Thursday, December 26, 2019

Session Twenty-Nine: The Shadow People

Note: For those unfamiliar with Dark Sun, psionics are called the Will for wild talents and the Way for trained psionicists.

Jessel was called to the front of the caravan, as there were no healers stationed up front. In addition, a seventh wagon was added at the last moment. Vashti, Alaxander, Julius, Shade, and Kalino were assigned to guard the final two wagons in the caravan and were allowed to tether their kanks to the final wagon. In addition, a young human was assigned to assist the group. The young man was a Tyrian and he introduced himself as Khalil Twaq. He carried a longbow made of horn.
Khalil told the group that this was the third time he guarded a caravan for House Wavir and was surprised that the group had never done so before. He explained that he had a sweetheart in Tyr, but didn't know her name. She was very pretty and had almost all her teeth, but her father would likely not allow him to court his daughter, unless he had more money. He bragged about making nine bits a day to guard the caravan and told the group not to feel bad if he was making more than the rest of them, because he had more experience guarding caravans than they did. Julius replied that he understood.

As they walked, Khalil continued talking. He explained that they were going to Urik, which he had been to once before. Urik, unlike Tyr, was square and had distinct districts separated by walls. He suggested that the group stay in the merchant area, so they would not unknowingly break the law. And did they know that Urik had laws for just about everything and the Templars there wore yellow robes? The group did not know those things and thanked Khalil for the information.
This did not stop Khalil from talking who explained that on every run, the caravan had been attacked at least once. He believed that mercenaries hired by a rival house, House Tsalaxa, were trying to disrupt House Wavir's trading route to Urik. He continued to talk, this time about his sisters and brother, who lived in Tyr, and his parents, who were dead. Everyone, except Vashti, found his endless prattling quite obnoxious.
They walked for a couple of hours, listening to Khalil talk and answering, in brevity, his frequently asked questions. The sun set and night engulfed the caravan. They marched on, with word coming down the line to use as little light as needed. Deep into the night, the caravan was finally halted and orders came to set up camp. Rations and water were handed out. Watch was organized and the group went to sleep.

Day 2, Week 2, Sedulous, Friend's Vengeance, 190th King's Age, High Sun

Julius took the first watch, agreeing to watch for an hour before waking Alaxander for the next watch. Alaxander got tired after forty-five minutes and woke up Shade for the next watch, then retired to his bedroll. He justified it to himself that he needed his beauty sleep much more than the other members of the group. Vashti wasn't told how long to watch, so she ended up watching for longer than necessary and Kalino ended up having a shorter watch than expected.
Morning rations of water and food were handed out. The rations consisted of a large chunk dried bean bread, with dried olives, hard cheese, and strips of dried mutton. It looked appealing, but was very bland. Kalino said he could use his cooking skills to improve the taste. Everyone agreed and Kalino added some spices, which improved the flavor a bit. Everyone was grateful. The caravan set off, with the group eating on the road.
Two hours into their march, arrows flew from the dunes and large, lithe, figures came out of nowhere and ran toward the caravan. It was an ambush by elven raiders. The archers targeted Julius and Khalil, while bone longsword wielding elves engaged Alaxander and Vashti. The elves surprised the group completely, but were not having much luck landing any blows. One elf did ignore the group and ran to untie one of the kanks.
Kalino rushed to aid Vashti, while Shade and Khalil began firing arrows at the attacking elves. Vashti was hitting the elves with her bone club. Alaxander used the way to phase and walk away from his attackers. Julius used the way to absorb the kinetic energy of the attacks made against him, this confused the elves. The elves tried attacking Julius in different ways, trying to find a weakness. Khalil was struck by one of the elves arrows and Vashti was slashed with a longsword. One of the elves fled with the group's kank.
Kalino struck down one of the elves and Alaxander used the way to punch one of them. Julius allowed the elves to hit him, but one of the elves told them to ignore Julius and concentrate on taking their stuff. Vashti tried to summon the way, but failed to concentrate. Shade had been engaged in melee, so he drew his obsidian alhulak and iron dagger to attack. His blows glanced the elf attacking him.
The elves backed away from Julius and concentrated their attacks on other members of the group. Khalil kept firing at the elf archers. Shade continued battling with his alhulak and dagger, Spike bit with his teeth, and Kalino used his iron spear. Vashti turned her arms into wyvern wings with the way. Julius decided to stop playing with the elves and detonated the ground where three of the elven archers had grouped together. The elves joined their ancestors. Alaxander looked at the elf that was fleeing with their kank and gathered his mental energy. He winked away, as if teleporting, but did not reappear.
The elves began to flee, realizing that there was no way from them to win. Vashti took flight and began chasing the kank thief. The rest of the group tried to chase the elves, but quickly discovered that there was no way for them to catch them. Shade and Khalil fired a few arrows at the fleeing elves, which quickened their pace.
Alaxander found himself in a bitterly cold and dark place. He felt no ground beneath his feet, but was not falling. He could feel a presence near him. He asked the presence where he was, while using the way to phase. A cold, raspy, ghost-like voice answered him. He was in the home of the shadow people.
Julius ran toward one of the other wagons, where the elves had not fled, and released his stored up energy into the ground at his feet. The explosion was impressive and the elves fled. Shade and Khalil started firing at elves who were not fleeing fast enough. Kalino ran toward the front of the caravan, to see where his assistance was needed. Vashti flew after the kank thief and landed next to him.
Alaxander began to shiver and held his arms to his chest. He regretted not wearing pants. Through chattering teeth, Alaxander asked the presence if the shadow people ever left their home. The presence was quiet, but Alaxander began to feel an icy finger-like caress on his body. The cold penetrated down his bones. Alaxander was shocked and confused, because nothing should have been able to touch him through his phase.
Vashti grabbed the kank's lead and, knowing she probably could not overpower the elf, used the way to decay it. The elf stumbled back and fled into the desert. Shade and Khalil kept their bows ready, just in case any of the elves decided to return. Julius checked over the wagons they were guarding. Kalino assisted carrying the injured to one of the wagons, where they were being treated.
Alaxander began losing feeling in his extremities and really regretted not wearing pants again. His curiosity got the better of him and he stammered out a question. He wanted to know if the shadow people had ever seen people from the outside. The voice answered yes. The way the voice answered disturbed Alaxander. That, combined with his frigid condition, convinced Alaxander to leave. He pictured the caravan's last location and teleported away.
As Vashti brought the kank back to the caravan, she saw a large puff of displaced sand rush out from beneath the rear wagon. Julius took the kank, so Vashti could inspect Alaxander. Alaxander was shivering and couldn't speak. Vashti had never seen the effects of cold and misdiagnosed it as signs of overheating. Alaxander was slowly getting warm and Vashti suggested he stay in the shade.
One of the caravan leaders rode up on a crodlu to inspect the guards for injuries. Alaxander was brought to him and he concluded that Alaxander was the victim of some foul magic. He was taken to the caravan healers, who set him on the back of kank to warm up. It did not take long for Alaxander to recover and he was allowed to return to his duties.
Alaxander returned to his position as a guard and walked with the caravan, but he could still feel an icy chill in his chest.

Join us in two weeks for another exciting session 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. 17 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, and Balican.
Shade: Half-Elf male ranger/thief, 18 years old. Played by Chad. Speaks Elf and Tyrian.
Kalino: Human male fighter/preserver. 20 years old. Played by DM. Speaks Rammin, Tyrian, and Balican.

No comments:

Post a Comment