Thursday, January 9, 2020

Session Thirty: Farewell to a Friend

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

The group marched through the rest of the day and into the night. They came to a stop and camped when the moons were high and the night was cold. They kept watch.

Day 3, Week 2, Sedulous, Friend's Vengeance, 190th King's Age, High Sun

Earlier than they wished, they were awoken by the caravan masters. They quickly ate their rations and drank their water. Khalil started telling them about how his parents worked in a mill most of their lives, grinding farro needles into flour.
As they walked, Khalil explained that his older sister cared for him while his parents worked. The hut he lived in was one room and very cramped for his whole family, but it was still better than most people had. Julius didn't want to hear anymore, but couldn't think of a nice way to get Khalil to be quiet.
Khalil talked for hours, only stopping to allow others to talk, or to eat and drink. Vashti came to the conclusion that Khalil must hate silence. They marched until near midnight and finally stopped to sleep.

Day 4, Week 2, Sedulous, Friend's Vengeance, 190th King's Age, High Sun

Khalil told more about his life as the group marched along the road toward Altaruk. He told how he began working in the mill at a young age, climbing between the two millstones to gather the ground farro flour. It was very dangerous, as the top millstone had to be held up by a couple of strong men, otherwise it would crush him.
In fact, Khalil explained further, once he witnessed another child get crushed, when one of the men holding the top stone lost his grip. This got the groups horrified attention. Khalil then told how upset he was, because he then had to climb between the two stones and clean up the boys crushed remains.
Khalil changed the subject to less gruesome topics and the group was happy for it. Shade hoped for elven raiders to attack again, because Khalil didn't talk during battle. However, there were no attacks and Khalil rambled late into the night. The caravan finally stopped to camp and when Khalil fell asleep, he was silent at last.

Day 5, Week 2, Sedulous, Friend's Vengeance, 190th King's Age, High Sun

Most of the day was spent as the previous two, the group marched in the rear of the caravan, while Khalil talked about his life in excruciating detail. As the sun set, however, they could see the lights of a settlement ahead of them. They knew it was Altaruk.
Hours and several of Khalil's stories later, the group arrived at the merchant fortress of Altaruk. The caravan stayed close to the fortresses walls as they camped and the group felt much safer. They still kept watch, however.

Day 6, Week 2, Sedulous, Friend's Vengeance, 190th King's Age, High Sun

In the morning, the caravan employees unloaded and reloaded cargo from the various wagons. The group did not have much to do, so they explored the merchant fort. Vashti purchased a green mashadah that matched her robe, some fine leather shoes, and a very nice robe embroidered with a water motiff. She also purchased some water to fill their barrel and ceramic jars. Kalino secretly bought some spell components.
Alaxander bought some oil for his iron weapons and leather armor. He had an empty ceramic jar that he stored the oil in. Julius bought an ordinary shirt. He didn't like how clean his new shirt looked, so he threw it into the dirt before putting it on. Kalino began training Shade to use a spear in combat. Shade trained and then played with Spike.
They cleaned their clothes by rubbing dirt into the nastiest spots and then brushing them with a stiff, aprig bristled brush, or by beating them with a stick. There was so much noise and other sounds, that Khalil hadn't found the need to tell stories all day. The group was thankful.
The group was getting the bare minimum of food and water from their employers, which meant they were thirsty and hungry all the time. Kalino brought up the fact that they had hundreds of pounds of erdland meat and over forty gallons of water that belonged to them, not House Wavir. These rations were sitting on their kanks doing no one any good, except Spike. Everyone agreed, except Julius.
Always pessimistic, Julius didn't want to eat or drink any of their surplus. He expected that something bad was going to happen and they were going to need their stores. In the end, Julius lost the argument and the group decided to share an extra gallon of water and pound of mood among the five of them per day.
They kept watch that night.

Day 7, Week 2, Sedulous, Friend's Vengeance, 190th King's Age, High Sun

The sun hadn't fully risen when the caravan set out for Urik. The group took their positions and prepared to listen to Khalil's stories, which began when the sounds of Altaruk faded. He told a story about when he was a boy and adopted a pet rat, named jitters.
As the sun set, the group took and ate their rations. They kept watch in their normal rotation.

Day 8, Week 2, Sedulous, Friend's Vengeance, 190th King's Age, High Sun

When the sun was peeking over the horizon, they were roused by their employers. After eating and drinking, the group got into their guard positions and began walking. Khalil began talking, as they knew he would. He talked about his first caravan trip with House Wavir in detail. The group ignored him.
That night, during Alaxander's watch, he heard something climbing through the canyons of the rocky badlands. He saw a twelve foot long spider crawling toward them. He ran to wake up Julius, which put a wagon between him and the spider. Vashti woke up, because she had set a ward with the way. Due to being a light sleeper, Shade woke up also.
Shade took one look at the spider and ran away from it, while screaming. This woke Kalino and Khalil. Alaxander and Julius saw another spider lurking above them on the canyon walls. Julius used the way and detonated the canyon wall, which harmed the spider sneaking upon it. Alaxadner ran to large boulder and jumped on top of it. He teleported himself and the boulder nearly a hundred feet above the spider on the ground and fell. The boulder crushed the arachnid. The fall seriously injured Alaxander and splattered everyone with spider innards. Vashti cast a spell and a war hammer made of water appeared and attacked the other spider.
The living spider leapt from the canyon wall and attempted to impale Alaxander with its sharply pointed legs. Fortunately for Alaxander, it missed. Julius used the way to detonate the ground behind the spider. Shade gathered his courage and ran to attack the monster, taking Spike with him. Kalino got up and grabbed his khopesh. Khalil got up and gathered his bow and arrows. Vashti ran up and magically healed Alaxander. Alaxander used to way to teleport himself and Vashti away from the huge arachnid.
Kalino, Shade, and Spike engaged in melee with the monster, while Shade and Julius used the way from a safe distance. Vashti was generous with her healing spells, which Alaxander was thankful for. Khalil moved to a position where his arrows would not mistakenly hit his companions and opened fire. The Spider turned its attention to Kalino and wounded him.
Although Kalino was impaled a few times and bit once, the groups perseverance and skill eventually won the day. The other caravan guards were very impressed. House Wavir employees harvested the spider's chitin, when it was obvious that the group had no interest in doing so.
The group moved to the side of the wagon not covered in spider goo and went back to sleep.

Day 9, Week 2, Sedulous, Friend's Vengeance, 190th King's Age, High Sun

In the morning, Vashti performed her sermon and further healed Alaxander and Kalino. They continued guarding the wagon and listening to Khalil's stories. Gratefully, the caravan was not attacked. The group didn't even mind Khalil's ramblings too much.
They emerged from the rocky badlands into the stony barrens and walked until sunset. They set up their normal watch rotation and went to bed.

Day 10, Week 2, Sedulous, Friend's Vengeance, 190th King's Age, High Sun

In the morning the group got up, ate and drank, and began marching with the wagon. Khalil began talking about his first trip to Urik, which actually interested the group, but then Khalil went off on a tangent. The group quickly lost interest in what he was saying.
Two hours into their march, they rounded a bend and saw a large group rise from the rocks with longbows nocked and ready to fire, it was an ambush. Before the archers could fire, a human with the ambushers reached toward the ground with his palm down. Green energy flew into his hand from the ground and the few plants around him turned to ash. He flung his hands forward and pointed. From his fingertip flew a tiny ball of flame that erupted into a huge conflagration. The fire burned the entire group, their kanks, House Wavir's kanks, and the wagons.
Men with bone broadswords rushed forward, while the archers loosed their arrows. Julius detonated the ground between the swordsmen, wounding them. Alaxander used the way to begin burning the defiler. Kalino ran toward the defiler. Khalil ran from the swordsmen who were rushing him and fired as he retreated. Shade and Spike ran to the archers and began attacking them, forcing some of them to drop their bows and grab their swords. Vashti cast water hammer and began trying to hit the defiler. Julius used the way to absorb the energy of the attacks made against him.
The ambushers fought in a well organized fashion. The archers and defiler targeted Vashti, while the swordsmen occupied Khalil and Julius. Vashti, Alaxander, and Kalino targeted the defiler, while Julius, Khalil, Shade, and Spike fought their own battles.
The defiler was felled rather quickly. Shade, Spike, and Kalino began attacking the archers. Vashti ran away, due to the physical punishment she was taking from the archers. The swordsmen were being injured by the group, but the group was generally fighting their own fights, instead of working as a team.
Julius was in trouble when his mental energy was exhausted. He cried for help. Kalino ran to help him and Vashti joined a little later. Shade and Spike continued to attack the archers. Alaxander was using the way to injure a swordsman who seemed to have it out for Vashti. Things began to look bleak for the group, but then a couple of the swordsmen decided they had had enough and fled into the wilderness. The group let them go.
Then, the battle took a turn for the worst when Alaxander fell to the archers arrows. The group was battling fiercely and were better skilled, but the superior tactics of the ambushers were turning the tide of the battle in their favor. Khalil was the next to fall.
Vashti, Kalino, and Julius decided to team up to battle the swordsmen, concentrating their attacks on a single swordsman at a time. Shade and Spike continued to attack the archers together. Things were looking up, until Vashti fell. Kalino and Julius were able to defeat the swordsmen, but neither could heal the water cleric.
The archers split up and attacked Shade from opposite sides. Shade engaged one in battle and Spike killed another. There were only two archers left and they had separated themselves by about ten yards. Spike was running to assist Shade when an archer's arrow struck the dog in the side. Spike whimpered and slowed. Shade was shocked to see his best friend stumble and fall to the ground. Shade yelled in denial as Spike breathed his last breath and lay still.
Shade attacked recklessly, beating on his foe like a madman. Kalino and Julius ran to help. The archer who had killed Spike pulled out his sword and knocked Julius unconscious. Kalino and Shade were fighting the last two of the ambushers.
Shade got a lucky strike and opened a large gash on the ambusher's forehead. A good deal of blood poured from the wound and into the eyes of the human. Kalino was doing well against his target, but he discovered that his target was skilled with the sword, as well as the bow.
Shade turned from the bleeding man, as the man weakly stumbled backward. Shade charged the man who had killed his friend. He screamed and ran toward him wildly. His alhulak swung and caught the man in his left eye. The alhulak's hook killed the man quickly, far too quickly to alleviate Shade's anguish.
Now that the threat was gone, House Wavir employees ran to put out the fires. Kalino gathered the injured and tried to stop their bleeding. He wasn't doing very well and was glad when Jessel walked over to him. Jessel had obviously been in battle himself and was showing a lot of fresh wounds. Jessel had a little healing magic left and was able to revive Vashti.
Vashti healed Alaxander, Khalil, and Julius enough to get them on their feet.
Shade didn't leave Spike's side until Kalino suggested that they give him a proper burial. Hurt and sore, the group moved and gathered stones for Spike's final resting place.

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.

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