Thursday, May 14, 2020

Session Thirty-Seven: The Ruins of Yaramuke

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

As Shade was peeking over the short ridge, Jessel got a lost look in his eye. The other members of the group knew that look well. He apologized and said earth was summoning him. He opened a dimension door, with the will, and stepped through. Vashti lamented that water never summoned her. Kalino reassured Vashti that it was, perhaps, because Vashti didn't need as much guidance as Jessel.
Shade watched the zombies and slaves dig in the sand, uncovering the ancient ruins of Yaramuke. He used the will to improve his senses and could hear the overseers yelling at the slaves below them. Abu was asking one of the overseers about clues to the palaces location. Shade believed he heard all he needed to and took a quick look out over the horizon. He saw more ruins jutting up from the sand.
Once Shade returned to the group, he informed them of what he saw and heard. The group discussed the possibility of attacking Abu's group, but thought better of it. They decided instead to begin their own investigation of the ruins.
They chose to inspect a dome Shade saw in the center of the ruins that was a good distance from Abu's dig site. The group hiked a round about way to get to the dome, to avoid detection, and it took them hours to arrive. The dome looked like the back of a mekillot. While it was obviously badly weathered, it was still whole and no entrance could be found.
Vashti began using the way to decay the dome, to make a hole for them, but the dome was proving somewhat resistant to her power. Julius had some better luck softening the dome, but was moving less material that way. They worked together for half an hour, or so, but were finally able to create a hole big enough to squeeze through.

Luckily both moons were out and Shade could see inside the domed building. Far below was a blackened skeleton laying on the ground with a cracked and blackened broadsword laying next to it. It was too dark to see anything more.
Vashti, Julius, Kalino, and Shade climbed down into the dome. There was a geat deal of burned skeletons and charred wooden furniture. They determined that it was a barracks and that the soldiers that were housed here were surprised and killed.
In the middle of the dome was a staircase that lead down. They group thought about investigating, but decided to rest first. They climbed out and decided to keep watch, keeping the dome between themselves and the dig site. Also, to remain undiscovered, they decided not to light a fire. They set their normal watch and went to sleep.

Day 8, Week 1, Fortuary, Friend's Vengeance, 190th King's Age, Sun Descending

During the night, a man from Abu's dig site was on patrol and stumbled upon the group's campsite. Kalino and Alaxander were on guard and saw him approach. Alaxander used the way to turn the man's yells into whispers. Kalino grabbed the rope and used his magic, disguised as the way, to bind the lone guard.
Shade woke up and saw his companions with their prisoner. He woke the rest of the group and had a look around. He was convinced that there were no other guards in the area. They decided to question their prisoner.
Vashti preached her sermon and created water. The group fed and watered themselves. They kindly included the captured guard in their morning meal.
Vashti wanted to use a spell to force their prisoner to tell the truth, but the spell required a faux gemstone to cast, which the group did not have. Julius used the way to heat the sand to its melting point and allowed it to cool naturally. With the resulting glass, Kalino was able to cut a imitation gemstone.
Vashti cast her zone of truth spell and they began questioning their captive. He was a guard and overseer for Abu's dig operation. Abu was seeking the ruined Yaramuke palace, because it had some sort of magical thing inside of it. The guard honestly believed that Kalak was a god and was happy to serve him. The guard looked confused, probably because he was attempting to lie.
The group pressed him further. Abu had a dozen guards, a dozen undead, and twice as many slaves. They worked two shifts, all day and all night. The human captive promised not to tell anyone about the group being in the ruins. Julius noticed the spell's time was up and the guard was likely lying.
Alaxander offered to teleport the man all the way back to Urik. He explained that he would have to stay in Urik and meditate until he recovered enough mental energy to teleport back. The group understood and agreed. Alaxander took hold of the man and disappeared with a bamf.
Vashti, Julius, Shade, and Kalino climbed back into the domed building and prepared to follow the stairwell down. The stairs led to a large stone door. Being cautious, Shade checked it for traps. He found none, so he tried to open it. The door moved an inch or two, but then refused to move further. While the group started to talk about how to open it, Shade muscled it open by himself. The group was impressed.
They entered a large room. On the ground were obsidian and stone personal items, combs, brush handles, and knife blades. One the far side of the room was a slate chest and in the corner was a stone ladder, leading further down.
Vashti picked up some of the obsidian blades and asked Kalino if he could make handles for them. He looked them over and said they were still in good enough shape to do so. Shade crossed the room to the chest and inspected it. He found no traps and opened it.
Inside the chest were some silver coins and strange triangle ceramic pieces. One of side of the coin was a lady, although her image had weathered somewhat. The other side showed a stylized eye, which was also weathered. Shade thought they were interesting and pocketed all of the coins.
The group then decided to climb down the ladder. Shade climbed down first and found another room. Inside was an alter with the same stylized eye as the coins and several embedded gems. Also in the room was a chubby human man. He wore tattered clothes that barely covered his naked flesh. The man noticed Shade and cried out, "Ateimani!"
Shade had no idea what the man was saying and spoke back in elf, tyrian, and balican. None were successful and the man pleaded to Shade again, "Ateimani!"
Julius climbed down and he was shocked to see the man. Julius could not decipher the man's words either. Shade offered the man his waterskin, thinking the man was thirsty. Than man grabbed the water skin and drained it greedily. He then began chewing on the leather.
Shade grabbed the waterskin and pulled it away from the man. The man yelled "Ateimani!" and his jaw opened wider than was seemingly possible as he took a bit out of Shade's left arm. Shade screamed and stumbled back.
As Shade stumbled back, the cannibal dove for him and tore a large chunk out of his thigh. Shade fell unconscious and was badly bleeding from his leg wound. Julius used the way to make himself impervious to physical harm. Vashti held up her vial of pure water and commanded the beast to flee, but it ignored her. Kalino was halfway down the ladder, so he jumped out and engaged the cannibal with his chitin khopesh.
Fael by Thomas Baxa
The savage turned on Kalino and bit into his shoulder. Kalino wailed in agony. Vashti called out that it was a fael, an undead creature with an appetite that can never be satiated. Julius moved toward the fael and used the way to throw a rock at it. Despite his wound, Kalino attacked again and sliced the monster twice with his khopesh. The creature's wounded dribbled with black, partially-coagulated fluid.
Julius was doing his best to look like an easy target and the fael seemed to have fallen for the act. The fael punched Julius twice, once in the stomach and once in the face. Vashti magically healed Shade and Shade recovered for a moment, but then passed out again due to his blood loss. Julius threw another rock with the way, but it bounced off the undead's flesh. Kalino tried to strike the fael, but it proved to be more deft than Kalino thought.
The fael punched Julius again and tried to bite him, but missed. Vashti grabbed some clean rags from her backpack and pressed them to Shade's bleeding wound. She gently tied them in place. Shade woke up, but was on the verge of unconsciousness. Julius drew his bone longsword and attacked, but missed. Kalino sliced the creatures flesh again and more of its vile black ichor spilled from the wound.
The fael bit Julius, but was able to taste his flesh. The undead monster began to realize that something was wrong. Vashti magically healed Shade again and Shade felt much better. Kalino struck again, spraying the wall with its black fluid.
Again, the fael bit Julius. His suspicions were confirmed, he could not tear the flesh from Julius' bones. The fael knew it must be magical trickery, or the way. Vashti helped Shade to his feet, healed him again, and told him to go up the ladder. Shade replied that he wanted to fight, not run away and started to look for his fallen alhulak. Julius struck the foul undead monster with his longsword and released the stored kinetic energy he was holding.
The fael exploded into black, semi-gelatinous, chunks. The foul fluid soaked the heroes, the wall, the shrine, and the ladder. The room was silent as the heroes gathered themselves and fought off the urge to vomit.
Vashti rushed outside to clean herself off. Julius, Shade, and Kalino stayed behind to loot. Julius had noticed some copper rings on the monster, so he dug through the ichor to find them. Kalino searched the monster's rags and Shade went to the gems that were embedded in the shrine.
Julius found the three copper rings. Kalino found five gold and thirty silver pieces in the monster's belongings and Shade pried all six gem from their sockets. They also searched the room for any secret openings, but found none. They then returned to the surface to clean themselves off and share their newly found treasure. Kalino and Shade also begged for healing, which Vashti provided. Kiara fawned over Shade, helping him get clean.
There was a square building that was not too far away, so the group decided the hike over to it and explore. The building was mostly above ground and the group speculated about the layout of the city. Was this building on a hill? They knew that they'd likely never know.
Some of the buildings windows were visible and Shade peeked his head inside. The building appeared to be a single large room, with one collapsed corner. He saw a table with six chairs and piles of old, torn rags laid out as sleeping mats. He squeezed inside.
He saw some crates and told the others that the building looked like a small warehouse. The others looked inside and, after seeing the crates, climbed into the building. They immediately raced to the crates and were shocked when the floor fell away, revealing a pit with spikes in it. Luckily, for them, they all managed to jump back in time to avoid the fall.
They moved more cautiously to inspect the crates. Vashti found a crate that was empty, except for two fat mice. She thought about capturing them for food, but decided against it. They still have quite a bit of erdland meat in their kank's pack saddles. The next create she checked had a hornet's nest inside of it and she fled outside to escape them.
Julius opened a crate and found a few sets of nice, colorful draji outfits. Lucky for him, they were all his size. Julius left them behind, he enjoyed his bedraggled appearance. Kalino found two fifty-foot hemp ropes. He took one and Shade took the other. Shade found twelve yards of hemp fabric and took it for Alaxander. Julius looked in the last crate and found three small sacks of wheat. They packed the food and cloth onto their kanks.
They didn't find anything else in the warehouse. Kalino mused that this must have been the home of the muls that had attacked them several days earlier. Vashti commented that she had almost forgotten about them.
Shade had seen a tower poking up from the sand with a sheared top. It wasn't too far away from their current position, but was very far away from Abu and his dig sight. The group thought it was a good idea to check it out.
The tower was badly weathered, but still towered about twenty feet over the groups heads. Luckily, there was a window about eight feet above them. Shade climbed up and poked his head through.
Inside the tower was a rickety staircase that lead down about twenty feet. Shade climbed back down and tied a rope around his waist, just in case the stairway would not hold him. He climbed back inside and gently descended the staircase. The bottom of the tower opened into a dark hallway and room. Shade called out with a whisper that he was safely down.
Vashti decided to got next. She tied a rope around her waist and clumsily climbed into the window opening. She went inside and the staircase held her. She took a few steps forward and felt the stairs beneath her start to give way. She jumped back as the staircase made an awful racket, crashing to the floor below. Shade jumped out of the way of the wreckage.
There was a brief moment of silence as the dust settled. Then, Shade and Vashti were startled as they heard, emerging from the darkness, shrill, inhuman screams.

Thank you for reading and 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, 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.

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