing belt to do extra healing as the Shifter is dragged out and placed next to the prior two. The barbarian has yet to stir.

“RARRRGH! Rib Breaker is next! Rib Breaker with break ribs- and neck!”

Koe smiles at the challenge. Even more so when it is learned Rib Breaker also works for House Shom. This will truly be a glorious day.

Olan finds someone to bet a gold piece with. This drives the betting to new heights. Choro finds one person willing to beat three silver but no more. Rib Breaker is impressive and has fought here before but this mul fights with grace that defies his nature and racial tendencies.

The tarek calls on his psionic latent ability. He becomes tougher and more resistant to damage. He has trained himself to better use this power and makes his armor better also. “Rib Breaker….Break!”

“Indeed.” Koe states as he goes into a new defensive stance. Rib Breaker charges and misses his target but so does Koe. This creature understands hand-to-hand fighting. Koe slids on the sank under the Tarek. As the Tarek looks down to grab him he receives two swift kicks to the head. This enrages him further. He punches down and misses. He gets two strikes again- groin and to the back of the knee. The tarek takes all of the strikes in stride.

At this point, Koe understands he has a dangerous opponent that could beat him. Most of the viewers call for Rib Breaker but a few are calling for the mul (they don’t know his name except for Olan and Choro. Olan is cheering away while Choro is wondering if he could psionically will a distraction and not get caught.

Koe is caught in a savage clothesline but flips about and lands on his feet and strikes twice more. He to stun the beast but all that happens is the muscles ripple from the impact. This goes back and forth- move and counter move. Strike and adjust. Be stricken and adjust. Just as Choro has decided to make the Tarek’s leather straps a bit tighter Ko strikes the beast’s neck. He is headbutted savagely then two more throat strikes. The tarek drops to a knee. The judge, knowing Tarek’s will fight to the death, stops the bout and gives it to the mul. Rib Breaker is not impressed and when he tries to restart the fight, the cleric stops him.

Koe uses more of the belt’s healing. He has spent six silver but won thirteen. He is ahead by seven silver- a week’s pay. One more match.

“Damned Monk! Yeah I know who you are. Still fight like a sissy. Did Bliss train you?” Koe knows the name. She is a monk that trains females only. Koe doesn’t take it as an insult but that was the intension. He searches the crowd for whom said it. A chant of “Cross” begins.

“Who is Cross?” Choro asks as he listens to the crowd’s chant. Cujo, the dim-witted half-giant door guard replies- “Tembo Nest’s Champion. 15 victories. No losses.”

A blonde haired man surrounded by three beautiful women calls to Koe. “I am the champion here. Do you want a REAL fight?” He takes off his tunic and hands it to one of the women.

“I will fight.” Answers Koe.

Bets run wild and rampant. The house will have a good night.

The battle begins. Each combatant steps cautiously and slowly. Poe had assumed the man knew the martial arts of a monk but his stances are incorrect. That said, they are still stances that allow for defense and counter strikes. This man is an experienced brawler- a professional pit fighter.

Koe strikes first staggering the man. The man then punches and does a spinning back hand. One hits but it hits hard. It goes like this. Koe strikes most times and the man named Cross strikes once but each seem to harm the other equally. The man’s quickness and solid strong hits are equal to Koe’s techniques. Then Koe is given a duel strike to the ribs. One can be heard breaking. Before he can gasp Cross strikes with a double axe=handle to Koe’s head driving his head down into a quickly rising knee. The cleric ends it. Cross remains undefeated. [DM NOTES: Whoever landed the next blow would have won]

Spitting up blood, Koe falls to the sand floor and finally gasps for air. Cross walks up to him and glares down at him. “I hate Monks. All Monks.” And he reaches down to help Koe up. “Doesn’t mean I have to disrespect them however.” He whispers to Koe’s ear as he steadies him.

Each are getting patched up. Koe steps over to him. “You fight well comrade. I buy you a drink.”

“Later Mul. I want to enjoy the crowd…. And my ladies first.”

“Here then?”

“No. Tembo’s Nest will be closed within 30 minutes. Move to a new place for tomorrow. Maybe try the Blue Tavern. It’s near the Caravan way.”

“I will find it.” And Koe leaves.

Olan has just chased down and gotten paid (finally) from the Rib Breaker match…. Which paid for his loses against Cross. Choro lost money in the end but that is okay. Drak only saw the second half of the Cross match. He waited until Rib Breaker left. He wants to fight but Thri-kreen are not allowed in the Tembo’s Nest due to their advantages of talons, bite and poison.

“It is near dark. We better get going.” Choro reminds everyone.

“Go on. I will be back by daybreak.” Answers Koe as he buys an entire bottle of wine and begins to take some Ral’s Breath (powerful numbing agent) for his ribs.

Shortly Koe is waiting at the Blue Tavern. Just as he believes he has been stood-up, Cross enters. “Thought I wouldn’t come? I did consider it.” The professional fighter sits down hard on a chair. Koe motions for him to have a drink. “My thanks Mul.”

“Koe. My hame is Koe.”

“Sure Mul.” He smiles and wants for a reply at his verbal stab. He doesn’t get one.

“You mention Bliss. You know Bliss?” Koe asks with a hard and stern look.

“Only when the ladies are looking to please me.”

“Not what I meant.”

“I know what you meant. I’ve been to Nibenay before. Fought there. Ran into some of your fighting buddies. They handed me my young backside easily.”

“You know Thong?”

“He is your teacher I’m guessing. Heard of him. Never met him…. Or her for that matter.”

Koe is searching his thoughts. Cross is entertaining his own.

“You fight well for one untrained by a Master.”

“Master? Hell- surviving on the streets is a tougher master than Thong or Bliss. Are we going any where with this? I don’t really like thinking about my days in the City of Shadows.”

“Neither do I. Good talk. Go.”

“Yeah…. Thanks for the fight.” And Cross gets up and limbs out.

Koe finds it is dark. He hears cursing as a templar is going his way. He leaps up and crawls onto a roof. He sleeps here for the night with his bottle of wine.

Back at the compound, Olan spots Barkus and Yaesha in the courtyard. They are having tense words about something. He tries to eases drop but can’t make out any words. Yaesha storms into the building. Angry he looks about. “Where is Koe?”

Olan shrugs. Choro pretends to be asleep. Drak continues to work his spittle to create weapon-heads for the staff he bought earlier today.

“Damned mul! He better be here before we leave or I WILL leave him for the templars.”
 

DARKSUN: THE ELEMENTS OF EVIL
SEGMENT 008
“I DREAMED OF A TIEFLING”
05/10/19
SEASON: FRIEND’S VENGEANCE YEAR 24
MONTH: THE SUN
DAY: 4
KA: 190

Koe made it back just in time. He nearly scaled the gates to get in. Not in the mood to fight as his mind is elsewhere, Yaesha doesn’t ask. Koe would not have answered anyway.

On the second day of the return trip to Draj they encounter their first sand storm. Compared to most storms, this one is weak (20-30 MPH winds only). The worse that happens is the King’s Road is covered up. Between Yaesha and Drak’s tracking and wilderness skills, they easily stay on course until they travel beyond the storm’s influence.

DAY 5 Silver Springs-

Olan is nervous.

They can see Silver Springs in the distance already. The caravan stops and “The Keeper of The Walls”, sitting high on the wall with his magic bow works out payment with Yaesha. They go in and stop. Once more, there will be three one hour shifts. The group decide to arrange they watch the animals at first shift then locate the elf named Lilapaul.

Drak has made the elves very nervous. He is making eye contact with all of the elves on the wall. He means no harm but feels it is like a game.

Koe and Choros follow Olan when their shift is over. They go to the market as before. A different female elf is here this time. She has old cups and eating utensils. Choros looks them over and pulls out his gloves. The equally suspicious and curious elf watches as he picks up a cup. Koe asks the distracted elven maiden where Lilapaul is. Not taking her eyes off of the gloves the half-giant is wearing she motions to the other half of the camp.

Koe leaves to search for her.

“A human. Long time ago. Human merchant…..” the psion begins to read the psychic impressions made on the cup.

The mul asks another elf about Lilapaul. With a sly smile, the elf directs him to a large tent just within view. “She is seeing visitors today.”

Koe spots a large tent near the warrior’s tents. Small animal skulls and bones dangle from Spider Cactus lines near the entrance. Koe stops before it. Just as he is about to call out to her the flap opens on its own. A gentle breeze tickles his ear. He ignores the sensation. “Come in Fierce Warrior. Come in to see me- Lilapaul.” With a loud humph- the mul goes in.

The large tent is split in two by a large curtain. On this side are dozens of large pillows. Colorful streamers, ribbons and scarves hang from the ceiling and lines within the room. Poe can just make out her female outline. “Where is your friend? Where is Olan Sarnyu?”

Koe knows this is not good that she knows his last name. Koe didn’t even know his last name. “Please get comfortable Koe. I prefer my visitors to be comfortable.” Despite himself, Koe stacks a few pillows and sits down….. ready to strike.

She steps out from the curtain. Slowly and sensually. Koe resists her easily. “Olan is at the market.”

“I know. I had hoped you would agree to get him. Tell me Koe- is your will that strong or do you not like the female body?” Koe says nothing. Smiling with triumph, she brings her hands slowly to her face- fanning out her fingers to entice him once more. He doesn’t look- nor flinch. She covers her mouth and whispers into her hands whom then open and she gently blows her palm and thus caste a spell.

Outside, Olan receives a whispering Wind message. “Come to me my handsome being. I await you with stirring emotion.”

“….from a ruin south of here- really?” Choro continues to talk to the young woman about the cups her clan has found in ruins nearby. Then he sees Olan is leaving with a goofy smile on his face. “Here you go. It’s nice but doesn’t fit my existing set.” And he hurries after his friend.

He suspects he is at the correct tent when the flap opens before him. He ducks his head and goes in. The flap closes as Choro begins to dunk himself to go through. Frowning at the slight, he pushes his way in.

Once more, she flirts and touches him with a mix of seduction and memorizing his features. “I have dreamed about you. You are powerful in my dreams.”

“I am?”

“He is?” adds Choro.

“You are the child of a being not of Athas.”

“Still a New Race though?”

“No. In my dreams I hear the word ‘Tiefling’ repeated.” She feels his brow.

“Tiefling?” questions Choro.

“I speak for and to Olan. Be quiet mindbender.” She says frowning at the distraction of her arts.

“Yes- a union of an outsider and a native.”

“Guess. I was raised by Tari.”

“Yes- I saw that. In the sewers and underground pockets of Raam. The Tari found you. They was great debate over your fate.”

“Yes. Only father wanted to save me.”

“Father. His name is Lord Balor. Mother. Lord …….. her name escapes me. But she is human.”

Olan holds onto every word.

“In time, I will learn her name.”

“A gold piece for your troubles.”

They leave and return to the oasis where the Crodlu are drinking.

In the defiler’s tent, Lilapaul holds new course black hairs to he nose and sniffs. A sly smile creases her otherwise young and beautiful face.
 

DARKSUN: THE ELEMENTS OF EVIL
SEGMENT 009
“VISITING BELGOI & THE END OF A PERFECT TRIP”
05/10/19
SEASON: FRIEND’S VENGEANCE YEAR 24
MONTH: THE SUN
DAY: 6
KA: 190

It has been several days since Olan learned his father’s name was Lord Balor. An outsider and his mother is human. He was not created by warped magics in the desert like other New races. Does he have siblings? Why was he abandoned?

He is still thinking about these when on guard duty with Choro and Drak.

It is hard to think with that damned bell Olan thinks to himself. That damned bell…. That bell is…. Over there…. Away from camp. Ting-ting-ting…….

Choro, also lost in thought, turns and sees the Thri-kreen is walking away. He remembers the Dune Runner. “No!” calls out the psion in a mix of getting the camp and the kreen’s attention. Koe is up and sprinting instantly. Yaesha can just hear the bell- “Belgoi! Belgoi!” The camp is instantly awakening at the cry of alarm by the caravan leader.

Three belgoi are trying to tear off a piece of chitin from Drak. Another has begun to eat Olan as he stands there motionless. Choro blasts that one first. Stunned, it steps back from the Tiefling and Yaesha places several arrows into it using the burning embers from the Energy Missile strike.

“Kill them all!” commands Yaesha. He has told them of stories around a campfire. Belgoi will follow a caravan for several nights slowly killing all members until no one is left.

Shortly, all four Belgoi are killed. Yaesha is still pleased. No one has died this trip. The first in many trips.

Koe decides to give Olan a “gift” to remember his brush with death. He gives him one of the belgoi bells used to charm victims. It makes no sounds when rung, but he thanks the mul and finds he is uncertain at what to do with it. For now he sticks the ceramic bell into his traveling pack and goes to sleep to recover his strength.

DAY 8
Olan considers trying to find father while they stop at Raam but doubts he could find him in such a short time. They trade off a few goods and water the animals before leaving for Draj once more.

DAY 9
The caravan has one more night before reaching home. In general, the mood is good. The trip has been profitable and no one has been seriously injured beyond Olan. The belgoi had absorbed much of his strength. He is weak and must ride in a wagon instead of on a mount.

DAY 11
They stop in Raam briefly. Olan spends the time recovering. Yaesha disappears for an hour but no one seems to mind or care.

DAY 12
The caravan riders are tired. Tomorrow they will return to Draj and get paid and relax. However, something is waiting for them on the edge of the road. It is using psionics to hide. As the caravan moves by the creature it attacks! A tembo!

It charges and leaps into the air and takes a rider down. He is bitten and raked. Dead. Koe quickly moves after it as well as Yaesha. The creature ducks under another rider and leaps up and kills another worker. Several solid strikes drop off. Koe is certain he struck the creature solidly but it shakes the impact off. Yaesha fires his arrows but most of them miss the elusive and quick creature. Choro blasts it with his mind. This seems to slow it down considerably. Drak stabs at it with his newly made Gythka.

Olan can hear the screams and chaos but has no strength to get up to look. Koe finishes it off.

So much for returning to Draj with no deaths.

DAY 13
They make it back to Draj. Yaesha pays everyone and hopes they remain. He sees to it that a cleric under the House Tsalaxa employment tends to recovering his strength and health.
 

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