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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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?


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.

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.

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.”


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.

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.


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

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.”


“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.


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.”

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.


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.




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.

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


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.


“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.

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?”


“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.”


“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.

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.”


“Momma beat him.”

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


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.


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?”


“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.


“…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.”


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.

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.”


“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……]

“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.

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?”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?”


“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… 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.


“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?”


“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.


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.”


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.

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.


“klik…. No.”


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.

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.”


“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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