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Under A Darksun Part II New Allies


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Cosa awakens and groggy. She is uncertain where anyone is and knows only there are hairy creatures within these woods, hungry cannibals and three men whom she distrusts. They seem to be looking for her. She hopes they are not slavers or worse- agents of Gulg looking to capture her for a reward.

One of the men is standing by the cave entrance. He seems slightly nervous to be there. The others are gone. Deciding this is the best time to possibly escape she carefully places her fingers on the ground. Being within the forest makes it easy to draw energy for a spell. Too easy. She cuts off the flow of energy quickly as she witnesses a few roots dry and crack above her.

She creeps forward until she is within range of the man. Though a possible slaver or agent of Gulg, he has not harmed her so she wishes to not kill him. She whispers the words while waving a hand with her fingers wavering a dead beetle husk falls from her palm.

It begins as the guard swats at a bug. Then another. Suddenly gnats swarm around his head and upper body. They are attracted to his sweat and subtle suggestion to swarm there. The man runs off trying to escape the swarm.

Cosa peers out and sees nothing so she leaves…. “Where are you Mania?”

The “young” man known to her as Mania is not far away but lost. Tracking in a forest with dry grass on the ground and trees surrounding him is very different from tracking in the open desert. His mentor, Dutch, a top caravan leader for House Blewes, mentioned how to track in these lands. It is not as much as the ground but also watching for damaged twigs, strands of fabric in the brush and even how the animals act. In the desert, one can hear sand blowing over rocks and see the wind patterns easily. Here, there are distractions of the wind in the trees and birds. So. Many. Damned. Birds.

He finds a trail. It has the small footprints of the halflings which strikes him as odd. They should be smarter than this. Then hesitating, he thinks it through. He has heard of Tembos doing this. One creature will purposely leave a track to distract followers as the others in a pack flank it. Looking about carefully he sees nothing but low brush and stunted trees. Then he looks higher. Ah- there we go.

A halfling is in the trees searching for him. He gets lower to the ground behind the brush and waits. A few minutes go by then he peeks up after hearing some strange bird calls. The halfling has moved on but recently.

Two women. He has lost two women…. No three women actually. Glaze disappeared many days ago. Belinda was taken by a Psion they now hunt. They being himself and Cosa. 112 was with them but has fallen once in this strange world called a forest. From what Dutch has told him, the forests beyond the Ringing Mountains are even thicker and more dangerous. Some day. For now he will find Cosa and Belinda first.

Walking near but not on a dry stream bed, he spots his quarry- “Cosa!”


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“Breakfast is ready.” Cosa announces.

The erdlu eggs were a welcome find. Escaping with them from an angry mother- not so welcome.

They discover a small trickling bit of water coming out of a crack in the rocks. They wash and later frolic in the water as young lovers will. Refreshed, they head out from the nice little grove. The whole time they were being watched an elven druid. She says and does nothing as the two have done nothing to harm her grove. That said, using birds and little creatures resembling rats with furry tails, the druid follows their progress to the NE.

“I hope she is okay.”

“I am sure Belinda is fine. From what we found out in North Ledo, it is someone whom knows her that has taken her. He is returning her to their home- in The Black Spine Mountains. We’ll see to it she is fine and if not, get her out of there.” Adds Mania watching a strange insect with large and colorful fluttering wings. “HEY! I know what that is! It was in one of your books…. A fire…. No…a fairfly…, a Fairy!”

“No silly boy. That is not a fairy. Those have been dead for several centuries. It’s a butterfly.” Giggling, she hurries after him and the butterfly. They give chase for several hundred feet until they find themselves exposed in a field of dry tall grass and brush. “What is that?”

Cosa motions to the forest’s edge once more. They can see remains of a stone structure largely surrounded by shade trees. Going there Mania slows down and places his hands on his weapons- two Singing Sticks. “I think we are not alone.” He nods to a spot near the structure. In the deep shadows, standing in thick green grass stands a dark slender figure.

“Maybe we should just go. I’m sure how close we are to the territories of Gulg or Nibenay but we don’t want to alert the Templars of either to know we are here.” Cosa adds placing a hand on his.

Watching the figure, they witness the figure drop to the knees as if injured. Both can’t help it but move forward towards the shadowed figure. As they get closer, they see a nude dark skinned female with elven traits but short- very short for an elf. Perhaps a child except for she has a grown woman’s figure. She has dropped to her knees next to a shallow pool of water that lies under the shadows of the trees here.

“Hello? Hello- What is wrong? Can we help?” Mania calls out.

A burst of small animals scurry away into the woods and birds fly away. Ripples within the water suggest animals moving away here also.

“We mean no harm.” Calls Cosa.

[DM NOTES nat 20 and 19 on saves- nice]

The young woman is crying and sobbing. Both the warrior and mage can feel her pain and sorrow. She is incredibly beautiful and seems like a perfect fit for this area.

She looks up , tears are streaming down her cheeks. “The land…..it is sick…. I weep for it.”

Looking warily to each other the two stop about 30ft from her. She is unlike anything they have seen. Mania looks her over carefully from foot to head and back. Trembling more than he realizes, he speaks softly to her. “Are you…. A Fey?” Cosa crushes his hand for suggesting such a thing.

The sobbing woman stops and sniffles a bit. She slowly gets up and turns around to face the darker areas of the forest. She looks over her shoulder in a tempting way and begins to walk away.

“No! please- wait. I want to talk to you. He would have chased after her if Cosa was not holding his wrist. The woman looks back once more then her dark skin begins to blend into the dark shadows and she disappears.

Together, Cosa and Mania cautiously walks to the pond and looks to where she disappeared. A small cave, maybe four foot high and wide can be seen. The woman’s home they guess. Before Mania can suggest they investigate something disturbs more birds from the ruins.


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“Sounds big.”

“Maybe we should just avoid it- leave.” Suggests Cosa.

They circle around the ruins. The stone building may have once been two stories tall but now only walls 4-8 feet tall remain. Lose stone liters the field and remains in piles near the main building.

“May be a threat to the woman. I want to check it out.”

Cosa hates the determination for Mania to defend “another” woman. Especially when Belinda is still missing and days away.

A shadow is moving and shifting in the remains of a doorway ahead of them. Besides “big” Mania can not identify it without peering into the ruins. As Mania leans against the wall and prepares to step into the doorway, Cosa steps on rocks on the ground that grind loudly against each other. Whatever is inside has heard her. The shadow grows and exits the doorway. Whatever is inside is at the exit now.

Mania gives her a dirty look then slowly peers in and sees a large Barbed Scorpion!

Mania reaches into his mind and envisions a shield to appear between the scorpion and himself. Cosa once more calls on energy from the surrounding forest. She releases it as a ray of concentrated heat like a mirror and the dark sun above. The air shimmers as the concentrated heat beam strikes the shell of the scorpion which blackens and cracks. The pain must be intense as the scorpion’s scream is intolerable. It charges ahead. Mania easily keeps his psionic defenses up as the claws pounce into it as it reaches for him. The stinger however goes over the shield and tags him on the back. Luckily for him, it is the armored barbs that strike- not the poisonous stinger.

Mania pushes forward and strikes the region of the scorpions head. Cosa begins to draw energy and can not cut off the flow. “NO!” she calls out and the spell is lost as the grass under her feet and the moss on the rocks shrivel and blacken. [nat 1 to draw power- ouch]. Distracted by her calling out, the stinger strikes Mania [confirmed crit] [sigh nat 1 Fort check also].

Mania’s swings are wild as he feels the poison within his body already [-7 CON total] and suddenly he feels that even if that woman was a Fey- she is on her own. Uneasy with the results of casting her scorching ray, Cosa calls on the forest’s power. She places her hand along the larger stone piece that acts as a door jam and shapes it. The large scorpion finds itself pinned as the rock pushes out and just pushes it into the other stones.

“Lets go. I’m not sure how long that will hold it.”

And thus they flee and Cosa has once more accidently defiled.


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“It” moved.

Yes “it”.

Keela is now beginning to show. She is pregnant with the King’s child. The other templars feel it is a good sign to conceive on the first try. Keela secretly wonders if they were ever raped by a eight foot tall gaunt reptilian creature. She hopes so. Oh how she hates them.

Her position within the templarate has increased with her pregnancy. She is pampered with scented bathes and silken clothes. She gets the best foods and even at times the first choice of goods “found” within the city. Not all of them had traces of blood on them. Stolen perhaps.

Sadly, to go with this, she is checked on by Nibenay, or at least his contacts, regularly. The creature Dhojakt, Nibenay’s son, checks the most often. It is a deed of pain and anguish no doubt. It reminds her that the “it” within her once looked like him and may be him. She can only hope not. The creature says he looks forward to having a new sibling. Most likely he has eaten the others. He even asked if I had names picked for “it”. The bastard.

At five months, she is roughly half way through it. She tries not to think about surviving the birthing. Birth is difficult on the mother normally. But as a creation of a Sorcerer-King it may be worse. For a brief moment she thinks about “him”. The malicious and seductive young man that fled the city with the bitch Cosa.

By the elements- so many need to pay for the suffering she has endured already. Next week her parents will pay. In a fit, she declared them traitors and had them imprisoned. They will be in the gladiatorial arena then. Perhaps they will rethink and regret forcing her into the marriage with Nibenay. Even if not, they will die pleading for their lives. She has arranged the gladiator known as Zukkuas to fight them. He is known for drawing out the match using barbed whips and armored gauntlets to beat his foes first.

Della enters the room quietly. The 10 year old girl has just recently arrived. She is much like herself. Her parents are merchants that sell the local nuts and spices to the locals and to House Shom to be traded to other cities. The girl was offered as a gift to the King to garner special rites to the forests where the nuts grow that they sell. The King took the gift and her younger sister- Lizza. Both will eventually become his wives.

“Would you like me to draw a bath for you today?” She asks with her eyes always to the ground. She never uses the word ‘Queen’. Being a wife to the King doesn’t give you that much rank here. There are after all over a hundred wives at any given week.

“No. I had one last night.” Keela walks to her mirror and sits down. On cue, the young girl hurries up to her.

“Brush your hair this morning?”

“Yes. You may brush my hair.”

The young girl begins to brush her hair. The brush is incredible to look at. It is made of the dark red Afgari wood with gems embedded on the back. Silver engravings of the faces of ages past rulers are depicted. It has a magical touch of purifying hair making it glisten and look golden. The young girl looks forward to when SHE will have her hair brushed with it.

Today, Keela must oversee a new project being begun in a section of city abandoned for the past three decades. Nibenay wishes for a new temple to be made for his personal use. She hopes it will be his tomb and if so, will hurry to get it constructed.


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“Comon Mania- just a little further to go.”

“Do ….do I get to throw up then?”

“Just another twenty steps and the brush will create a hiding space for us.”

“Oh. Bleeeeeeaaach.”

Sighs. “Better?”

“Yeah. Uhhhn….bleeeeeeearchkkkk.”

“You are leaving a trail. Stop it. I told you NOT to enter the ruins. If you die on me I’m going to kill you.”

“you too.” The very sick young man tries to stumble to the cover Cosa is directing him to. The poison is strong. He is sweating a thick oily sweat and pale. She knows he will not die. It is not his fate to do so. At least not from a scorpion, even if it was big enough for a half-giant to ride. As he falls onto the soft moss she notes the tears and puncture marks on the leather he is wearing. She’ll have to try to mend that but for now…. It is all about him.

It is not long before he is asleep. There is little she can do for him. Since he is lying on his side, she decides to mend his clothes first. Being careful to pull only a small bit of energy from the trees around them, she begins to mend the tears and holes. She wishes Belinda was here, Her powers over healing would make his recovery quicker.

Two hours go by and she decides to look into her notes. When in the Veiled Alliance of Nibenay, she had come across a journal with encoded writing and strange drawings on them. The Journal of Veena. Veena was believed to be a Veiled Alliance member of the past. She could see the future and wrote of it and did drawings within the book. Cosa has several pages of this journal. She wants to find more and was beginning to when life happened. She met Mania and everything changed.

Now, less than a year later, she has fled the relative safety of her underground home in Nibenay. She discovered Veena had ties to a team of repels known both as the Sentinels of Bodach and as the Preserver Knights. Though given little direction by them on where the missing pages are, they were seeking them. Then, as before, life happened. Now they seek to find their kidnapped fiend Belinda.

Looking at the one page, she sees what she believes is Mania. He stands as a leader on a battlefield. Fires with ruined cities and a somewhat reptilian creature is shown on one side and fleeing (or attacking) ordinary people with mountains and forests are on the other. Something in the sky resembled a humanoid moth or butterfly. The Pyreen they spoke to, Sar-Savos seemed both fearful and hopeful of seeing the image. His take on the image was Mania was the deciding factor in the battle for freedom or slavery, good vs evil. He didn’t know which Mania was.

Another page she had found was even harder to decipher. It has large stone heads carved and in different states of decay and wear within a thick forest. The words she could understand were “Valley of Wisdom”.

She spends three hours going over the two pages. Looking for anything she may have missed or misread and finds nothing new. Deciding it was time for a break, she carefully places the two pages away in a secure spot within her bag that has a hidden pouch normally reserved for her spell book. She checks on him one last time then takes their water skins and heads back to the ruins where the scorpion was. And a shallow pool.

The scorpion has left. She doesn’t see it anywhere so she continues across the grass to the shaded pool. She fills them both and gets a drink for herself. She tries not to but looks into the deep shadows where the woman was. Could Mania be correct? Could she have been a fey? She has seen stranger.

Capping the water skins, she returns to Mania. He is still burning up from the poison. She has arcane magic- not elemental magic. She can’t help him.


She is not sure if these are safe but she has found some berries to eat and returns to Mania with them and fresh water.

His fever sweats have stopped, That is a good sign. Many of his deep cuts and puncture marks are looking closed up also. He has a very good recovery rate for a non-Mul but this surprises her. But it is a good sign.

Later that day, she returns from a short walk when she notes there are berries in the bowl she did not pick. These berries look pristine and perfect also. Curious. Oh. And her bag has been touched. She always knots the strings left to right. The knot is right to left. Someone has been here.

Mania is healthy enough now to take food. She gives him some of the fresher looking berries. He eats them slowly with some juice dripping off his chin but he is getting better. She leaves to refill the water skins once more but this time hurries about it. When she returns, she finds her suspicions are true.

“Hello. How are we today?”

Startled, the Lampad rolls away from the bag and papers and into the deeper shadows of the trees.

“I can still see you. I mean you no harm. Have you been helping him? He is very sick.” Cosa asks giving a pause between each question or comment.

The naked short dark skinned woman stares are her from the safety of the dark shadows. Cosa sits down ten feet away. She crosses her legs and places her hand to the side and flat to the ground. And waits.

The woman tilts her head and watches back. It is clear she is curious. She chirps a few syllables and gives an strange animal like look. Cosa looks back and smiles. A slight hint of warmth and comforting smells can be detected in the air. Cosa reaches out with her inborn psionic power to detect certain dangers.

Having detected no harmful intentions from the creature before her she then reaches out while smiling warmly. She tries to charm the skittish woman. The woman smiles back and looks to Mania and motions to and fro between them.

“Are we a couple? Is that what you are wondering? Yes. Yes we are.” Cosa is beginning to think this is a young woman- maybe an early teenager.

“I am Cosa. And this is Mania.”

“Kozzah and Mana” the woman repeats.

“Co-Sah and Man-ia” she gently corrects. Pointing to her…. “And your name?”

The woman smiles sheepishly and skitters into the brush. She stops and looks at Cosa with a smile. “Lampad” and hurries off disappearing without a sound.

Concerned about her notes and spell book, Cosa checks on them and her bag in general. They are fine. Mania look even better and even groans and semi-awakens as he rolls over. “sup?” then closes his eyes with a goofy smile. He is snoring within a few minutes.

The fruit is clearly from their new friend and either very good for him or magically enhanced. He is awake but still tired that night. Cosa and he lay there in the dark whispering about their new friend and whatever comes to their minds. They hope to leave the next day or the day after.


Though not fully recovered still, Mania is up walking once more. They stop by the pool and refill their skins. There, sitting on a plucked lilly pad are fruits and nuts. Gifts from the fey guardian. Each thank the darkness nearby where they believe the woman lives before leaving.


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“Hold the chisel this way. Hold the chisel that way. Don’t you understand how to use a chisel?” Grumbles the man as he walks through the rocky natural maze-like area known as a Bad land. “No! No I don’t! I know how to stick the pointy end of my trident into a Gith. I know how to feint to the left and strike with the weapon on the right!” The man growls in utter frustration…. And loneliness.

The normally happy-go-lucky fighter is not having a good day. But his story wouldn’t be complete if we don’t go back a month or so in Nibenay. It started with a simple gathering of childhood friends in the private home of Temmnya Shom of House Shom.

“Oh I remember how he danced for you! He was a hopping and jumping about as you tossed those blades at his feet!” Hahahahahah Laughs a woman dressed in silks, pearls and gold. She has had at least one too many wines already…. And the night is young. Her name is Temmnya Shom.

Laughing with her is a woman dressed in fine clothes and a headpiece depicting a cobra with feathers. A gift from a now-dead suitor from Draj. She is spilling her own wine and has not noticed how drunken she has become. Her name is Veslah. She is a Templar-wife of Nibenay.

“Now I would use my magics to make him dance!” She laughs as she stabs at the air with her fingers splayed wide.

The servants are not impressed. “Accidents” often occurred when these two childhood friends got together. Many accidents that led to the death (s) of servants.

“Did you know his brother later came to me? He was on his knees pleading.” She sets down her drink and gets off the large pillows to kneel on the floor before the Templar. “Don’t hold my brother’s actions against us! Please! I’ll do anything! Anything!” a new burst of laughter escapes from both of them.

“Hahahah! I like it when you kneel before me! You are very good!” calls out the drunken templar.

“hahaha….. excuse me?”

Uh-oh. The servants, even the bards in the background, suddenly remember something urgent to do.

“I am your best childhood friend BUT…. But I am also your Templar.” Still smiling Veslah takes another sip. “Now, unless you have something in mind to do while there…. You may get up.”

“What?” Temmnya stumbles and over balances twice as she stands up right. “Do you insult me Veslah? Do you make me out to be a normal rabble person before you?!? I am…. Shom! Dropping to a knee she frowns at her spilt wine. The frown gets deeper as she notes she must pour herself more wine as all of the slaves have left the room.

“What do you suggest?” the templar snarls with increasing menace.

Both stare at each other.

“A contest!” Declares Veslah.

“A contest then!” clumsily Temmnya reseats herself. “A contest of…. “

“Champions!” and they laugh again. The braver slaves begin to return warily.

Two hours pass as the two drunken women hammer out the details (with no logic what-so-ever to it).

“The rules arsh simple then. You, Temmnya Shom, high ranshking member of the awesomely great house Shom will present a champion. I, The prettiest and most awesome of the king’s templars, will also presence a champion.”

“So on. It sounds greats sus far. “

Like two very bad actors the merchant and templar begin their contest of respect.

“I, Temmnya Shom, prrsence to you my champpeen- Seus. A Mul steps foreward. He twists his neck making a cracking sound. He thumps his spear twice on the ground then steps back.

“I thoughts is name was Zeus?”

“It is. Is Seus.”

“Okay then. It will be Zeus vs my champion- I give you……” she sweeps her arm to the side to point at where her champion would be. In doing so, the slave needs to dunk under her or be slapped. Perhaps being slapped would have been better. Veslah blinks trying to determine the truth at hand. “Where is my champion?”

Five minutes ago-
“Hurry Basik. The master is drunken and in a foul mood. She is drinking at House Shom again.” Stutters the slave in grave concern for his well being. “WE must be quick. Tonight we will go through her courtyard- not the rear entrance. Hurry.”

The human fighter rolls his eyes. He picks up his armor and follows. Whenever the two childhood friends get together someone dies or requires healing. He is slow to follow. He has never been allowed in the house. He is curious and looks around as they move. The servant is a room ahead of him now.

Something catches his eye in the dim light in a corner. If he must die tonight, he will enjoy whatever he can the positive minded fighter thinks. It is a dagger under glass. Curious. Trophy? The slave calls for him from two rooms away. “Hurry or we will both be killed!”

They move outside of the city walls where a guard motions for them to go. Basik sees his master and another woman leaning against each other. A muscular mul surrounded by guards stands behind them.

“Bashik….I should have you ‘ipped for making me and Tem wait.”

Basik is given a trident and a bone dagger. The mul has a stone spear and a stone dagger. “Thas rules are simple. We count to three and youse runs into the desert. You are to hunt and kills a gith. The first back with a head wins. Understoood?”

The mul and Basik look at their weapons, to each other, to their drunken masters then back to the city gates. They look to each other again and smile.

In a strangled sing-song, the two drunken women begin. “Ones….. a Twos…… THREE!”

The two warriors sprint away into the desert…. Into the dark.

Ten minutes later-

“Well?” asks Basik.

“The moons smile on us both. We are not being followed.” The two warriors do a fist bump and a farewell and flee.


The two women awaken in pain. Veslah curses to herself. Her hangover is so severe she can not recall the proper words to use to remove the toxins from her body magically. Temmnya doesn’t have templar magic to help her, but she does have grapes infused with the same spell that she eats one by one with most of the juices leaking out of her mouth. Neither clearly remembers why they have dirt and sand in their shoes. A naked slave is on the floor between them. His feet have been destroyed by magic and stabbing marks. Neither knows if he is alive or care either way.

Veslah mumbles something along the lines of “great time. Do it again soon.” And leaves. The fresh air and time it takes to do her “walk of shame” brings some memories back. She remembers the disappointment of possibly losing their contest. She will be sure to lash him when she feels better- this afternoon or tomorrow.

She reaches her home and stumbles to the room where she keeps her paintings and sculptures. She begins to remember now. Basik….. Basik the bastard- never returned. Zeus killed him. That is cheating. Shom will need to make amends for that. Oh. Zeus didn’t…… errrrrr……

Drunken they let the slaves have freedom to gain honor. For this they fled. Traitors! Then she stops all thinking and sneers in anger and further frustration. In the corner, where she kept her most favored possession, a dagger that Nibenay himself gave her, sits an empty case. She has been robbed.


Hot. So hot. Basik has escaped Nibenay just to die of thirst in the silt.

He has walked for days. He found water here and there but with no water skin he was at the mercy of cactus and salty & gritty water in shallow oasis that often where watched over by slave tribes or worse elves.

Believing he is about to die….. he rules over (when did he fall down?) and blows silt from his mouth. He traveled what he thought was north. That would have lead him to the Black Spine Mountains where he hoped to find shelter. Instead he found…..silt. He went in the wrong direction or doesn’t understand the layout here. The blowing silt makes it hard to see anything- even mountains in the distance. He closes his eyes to die.

He awakens with a dry throat but a sense of moisture on him. And blessed shade. Or is it darkness.

He hears someone move away in a hurry. He sits upright in the nest of torn cloth and ….drapes? Someone is coming back towards him. He can not see well enough to find a weapon…. Where is his trophy? “Hello?”

“Hello and well met. I am Ten Pug. Who are you?”

Basik has found a slave tribe run by a handicapped mul named Ten-Pug. They have a shelter near the Silt way that was once a temple or something of incredible size. To belong and remain here Basik had to shown some skills with sculpture.

He has none.

Having many guards and military types already for protection, Basik was given some supplies and was asked to leave the clan. He was given directs to locate the Black Spine Mountains and warned of the gith that live there and sent on his way.

Basik finds there are too many Gith here. Whomever told him one could escape to here and be safe was incredibly insane.


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Mania and Cosa have arrived at the beginning of the Badlands that shelter the Black Spine Mountains.

“So…. How are we going to find Belinda now that we are here?”

“I have no idea. Maybe ask around?” offers Mania looking at the sharply rising rock formations before him.

The Rocky Badlands are like a natural maze of rock. Walls rise anywhere from a foot or two to over thirty feet in height. Most of the walls are sharp rises that are nearly completely vertical. They can be climbed but are very difficult to. Dutch, Mania’s tutor in ways of survival in the desert, once suggested these were formed by a mix of magic and uncontrollable rivers and waterways that literally carved out the alley-ways. Seems doubtful but he has seen crazier things.

“Ask who? I have heard there areas at as a shelter for any number of people or creatures that would kill us and take our equipment vs helping us.”

“What equipment? We lost most of our goods. I have my leather and clubs. You kept your bag but it is running low on goods. Eh- I heard slave tribes take refuge here also. I am hoping for that type of encounter.”

“I’m sure you are.” Smirks Cosa. He is so smart yet so dumb at the same time. Maybe that is why she has come to love him so much in such a short time. Maybe its just because life tends to be so short for anyone defying the Sorcerer-Kings.

“Do you have any magic that can help us?”

Cosa begins to look into her bag to see what she has when suddenly a dozen gith leap out from either side of them. Both she and Mania are half-clubbed / half-stabbed by their crude weapons. [DM Note- back to back nat 20’s on the charge- daaaaamn!] Mania rolls forward nearly being stabbed again and comes up reaching for his weapons. Cosa steps back and pulls out a piece of Sulphur and calls on the spell it is used for. A violent fireball erupts from the backside of one group. The flames wash over that group and strikes half of the other group just missing Mania. Eight Gith drop in flames and roll about until becoming still. The remainder look at them and flee.

“Cosa!” calls out Mania as he spots blood coming out from between her fingers on her side. She drops to a knee and nods. Obviously lying to him.

Not far away, a lone figure is moving from corner to corner trying not to be seen by any one. He hears a call and turns and then spots a plume of fire and shrieks of pain. Trouble.

Basik points his trident in that general direction and moves slowly to it. Anything wielding magic like that should be avoided but maybe they need help ….and can help him. He is lost within these damned canyons.

He hears something scurrying towards him so he dunks down behind a large boulder. Several gith, one smoking, “runs” by him. Gith are bad. Maybe the mage is good. Basik then rethinks this a bit. A Templar would attack gith for sport. He stays hidden but sees nothing chasing the fleeing gith. “Now what” he wonders.

Mania finds what he was looking for- a hard to get at space that would be easy to defend. He strongly suspects the gith will be back and in greater numbers. He aids Cosa to get there. Checks on her briefly then goes and does his best to remove tracks and dripped blood. He hopes he they don’t have a good sense of smell.

“It’s a bleeder. Not deep but it struck just right…. I think.” Offers Cosa as Mania returns to her.

“We make a great pair.” Comments Mania as he looks at the gouge again.

“We do?”

“Yeah. Seems we take turns being immobilized.”

“Immobilized? Such a big word.” Smirks Cosa.

“Heh. Yeah. I picked it from someone at some point.”

“I miss Belinda.” Mania adds as an afterthought.

“So do I. That’s why we are going to find her and help her.”

“That too.”

“Funny boy.”

“No- not like that. I miss her healing ability.”

Cosa and Mania remain hidden and eat next to the last of the food given to them by the Fey lady. Not far away, a lone man sits behind a rock wondering what will become of him. His food supply is low and he has no idea how to get out of here.


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Basik awakens and in a panicked scrabble- backs further into the corner. He fell asleep behind his boulder! Seeing he is safe and in the clear, he crawls out from the boulder and checks for Gith. There are none.


He stands up and looks about. Nothing. He begins to step forward when someone grabs him by the chest and places something at his throat.

“Don’t move.”

“Not moving. See me not moving.” Says Basik. Of all the rotten things….. “Can I help you?”

“Who are you and what are you doing here?”

“Basik. And I’m Lost. I can go somewhere else if you wish.”

“Lost? Great.” And the person pushes the fighter forward a few steps.

“I’m turning now and….. ah.” Basik turns and sees a man in black with a black mask on. He has a small club or stick in his hand. “I am Basik.”

Mania looks him over. “I was hoping you may know the way around here. How long have you been here?”

“Couple of days. The Gith are everywhere. Couple of other creatures here I have only heard of within the gladiatorial pens.” He says while visibly relaxing.

Mania debates what to do. This guy is either a very clever survivor or very lucky. This level of gullibility would get most people killed already. “Perhaps…. Perhaps we can help each other.”

Now it is Basik’s turn to suspicious. “How?”

“I am lost also. But it is very important I find someone that is also here- most likely against her will. Together, maybe we can find her and find a way out.”

“I…. I would like that very much.” And he holds out his hand in agreement.

Still cautious, Mania leads him along. He is talking the whole time and about the TWO of them. Mania ducks into a hidden passage and Basik follows then learns why the mystery man was speaking so loud. He was alerting someone else of his presence.

Cosa, when she first heard him called on her Inborn power to detect ill thoughts and held onto a spell component…. Because Mania can be gullible and wanting to help people he shouldn’t.”

“If I knew you were bringing company I would have prepared a snack. Who are you?”

“Basik. I am from- your Hurt!”

“You noticed.” Her vision blurs some then she snaps back. “Go on before I accidently fireball you.”

“That was you? I saw the gith fleeing. They will be back.”

“Thus, in part why we need help.”


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“Jaque and Chill went up the hill with a bucket and a song.” Sings the Cleric of Earth also known as the Sand Jozal. “Mama and Papa wondered why they were taking so long.”

He is dressed in brown but under his tattered cape and cowl is a clean and neat leather armor with studs made of a mix of stone, crystal, obsidian and even a few pieces of metal. He pauses and now whistles his tune as he crouches down and looks at the ground.

He picks at a few pebbles there while studying the ground. He whistles softer now as he pauses. “Powers of Earth and Stone give me the power and the power to these small but important messengers of faith.” Then whistling again he flicks one pebble ahead while holding onto three more.

Suddenly he turns and throws a pebble directly behind him. A gith stalker squeals and falls to the ground. The explosive pebble has gutted him. Two other gith charge and leap over the dropped clan member. The screaming one takes a mouthful and half of his throat blows out covering the third one. This pebble hits also but he limps rapidly away.

“I do hate interruptions during my songs.” Artuuk comments with a small hint of a smirk on his shadowed face. He holds onto his necklace made of leather and a worked stone and waits and listens. He backs up into the rocks and whispers something that sounds more like rocks grinding together than words and he takes another step into the rock wall behind him.

Many Gith hop to where he was. They check on the two downed members. Not for their well being but for anything of use or value. Another gith, one with a fresh and bleeding wound on his leg speaks to the others. They move on hoping to find this one and kill him along with the others.

Several minutes go by before the cleric steps back out of the rock formation. “Others?” He adjusts his gear, including a large empty sack he has folded and lashed to his back under the cape. “Now that may offer some opportunities for me.” And he begins to walk in the direction of the Gith.

“Thus in part why we need help.” Comments Mania as he moves to Cosa.

“I’m not sure but maybe I can make a gurney and we can leave that way.” Offers Basik.

“One- it’ll leave tracks too hard to hide. Two- and most important- we are here find a friend. Her name is Belinda. She is with her Uncle… we think. Everything we have learned was second or third hand from various taverns, caravans and if you trust them- elves.”

“Oh well then-“ Basik begins but is interrupted.

“Someone is hunting us…. And nearby. I can pick up their thoughts.”

Even as the three turn to the entrance to their sheltered area a shadow hops into view. Gith!

“Told you!” and Basik charges out with his trident before him.

“Are you up for this?”

“Do I have a choice?” answers Cosa.

Near by, having used magic to quietly rise and run along the top of the rock ridges, Artuuk spots what the Gith are after. Careful to not make a sound or kick stones off the ridge, he crouches down and watches.

He sees a man wielding a trident rush out. He takes a defensive stance at the entrance to a small dead end area. Another man, dressed in black rushes out wielding two small clubs in each hand. Who … or what are they protecting he wonders. A bead of green energy streaks out between the warriors into the midst of the Gith. They were trying to spread out. This will hurt. Suddenly a fireball blast erupts and ten gith drop. Most dead before even hitting the ground.

More gith charge in. The cleric guessed two dozen. Close. 26 total. Some are charging. “I’m out of Sulphur and the such. I’ll do something.” Calls out a woman from within the space. Frowning, the cleric pauses and watches the thin moss growing nearby. He sees no signs of defilement. That much at least is good.

A huge number of centipedes swrm from cracks and holes in the stone. A centipede swarm rushes into the center of the attacking gith. It stops their onward progression. Too late for one whom is covered by the venomous vermin. It screams and thrashes about. Worse- it drops into the swarm.

Oh- the leader is after the man in black. “Powers of Earth and Stone give me the power and the power to these small but important messengers of faith.”

“Aunt Lizzy came into town one day. The mayor dressed in goose down stopped her …..” Using a sling a powered stone strikes and caves in a head. The gith falls into the swarming vermin without crying out.
Between the four of them and the swarm, the battle goes quick. The last four gith flee.

Mania whirls to the far wall where he had seen a shadow up high. “Who are you?!?”


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“Yes. My patron can heal her.” Artuuk agrees.

Everyone stands there….. waiting.

“Will you heal her? Please?”

“I work in trade. What do you have to offer me? I am flexable.”

Dead Cold Silence

“You helped us against the gith but you won’t help us recover?”

“I hate Gith.”

“Well I guess that makes everything all hunky-dory here.” Mania begins to get up to try to force the cleric to heal Cosa. She grabs his hand to stop him.


“You reopened the wound. How can you be so okay with this while you could be dead tomorrow?!?”

“Flexible. Define flexible.” Cosa weakly asks the wandering cleric.

“I am a collector. I like things to remember people by. He pinches his chin into his chest and begins to point at the various items woven into his armor. “This- this piece of black obsidian I got for my services when I aided a caravan near Urik. This stone- see how it was carefully painted-“

“Looks like a child did it” grumbles Mania.

“A child that poured her heart into it after I saved her pet Z’tal.”

“See…. He is reasonable. Offer him something.” The Cleric waits.

Balik offers him something. “I have this dagger I kinda found……”

“No. I don’t want your dagger. I want something unique. Something special.”

“It talks to me and says strange things in a strange language.”

The cleric ignores him.

“We escaped capture several times. Each time we would lose more equipment. We have only what you see.”

“A promise.” This piques his interest.

“What kind of promise?”

“That we will -together- create and offer a gift worthy.”

He thinks about this and shrugs. “Okay.”

Picking up sand and grit, the cleric kneels before Cosa.

“Powers of Earth and Stone please honor us both with the power of healing so that we can further your cause.” He holds the handful of dirt in his hands above his head and slowly lowers them to her exposed wound. He dripples the dirt onto her. More grit and stone pours from his hands than should have been there. She winces under the pressure as the dirt lands on her wound. The salt hurts but she goes on. She has learned that as nonlogical as it is to use dirt to heal an open wound, it is what an earth cleric does. The dirt continues to tumbles over her side where the crude spear had struck her. The dirt piles up along her side and covers the wound up. She shifts to get up but he stops her. “Give it a moment.”

Satisfied, he leans back. And smiles. “Now you may sit up.”

She shifts getting her elbows under her weight then pushes up with a grunt. The dirt pile slides off of her and only a scar remains.

“And you Basik…. What have you to offer?”

“A saying?” he offers.

Artuuk thinks this over. “Is this something you have heard or from your dagger?”

“The dagger.”


The rest of the day is spent resting and sharing stories. Holding the dagger, Artuuk learns how to sing a song about a drunken inventor and his would be wife. It is spoken in a strange language called Gnome. It was once spoken by a dead race thousands of years ago.

Artuuk agrees to help the three find Belinda. A water cleric – barbarian would most certainly have a means to pay him back.

“I know of several inhabited areas by a single human here. Do you know anything else about him?” asks the cleric as they walk along in the Badlands.

“I think he is a psion…. But I’m really sure. The elf I spoke to seemed nervous talking about him.” Offers Cosa.

“Could be one of two persons I know of- Javidius or Simmonson. Neither are friendly and tend to keep to themselves. Simmonson is from Balic so if I had to guess it would be Javidius.”

“You this area well.” Offers Mania. He has tried to be friendly ever since the healing. He understands he came across as a jerk but he doesn’t mean anything by it. It wasn’t personal. Cosa was seriously injured and he was possibly the only means to live.

“I have been here for a nearly a year now. I was wanted in Gulg and figured I needed to lay low for a while. Black Spine was as good a place as any. It may be time to move on however. The gith and I are not getting along at this point.”

“Where will you go once you find your friend?”

“Not sure really.” Admits Cosa.

A loud carried on snarl is heard. The canyons make it near impossible to pinpoint the point or even direction of origin.

“What was that?!?” exclaims Basik.

“Three Toe.” Answers the cleric shifting into a defensive stance.

“What is a “Three Toe?” says Mania looking around for any threats.

“Mean blooded Tembo.” The cleric moves to the stone wall- better to take cover than remain in the open. He mumbles then steps into the wall- disappearing.

“Bastard!” curses Mania.

“Yes. He and I arrrrrrrrrgh!” and rocks shift nearby them. Suddenly Mania is bowled over and the outline of a large reptilian bulldog-like creature appears. Long teeth and claws go to work. Mania screams as the creature bites his arm over and over and it rakes him with all limbs tearing into his leather.

Mania calls on his psychic ability to telekinetically slam or “Hammer” at a foe with a touch. The creatures grunts and begins to snarl once more. Basik tries to stab at it with his trident. The first strike is true, the second strike hits a boney plate on it’s back doing no damage. Cosa calls on magic and four small streaking beams of light strike it. It howls as it discovers it has a mage among its targets. Artuuk steps out of the stone work and flanks the creature.

Concentrating, the psionic tembo calls on another power and begins to disappear. Mania rolls free of it checking to his torn armor. Basik misses and Cosa tries to use Magic Missile on it. The four missiles shot out at the ectoplasmic form but the missiles circle and swerve then stop and burst into harmless light.

“Coward!” calls out Artuuk.

The ectoplasmic form of Three Toes floats up and away snarling insults.

“Damned thing nearly had me.” Grumbles Mania as he closes his eyes and wills the deep cuts and slashes on his chest and legs to go away.

“Allow me.” As Artuuk sees Mania’s attempts to self heal are limited.

As he murmurs his prayer Mania asks why the “freebie”.

“Ask me why he is named Three-Toe” He pours dirt onto the man’s chest. “He and I have had several encounters. One of which I hacked off a toe. He attacked you to hurt me and remove any allies I may have made.”

“So….time to move on eh.”

“Yes. Yes to moving on I’m afraid.”