I was explicitly promised a Dark Sun

Warlord's log 1

Well, a lot has happened in the last month, and unfortunately most of my time was spent researching the various ways an appropriated object might be a tax write off and how property laws may change based on whether or not the owner is deceased and no relatives are close by or still alive.

After passing through the portal we found ourselves in a verdant paradise, covered in vegetation with water flowing freely across the countryside. Wandering around for a bit we came upon a body of water so massive we could only guess as to its true size as it extended far beyond the horizon. We would later learn that this is called an ocean. It was at this point that we were attacked by dinosaurs. Fairy dinosaurs. For a while I thought I was simply hallucinating, I’m not an expert in extraplanar travel and a skewed perception could be a reasonable side affect of such arcane workings. Further compounded by the fact our Thri-Kreen appears to have experienced some sort of transformation, becoming a more bestial humanoid of some sort. She seems more confused than anything, although she was fairly inscrutable prior to her change. Insects aren’t known for the expressions. As the fey beasts charged we decided to play it safe and engage in the time honored tradition of beating things to death. We washed ourselves off in the ocean, still a bit taken aback that so much water could exist in one place, and noticed signs of civilization further down the coast.

It turned out to be a small town located at the mouth of the river and I went about integrating myself into the local populace, my specialty, most of the time, barring extenuating circumstances, which seem to happen with frightening regularity. We experienced alcohol that was both transparent and didn’t taste like something indescribably foul, a glamoured suit that can change it’s appearance (which I swore on the spot I would take before we left) and apparently a longstanding hatred between a tailor and a smith. We also become familiar with the local law enforcement, as Kered “warned” them a group of disreputable people would be coming through town, but thanks to my negotiating skills we managed to smooth out this issue, for the most part. The sheriff was at least kind enough to point us in the right direction, another town further inland. We made preparations to leave, and unbeknown to me our seeker decided to take a package from an extremely disreputable person for a suspicious amount of money to a person who would probably use it for evil purposes. This will become important in the near future.

The next town was similar to the last, although we decided to stop at one of their “churches” and educate ourselves, mainly so we could stop looking like the murderous tourists we were. It turns out that Kered had a similar idea, assaulting some of the local clergy and absconding with several volumes in the process. Part of me pities him actually, he’s probably having a difficult time adjusting to the fact that most people won’t look at him, what with being horribly disfigured. On the other hand I wish he would just stay dead, this place is amazing and he’s ruining it by acting extremely irresponsibly.

Remember when I said that our seekers mysterious package would have serious consequences? Well that night something started leveling the town. The sound was deafening and these waves of energy were slowly shearing the tops of buildings and moving downward. Given that these would eventually effect us we decided to investigate the source of the energy and found the recipient of the package astride a massive statue which periodically emanated these trimming waves of force. Fighting ensued, during which the man’s skin began to come off in segments revealing a scaled figure beneath. I think he was hoping this would dissuade us from our violent course of action, but he was unprepared for Strug’s rebuttal, which came in the form of a savage, and eventually fatal beating. I should note that transforming into a bestial parody of man did not effect Cha’ka’s combat prowess as much as I initially surmised, though she’s having issues having to sleep now, something almost completely foreign to her. That was an interesting night let me tell you, but a story for my memoirs, not this log.

Suffice to say we killed the snake creature, though for whatever reason the town populace blamed us for the incident. The leader, a nobleman of some sort demanded we get a skull to compensate for the damages, I guess the skull belonged to one of their religious icons, though I can’t imagine how lucky he was given the average saint tends to meet a fairly grisly demise more often than not. We decided to play along, the skull was important, we’d get a reward of some sort, and we’d have slightly fewer ingrates angry at us. I know the citizens weren’t happy their town was now at a shoulder level but without our intervention they would all be dead. Of course without the seeker none of this would have happened. Admittedly this sort of speculation is not particularly helpful, it does little to change our current circumstances.

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Bard's Log 12ish?
Freedom!

Well, I missed last weeks entry but it can be summarized thusly. We met a few more of the ziggurat’s occupants and killed them. A few of the notables being some ice creatures who seemed nice enough but the language barrier and my rapidly dwindling patience meant that killing them was a far quicker and more reasonable option. I also tried my hand at defiling but it lacked the rush provided by more common mind altering substances and the glares from my compatriots served as a warning not to try it again.

We did find the king’s library which we perused and found a series of increasingly irritating traps. The first book covered me in acid and while I got rid of the arcane trap on the second apparently I wasn’t cautious enough because the book was also coated in a layer of poison, which itself had a separate arcane trap covering it which itself was trapped by a large guillotine in the middle of the room which, if it missed, would cause the library floor to fall onto a bed of spikes. Admittedly the last few are fake but still, the sorcerer king is a bastard who I am once again glad met a grisly end.

We did find some books which, through a bit of cogitating, we found took us elsewhere in the area. We also found that we needed to get to the golden tower, so our way out was in the other building. We did however, find our first people who seemed to be genuinely helpful. I postulate that this is because they are already dead and are therefor immune to our groups normal method of social interaction i.e. homicidal violence. They directed us to the golden tower and we proceeded to do a large amount of backtracking. In the tower we found a treasure room of sorts and a few of us grabbed a handful of coins. Honestly, at this point in time money had become meaningless to me. We’ve always had more than we could use and nowhere to spend it. It’s been a bit of a pain actually but I at least found a nice crown to replace my old one. It started whispering to me after I defiled and the last thing I need is more enmity from the rest of the group. Besides it obviously isn’t that great seeing as how it’s old owner ended up.

We reached the top, jumped into a bucket and once again found ourselves at the top of the ziggurat, though this time with no other way out. We found the corpse of the sorcerer king and saw that he was in fact, very dead. Well, we broke down some false walls, found the stargate, or some massive stone gate that isn’t like the stargate. Admittedly I don’t have much to compare it to. We destroyed a few more walls with Strug breaking my weapon in the process, something I’m still a bit bitter about. But given the defiling, which I hope they forget about soon because those glares are getting old and I have yet to hear a thank you for the amazing solos I play on the battlefield invigorating their spirit and restoring their stamina. Sigh, my work is rarely appreciated.

Oh well, after a bit of sacrifice on our part we got the gate up and running when we got a nasty surprise, though not as nasty as I was suspecting. We heard a voice from behind and I thought the sorcerer king had decided to get up and introduce himself. It turns out that Kered had, in fact, gotten hit with the vat of acid we had thrown in after him. It had not improved his look or his attitude. Then the shit hit the fan. We started fighting, the sorcerer king got up and started fighting, everyone was fighting everyone else, I once again saw a light at the end of the tunnel due to a severe beating and I don’t know how, but Strug managed to somehow summon tentacled abominations from the gate. I can’t explain it but I know it’s somehow his doing. So, kered managed to escape using one of his dirty wizard/vampire tricks and we escaped as best we could. I’m writing this in the strange luminescent tunnel between worlds, the end of which hopefully leads somewhere more pleasant than Athas, where my genius will be appreciated.

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Bard's Log 10
A blast from the past...literally

Well, we continued further into the bowels of the ziggurat, still aware that we were nowhere near our goal, but we could still hope that we would have better luck than we had in the arena. The next area revealed an area which we surmised would one day hold the sorcerer king’s horde had he not met his sudden demise. It was dominated by a model of the ziggurat standing well over 10 feet tall and had a golden orb of some sort resting on top. My arcane sense was tingling so I set to fiddling with it. Cha’ka, on the other hand, was busy noticing the patrol that was quickly approaching, consisting of some kind of gorilla like creatures, some lizards and a satyr. I guess Kalak was a strong proponent of affirmative action.

I had just figured out how to open the orb revealing some sort of dark sphere glowing darkly. I know that doesn’t make sense but it’s a bit hard to explain, the sphere radiated dark light, or something. Regardless, we started fighting and I am proud to say we were much better this time around, filling our enemies with brand new orifices before they died of blood loss. The dark sphere…thing… began to suck in everything around it for about 6 seconds before winking out of existence. I remembered that it was called a gravity orb but it doesn’t seem very useful. The only interesting thing we found was a massive and magical map of the ziggurat and a secret pathway to the golden tower. I should remember this for future use and throw it in the thieves guild’s faces.

We continued upward and saw a massive room filled a substance I recognized though I was still unsure of it’s name. It’s a byproduct of a lot of magic, like sawdust in a sawmill. Unlike sawdust this stuff can have horrible effects on living creatures and is not something I would like to have contact with. Luckily the room had a massive, and I mean several hundred feet across massive, book floating in the middle. We began to make our way over the literature when I glanced down wondering what was written. This caused it to blow up. I was only vaguely familiar with magic of this nature. I though it had died out long ago but I guess someone was still practicing it. We ran into a problem in the middle as the cleft in the middle of the book had filled with the substance making a gap 20 feet across. Uzemaya vaulted over and Strug only just avoided diving headfirst into the stuff. I hopped onto the back of Cha’ka hoping she would think of something and in response she lazily flew over without effort.

Of course things couldn’t be that easy as some strange humanoid creatures emerged from the goo. They seemed to consist of energy trapped into a human form and carried weapons of a similar make. We weighed our options and realizing we were still a few hundred feet from the entrance decided to see if they were immune to a beating. It turns out they were not as they died like everything else we’ve come into contact with. And, I write with pride, I managed to snag one of there weapons before it dissipated. That’s right, I have a god damn laser sword and as soon as I find the ritual to turn it into a fullblade I will be the most awe inspiring bard that has ever walked the face of Athas. Those guys who killed Kalak will be mere footnotes in the book that will record my deeds, because I have a laser sword, and will use it to bring justice to all those within arms reach. Already wicked solos are dancing their way through my mind. The future actually looks pretty hopeful, for me at least. We still haven’t found a way to turn Strug’s rod into brass knuckles, and my crown won’t be the conversationalist his rod is either. Still, god damn laser sword.

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Bard's Log 9
I make a series of poor decisions

Well, I made a few mistakes in the past few weeks, grievous mistakes that will haunt me until I find enough mind altering substances to forget. I forget about my fans. I know, it seems to happen to a lot of musicians but I had always tried to give the audience what they wanted. Instead I made a selfish decision and embarked on a solo project. It seemed like a good idea at the time but it was merely a sign of my own hubris. Oh well, back on to current events.

We made our way over to the garden area where we would hopefully meet lord Davick, sell the residuum and become fabulously wealthy. The only thing in our way was a group of templars. Unfortunately, being a bit unfamiliar with Tyr it took a bit of very clumsy bribery to make our way past them. Moving through the templar district at a swift pace we found ourselves at the garden and quickly realized we were woefully under dressed, being covered in a thin layer of dust, blood, sewage and who knows what else. We were frisked for weapons and magic at the entrance but I managed to keep both my crown and my full blade through a bit of legendary legerdemain and convincing lying. We talked to lord Davick who turned out to be a bit of a bastard, who directed us to the captain of the guard who turned out to be worthless. Neither having the means to turn our residuum into coin. We were told that the ziggurat dominating the center of the city might have the rituals we need, though none who have entered have returned, though to stay positive it might be because they found the best party ever inside and never wanted to leave. Or the far, far, far more likely scenario of them meeting an untimely and gruesome, defiling fueled, end. Being a bit frustrated at the lack of progress I filled my pockets with hor’dourves and we made our way back to the inn.

The thieves guild decided to stop by and tell us of the mistakes we were making and that the residuum would be put to better use in their hands. At this point I’m negating them out of sheer spite, if for only their thinly veiled threats that seem to permeate the conversations we have with them. I think they don’t realize just how many things we’ve killed to get here and that their deaths would somehow weigh on my conscience. I suppose only time will tell how this gets resolved.

We met the captain of the guard again the next day at the base of the ziggurat and after a bit of small talk we made our way into the structure. The first floor turned out to be a heavily trapped maze and this is where I made my second grievous error of the week. In my exuberance I thought igniting some of the greased walls would make them less treachorous. Had I thought this plan through I probably would have stopped myself with a quick punch to the throat. The grease ignited filling the area with smoke and making us hurry. This was a situation I couldn’t talk my way out of and nearly died several times, each time saved by one of my comrades, which made my earlier selfish decisions that much more embarrassing.

We did manage to make it through the maze though, with my own life considerably shortened by the layer of soot coating my lungs, and found ourselves in an arena-like area, populated with groups of stone statues. We decided to attack the elf and eladrin group as our previous encounters with these folks had given us a sour taste in our mouth. Predictably they became animate and what followed will be described in several different ways. When I write the song of our adventures which will bring me the fame I deserve I will describe this as an epic battle in which we crushed our foes in a glorious display of combat prowess. What actually happened was a long and drawn out conflict in which each side was vying against the other only in sheer incompetence. Not our proudest moment to say the least. We did win, eventually, and sitting in the settled dust I pen out our adventures thus far. More to come.

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Bard's Log 8
A prostitute knows more about the wilderness than I do

Well, we saw Tyr in the distance and it did wonders to improve our spirits. My songs, being the epitome of beauty and creativity, have gotten a bit stale as of late and I was looking forward to inspiration. I was getting tired of trying to rhyme wasteland, misery and other such words. Unfortunately it turns out the Tyr is under siege which was a bit of a surprise. Made even more confusing by finding out that both Urik and Raam were apparently allied for this endeavor which did not bode well for us. I hold on to the thin hope that we are somehow not responsible for this, and this whole thing is just a strange coincidence. That’s actually pretty funny but not very useful as it would have to be explained and those jokes almost always fall flat. I did recall rumors of a disused path snaking its way behind the mountains of Tyr which would gain us entrance without having to explain to the armies why we were just passing through.

Of course here I learn our doppelganger prostitute is also a wilderness expert as she shows us the way. Looking back we probably could have found it ourselves, eventually. Even the arduous act of forcing our cart along a narrow path surrounded by scrub brush and unsteady terrain was clearly not difficult enough for fate, as we found ourselves confronted by a regrettably familiar face.

It began with a dark red portal opening up alongside the road, which as far as things go was a bad sign. Out came a group of slaves led by none other than our old friend, the summoning arcanist from before. I really need to figure out his name the next time we meet, I’m tired of referring to him only as “the summoning mage” or “that asshole.” He clearly remembered us as his first act was to order his slaves to attack. We attempted to sway them to our side by promising them freedom and cheese but the mage countered by incinerating one of them, which I admit is a fairly persuasive argument. The slaves attacked and we did what we do best, make things stop breathing. As usual the mage ran when things started to go poorly for his side, Strug threw a slave after him and, in a moment of brilliance, Strug and I manhandled the vat out of the cart and threw the last of the acid in after him. We completed our fight with a swift and masculine high five while the portal closed with an audible pop.

After a few more hours of travel we found ourselves at a cavern mouth too small for the buggolo to follow. We unloaded the cart and said goodbye to our quiet companion. I do hope we see him again. As soon as we entered we were assaulted by a smell which is almost indescribable. These caves act as the sewers of the city and it smelt like the populace has been having bowel issues. I could almost taste the stench on my tongue and it immediately caused my eyes to water. I knew that I had to put on a brave face for the troops so I calmly strode forward and hoped they wouldn’t notice my attempts at quelling my gag reflex. Uzemaya heard voices behind the first door, speaking a mixture of dwarven and gibberish tinged with a sort of strange infantile dialect. It was fairly easy to mimic and figuring nothing living here would be pleasant company convinced them to open the door. This poor individual was greeted by a salvo of fists and blades. What followed was combat as usual, a lot of weapon swinging, swearing and seeing Cha’ka nearly killed. Most of these strange and stunted creatures wielded weapons but others attacked with bolts of electricity shoving us around and knocking us down. I was actually thinking of an appropriate song to sing as a eulogy at Cha’ka’s funeral as she was leaking alarming amounts of ichor, which I assumed was bad. With a bit of bandaging and some encouraging words she was back on her feet but looking worse for wear. I can only hope we find the exit soon, I don’t think she can take another fight like that.

Find an exit we did, as well as evidence that the thieves guild is alive and well in Tyr as the doors leading out were covered in their cant. We picked one which sounded the safest and had the least amount of blood coming from it and found ourselves in an abandoned house. Here we took a break and I set out to find a buyer for the goods, which it turns out is harder than it really should be. With little in the way of results we headed back and found the unoccupied house brimming with people and noticed our companions were absent. It turns out the thieves guild likes to party occasionally and told us where our friends had gone. They also said they would give us a better deal than the merchant but frankly I don’t trust them, at all, ever. I mean their thieves, they steal things, which might include our things, and they want us to enter a business agreement with them. I rejected them in an offensive way and some threats were insinuated on their behalf, mainly by using my real name which is something I tend to keep to myself. If they become more of a nuisance things might get ugly, though I’d like to think that these past few months have made me a force to be reckoned with. Sigh, we reached our goal only to find it surrounded by enemies and nuisances.

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Bard's Log 7
I'm allergic to stabbings

Of course we escaped from the underground chamber filled with water, thanks to my innate ability to open locked doors by hitting them and giving the rest of the party the thumbs up. Good news though, the water did return from the feywild and we destroyed a part of eladrin culture that had been going on for centuries, which serves them right in my opinion. We refilled our barrels of water and even washed off the larger chunks of eladrin which made us, by Athas standards, ready for a formal event.

Our happiness wouldn’t last though, as it once again was competing against anger, frustration and irritation, all of whom have a definite advantage in the wasteland. This was proven a few days after leaving the oasis when we met a very conspicuous fellow borne on a palanquin carried by little birdlike people called Kenku. He blocked the road and started with a practiced patter, began selling us magical items and company for the evening. He also appeared to be able to sense my arcane powers, which is a bit worrying. We tried to convince him we weren’t interested but he wasn’t having it and eventually sent his kenku flunkies scurrying over the cart. I tried to scare them off by dramatically waving my sword around but that only caused everyone to draw weapons, which I figured was inevitable but still not comforting. I tried to talk him down but I felt that fighting was a foregone conclusion and attacked.

Some of what I write next is based on what I learned from my companions as I was once again stabbed into unconsciousness fairly early in the fight. Cha’ka and I were quickly surrounded and it turns out the little bird people are able combatants, stabbing me in many of my important organs. I understand that the fight continued for a bit until we were saved by a fire genasi striding out of the palanquin looking extremely disgruntled and mostly naked. With a wave of his hand I awoke to see one of Uzemaya’s arrows veer off into the desert and apparently spawn a small whirlwind. I guess that’s a possible consequence of dealing with primal spirits. Not to mention that the wind kicked up a sandstorm making moving difficult. Did I mention the wasteland is an unforgiving and unpleasant place? I must have somewhere. Regardless, I noticed that the human leader attacked with a claw of some sort which I initially thought was a strange weapon but as the fight progressed I realized he wasn’t all that he appeared. This was confirmed as he was struck down and seemed to transform into a swarm of crows, though I don’t think he planned for the whirlwind as they were immediately sucked in and reduced to a swarm of feathers and giblets. The remaining kenku proved to be less formidable when they couldn’t surround an individual and were quickly dealt with.

It turns out that he wasn’t lying about having magical gear though, as his palanquin contained a very generous supply which we distributed amongst ourselves, though I noticed that Uzemaya’s weapon was incredibly powerful before it’s power winked out and reappeared significantly less potent. Weird. We also found another doppleganger sleeping in a locked chest which arose and slapped me. You know, I thought I was a bit of an anomaly but I’m starting to think otherwise, this being the second doppleganger I’ve seen in as many weeks. Having killed her employer we decided that sentencing her, him, it, whatever, to a slow death in the wastes was a bit heartless, which I know is coming from the group that destroyed a large piece of eladrin culture and most of the witnesses. We decided to take her and the genasi to Tyr.

Things were uneventful for another day though we met with a winged drake and it’s dray rider. I convinced him we weren’t the people he was looking for and he flew off. I guess Raam doesn’t employ it’s best and brightest for dray riding. He returned the next day, extremely irritated that he had been duped. It took effort to keep myself from laughing thus exposing my current disguise. He wasn’t taking no for an answer, though he was willing to take a look in the back of the wagon which quickly earned him a dunking in the acid courtesy of Strug.

He and his drake attacked us though to be honest they weren’t nearly as competent as the kenku from before. We attacked them with everything we had, the dray falling quite quickly though the drake took a bit longer. They just couldn’t withstand our combined strength, which just proves my theory that focusing on a target is a superior option. I just wish the rest of the party would listen. With his dying breath the dray promised that more like him would be coming. I guess he didn’t think that if we killed him easily that might not be much of a threat. Next log should hopefully involve us reaching Tyr! Huzzah.

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Bard's Log 6
Eladrin are dicks

We left Urik with our cart full of food and water, glad to be out of a city which would quickly become a war zone between the rioters and the templars. Although the riot was our fault I’ve always adhered to the idea that negative consequences are for other people. At this point our spirits were quite high. Nothing was attacking us and we were making good time, thanks in part to my songs helping ease the boredom with a bit of magic wove in for speed, though I’m running out of songs, which could have disastrous side effects. The only interesting thing that happened for a few days was Cha’ka spotting a few drakes spotting us and then flying away. I saw that my companions were a bit confused so I explained to them how drakes are usually flightless, so there wings were the result of some powerful magics, which bodes ill for us but honestly I’ve gotten used to the feeling.

We approached the spring located midway between Urik and Tyr with the hopes of refilling our water barrels so we wouldn’t become dessicated husks in the wasteland. Unfortunately we saw it was guarded. As we got closer we saw they were eladrin and an argument ensued. They stated that the spring was their property and we could die for all they cared. I countered with the old “check out this vat of acid trick,” which would have successfully defused the situation were it not for the eladrin’s infernal ability to teleport. Regardless he was less than pleased at the sudden exfoliation and brought forth strange beasts to attack us. We were doing quite well when a commander of some sort appeared and with a wave began to somehow drain the spring. Regrettably the spring had disappeared by the time we had finished with the eladrin and their pets, though I’m proud to say that we seem to be working better as a team, with Cha’ka being less suicidal and Uzemaya helping us focus on targets. It would bring a tear to my eye if my tear duct wasn’t clogged with sand and grit.

While the spring had drained we found the area was surrounded with some sort of invisible structure, though Uzemaya managed to find a door. Inside we found what could only be an entrance to the feywild, as the desolate sand we had become so used to had been replaced with a beautiful stone structure. The feywild would be a nice place to stay were it not for the strange spatial distortions and inhabitants that make most templar seem well adjusted in comparison. We found the water at least. Unfortunately it was floating in a sphere 80 feet above the ground, we think. We weren’t sure due to the whole spatial distortion thing, but we were certain it was out of reach. I’m really starting to dislike the eladrin. I recalled a bit of arcane information that would be applicable, which was that such magical feat would require an anchor in Athas, so we returned to the spring and began to investigate.

We found that the structure we had walked into was more like a wall, which we quickly climbed over allowing us to investigate the spring proper. There seemed to be a bit of illusion in the center, no doubt perpetrated by those eladrin bastards, disguising a hole in the ground which we, in our proud tradition of ignoring common sense, quickly climbed into. We found ourselves in a cavern filled with crystals, many of which reflected leering and unfamiliar faces. Voices came from the shadowy corners of the cave, talking about playing games or staying forever, something in that vein of idiocy, and they were unwilling to tell us anything helpful regarding the water situation. Of course the little monsters decided to leap from the shadows to attack us. I can’t really comment on the fight as I spent a good deal of it blind for some reason. I can say that I let a few them know my displeasure at being stabbed by returning the favor. I did learn that they didn’t like light and I, of course, was holding the sunrod. Many of their attacks were aimed at me and at several points I was close to blacking out. At least they didn’t hate me for being an arcanist, I was getting a bit tired of that.

We killed them as well but not before one scuttled away and cut our rope leading out of the cavern. We continued to explore, my compatriots venturing further into the cavern while I fiddled with some devices set into the wall to little effect. We did find something interesting though, in a small room nearby. An eladrin was there and, thanks to my disguise, became very confused, which was good because I was tired of being the only one. He did summon an ooze or a slime (I get them confused) and we once again had to settle a dispute with violence. This went fairly well though I must say that it has done nothing to change my opinion of eladrin in general. With their defeat we felt a dull rumbling and heard the sound of rushing water. Admittedly this time might be better spent looking for a way to keep ourselves from drowning but I feel that these journals might be my last will and testament so I should make them count. Hopefully more to come.

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Meanwhile
back at another part of the wasteland

The mage’s behavior was offputting to say the least. He constantly sniffed at the air around him, as if hunting something. Normally one of his ilk would be executed on sight, an arcanist interloper attacking a merchant in the middle of the market square, even if it was a dirty gith merchant. His stay of execution was not entirely by choice, they tried to strike him down in the street when he resisted, but he knocked the blades from the hands of the mansabdar with blasts of force. It was only through waves of the unclean, and a templar preist that they managed to knock him unconcious. They tried again to slay him in a cell but this time it was a letter from the lady herself that spared him. As they led him to the temple to Badna, people averted their eyes in the street, regardless of caste none dared look this creature in the eye.

Some time passed before the mage came out of the Lady’s chamber, the shackles removed from his hands. He handed a note to the mansabdar captain before snapping his fingers and disappearing. Not to long after the cry went out, and an army was dispatched. Not riding towards Urik, but southerly across the desert, in search of a cart.

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Bard's Log 5
We are not good for poilitical stability

Well, we managed to survive what the tomb had in store for us, and in a bit of acrobatic creativity we also managed to steal the lid off the gold coffin, which has greatly increased our net worth and drastically reduced our survivability if anyone with power finds out about us. I think it’s a good trade. We hauled it back to the wagon and Uzameya did a bit of reconnoitering to see if the army had passed yet. She returned with some good news, the army had just recently passed by marking a good time to get out of the black lake and get back to some civilization. It sounds so easy just written down like that.

With the edge of black lake in sight we saw an encampment of some sort, proudly displaying the Urik flag with a few decorative touches. Milling about were a group of dog-like humanoids and in retrospect I really should have known they were gnolls. What can I say, it’s been a while since I’ve seen their ilk and this group did little to change my opinion about their species. A few of the underlings approached us, asking us who we were, where we’re going and finally what was in the cart. I figured they were going to rob us so I did my best to convince them that we were from Urik and on our way back to the city to resupply the main fighting force. Unfortunately they didn’t believe me, idiots. More fighting ensued, during which I realized our insect friend Cha’ka has a death wish, seeing as how the first thing she did was charge into the largest group of gnolls in a frenzy. Unfortunately she didn’t kill all of them, or even injure them, and they responded with a severe beating. Strug and I moved in to assist and were also severely beaten. I spend most of the battle keeping Strug and Cha’ka conscious as they were blocking the enemy’s attacks with their vital organs. At the end we were all but dead but the gnolls lay defeated. We grabbed anything they had which looked valuable and stole their flag, hopefully making our claims of Urik allegiance a bit more believable. And so we set off for Urik proper.

Urik, as it turns out, has seen more peaceful days. We arrived in the midst of a riot, the lower classes deciding that living in a fascist hellhole was not the life for them. Here I learned a bit about our good friend Strug. I knew he came from Urik but I found out he won his freedom in the arena and since then the populace had taken to idolizing him as an example of one who had achieved the freedom they all desired. We decided to use Strug as a distraction by riling up the crowd so the templars, who would otherwise be searching the cart, imprisoning us and killing us would be busy keeping a riot from destroying the city. I set about talking to the crowd, telling them that Strug had returned to liberate them from their evil ruler, when I saw something both familiar and disheartening. One of the templars appeared to change in appearance until he mimicked Strug, a trick I was all too familiar with. This pseudo Strug began telling the crowd that the sorcerer king was their savior and that we were the imposters. Yes, I realized the irony of the situation. He proceeded to challenge us to combat and brought a few of his templar friends to assist.

I think he grossly overestimated their fighting ability. Cha’ka had learned from the fight with the gnolls and made sure she wasn’t surrounding herself with enemies. I saw that they had someone amongst them inspiring their group and realized that he was stealing my thunder. There’s no way I’m going to let some talentless templar upstage me on the field of battle and let him know of my displeasure by stabbing him until he stopped talking, and breathing. Uzemaya learned an important lesson about arenas, in that the crowd doesn’t appreciate people shooting arrows from outside the fight. Thankfully she had the sense to jump in and join us in what was rapidly becoming a one sided fight. They had an arcanist of some sort with them that blew us into the occasionally unfriendly crowd. Sadly he was not able to stop the onslaught of Strug and Cha’ka. When pseudo Strug was killed his form changed again, but instead of looking similar to myself he appeared far more alien. I’d wanted to ask him a few questions given his similarities but I guess it’s a bit late for that. With the imposter defeated the crowd was once again on our side, and with minimal motivation they proceeded to sweep into the city doing what mobs usually do, looting, burning, killing people who aren’t part of the mob which in this case are the nobles and the templars. We moved behind the crowd stocking up on supplies as we went along and stealing several metal weapons from a looted smiths shop, if for no other reason than having more bargaining material for down the road.

With our cart full of supplies we escaped as fast as we could knowing the sorcerer king would not be pleased by a massive riot tearing his city apart and would be very displeased by those responsible. We are now on the road to Tyr, and I can only hope we make it there in one piece.

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Bard's Log 4
I guess they don't like bards

Our group decided to continue exploring the tomb, walking past the massive coffin of gold in the hopes of finding some treasure which isn’t trapped, which it turns out is harder than one would think. Anyway, we uncovered a loose tile in the floor leading deeper into the catacombs and were greeted by a group of the undead. My experience with the undead is based mainly on stories but after seeing Strug knocked 15 feet backwards like he was nothing I have developed a healthy fear of the animated dead. This was exacerbated by our opponents interest in me. No matter what happened I seemed to be the most targeted person in our group. If it weren’t for Strug and the rest of the group things wouldn’t have ended so well. We overcame our opponents but were left a bit bruised by the effort, thankfully all we needed was a bit of a breather to catch our breath and examine the corpses of our former enemies.

Judging by their appearance they were grave robbers from a bygone age, wearing a myriad of different armor and, more importantly, carrying metal weapons. We have found metal to be an extremely effective bargaining chip when acquiring resources though I saw that no one else in the group seemed interested in the longsword, so I did the right thing and took it for my own. No one else commented so I suppose it was alright.

We actually came across another living being as we continued. I could tell at first glance that he was some sort of arcanist, though why he was in this tomb is anybody’s guess. Admittedly the same could be asked of our group. He accused us of trying to steal the treasure, we accused him of evil deeds, and he said something to Strug about slavery, which is still a bit of a sore point with him, I can’t imagine why, though as I write this I can see that sarcasm doesn’t always translate well so if anyone else is reading this rest assured I know why Strug doesn’t like slavery. Strug charged the wizard in a rage and Cha’ka attacked because I think she just likes killing things. Either way they proceeded to beat the man within an inch of his life until he cast some magic, defiling the area and filling it with demonic beings and he disappeared. Coward. We fought back against the demons and quickly proved to be superior, thanks in large part to my brilliant power chords which electrify the soul, though there are times where I believe I am under-appreciated. Such is the price of genius. What made this area unique is that any time either of us performed an arcane spell a bit of the floor reacted with the magic becoming a danger to stand on. I hope no one caught on that some of the tiles were my own creation. Especially with the githyanki having a lifelong vendetta against defilers. I’m pretty sure I managed to convince them the floor was all the enemies doing. I really don’t feel like being a pincushion.

As we moved on we were confronted with a room containing a pit and several boxes. As seems to be our current standard procedure we tried to open a box without looking at much else and were rewarded with a gout of burning sulfur from the floor around the box. Once our hearts had resumed a more regular rhythm and we had put out the Thri-keen we tried it again with a similar result. Instead of risking death by conflagration we decided to go back into the hallway and watched as Uzemaya shot them with arrows. What can I say, useful ideas weren’t very forthcoming. We saw that one of her arrows hit a knot on the wooden box which gave a very audible click and we found that it no longer shot gouts of fire. We did the same with the others and opened them revealing an interesting site. Under each box was a pit filled with some sort of extremely caustic liquid, and in the center of the pit was an item giving off some sort of field to protect it from the liquid. Clearly the king buried here had issues.

Regardless this new situation gave rise to long interlude of arguing, each solution being slightly more ridiculous than the last. I think Cha’ka, the thri-keen, got bored, or irritated, or some strange insect emotion and run up, nimbly jumping over the liquid and easily grabbing the item within. I admit I felt a bit foolish at being unable to see this simple solution. But now we have these items which, based on the murals in the chamber, belonged to the former king and I could see that they were clearly magical. We decided to hold onto them until we could find out more. My studies of the arcane had instilled upon me the healthy fear of unknown magic.

The last place we searched turned out to be interesting to say the least. It was a room dominated by a massive glowing crystal, some sort of psionic artifact, emanating a sense of wrongness. It’s hard to describe, it was like listening to a song and suddenly realizing one of the keys is horribly out of tune. Once it becomes apparent it’s extremely difficult to focus on anything else, and judging by the appearance and demeanor of my compatriots I saw that they were similarly affected. Some sort of humanoid manifested from the crystal, a bizarre mixture of humanity and geology who spoke through telepathy. He accused us of being grave robbers which, while technically true, lacks so much of the romance I’m trying to achieve in my endeavors. I respond, being a bit more pedantic and sardonic than is necessary but I take offense to people accusing me of crimes. Or half people in this case. It was then that he yelled at me and called me an arcanist which I could see was heard by the rest of the group and will probably need some explaining later. With the formalities out of the way we charged and the battle began.

Of course, as if fighting some sort of amalgamation of human and crystal weren’t bad enough we were attacked by these masses of teeth and tentacles. What made it worse is that our normally reliable killing machine was having difficulty with the swarm of little abominations. Oh, and the evil, crystal, thing was far more difficult to hurt than one would expect, many of our attacks doing far less damage than we are accustomed to. It is at this point that I should comment on the inferior building design of this catacomb. I sing one note off-key and the entire room begins to collapse. The rest passes in a blur of fighting, digging and shifting the blame away from myself. We managed to escape with our lives and the evil thing pinned beneath several tons of rubble, tired, dirty but thankful to be alive.Sigh, I should have stayed in Urik.

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