Sons of Tyranny

The Path to Altaruk

After loading their kanks the elves set off into the badlands, on their way to Altaruk, or so they say. As they leave the PC’s are still sorting through the cargo bay of the argosy and loading up their three kanks, as they are not as adept or experienced at loading cargo quickly like the elves are. The group also faces another quandary, what to do with the prisoners they took. After finishing loading the kanks the group talks it over, Red is in favor of letting them go, but Abraxus is worried that the group will be identified as enemies of House Shom forevermore. He suggests that they cut their throats or put them in the argosy and light it on fire. The others have no wish to murder dozens of people, and the rest of the group sides with Red, but they want to only let one prisoner free in order to slow any possible pursuit.

As the group looks through the crowd of prisoners for the most non-threatening candidate they come across a smirking elf. Abraxus stops to ask the elf what is so funny as he raises his fist to slap the bound elf. “oh nothing, other than the fact that the Wildrunners played you all for fools” the elf replies. “While you were digging through the scraps and trash of the main cargo hold, Kaldras had his men slip up to the middle deck and take all the money, trade bars, gems and other highly valuable items from the secured cargo room behind the secret door in the captains cabin”.

Abraxus, enraged, rushes back into the argosy and confirms the elf statement. After informing the rest of the group, they decide to head after the elves instead of taking the safer and more direct route, the trade road, to Altaruk. The bound elf offers his services as a wilderness scout, claiming he is familiar with the area, and knows of several oasis. The group doubts the voracity of his claims, but they could use a good tracker and an archer. The elf finds his chitin great bow and then head over to introduce himself properly to the party. Red cuts him off before he can begin “we haven’t had much luck with elves lately, so save your breath, no one cares what your name is. Now get out front where we can see you and find the Wildrunner Tribes trail or I’ll cut you in half”. The elf promptly finds the trail and the group sets out on foot with their kanks loaded to capacity with herbs and spices looted from House Shom.

The group finds the trek through the rocky badlands slow going and arduous. In an attempt to catch up with the elves the group presses on past when they should have stopped for the night. After traveling for nearly sixteen hours they stop and rest for the night. Unknown to the group, but well known to the new elf guide, the Wildrunners are well known in the Elven Markets across Athas for the remarkable and fine magic boots they craft. These boots allow them to run at a greater speed than any other elf on the planet. There is no chance that the group will catch the Wildrunner, but the elf, not wishing to be the bearer of bad news keeps this to himself. As the groups guide he is merely making sure the Wildrunners trail doesn’t lead into any traps or ambushes.

The next day the group again travels for sixteen hours and it is taking a toll. Most of the group is fatigued and tired and no shape to confront a critic lizard let alone a tribe of elves.

On the third day, the group wanders into a narrow canyon that is surprisingly green in comparison to the region that they have just traveled through. The elf guide tells the rest of the group that a spring is near. The group enters the canyon and hears a curious low rumbling noise echoing off the cliff walls.

The sounds stop abruptly and from behind a boulder not too far in front, a Brohg stands up to his full height. Bleary eyed from his nap he yawns and stretches his four arms before reaching for his club and a large rock. D’Ander moves to the left attempting to move around the rock formation and flank the Brohg from behind. As he moves forward he is hit by a blow gun dart from a hidden silt runner. Lucan (the elf) is likewise hit by two blow gun darts and tries to remove them before to much of the darts poison enters his blood stream. Lucan then fires two arrows towards his assailants, wounding the first and killing the second. Red throws his javelin at the Brohg hitting the beast in the foot and pinning it to the ground and making it howl in pain. Blu and Abraxus move foreword to attack the Brohg hoping to take advantage of his hobbling and distracted state. The Brohg sees them coming and is ready for their attacks and swats away their pitiful weapon thrusts with his huge club. Then, rather unexpectedly, the Brohg reaches down and grabs the Thri-kreen warrior, lifts him off the ground, and hurls him at Red. Red and Blu (make green) are both seriously injured and lay in a heap on the ground.

D’Ander moves in before the silt runners can react, he quickly and efficiently crushes the skull of one and slices open the throat of the second. Before their bodies hit the ground he turns his attention toward the Brohg and quietly slips in to position behind the four-armed giant. Lucan fires several more arrows at the Brohg, wounding him but not seriously. Abraxus attacks repeatedly but finds each thrust of his spear turned back by the the Brohgs’ clubs sweeping blows. At the same time, Abraxus uses the length of the spear to keep out of the Brohgs reach, as he has no desire to be the next projectile. In Abraxus’s mind he hears the voice of Urrok the Brave, a once might Orc warrior whose spirit was magically transferred into his own weapon thousands of years ago. Urrok berates Abraxus for being a weakling and a coward, (as he has nearly every minute of every day since Abraxus took possession of the spear) and demands that he move in closer and kill the beast like a true warrior. Red, manages to pull himself up and shake the fog from his vision. Furious, he charges at the beast swinging his great stone maul at its knee, which shatters with a sickening crack. The beast roars in pain and goes down. D’Ander moves in taking advantage of the fallen Brohgs helplessness as does Abraxus. In moments the giants life-blood feeds the sands of Athas.

After taking a moment to catch their breath the group spreads out and searches the canyon. They find the Brohgs lair, the base of an ancient tower covered with a roof made from the hides of slain beasts. Inside they find mostly the tattered and well worn possessions of the Brohg and the silt runners. Among these items they also find a good size cache of sacks of herbs, spices and food. The bags bear the triple dragonfly mark of House Shom. Not finding the corpses of any elves or kanks the group reaches the conclusion that Kaldras bartered them with the Brohg in exchange for passage through the canyon or possibly for the attack on them.

After some further searching the group finds a small spring, and takes the time to restock their store of water. They then set off with renewed vigor after the Wildrunners. By mid afternoon they have reached the end of the badlands and stand on the last rocky bluff overseeing a vast stretch of sandy wastes. With little delay or comment, the group climbs down the cliff and heads out across the dunes.

Hours later as the sun begins to set the group catches sight of what appears to be a partially sand covered road ahead of them. They decide that it might be a good place to rest for the night. They also notice that the sand in front of the being disturbed by something large crawling under the sand. Before the can react the ground explodes beneath them, blinding them with sand and knocking Abraxus, Blu and Lucan to the ground. Several Anakore emerge from the still burning sand and attempt to grab Red, D’Ander, and Lucan. Red crushes the arm of one with his hammer while Lucan rolls to his right, narrowly missing another Anakore’s attack. As the group looks around they notice that the halfling D’Ander is no where to be found. The other Anakore retreat below ground, apparently satisfied that they will at the least have a snack for the efforts. The groups stands quietly staring at the ground not sure what they can do, if anything for their fallen friend. Then a small hand emerges weakly from the sand. Red quickly pulls D’Ander out of the ground. After coughing the sand and grit from his lungs he holds up his new prized possession, an Ankore hand, “It looks as though I will be the one who eats tonight” he says with a smile.

The group, still wary of further attacks moves onto the solid bedrock of the old road and sets up a make-shift camp and divides into watches. Late in the night as Abraxus sits quietly watching the sands for any sign of movement he spots something hovering above the crest of one of the dunes. He squints to make out what it is in the dim light of the twin moons. That is all the floating head of Wyan of Bodach needs. Abraxus finds his mind seized by a powerful psionic master. He stands and begins to walk across the sands to meet his new master. In his mind Wyan of Bodach has seized control, and quiets the screaming voice of Urrok the Brave after greeting him as one would an old friend.

On the other side of the dune Wyan releases control of Abraxus’ mind and the Dray falls to one knee his head splitting with pain. Wyan begins to talk. “well Dray, you are a weak minded fool aren’t you. But you may still be of some use to me. I have a mission for you, should you complete the mission in a timely manner, then I shall let you keep my magic spear, that you looted from Unice’s temple… and where better to hide that which she desires most, than in the whore’s own temple” he cackles madly "but never mind about that now. I no longer have any need for such petty rivalries. Search your mind, and you will find that I have places memories there. The knowledge of how to reach an ancient temple, and the ritual to open it’s doors. Inside you will find an elaborately carved and adorned wooden box, a relic of the Green Age. I need that box Dray! Fetch it and I shall allow you to keep “Urrok the Annoying” and as my servant, you shall have more power and wealth than you can comprehend. I would get it myself of course, if it were not for the fact that I have no arms to carry it…and of course their are the powerful magic wards placed by Borys and that fool Kalak that prevent me from personally opening the portal". Wyan begins to float away, presumably towards Tyr, as the head leaves it adds “you have three weeks to do as I bid, otherwise I will find you and rip open your throat so that I may lap up you blood”.

The next morning the group sets off and reaches Altaruk by mid-morning. They pay the two Talon price per head to enter the trade town intending to head for the nearest inn. As they pass through the gate Lucan spots an elven lookout run off towards the elven market. He turns to the other and announces “The Wildrunners have been alerted to our presence”.

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kirksmithicus

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