That night, Ren kept watch. It would have been relaxing, except for the howling wind. As the sun rose, the characters ate and drank. Ren used photosynthesis. They gathered up their belongings and woke up Cyrus.
They marched for 3 hours, finally emerging on the windbreak side of the mountains. The wind was fierce and the marching was slow going. The ground was loose beneath their feet and sand blew into their faces. Luckily, everyone had something to cover their noses and mouths from the sand and grit.
Ren happened to see some earth that was suspicious looking and avoided it and told the others to do the same. While doing so, Yaotl stumbled into a loose earthen pit. Emerging from the pit wall was a bloodthirsty giant ant lion!
|10 feet long and thirsty for blood!|
The ant lion attacked Yaotl with its huge mandibles. Ren leapt into the pit, but landed on Yaotl, and punched the ant lion in the head. Everyone else stayed outside the hole and fired arrows at it. Aziza shot it with magic missiles. However, the ant lion managed to snap Yaotl’s tibia and fibula like twigs and he passed out from blood loss.
Ren finally beat the ant lion to death, by smashing the chitin on its head and spraying its yellowish blood all over himself and Yaotl. Ren picked up Yaotl and activated spider climb. Once he brought Yaotl up, it was obvious his leg was broken and he was bleeding badly.
|I'm no doctor, but this might be broken.|
They all climbed out of the pit and continued marching through the mountains. As they marched, Ren and Aziza talked about the desolate landscape and how the Black Spine Mountains were preferable to the windswept side of the Wind Break Mountains. Two hours later, Climbing up a gentle slope was eight giant fire beetles!
|6 feet long, multiplied by eight, and thirsty for blood!|
Rata summoned a dust devil and it seemed to confuse the beetles, sending some of them scurrying away for a few moments. Ren, however, was overwhelmed and knocked unconscious. Aziza screamed when she saw Ren on the ground. Cyrus rushed to heal him and brought him back from unconsciousness.
The fighting was brutal, but the players slowly got the upper hand. When one of the beetles broke away to attack Nuru, Yoatl and Ren rushed towards it. They successfully prevented Nurus untimely demise. The group killed the beetles. Cyrus and Rata dealt out the healing magic and were quickly exhausted, as no one had escaped the fight unscathed, except Nuru.
After resting for a couple of hours, the group began marching again. Yaotl decided to break the silence.
“Tell us, Rata, where are you from?” He asked.
“I am from the mountains. My mother was a Druid and my father and Trader. My Father set off one day and never returned.” Rata explained.
“What house did he work for?” Aziza inquired.
“None, he was independent.” Raza answered, then continued, “My mother sent me off to follow the spirit and find my own lands. The spirit led me to my lands and I established my home there and connected with the Spirit of the Land. When I returned, after my duties, I found my mothers lands defiled and her murdered body laid in the ash.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.” Aziza remarked.
“Yes.” Rata replied, and then turned to Yaotl. “And you?”
Yaotl grunted before beginning, “There’s not much to tell. My mother was a slave and my father was a slave taker. He took her and made her his. After I was born, he had her killed. Then, her brother avenged her death, by killing him.”
Everyone was silent for a while afterward. Dusk came and they made camp. Ren decided to keep watch, again.
After four hours, he noticed the winds pick up. Off in the distance he could make out a tornado. He watched it for awhile and it seemed to be approaching their camp. Ren kicked Yaotl, waking him and Aziza.
“Tornado. It’s coming this way!” Ren barked, waking Rata and Nuru.
Cyrus continued to sleep, oblivious to the danger. Yaotl and Aziza were the first to rise, but as they did, the tornado vanished. Confused, they looked around. Ren spotted a Half-Giant sized man floating gently down toward them. He pointed him out to the group.
They quickly drew weapons and prepared themselves. The man landed and slowly walked toward the camp, not hiding his presence or moving quietly. Finally the man entered the firelight.
He was exceptionally tall, over 10 feet, and wearing fine breeches. His feet were clad in silk slippers and his chest was bare. On his ears, were two gold earrings and he also wore bracers of gold. He was also bald.
|10 1/2 feet tall and, surprisingly, not thirsty for blood.|
The group eyed him and each other quizzically. They did not lower their weapons, even though the man was unarmed.
Yaotl finally spoke, “Hail traveler.”
The man laughed, a deep laugh. “Do not fear. I was told of you by our mutual friend, Roan.”