The Awakening of the Desert King

CH 4 ACT III They Stab It With Their Steely Knives

Chapter 4 act iii

I’m so excited to see what’s next! It’s going to be hard to wait. -Russ

“Oh you will be excited…you will be..”-Benevolent DM

Here’s the Actual Play Recording Link:
CH4 Act III They Stab It With Their Steely Knives

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1WwM0lHrN4

Journal

Lionheart awoke atop the wall disoriented and confused. With Dim, Guido, and Arakasi looking at him with varied degrees of concern, fear and fascination. The haggard looking paladin shook his head and looked into the worm infested courtyard and the nightmare scene of numerous Al Haladin and humans becoming infected and transforming into flesh eating zombies.

Podo Lemurkind the leader of the these drunken monkey monks climbed atop his wagon load of strange twisting tubes, vials and metallic equipment and looked pleadingly toward the heroes atop the wall, “Help Me!” he shouted while at the same time engaging in incredible blinding strikes and kicks with a bizarre staggering movement. He apparently had crushed any of the attacking, slithering worms trying to infect him.

Lionheart looked down into a courtyard full of horror and death and slid down the rope to aid the besieged monk. Dim burned worms out of Guido’s arm and attempted to burn them out of his beard as well.

Immediately Lionheart realized as he reached the courtyard and the sickly rotten looking worms begin to sizzle and disintegrate upon contact with his skin that he was no longer wearing his armor. His chainmail shirt when last he saw it was in the gifted hands of Hidaya the daughter of Dabbah proprietor of the inn. Quickly two twisted, worm riddled corpses arose and after a moment of shambling towards Lionheart suddenly begin to move with an awful fury and speed. They rapidly closed in upon the paladin as he tried to make his way towards Podo.

Somewhere in the cacti and rocks Valaheire and Osayi watched the increasing drama with interest and red wine.

Arakasi looked on in utter exasperation and annoyance still drenched in sweat and exhausted from hauling the big man and dwarf up the wall out of the courtyard of death.

Guido started to move around the wall to help the paladin once again, while Dim tried to secretly tie the rope around the leg of Arakasi for what reason it was unclear.

The paladin found himself surrounded by zombies and out of the inn emerged a bloody, silk clad recently very beautiful dancer now with wriggling worms in her eyes and her throat slit.

As Guido clambered down onto the roof of the shrine to Sol, the monk struck a light and hurled it onto the pile of alchemical equipment. He looked with wide, fearful eyes and yelled “RUN!”. As the various liquids and chemicals begin to ignite he leapt down and fled out of the ruined Hotel Shaitan gates. The great beast of burden, that they called an Apataur appeared to begin to succumb to the thousands of worms burrowing their way into it as it slumped to the ground. Looking into his pack Guido found a package which contained the newly refitted armor of Lionheart emblazoned with a roaring lion and curling Al Haladin script. The paladin slid his shining chain mail over his head, it appeared to fit beautifully.

Lionheart and Guido sought refuge in the protected, sacred ground of the shrine that zombies seemed unable to enter. Arakasi shook his head at the two and climbed down from the wall setting out into the wilds. Dim ran along towards the shrine roof and prepared to rescue the two beset would be rescuers.

Somewhere out in the rocks and cacti Valaheire munched on the last of their rations and placed a hand on Osayi’s thigh…

The weird, green and scarlet alchemical fire begin to build to a terrible explosion as the Apataur arose to its massive legs shaking and staggering looking to kill something. The dwarf cleric and paladin made a break for the inn seeking cover while Dim hunkered down atop the shrine’s roof. The massive blast of green fire and heat was filled with a hundred keening wails and spectral snakes and roaring serpents as it exploded out in great pulsing waves. Destroying the majority of the worms in the courtyard and all of the zombies, save the great lumbering beast.

Somewhere out in the rocks and cacti Valaheire looked at Osayi with surprise at the vast explosion and slid his hand higher up her thigh…Arakasi just shook his head again.

The wall of alchemical fire cooked Lionheart and Guido a bit before they could dive inside the inn, while Dim pressed his bandaged body tightly against the hard, clay tiles of the roof and deftly remained unscathed. Lionheart and Guido ran back for the rope that Dim lowered down to them and begin to escape the courtyard and the lumbering zombified Apataur. The nimble monk leapt along the wall hollering drawing the attention of the great beast.

Somewhere off in the rocks and cacti Valaheire stood up brushed himself off and said “Well I guess I should go save these guys again…” Arakasi sat down and ate a ration sandwich.

Finally the group was reunited outside of the Hotel Shaitan and debated about what should be their next course of action. Arakasi recommended they head to the Upanga Chawi his hidden underground swordmage school some three days north of here and just two days from the imperial capital of Alesandria. As they debated Lionheart begin to reel and stagger again as the pulsing waves of lighting built to even higher intensity atop the runespire pass. The group could see his eyes grow dark and look far away, lips moving to a silent conversation. Then he could audibly be heard to say as he turned to face the arcing lines of electrical light, “All of you get out of here!” and then in that deep, rumbling voice not his own “Yes or No ?”

As his companions looked on with concern and interest, the sky full of jagged bolts of energy and the wind starting to howl about them. The paladin lifted his head towards the sky took out his hammer and shield and said with finality, “Yes.”

With that a single bolt of blood red lightning shot forth from the runespire and smote the towering man to his knees. Immediately horns appeared curling away from his forehead his eyes full of reddish, hateful fire and his beard became sharp and jagged. “HE IS MINE!” came the now full and terrible voice of the Beast. As he arose now towering more than eight feet in height he appeared to be ready to utterly disregard the surrounding companions until he caught sight of Dim.

Dim leapt forward at the now fully possessed paladin and launched a flurry of blinding strikes at him but to little or no effect. The Beast took Lionhearts hammer and with furious roar looked upon Dim bellowing “You Shall Not Banish Me A Second Time Mortal!”; and brought it slamming down on the head of the bandaged monk sending him bloody and reeling and very near to death. Arakasi peppered the horned horror with a few blasts of arcane energy. Guido drew forth the last of his silvered powder and tried one more time to release his companion from the clutches of this horrific other worldly beast…he consecrated the ground where Lionheart stood. Valaheire slipped back into the shadows.

Lionheart with the aid of Guido’s prayers managed to fight off the Beast’s control enough to look more like himself. Valaheire approached him with a rope and told him “We’ve got to tie you up for your own good.” Though the holy warrior looked reluctant he agreed just as Dim came running back at him with another series of powerful strikes. Again the bound, mighty fighter appeared to enter into silent conversation as he turned to look towards the Runespire Pass.

View
CH 4 ACT II IN THE MASTER'S CHAMBERS THEY GATHERED FOR THE FEAST

Chapter 4 act ii

As the white heat of afternoon began to fade and the Great Feast in honor of the arrival of Cibelik and Nafira the bounty hunting Silvenestri(Ghostwalkers) was prepared. Amidst the still, breezeless courtyard a very harried and sweaty Dabbah Hudun (owner of the Hotel Shaitan) and Hidaya Hudun (his daughter) were seen constantly dashing about.

The monks of the Drunken Monkey Monastery appeared to be making ready to leave. Barrels were retied and secured, strange mechanisms and metallic objects were shifted about on their wagon. The large beast of burden was being fed and watered. It was here that Lionheart suggested that the group travel together.

The leader of the monastery stated his concern that the heroes were in fact wanted men in Brimstone. They were suspected of treason, spying and fomenting anarchy in the rugged mining town. He also mentioned the certain retaliation of the Silvenestri once the truth of the public execution of the Silvenestri merchants and ambassadors among others became known in Alesandria. He appeared very fearful of the form that retaliation would take. He reminded the group that his first concern was for the well being of his fellow students and apologized for not being able to accommodate their request.

Perhaps the group might wish to journey to the Monastery of a Thousand Sips in the future. He guaranteed that a hospitable welcome would be given there, once his students were safe behind its walls. As they repacked their wagon numerous strange smells and pungent, acrid odors could be detected emanating from beneath the grey tarp stained with numerous dark, brown stains.

The arrival of the Silvenestri bounty hunters into the hotel courtyard caused Lionheart to seek to carry on the conversation in a more private area and headed off to the smithy where Hidaya was feverishly working Lionheart’s Chain Shirt to better fit the giant of a paladin and also repair the numerous broken rings. The monk stated his concern that the bounty hunters might in fact prevent anyone from leaving until their runaway slaves were found.

Lionheart revealed more about the attack on Brimstone and the undead horde which erupted out of the numerous mine shafts and entrances. Hidaya froze up at this and with a quick, minute glance looked downward at the flagstone floor beneath her feet. She desperately tried to keep her feelings hidden but the commanding yet strangely comforting voice of the blond giant caused her to stop and begin to weep uncontrollably. She then gazed upward, eyes shining with tears, at the paladin revealing:

Four weeks ago my mother became agitated, feverish and began behaving very strangely indeed…she kept refusing to eat, and spent much of her time in the lower cellar and only came out at night. She was seen to be repeatedly whispering strangely and covertly to herself…she appeared to be increasingly emaciated. Strange sulfurous smelling vomit belched forth from her sickly, cracked lips and became encrusted on her face…She seemed to not truly recognize us or respond to her name when called. My brother Salik tried day after day to care for her until finally he rushed up the cellar stairs and locked the door his eyes wide and full of terror….

‘that THING down there is not our mother! It just called out to me in a voice like the bottom of a pit of fire, I actually saw the ground around it erupt into fire and flame…and told me that if I brought her your heart I would be rewarded with the promise of all my dreams fulfilled…IT KNEW things about me I’ve NEVER told anyone!’

We spent the next few days praying feverishly at our shrine to Sol the Keeper of Hearth and Home. Then the Al Haladin outriders arrived looking for three escaped slaves from Alesandria and we had to disregard our mother (or whatever it was now). Then two days ago Selena and her troop of the Scarlet Veil entertainers arrived telling us that they were resting before their escort of Al Haladin dwarves arrived to take them to Brimstone. The Scarlet Veil was to perform for the Silvenestri ambassador and his companions.

Father became more and more withdrawn and fearful. At night we would hear occasional shuffling, scraping, pounding coming from below but over time it had grown quieter and quieter. My brother went down to check on our mother and we heard terrible screams and crashing sounds. I tried to plunge down the stairs but my father prevented me. I saw my brothers form, face bloodied, hair scorched and burned from his head, eyes wide with fear at the bottom and then he was roughly yanked out of my view. I knew then that he was most likely already dead.

Tumblr mm6vst ntm11s4y2zbo1 500

My father seemed to go into a sort of shock and became eerily cheerful. He numbly just went back to his role as proprietor of the hotel but he had barricaded the door down to the cellar.

There have always been legends about this hotel; stories of spirits, voices on the wind, strange deaths have certainly occurred here. The structure was built by my ancestors the Al Morin Haladin more than 400 years ago. It is the will of Kaleh that we came here to offer shelter, food, and drink to those most in need…those lost on the roads of the south. It is our way as Al Haladin.

But two days ago my father awoke saying that he must go pray. He exulted telling me that Sol had sent him a vision! A dream to show a way through this gathering darkness. He said that Sol was sending us a Blessing and that we should be vigilant less we miss it…

Now my father is utterly convinced that you five are indeed that blessing. The grey handed human glitters with the heart of the earth within his very skin. Now he journeys to the Crossroads of Worlds! Perhaps he will find my mother’s soul wandering there? The plains elf, though partially blind still offers refuge, protection and aid to that escaped slave…yes I know that is the one the cursed Ghostwalkers (see whispers this word while spitting on the ground and fearfully looking out the smithy door) are hunting. Surely he will help us as well? Your bandaged youth bears the ancient Al Morin Haladin symbol of Hearth and Home! How did he come upon it? The bearded, hairy cousin is a priest of Sol and shines with the radiance of a blessed of the sun.

Then there is you my paladin! Father says you have seen the dark heart of the flames! That you are like the sword tempered by that dark fire! You have been touched by the BEAST but the light of Sol’s Glory doesn’t dampen within you! As it was foretold in the Book of Light:

When Pallid Worm
Crawls Across Night Black Sky
When That Which Is Dead
Will Refuse to Die
When HE that was Sundered
Might Again Be Remade
When Debt Forsaken
Must Now Be Repaid
When Forger of Shadows
Gives Scions Gift Away
When New Forger Arises
The Hammer of Kaleh
When Crossroads of Worlds
Become Open and Wild…

(and at this point Dabbah could be heard calling for her)

Ah! I must go but know that for now I will prepare this too small…this inadequate Al Haladin armor and make it more suiting for a BLESSED ONE such as yourself. But please give me a few days and I will craft such an armor to truly befit The Hammer of KALEH! (Sol in Al Haladin). She looks at a faded worn mural on the far smithy wall…

The decimation of praag

With that Hidaya rushed out of the smithy.

The young, socially awkward monk Dim could not get last nights swim with sultry entertainer Selena out of his mind and eventually sought her out on the backstairs of the hotel. With some tantalizing touches and caresses that sent the hot blooded monk into a whirl of confused arousal she let him know that she would be his if only he would help her troop The Scarlet Veil escape this place.

Dim in utter confusion sought out who he felt was the real leader of this rag tag band of heroes…none other than GUIDO the Knee Cruncher! Guido tried to get Dim straight on the differences between slave life and free life; prostitutes and…non-prostitutes. Much of his wisdom was apparently lost on the young man. As he ran about he eventually nearly smacked into Nafira who ground his head into the dirt as he bowed.
F eladrin4

Nafira tried to learn more about Lionheart, Valahaire and the rest. When told about Brimstone being attacked she seemed less than concerned even doubtful of the groups story.

The Silvenestri apparently told the Al Haladin outriders they were not to leave until the others returned and if not the leader would be executed.

The group then did their best to assist the father and daughter Huddun to prepare this great feast for the guests of honor; the bounty hunters.

The group sat down to a great meal with entertainment provided by Scarlet Veil dancers that entranced all in the room. The swirling, cavorting beauties captivated the many gathered there so much so that the Al Haladin outriders seemed to become unaware of their surroundings. This hypnotic state seemed to be happening with the Drunken Monkey’s as well. Even Arakasi and Valahaire appeared to succumb to the beguiling, writhing dancers bodies. Until the auburn haired Oyasi, the stealthy elf’s reunited companion brought the partially blinded elf to his senses with a firmly planted elbow in his ribs.

Next, a woman clad in thin, sheer emerald silks came down the stairs. Two veiled dancers carried two great baskets which revealed themselves to contain two great eight foot cobras. The cobras swayed with her for a time and then rushed out to attack the heroes in the front row seats. The Ghostwalkers seemed to take renewed interest in the group as they quickly dispatched the cobras, but not before Guido fell over a table and was bitten by one of the venom laden cobras. He was sickened by the bite but not too severely. While Valahaire slashed one of the snakes heads off with his glimmering elven blade Anduril. This brief skirmish ended with the sounds of slow applause from the Silvenestri bounty hunters. The entranced outriders and monks started to become aware of their surroundings once again as the heroes dragged the snake dancer woman to the kitchen as the young woman sobbed and begged for mercy…

Guido charged up the stairs to check on the other entertainers and soon found that they had all left.

As Arakasi and Dim drug the whimpering scantily clad woman to the kitchen a clamor erupted at the Silvenstri’s table. Nafira was seen wide eyed clutching at her throat and collapsed across it convulsing. Cibelik cried out in his strange, otherworldly tongue and then pointed at a wide eyed Hidaya.

“You worthless STONEHEART! How dare you rise against us! You have poisoned her! You have poisoned your master!”

With that he closed his eyes and a strange shimmering appeared around him as he began to briefly fade in and out of view. Placing a hand on the back of the motionless Nafira she too began to fade but then was brought back with a ragged gasp sitting upright staring off into nothing.

As the Al Haladin and monks got up from their tables a great tremor began to be felt from the ground, dust rained down from the ceiling. Plates shattered falling to the floor. It became difficult to walk smoothly without stumbling.

Valahaire grabbed Oyasi and made his way out into the courtyard and quickly climbed atop the roof of the shrine and waited to see what would happen next. From his perch above the courtyard the nimble, partially blind plains elf could observe that the old double gates at the Hotel Shaitan’s entrance began to shake.

Plunging into the kitchen, as Dabbah ran out to go to the aid of his daughter; Arakasi and Dim drug the dancer to the edge of the burning, red hot stove. It was then that they noticed Lionheart was slumped over against the wall a trickle of drool coming out of the big man’s mouth.

Dim began to torture the apparently terrified woman (editor’s note “We here at Awakening of the Desert King campaign would like to apologize on behalf of the behavior of some of the characters here…they really are played by nice people…I swear.”)
Dim kept reminding Arakasi that he felt the woman was in fact lying. Finally, knocking the bound woman unconscious Dim ran out into the courtyard. Guido came in and tried to drag the giant two hundred and fifty pound man out of the kitchen and out into the courtyard as well.

Arakasi remained behind and slit the woman’s throat.

This was the first mortal death someone in the group had caused since their flight from besieged Brimstone.

As the gates burst open three great furrows could be seen rapidly approaching the shimmering oasis pool. Dim leapt up from the second floor with a mighty, seemingly impossible leap to the wall some 15 feet above his head. Guido gave a quick smack to the face of the unconscious paladin in hopes of waking him. Lionheart opened eyes glaring with a strange, crazed light and roared in a voice certainly not his own, THE PALADIN IS MINE! I AM COMING FOR HIM PRIEST!”.

Shocked and confused Guido dropped the groaning warrior and pulled out the his ever dwindling supply of silver powder and with a gouging rake across his own face he flung the silver into the air crying out THE POWER OF SOL COMPELS YOU!”

Lionheart once again fell unconscious.

Arakasi leapt to the base of the north wall where Dim lowered the last tattered remains of their thirty feet of rope allowing the stone handed sorcerer to quickly clamber up. He thrilled to realize that randomly his newly reshaped hand seemed to meld with the stone of the wall aiding his climb.

The courtyard was a confusion of staggering Al Haladin outriders bellowing about most of their mounts being gone, and Drunken Monkey monks trying to get their beasts harnessed up to pull their bulky wagon. Lone Guido with the dour, relentless strength of his race heaved the sagging load of unconscious paladin onto his shoulders. He paused just a moment to whisper to Sol to give him strength; then with muscles heaving, eyes bulging, he made his way to the dangling rope.

Behind him the two bounty hunters exited out of the building with both Hidaya and Dabbah in shimmering, silver rune carved shackles on both hands and feet. The two Al Haladin dwarves looked wide eyed and fearful. From their hovering airship some sixty feet over the hotel a ladder was lowered down and a rope with large curved hooks fixed to the end. Hooking the shackles of the father and daughter the two Silvenestri effortlessly scaled the ladder and brought their prisoners aboard.

As Guido struggled ferociously with the snoring, unresponsive Lionheart he wrapped one thick, muscled arm around him and attempted to climb grasping the frayed, tattered rope with the other. With the assistance of Arakasi heaving and Dim Mak swinging down the other side of the Hotel’s forty foot walls to counterweight. The great bulk of dwarf and paladin began to inch their way upwards.

Suddenly, the three furrows arrived at edge of the pool and erupting from the broken flagstones and sandy ground were three great worms each over fifteen feet in length. These rotten, purplish sickly looking maggot like creatures appeared to look exactly like the much tinier worms encountered around the Brimstone mines or crawling about the Liber Infernum.

With a single drawn out moment…

A courtyard full of the chaos of panicked monks and Al Haladin. A shimmering great pool of freshwater reflecting the gathering storm clouds and sinuous, sparkling green comet high overhead. Flickering torchlight from the many windows of the now vacant Hotel Shaitan. A hovering multi-rotored airship with Silvenestri seen to be watching, waiting from above. A dangling sweat soaked, exhausted dwarf desperately trying to keep a hold of an unconscious drooling paladin. A stone handed, growling with the strain of heaving, gem glittering sorcerer. A scarred, bandaged clinging and swinging from a rope, young monk. A distant hunkered down, watching through his telescope, with his remaining good eye; lovely escaped slave by his side, stealthy elf…

The giant worms plunged into the pool. A great squelching, sticky boom erupted from the hissing water as thousands upon thousands of worms burst forth showering all in the courtyard including Guido and Lionheart. The worms shriveled and died upon coming into contact with Lionheart’s skin. Guido was not so lucky as Arakasi and Dim finally managed to heave the pair to the wall’s parapet.

From there the roiling indigo storm clouds and pulses of swirling lightning could be seen gathering on the Runespire Pass.

View
CH 4 ACT I SUCH A LOVELY PLACE

ACT I SUCH A LOVELY PLACE

6fa2c1d03218942b80991906d9c85ae7

Making their way down the winding Reeking Road from the Runespire Pass as the bright night sky glimmered a vast sea of stars, the band of five and their newly met elven female escaped slave drew closer to the tall, sand stone brick walls of the Hotel Shaitan. The structure appeared to be very old much of the stone work worn down by relentless centuries of desert wind and blowing sand. Yet the forty foot walls still stood strong and its stout wooden gate while hanging loosely on its hinges appeared intact. A few hundred yards from the Hotel they encountered a metal clad Al Haladin dwarf his skull capped with interlocking plates of silvery metal and his right hand and forearm also a creaking series of metal joints.

Dabbah hudun

He quickly and merrily introduced himself as Dabbah Hudun owner and proprietor of the Hotel Shaitan. And even though the ragged group of recent escapees had no money Dabbah stated, “It is the word of Almighty Kaleh (Al Haladin word for Sol) that we should always provide succor to those in need! And that we have not lived today until we have aided someone who cannot repay.”

While the group made their way inside the sweet smelling courtyard it was quickly decided to bury the Liber Infernum in the ground outside the hotel. Just before the great doors swung shut Arakasi could be seen whispering quietly to the gemstones hanging from his necklace and looking back upward to the Runespire Pass.

Stepping into the large courtyard the smells of moisture and green succulent plants washed over the parched and disheveled group. A vast pool of clear fresh water stretched out before them from which the sounds of distant splashing and soft singing could be heard.
640x480 resize thumb old house in kashan

A cart labeled with the strange markings of the Drunken Monkey monastery sat in a corner, its reptilian steeds snoozing in the chilly desert night air. A solitary monk stood by the poolside the light of Quelenath the Watcher the white moon waxing on his sweaty face as he performed numerous fighting katas.

Monk 2

Dabbah lead the tired, hungry, and thirsty travelers inside but not before a seemingly entranced Dim Mak staggered to the poolside and was just overwhelmed by the sight of so much freshwater. More freshwater in fact than he had ever seen before. Once inside the warm, dimly lit main room of the tavern area of the hotel Dabbah put out a small spread of fresh fruit, meats, and bread and a tall, dusty bottle of wine. Arakasi and Valahaire desired to quickly get enough sleep to prepare their minds enough to regain their spells and magical abilities. Lionheart sat by the fireside eating a delicious juicy pear while staring strangely at the flames his lips seeming to move to silent words of conversation, a look of intense concentration on his face. Meanwhile Dim crept back outside to go for a swim in the deliciously cool, fresh water and to introduce himself to the beguiling individual swimming there.

Half elf

Nearly awoken by the noisy arrival of Hidaya Hudun daughter of Dabbah and gifted smithy and caretaker of the hotel.

Hadiya hudun

She seemed none too happy to take on more “charity” cases with the broke, silver drakmahless characters. Lionheart agreed to help in anyway possible to repay their debt and returned to his silent conversation with the flames.

A few hours later while the sorcerer and Valahaire snored the most peaceful restful sleep they had in months, especially with the lovely auburn haired elven rogue snuggling peacefully against him, a dusty armor clad group of six Al Haladin outriders strode into the room scanning the sleeping heroes and overheard to whisper, “Bah! We’ll question them in the morning…who knows if they saw it or not.” Al haladin outrider
They then tromped off upstairs to their beds.

Shortly before dawn as Guido and Lionheart prepared a prayer place to welcome the sunrise near the ornately carved shrine to Sol. A distant rhythmic thrumming could be heard drawing closer to the hotel finally revealing itself to be a great propeller laden airship that eventually came to hover above the hotel Shaitan’s courtyard.

Steampunk airship 2000x1080 wallpaper www.vehiclehi.com 94

Dropping to the ground was a tall all blue eyed figure clad in full armor followed by another tall female elf also wearing various interlocking plates of chain and silver metaled armor with a lovely crafted bow slung over her shoulder.

Eladrin bounty hunter

Ghostwalker fighter female

Lionheart felt it best to avoid being sighted by these apparent “Ghostwalkers” from the capital Alesandria and remained out of sight. Although overheard that the two were bounty hunters chasing run away arena slaves that fled several days ago from the capital. The descriptions he gave sounded unsettingly similar to Oyasi, Crag, and Merdana.

Finally the sun arose and the group was treated to delicious aromatic coffee, fresh eggs, more fresh fruit and glass after glass of fresh fruit juice. They sat around tables like civilized individuals and the horrors of Brimstone, Elgrab and the terrible Beast of the Spire seemed to pass away into distant memory. Hidaya reminded the heroes of their promise to help the innkeeper and his family anyway they could and Valahaire, Lionheart and Dim spent the next hour washing dishes. Meanwhile Arakasi said he had something he must do and asked Guido to accompany him back to the strange arcane symbol inscribed Runespire.

Obelisk of thutmose

After doing dishes the three went for a swim and had several small contests of diving and swimming all of which Valahaire appeared to dominate. The Drunken Monkey monks awoke and begin doing katas in the courtyard and it wasn’t very long before the monk from last night one Kodo Lemurkin challenged Dim to a small contest of fighting staged aboard a thin log stretched across the pool. As Arakasi and Guido returned from wherever they had been they observed Dim strike the first successful blows causing Kodo to free and become seemingly paralyzed and begin to slip into the water but not before Dim slipped, almost regained his footing but slipped again and fell face first into the water.

The six Al Haladin outriders awoke next and joined the ever increasing party in the courtyard. Valahaire and Lionheart sought to drift off to the smithy without being seen but were called back to be questioned. Apparently Valahaire’s efforts at disguising Oyasi were successful because the Al Haladin didn’t seem to recognize her. They did however challenge Valahaire to an archery contest betting hundreds of silver drakmahs against his several healing vials bought from the trader caravans. After a great shot from the Al Haladin commander, Valahaire stepped forward and with nearly effortless aim split the dwarfs arrow.

Guido bellyflopped into the pool.
Dwarf belly flop

And the remainder of the morning was spent basking in the sun while enjoying the cool, blue waters of the hotel oasis. While distant lovely singing and stringed instruments and flutes could be heard above the songs of twittering birds and whirring insects. The smell of succulent barbecued meats filled the air as a great dinner was prepared.

View
CHAPTER 4 THIS COULD BE HEAVEN OR THIS COULD BE HELL

Chapter 4 act i

While preparing to travel onward the group observed three haggard figures battling several mounted Al Haladin. The three slew or drove off the dwarves and stumbled towards Brimstone and spotted the party hiding out. They revealed themselves to be two Al Haladin dwarves that had escaped from the gladiatorial arenas of Alesandria, the male dwarf named Crag apparently recognized Dim and let him know that a being called the Ancient One was very much alive and was training fighters again in the arenas. Dim thought him dead but after attacking Crag and knocking him out he discovered that the Ancient One had escaped only to be recaptured. The third figure was a plains elf that turned out to be a rogue one Osayi Orell, romantically intwined with Valaheire. She decided to leave the two dwarves and join up with the group.

With less than a day of travel to exit the Valley of Mourn the band of weary travelers decided to push on into the painful, desert heat of the coming day. Lionheart murmured soft words to Sol and suddenly he quit sweating so profusely and actually looked comfortable in his tattered iron chain mail in the hundred degree heat. Valahaire wrapped the tattered remains of his clothing about his head and pushed on seeming to deal with the harsh environment.

The remaining three definitely looked worse for wear as they pushed on into the blasting sunlight of high noon. Guido staggered under his load and sweat poured off his red, burnt face and into his thick, disheveled beard. He couldn’t possibly keep this up much longer. While the towering paladin smiled and strode purposefully forward. They eventually stopped and tried to find some refuge from the oppressive heat. Dim Mak found them shelter once again proving to be quite adept at locating the small caves and niches away from the intense light.

It was during the this moment of seeking refuge that Arakasi became aware of a slight rustling near him. He opened his sleepy, salt sweat encrusted eyes and became aware of Dim putting something into his water flask! The gem studded sorcerer snatched up the flask and upended it onto his open palm in hopes of not spilling any of their precious two days remaining water supply. Suddenly the young, slightly sunburnt man let out a cry of agony and terror. He fell back violently slamming into the sandy ground. Tiny dark mineral grains sparkled and smoked in the intense white light of day. A thin line of drool trickled out of Arakasi’s mouth as his water spilled out on the desert floor. The dark grains dissolved into his outstretched hand and his skin took on sickly grey pallor, almost corpse-like. A single flawless emerald embedded in his wrist hissed and crackled, finally shattering. He awoke to see Dim staring at him looking shocked.

Dim revealed to the group that he had been carrying a chunk of incredibly dark rock that he found while enslaved by Corvus Malik back in the Brimstone mines. Corvus indicated that this was a substance called Voidstone and that it could be a potential secret weapon to turn the tide in the coming war against the Ghostwalkers. After mining several tons of the stuff he collapsed the mine on the miners killing forty or more slaves, but somehow Dim had survived.

Clearly the conflict between Arakasi and Dim had yet to be resolved…

Finally, as the sun set over the Furnace Mountains to the west and more and more Al Haladin forces could be seen pouring out of the far mountainous valleys. The weary, dirty, sunburnt heroes began their ascent upward to the Runespire Pass and final exodus from the Valley of Mourn. As the first moon arose in the east dark clouds could be seen gathering over the pass. Valehaire whipped out his trusty silver rune scribed telescope and scanned the area. He quickly saw at least eight figures encircled around a tall grey stone monolith twenty feet or more in height. As lightning began to arc above the pass a single bolt struck the stone and with a horrible unearthly roar a great shadowy figure leapt into the world.
Bearded devil

The intensity of evil red light emitted from this being effected Valaheire as if he had pointed the magnifying arcane glass directly at the sun. He let out a gasp as he could no longer see out of that eye. As the other worldly terror became aware of Lionheart it closed the nearly half mile distance in seconds.

Guido brought forth his trusty silver powder and hastily created another warding circle of protection. The group gathered inside. The roaring, cackling fiend with little effort swept aside the protective circle and lashed out at the stalwart paladin with a wickedly barbed glaive twice the height of Lionheart. Dim engaged the beast as well cutting hands and arms on its thick hide. The fiery red creature slashed out at Dim with two vicious strokes sending the bandaged monk reeling. Lionheart made great slamming strikes with his hammer calling out a prayer to Sol to “Guide my hand to SMITE THIS EVIL!” Arakasi shaken but still in the fight launched several bolts of arcane light but appeared to have little effect. Valaheire and Guido struck out at the otherworldly fiend, but their attacks were nothing to the righteous fury of the enraged paladin. For certainly battling such horrors was why Sol had blessed him with life. The hammer strokes caused the ten foot plus creature to actually stagger back somewhat. It was then that it reached a clawed hand out to Lionhearts shoulder and instantly winked out of the heroes sight. Lionheart felt a horrible wrenching pull but leapt back in time before he could be taken.

A few moments passed and the silence again of the empty rocky desert rushed back in only broken by a few distant thunder claps. Then with a booming blast of fire and heat the creature struck out at the confused group. Valaheire and Dim leapt away from the heat totally unscathed while Arakasi appeared to be cooked the worst. The battle looked to begin anew the battered hide of the monstrosity appeared to be healing before their very eyes. When with a blurring rush of bandged legs Dim Mak leapt at it, the hunk of Voidstone in his outstretched hand as he struck. There was an intense crackling of dark electricity and heat and the jaggedly bearded foe roared in pain and dismay and appeared to collapse in on itself leaving only a smoky, hissing area of stone and sand.

Finally the group arrived at the Runespire Pass and discovered the remnants of a recently performed ritual of some type. And far below in the sprawling dry, coastal scrub the vast Naril River could be seen flowing towards the coast and the distant glittering spires of the imperial capital of Alesandria. Closer by the Hotel Shaitan could be seen, promising fresh water, good food and soft beds. At least thats what the group had been
told…

Unknown

View
CHAPTER 3 ACT III ON A DARK DESERT HIGHWAY

ACT III ON A DARK DESERT HIGHWAY R169 457x256 10261 desert winds 2d fantasy desert sunset landscape picture image digital art

Morning found the band of five still seeking shelter in a very old cliffside Al Haladin dwelling discovered by Dim Mak. Guido still looked haggard and drawn but not any worse, the Liber Infernum kept at a ropes length away and everyone manages to get some sleep and for once all fully healed and rested. The parties water supply was running out again as sunset arrived and several caravans could be seen on their final push into the valley and on to Brimstone. Distant columns of fire and smoke poured out of various locations in the Furnace Mountains and just before darkness descended the Green Comet appeared closer now in the west. A vast column of darkly clad figures began to descend out of the mountains and into the Valley of Mourn.

Avoiding the passing caravsns the group traveled onward through the night closer to the pass out of the Valley of Mourn. Valaheire still trailed the book that Dim encased in hard sun bleached desert wood headed off as the whispering wraiths drew ever closer. After being warned about “Ant Lions” they arrived at a narrow bottleneck through a red sandstone canyon cut through by a dried out river wash. Here after using expert caution they became aware of two predatory creatures seeking to ambush them…
Ant lion

It was at this point that Arakasi again sought to test out his newly acquired powers of the Earth Temple and used every remaining scrap of sorcerous energy to unleash a vast sandstorm which obliterated one of the creatures and ripped limbs and mandible from another as it slunk back under the sand. At that moment the human sorcerer fell over eyes rolling back into his head as the flux of elemental energy rippled through the desert landscape. He awoke to a world strange and wondrous to behold…
Li e7r

Somehow Arakasi had sent at least some of his form to what must surely be the Plana Terra as foretold by ancient scholars. However his material body was still flat out on the desert floor back with the others as he could see right through his hands. Something was preventing his complete jump into this different place of existence, some sort of anchor, something nearby to his material body. Just before his ethereal form was sucked back into his body on the Plana Prima something on the Terra Plana took notice of him, something vast and mighty…
Earth colossal by drak d3j83ij

Arakasi came to exhausted and staring off, looking around with eyes out of focus and grinning strangely.

After bedding down again that sunrise and Guido nearly getting chomped on by a large furry sand spider which Dim Mak later served for breakfast. The group recovered its wits and set out again seeking to leave the valley the following night. But at sunset the wraiths renewed their hunt and finally caught up to the party. Guido drew out his small, dwindling pouch of silver powder and set out a hasty protective circle around the four which the haunting, ghostly wraiths circled ever closer seeking a way in, their red eyes burning fiercely. While Arakasi struck out at them with sorcerous energy until they moved on surrounding Valaheire.
Wraith 1

Valaheire leapt past the encircling wraiths and with a quick chanted word and airy trace of a runic symbol, burst forward with tremendous speed the wraiths quickly pursuing him and seeking to cut off his return to the somewhat safer confines of Guido’s protective circle. A few of the wraiths nearly managed to envelop the dust cloud raising, hurtling elf in their icy embrace but at last Valaheire pounced into the circle to be rejoined with the four other beset heroes. Now the wraiths once again floated inches away from the powerful protective energies as Guido grasped his golden Sol symbol and yanked hard on his beard…“Protect us Sol…the light…the way…Gah!” Slowly the wraiths managed to one by one attempt to find a weak spot within the circle and one by one they were dispatched…each one becoming a transparent elven figure arrayed in ancient armor with a look of peace and gratitude on their faces. The last elf was heard to whisper, “Beware the coming of the Beast!”.

A few hours later the group became aware of another caravan of wagons pulled by the great reptilian beasts of burden seen several times in the last few days heading towards Brimstone.
730d7d1346d50c1f5028cad1bbca3c16

The group met Halim a stout well armed Al Haladin dwarf who appeared very surprised to learn that Brimstone had been attacked. He knew nothing of THE HORDE and stated he was just returning from the Imperial Capital of Alesandria with an unspecified urgent cargo for Brimstone. He took a moment to trade with the group: Valaheire trading healing potions for a lovely ash wood composite bow obviously crafted by the Silvenestri. Guido traded the Headsman’s Axe for enough powdered silver to create three more magic circles. And finally…
Images
Dim revealed a pebble sized chunk of a strange, intensely dark stone that Halim couldn’t identify but seemed to feel had some value. He traded an elixir of the strength of the desert ogre for it. When the pebble piece was brought forth however a wave of pain and loss shot through Arakasi knocking him to his knees, eyes rolling back in his head. He came to with the look of man blinded.

Sometime later sunrise arrived and the party hunkered down knowing that the following night fall would see them exiting the Valley of Mourn and within sight of the Nephri River and the Hotel Shaitan…

View
CHAPTER 3 INTO THE GREAT WIDE OPEN

Chapter 3 into the great wide open

ACT I STANDING AT THE CROSSROADS

Valehaire after learning that Elgrab had dropped his book went back in and recovered it while the cavern began to crumble and collapse around him. The book was covered in numerous crawling sickly worms and he wrapped it in his tattered and worn cloak.

Libro infernium

Emerging into the sunrise the heroes quickly encountered the Countess Lilith Myrmidion Dragon Rider of the Circulum Ursinum. Dragon rider by m hugo d3cfo3l

She told the group that the Circulum learned of their success and claimed the four items of power they had been sent to Brimstone to recover: The Diralith Staff, The Shield of Scion, The Book of Sorrows, and The Lacrimus Herbarius. She gave each of them a golden amulet with an engraved roaring bear on one side. “This shall show that you are now considered Adepts of the Circulum!”!

The Lady Countess Lilith MyrmidionBattle mage female
Arakasi seeking the rumored healing stores mentioned by the now deceased Xandra came face to face with an arquebus wielding, cigar smoking dwarf named Corvis Malik. Corvis hiding out in the cellar of the now smoking ruin of a mining shack thought Arakasi another zombie and shot him with a booming blast. Corvis malik

Corvis quickly stated his hatred of all things elvish and prepared to journey back to Brimstone to meet with the Caliph Mustepha the leader of Brimstone. But before he could get too far away Valehaire brought out his newly developed powers of wizardly runes and weaved a charm about the dwarf…

After some discussion the heroes decided it best to head north back towards the North and Sea of Tranquility and visit the Imperial Capital of Alesandria seat of the Emperor Nirthamir ruler of the Silver Elves known also as the Ghostwalkers.

ACT II GOT NO TIME FOR SPREADIN’ ROOTS

As the heroes made their way to the north they saw several Al Haladin dwarves lead out ten hooded and bound figures. They removed their hoods and revealed them to be all Silvestri Elves which the dwarves dropped nooses over and promptly hung them all from the heights of Brimstone’s wall. The leader of Brimstone appeared before the gathered forces and citizens of the rugged town and bellowed out the proclamation that….

“We have faced the darkest evil this night and persevered for we are the Chosen of Kaleh, glorious Sol in his ever burning sky! And this day we bring forth his justice on those who would seek to traffic and conspire with The Worlds Below and the Demons that would seek to swallow the souls of all mortals and devour this our world! We have for far too long been the slaves of the damned Ghostwalkers and now we arise and cry This Is War!”

Princeofpersia 3

The western walls of Brimstone showed great damage from last nights bombardment by the Horde. Hundreds of corpses lay piled up and scattered about the walls while vast clouds of reptilian winged scavengers and dark crying ravens picked over them. The Al Haladin forces gathered about Brimstone beginning the repairs as a vast cloud of dust arose some five to six miles to the south showing the position of the withdrawing army.

Deciding to proceed to the north east where the Brimstone dwarves were fewest the group made its way, from out of the dusty rubble of a nearby sulfur mine entrance staggered Dim Mak…
Liam neeson as peyton westlake darkman in

He told the escapees of Brimstone that he had been a slave in the mines and remembered little else. The group quickly realized that they were being followed by numerous Al Haladin outriders atop fast, aggressive raptor like sauropods quickly gaining ground. Images 1

Seeking cover and shelter in a nearby plateau Dim Mak and Valehaire climbed upward sixty feet of cliff to find a small cave. Meanwhile Guido and Lionheart moving more slowly fell behind and were soon surrounded. A strangely non-dwarven half elf apparently in disguise told the group to get away.

Seeking shelter the party climbed into the cave and attempted to obtain some badly needed sleep. Valehaire however immediately begin to experience terrible nightmares. Excerpts 20100528

The Book of Elgrab now known to be the LIBER INFERNUM was apparently exerting a diabolical and powerful influence on Valehaire. The group attempted to put the book at least thirty feet away and they were finally able to get some sleep. A secret passage discovered by Guido lead to a hidden map room deep within the plateau that was somehow connected to the approaching sickly green comet.

High atop the plateau Valehaire witnessed six ominously approaching wraith figures and heard their soft other worldly moans of “The hunt…the hunt…to find for Elgrab…to find for our master.”

Traveling under cover of darkness the heroes managed to avoid the hunting wraiths until the follwoing sunrise where Dim Mak located a ruined cliff side structure and settled in to rest through the burning heat of the coming day.

ACT III ON A DARK DESERT HIGHWAY

R169 457x256 10261 desert winds 2d fantasy desert sunset landscape picture image digital art

View
ACT III WAITING FOR THE SUN!

Act iii waiting

Rallying together in the ruined mining shack the exhausted, staggering form of Lionheart heaved the stout iron bound door against the frame. A warm blue glow continued to emanate from the Shield of Scion and Lionheart slammed his back against the door as the first ominous thuds began on the other side. A slight smile appeared on the golden bearded man’s face as he closed his eyes and began softly murmuring a prayer. As the words flowed the glow of the shield faded, the angry red lines left from the shambling undead’s clawing fading as well. But he looked better, more alive not so stumbling at death’s door.

Guido the Knee Breaker rushed about the ruined, trashed remains of the cabin discovering a dwarven tract tacked on the wall above the small shrine to Sol the Iron Hammer/Forger Aspect. As the pounding and chilling moans grew louder and more frequent at the door, Guido read “Speak the name of the Holy Forger that Hammers Our Souls to His Will!” Guido with his incredibly expansive wisdom shouted out “KALA!” in dwarvish. A trapdoor suddenly revealed itself beneath the dwarf’s feet.

Meanwhile Valaheire was rapidly chopping an access hole through the roof as the numbers of the zombie horde grew and grew. With the roars of what must be the first great dragon he had ever seen resounding in his ears. He finally had a hole large enough to drop down into the chamber with the bloodied, injured duo of Lionheart and Guido. Could it truly be he had only met them face to face some twelve hours ago ?

Finally, Lionheart could hold the door against the surging, flesh devouring, rotting mass of corpses no longer and the door gave way. A few of the horrors managed to push their way in followed by what appeared to be dozens. Valaheire expertly plunged down into the awaiting darkness of the opened trapdoor followed by Lionheart and finally Guido slamming the glowing portal shut. The sounds of shuffling grew in intensity above their heads as the trio was plunged into total darkness. The last they saw was that the ladder down was covered with blood.

No stranger to the dark places of the World of Bealarium; Guido quickly pointed out the storage room they appeared to be in while the faint remaining glow of the Shield of Scion allowed Lionheart and Valaheire to see only a short distance. As they quickly scanned the room of crates and barrels Lionheart sensed an ominous dark, presence in the cellar emanating from the barrels themselves. Then Valaheire became aware of a clawing, scuffling emanating from behind a stack of tall crates. A rotted, bloated dwarf woman was trying to claw her way into the cellar. Valaheire drew his bow and his nearly empty quiver and sunk several arrows into the writhing thing, finally a single shot pierced the creatures eye and it fell revealing a dark, forbidding mine shaft beyond; distant chanting and moans echoed up through the inky blackness. The trio’s stomachs rumbled and the exhaustion of the last day fell upon them as eyes drooped and weapons slumped to the floor. Their mouths were cracked and parched from lack of water. The crates revealed to be a storehouse of dried fruits and meats, apparently the emergency larder for the camp. Choking down some hard tack and dry rations the three took a moment to catch their breath and rally. While moans and dragon roars filled the world above. Lightning and arcing electricity crackled through the ceiling emanating even across into the very walls; great dragon indeed!

Meanwhile…Arakasi in the nearby mining shack sought the source of the soft weeping and found it to be a dirty, disheveled albeit still lovely elven woman.

Xandra

After some careful, charming persuasion Arakasi calmed the near hysterical woman enough to discover that her name was Xandra Quarteraisam a slave, albeit a favored one here at the Brimstone Camp. As the horde quickly pushed through Arakasi’s meager blockade, Xandra revealed that there was a trapdoor in this shack as well but she appeared very reluctant to go down, saying only that her husband always forbid it. After a further laying on of that Arakasi charm she agreed to descend into the darkness. Arakasi illuminated the darkened chamber with a few soft words revealing…

Shrine of elgrab

The room had several Al Haladin dwarf corpses spread about the room their hearts cut out from their chests. A book sat atop the pedestal, before the writing faded into obscure and esoteric unintelligible symbols Arakasi read the following journal entry:

Record of elgrab handout

The terrified Xandra apparently had no idea that her husband had been committing such horrors beneath her very feet. She revealed that her husband Elgrab and her had been captured by slavers a year ago after stumbling out of a massive ruined city several weeks to the south. She said that Elgrab had emerged a changed elf, renouncing his faith to Sol of the Fiery Sun Aspect and begin spending all his time pouring over an ancient tome he had found. The book Arakasi found in the Sacrificial Shrine was apparently not that tome but some sort of increasingly indecipherable journal. Xandra said that Elgrab had gotten the Mine Boss, an Al Haladin Dwarf named Corvis to treat them much kinder than all the other elven and human slaves. He provided him with the mining shack and a great deal of time to “research” whatever it was he was involved. There was an accident months ago somewhere in the mines and dozens of dwarves were killed along with hundreds of slaves. About three days ago strange lights appeared to the south and the sickness appeared, many more dwarves and slaves died. Then many came back as flesh devouring horrors and she went into hiding, she had not seen Elgrab for more than three days.

Quickly discovering that the two shacks were in fact connected by a dark, creaking mine tunnel Arakasi was reunited with the other three heroes. Attacked by a wraith they again were attacked by wraiths Guido became severely drained of health, looking older drawn, grey. Valaheire also succomed to the touch of the wraiths that as they were vanquished revealed themselves to be the spirits of the suicidal elves.
The party cleared a way out of the storage room, extremely thirsty they found a fountain and drank from it while sensing evil from the pooling water in the well. Finally beat up and tired they made their way into the mines which became a natural cavern writhing in sickly steam, sulfurous mist and swirling purple fire. There at last they saw a pool of bubbling magma encircled by raw elemental air and water. Four great rotting red skinned hulking figures stood watch chanting with an arrayed undead horde. In the center of the pool of fire there was a massive sarcophagus. A cloaked figure stood before it chanting and holding out a book.
Darkmage by fetsch d43g59s
Waves of power and force swirled about him his eyes lit red by the fire and a terrible building power within the figure lit by the gathering arcane fires. Bridges were forming out of the earth past the air, water, and pool of burning magma. In the distance buried within encrusted stalactites and stalagmites was a great black metallic figure clutching an axe. Rust lay heavily in various places obviously it had been in this cavern for a very, very long time.

Iron golem

Arakasi stood upon the edge of strangely scintillating cavern eager to release his new found power on the gathered forces of darkness. But first he let the gathered heroes know the words on the wall:

The Dread Priest Walks the Worlds Below
He has Spoken with He Who Sleeps
The Dreams Cannot Be Denied.
It Is For the Lost She Weeps
But Deep Within the Temple of Earthen Power
Rests the Iron Giant Doom
By Stoneheart Hand Alone
Shall It Awaken In the Gloom
__**

The group then decided to send the ever stealthy Valaheire past the great horde of rotting death and investigate the encrusted iron giant. Covered in the runes of its dwarven craftsmen the back of the towering figure had a single hand impression surrounded by several concentric circles. A severed hand from one of the sacrificed dwarves did nothing. Four bridges were continuing to inch closer to the hovering golden sacrophagus over the Pool of Fire. Valaheire also noticed a gateway had opened above the pool of burning elemental flame and it was slowly descending.

Arakasi could wait no longer and unleased the fury of the sands upon the cloaked figure and his minions. Whirling clouds of dust and debris stripped flesh from bone of the great hulkiing undead. But Elgrab stood nearly unaffected by the blasting sands. Continuing to chant and wave his staff the sarcophagus itself begin to be drawn towards the lowering gateway. The remaining three heroes began to desperately run through the gathered reeking, worm infested clawing nightmares. Lionheart reaching the vast caverns far side and the watchful, elven blade clutching rogue Valaheire still perched high atop the shoulders of the great iron giant.

His hand also did nothing when it contacted the worn impression…which was just too small for the big mans paw. Arakasi and Guido brought up the rear and Guido’s slow methodical trot brought his wounded, desperate body quickly into contact with many shambling corpses. Arakasi strangely rejuvenated by these rocky, sparkling ruins dropped back and stepped in the way for Guido protecting the dwarfs final advance towards the great iron statue. But, as the panting, sweating, axe wielding priest drew within twenty feet of Valaheire and Lionheart a particularly vile and bony clawed Al Haladin rotter slashed at Guido’s back ripping his worn, ill fitting chainmail and tearing great rotten gouges into his back and neck. The blood splashed across the cavern floor as the badly mauled dwarf fell. The moaning, gnashing horrors began to surround the doomed stout holy figure and it looked like the end…did his unconscious form softly whisper “Sol…” ? At that moment a great bellowing roar echoed across the dark, shimmering cave. And a soft blue glow appeared to grow brighter and brighter. As the light of the Shield of Scion grew and grew the resounding “Hee Hee Hee Haw Haw !!” made the evil shufflers pause a moment with uncertainty. What light had been brought into this place of darkness and twisted power ? The pounding steps of the huge paladin could be heard as he charged to the rescue of his fellow, fallen brother of Sol. Scooping up the bleeding, dying dwarf and throwing him on his shoulders Lionheart was beset from many sides by clawing fiends but he managed to run back to the awaiting hulk of iron. Valaheire leapt down from the shoulders of the iron giant to cover the retreat of a once again exhausted and wounded, the shaggy bearded paladin’s muscled arms sagged, laden with the weight of the heavy, bulky dwarf priest. Battling more clawing dwarves and shadowy, chill touched dark silhouettes that seemed to suck some of the very life force out of Valaheire as his slashing, shimmering blade cut them down. Shoving the bloody dwarf’s hand into the impression, Lionheart and Valaheire stood watch while Guido was slowly drawn into the metal monstrosity. A warm red glow began to appear across the entire suit of armor as runes and arcane figures lit brightly and steam began to pour out of the various armored joints. Gone from the sight of the two; Guido was floating in a warm silky fluid his wounds closing, his spirit gathering strength as the great iron giant fully awoke.1983046 golem Arakasi having drawn many of the biting, tearing nightmares to him was being ripped and torn at by the ever increasing horde. Finally as he stood dumbfounded and amazed as the “Iron Giant” prophecy became reality a gurgling walking dead Al Haladin rushed up behind him and sunk filth encrusted claws into the right side of his face ripping long gouges into his cheek and ear. Blood pouring down his neck and sickly purple worms crawling across his dirtied, earthen muddied face the young sorcerer nearly fell but staggered forward to the protection of Valaheire’s blindingly fast sword strokes and Lionheart’s skull crushing hammer.

As a millenium of encrusted stalactites and stalagmites shattered and were blasted away from the now moving twelve foot tall colossus the golden sarcophagus began to disappear into the shimmering circle of fire, the reflected roaring flames made the twisted malevolent face carved into its surface to almost appear to writhe and move about. The eyes certainly were alight with a forbidding sense of expectation…
p.
The cloaked figure of Elgrab clutched his great tome and could be heard to cackle maniacally as he gazed with insane adoration at the ever rising form, his great hulking zombies gathered around him. As he prepared to do a final ritual he stepped to the center of the bridges and began to arise into the air himself. Xandra after several pitiful moments of pleading and begging with her crazed husband finally gathered her remaining courage as she leaped onto his back crying “Please Elgrab! Do not do this thing! Come back to me, for I love you with all my soul!” But, upon contact with the exultant Elgrab she cried out in pain and anguish as her beautiful form instantly started to become broken, aged and rotting.
p.
Guido now commanding the great iron giant began to charge at the Circles of Elements and the Pool of Fire. Booming steps cracked stone and shook the floor beneath the heroes feet as he raised a great metal axe twice the size of his own dwarven form. Elgrab appeared to notice at the last moment as Guido swung the massive weapon down slamming the now shocked and probably terrified Elgrab back across the bridge; his staff and the great book sent spinning from his hands. The oozing, maggot laden red skinned hulks now “dwarfed” (heh…heh…) by the steaming axe swinging tower of death that Guido had become were hacked and slashed in halves and quarters; rotten guts and black blood splattering the ground. Surely the next razor sharp crushing attack would do the same to Elgrab.
p.
But, as the golden sarcophagus finally disappeared into the fiery ring a great suction of air, debris, and even sound was rapidly drawn into the roaring flame encircled portal drawing the staggering nearly dead conjurer up into its rapidly dwindling glow. Xandra lifted her head, now wrinkled skin and cracked teeth falling out, white hair falling away her sunken eyes gazing upward with a terrible sorrowful expression, lifting one nearly skin and bone hand towards Elgrab. Then the once beautiful, loving elf collapsed; falling into the rolling, burning magma beneath the bridge and was gone.
p.
Guido quickly crushed, slammed, chopped, slashed, stomped, pulverized and generally squished his way through the remaining undead Al Haladin as his companions headed back to the surface and the gathering light of the coming dawn. As the booming steps and hissing steam reverberated across the cavern the dwarf priest let out a cry of “SOL!!!” which caused the entire place to shake and dust pour from the ceiling probably blasting out for a miles into the world above. Then as he made the giant axe wielding colossus bring its thundering steps after his companions the suit suddenly stopped and went dark its weapon slowly lowering to the floor and Guido was roughly expelled from the iron giants back covered head to toe in a warm pinkish slime…grinning from ear to ear.

View
ACT II Grisly Ghouls From Every Tomb Are Closing In To Seal Your Doom!

Zombie horde poster

After only a few moments to take in your surroundings you encountered the cloaked form of the stranger who revealed itself to be a decomposing elven figure with shimmering blue eyes. The heroes approached the swaying, moonstruck figure with caution until finally Arakasi made the move to reach out and touch the shivering form. As the weird, distant roars echoed overhead the stranger emitted a tortured shriek which was immediately echoed by a mass of shrieks and groans scattered about the mining shacks surroundings. The horde quickly closed in on the group. Numerous pale vacant eyed Al Haladin dwarfs their hairless faces contorted in hideous expressions. Covered in blackened gouges and bites many of the walking dead’s flesh was rotting off of their bodies accompanied by a nearly overwhelming nauseating stench. Guido and Lionheart found themselves surrounded by clawing, biting fiends. Valaheire struck out quickly towards the shacks to the south only to find all of their doors had been ripped from their hinges and lay upon the ground. Numerous booted footprints of the huge ten foot red skinned humanoids could be quickly seen around the buildings; blood splattered on most of the walls. Arakasi after seeing the numerous undead staggering about the mining camp sought to strike out into the wilds only to find that they appeared to be everywhere.

Guido brought forth his Holy Symbol of Sol The Mercy Bringer and a great blast of light rippled out across the gnashing and clawing horde. While Lionheart smashed in skulls with his great warhammer; the silvered shield he acquired from the Shadowsmith gleamed beautifully in the moonlight, its golden, rampant dragon on the front shining brilliantly. But, it was clear that the events of the past day had worn him down and as more and more of the rotting horrors piled upon him he was losing ground and strength. Guido as well appeared to be growing increasingly exhausted the great pulses of light coming forth with his roar “BRING THEM MERCY SOL!”. Then as a living flame appeared to join the battle, Valaheire leapt and rolled through the horde and returned to the mine’s entrance to help his nearly overwhelmed brothers of the Circulum Ursinum.

The horde appeared to have been dealt with and the group pushed further into the camp. Quickly more appeared from the south. Dwarves, humans and scattered elves all dead, all rotting. A second cloaked stranger strode across the narrow bridge only to be struck down by the advancing heroes. But, not before an exhausted Lionheart was grappled by a particularly vile and worm covered undead dwarf. The eyeless horror sank claws and rotting teeth into the staggering Paladins upper arm tearing flesh to the bone. The wild haired man nearly fell but a final blast of “Sol’s Mercy!” from Guido kept him on his feet long enough for the two to make it to the possible shelter provided by a mining shack. Valaheire quickly clambered up onto the roof the building. Arakasi was yelling to the group about someone on another roof and the sounds of weeping coming from another shack which he leapt into as more and more shadowy, staggering figures appeared in the moonlight. A chill wind sprang up bringing the increasingly nauseating stench of the rotting, hungry dead as that strange roar could be heard closer now but still high overhead.

We’ll live to see another day. Lionheart Responds:

Great naration of our last adventure Curt— awesome. I wish you could have written of Lion Hearts heroic deeds instead of how he and our whole group got our butts kicked.

“We got scattered, our unity shattered. In the face of overwhelming odds retreat is proper. But, to run and hide in terror is not retreat it is cowardice. Right now, it seems like it’s everyman for himself. Only Guido and I stayed together. Each of us are powerful strong adventurers but, our enemy is strong too. To take on this enemy alone is suicide. We must stay together if we want to have a fighting chance.

If we make it make it through till dawn I think we will be OK."

Lion Heart belongs to the “Iron Hammer” aspect of Sol because it offers hope and unity for the common man. This is also why he joined the secret society— for unity in defense of all. Lion Heart has dedicated his life to defend law and justice. He believes that the best way to accomplish this is to join forces with others.

LionHeart trys to barricade the door.

DM responds:

(I’ll put the beginning of this into the general adventure log, the rest for Lionheart will be found in a player secret.)

The bloodied, bright and wild eyed paladin bellowed the above so that all could hear him above the agonized moaning and roars that filled the heroes surroundings. Again that sense of calm and rightness with the world seemed to flow from his words. Perhaps this wouldn’t end as badly as it seemed to be heading… The giant of a man heaved the great door ripped from its iron hinges by some force of incredible, fearsome strength in front of the scratched, and shredded entry way to the mining shack. The silver shield of Scion shone (yesss…alliteration is the shit boys!) strangely in the darkening midnight as the last faint glow of the setting sliver of moon disappeared. All would be very, very dark soon.

View
CHAPTER 2: AS MY EYES FILL WITH SAND

Darksun sunset

* Act I In the Still of the Night By the Pale Moonlight*

Mine shaft clean

As the creaking minecarts emerge from the reeking stench of the sulfur mine you are immediately aware of a vast canopy of stars stretched across the sky. Distant whirling planets and a sickly green comet high over head its tail a long sinuous vapor. A rapidly dissappearing scarlet, waning moon hangs low in the west over distant mountains.
Stargirl by the navigator

The air is full of smoke and the aroma of burning wood and other less pleasant things. While there is still the occasional distant roar of exploding alchemical fire and the shouts of fighting elves, dwarfs, humans and the strange hissing cries of the Horde’s forces. The furious battle as well as the relentless bombardment appears to have slowed greatly. Brimstone now lies to your north and appears to be burning out of control. Hundreds of fires can be seen racing skyward from within the walled town. As the cart comes to a stop you are suddenly aware of how tired, hungry, and especially thirsty you are. You are in what appears to be a mining camp with numerous shacks scattered about the rolling, rocky landscape. Sparse vegetation, mostly prickly cactus and skeletal bare trees break up the monotonous sand filled area you now find yourself.
Mine tracks at nightMining town
You came to this forsaken place in hopes of proving your worth to the Circulum Ursinum for fame, wealth, power, glory, justice, x. (Up to you as a PC to decide, but you came to Brimstone because you believe that whatever your end goal is helped greatly by becoming a part of the Circulum.)

View
CHAPTER 1: THE BURNING OF BRIMSTONE
Stand and Fight ? Or Escape the Doomed Town ?

Siege kingdom of heavenAct I
The Guillotine Will Claim Her Bloody Prize
Tale of two cities conway

Arrested for causing in insurrection within the beset mining town of Brimstone, our Heroes face most certain death a the hands of the Hooded Man and his many geared guillotine. Meanwhile the mysterious and powerful Horde gathers outside the walls of the town and begins a ferocious bombardment. Utilizing great hurling siege engines and the black powder alchemical bombs of the Al Haladin dwarfs that built the great sulfur mines under and around Brimstone.

Act II
You’d Better Run All Day And Run All Night

Img031

After escaping death by guillotine and slaying “the Hooded Man” Al Haladin Executioner. The Heroes seek to escape the besieged town and discover the items of power they were sent by the Circulum Ursinum to find. Massive siege engine shot continues to rain down about them and as they near the Nastahljah Quarter a great hurtling mass of fiery purple stone slams down before them releasing numerous cackling, screaming skulls which immediately possess innocent fleeing bystanders. These possessed attack the heroes. Finally making it to the southern part of Brimstone the heroes recover the following:

  • The Book of Sorrows (Ancient Text Concerning Religious Rites During the Last Great War)
  • The Lacrimus Herbarius (An Ominously Sealed Bottle Containing an Unknown Substance)
  • The Diralith Staff (A Dragon Headed Staff Thrumming with Hungry Force)
  • The Shield of Scion (A Great Silver Dragon Emblazoned Shield Created by the Shadowsmith)

Finally, the group aroused the “Ancient Ones” heroes of long ago to rise up and defend this doomed city one last time…

Act III
Exit Light, Enter Night

Dealing with the local thieves guild known as the Bastards of Brimstone the group seeks to escape the town by way of the ancient mining tunnels after encountering their leader a man known as Snake Eyes. They head down under ground through a pit trap in a bar known as the Pit Trap but not before witnessing one of the Demon Riddled Siege shots slamming into a local orphanage followed by strange giggles and screams. The group flees from the scene and heads down into the darkness facing giant spiders and marauding red skinned Oni that have sought to enter the city from the mines. After a wrenching mine cart ride the group emerge into the starry filled night…

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.