As the group continued walking, it was noticeable that the wind had picked up. Sand and dust were blowing heavily and the group had to cover their faces. The wind did not seem to be stopping anytime soon, but did did not seem to be getting worse either, so the group pressed on.
Soon, the group saw a huge armored wagon in the distance. They decided to move off the road and hide among the rocks and boulders, so the armored wagon would not see them. They soon could see that the wagon was flying a flag with two crossed scimitars on it. It seemed the wagon that had their mekillots eaten, and defiler killed, had received replacement mekillots. Once the wagon had passed, the group emerged from hiding and continued on the road toward Urik.
The wind calmed somewhat, as the sun touched the horizon. The group was pleased that they didn't run into any more problems. They set up camp in a defensible, off-road, location. Julius took the first watch.
Day 15, Week 1, Fortuary, Friend's Vengeance, 190th King's Age, Sun Descending
The group awoke to the pleasant smell of Kalino cooking breakfast. Vashti preached her sermon and magically created some water. Shade found some water and, despite the mild, but constant sand blowing in the air, the group was in high spirits.
The morning passed, with only the wind and blowing sand to make the group's walk unpleasant. They took a break behind some large boulders during high sun and drank some water. When the temperature cooled slightly, they continued their march to Urik.
A few minutes later, Shade caught sight of some wagons up ahead. As they drew closer, he could see it was a six wagon caravan. He informed the group and they decided to move to the side of the road to let it pass. The group tried to look as non-combative as possible.
As the caravan drew closer, the group saw it was flying flags; they depicted a gold crodlu on a green field. They did not recognize the house, except Kiara and Abilkisu, but no one asked them. The group could also see that the wagons carried slaves. Vashti wanted to attack them right away, but the copious amount of guards made her second guess her strategy.
The group followed the slave caravan for the rest of the day. Once the caravan found a suitable spot, they circled their wagons and made camp inside of them. Each wagon had one archer atop it, with a couple of spearmen as well.
The group approached and talked to the caravan master, Mohamed. Vashti took the lead and inquired about the slaves, their skills, and their prices. She noticed a half-elf boy look at her with disdain, before quickly becoming submissive when Mohamed approached. Vashti wanted to free him immediately.
Mohamed claimed that all of his stock was born into slavery, or were punished with slavery because they were criminals. Vashti did not like the large bald slaver, but she believed that he was being honest with her. He was, no doubt, an evil man, but he certainly didn't think of himself as such.
After their discussion, Vahti purchased four slaves. She tried to bargain with Mohamed, but he was a seasoned merchant and Vashti paid his asking price. She purchased a forty-one year old human man named Murad, a 33 year old human woman named Marina, a 13 year old dwarf boy named Yonas, and the 12 year old half-elf boy named Aden.
Mohamed told her that he would appreciate them camping at least 100 yards away. Vashti agreed and lead the group and her new slaves away. Shade found them a camping spot with good look out areas, but they did not sleep.
Vashti told her newly purchased slaves that they were free and they could stay, or go, as they pleased. She then told the group that she planned on attacking the slavers. Kalino, Shade, Alaxander, and Julius nodded in agreement.
"What?" Kiara protested. "You're going to attack the caravan?"
"Yes." Vashti answered.
"Why would you do such a thing?" Kiara asked.
Vashti was perplexed, but answered, "They're slavers. They enslaved children."
"So? Slavery is not against the law." Kiara rebutted. "They haven't broken any laws."
"There's a difference," Vashti explained, " between legal and moral."
"No," Kiara argued, "there's not. They have done nothing wrong."
Vashti sighed and asked, "Will you stop us?"
Kiara shook her head, "No. Urik offers no protection to those so far from the city."
"Good." Vashti stated. "You don't have to help us, if you don't want to."
Kiara looked at Shade, "I will fight, but my king's magic cannot be used for a personal grudge."
Vashti smiled. "Understood."
None of the slaves were experienced at combat, but Aden did have a great deal of rage inside of him. Kalino handed him a dagger and then started insulting him. The boy attacked Kalino clumsily, but viciously and actually managed to cut Kalno on his arm. Kalino easily disarmed the boy and congratulated him on his strike. Kalino then gave the boy a few pointers.
Murad said he would do his best to fight, but he didn't really know that much. Marina said she would just get in the way and Yonas said nothing. Yonas didn't indicate if he wanted to fight, or not.
Day 16, Week 1, Fortuary, Friend's Vengeance, 190th King's Age, Sun Descending
The group had waited three hours, then Shade began the assault. He snuck through the darkness, giving the slaver's camp a width berth. He approached from the south, as opposed to the west, where the group's camp was. Shade touched a large boulder and some smaller rocks and dust fell from the top. The caravan guards looked in his direction. Shade ducked low and hid.
Two guards took a torch, pulled their weapons, and went to investigate. They walked forward, looking behind large rocks and boulders. Shade stayed silent and did not move.
In the meantime, Alaxander climbed onto a rock to watch over the slaver's camp. Julius openly walked toward the slaver's circled wagons and stopped sixty yards from it. He sat on a rock and waited. Although he was noticed by the sentries, he was not acting hostile, so they did not engage him.
Shade silently stalked his unsuspecting prey. As the men looked at where Shade had been, Shade quietly unsheathed the magic obsidian broadsword. As one of the men crouched to look at some depressions in the ground, Shade swung the sword and beheaded him. The other guard was shocked at his companions sudden death and before he could scream, Shade decapitated him as well. He kicked dirt over the torch that the guards had brought with them.
Two of the guards back at the slaver's camp saw the torch light snuffed out. They nocked arrows in their bows are stared hard into the darkness. One of the guards saw Shade approaching and turned his head to call out to the other guards. He opened his mouth, but no noise escaped his lips. Alaxander, who was watching, had used the way to silence him.
The guard started waving and pointing, but the only guard that was watching him had no idea what he was trying to say. Suddenly, Shade burst from the darkness and sliced the silenced guard with his sword. The guard almost fell from his perch on one of the wagons. The other guard saw Shade attack and finally understood what the silenced guard was trying to say.
"Oh." The guard exclaimed.
Shade slashed the guard again and the guard jumped from his wagon and fled. The other guard started yelling and all eyes turned to Shade. From sixty yards away, Julius saw the guards stirring and knew that Shade had been discovered. Julius used the way to cause a huge explosion in the middle of the slaver's camp, narrowly avoiding the slave wagons.
During the panic, Shade finished off the fleeing guard and Alaxander used the way to punch the other slave guard. The sleeping guards were scrambling to get up and grab their weapons, when Julius caused the ground to explode again. Many of the guards fell, not to rise again.
The explosions were the signal for Vashti, Kalino, and the others to start a mad dash toward the slaver's camp. Two of the surviving guards mounted crodlu and started charging the dashing group. Mohamed rose from the center of the explosion, brushing off rocks, dust, and his dead guards. He was furious, but two priests among the guards healed him. He picked up his bone hand axe and copper kukri. He then began walking west, toward Julius.
Julius used the way to throw rocks at the archers, who were no longer shooting at him. The priests walked slowing toward Julius, as he walked slowly toward them. The archers rained arrows down upon Vashti's group, as they charged forward.
Alaxander teleported from his place on the rock to assist Shade. Mohamed ran up to Shade and slashed him with his kukri. Alaxander attacked Mohamed. Mohamed let Shade flee and began attacking Alaxander, along with numerous other guards.
Two of the guards gave chase to Shade, who was saved by Kiara. She killed one of the guards with her bone wrist razor and gave Shade a small orange pear of healing. Shade ate the pear and felt a little better. They both attacked the other guard and killed him.
Protected by Abilkisu, Vashti dodged the charging crodlu and ran up to the slave wagon. The other crodlu clashed with Kalino, who was nearly knocked from his feet. Kalino engaged the rider with his bone khopesh.
The priests attempted to charm Julius, but Julius shook off the clumsy attempt. He unsheathed his bone longsword and brought it down upon the priest's shoulder. In that moment, Julius channeled his stored up kinetic energy and multiple arrow-like wounds appeared in the priest's chest. The priest convulsed and fell to the ground, covered in his own blood.
Join us in two weeks for another exciting episode of Adventures Under the Dark Sun.
2nd edition AD&D Dark Sun Cast of Player Characters and other Major Characters
Julius: Human male psychokinetic. 22 years old. Played by Dave. Speaks Balican, Tyrian, and Giant.
Alaxander: Human male psychokinetic. 18 years old. Played by Ben. Speaks Balican, Tyrian, and Elf.
Vashti: Human female clairsentient/water cleric. 20 years old. Played by my wife. Speaks Nibnese, Gith, Tyrian, and Balican.
Shade: Half-Elf male ranger/thief, 18 years old. Played by Chad. Speaks Balican, Elf and Tyrian.
Kalino: Human male fighter/preserver. 20 years old. Party NPC. Speaks Rammin, Tyrian, and Balican.