Dark Sun
Tyr's Shadow

Athasian Adventure Post 20120107
Festival of the Soaring Sun, leading into Hoard of Sun Ascending in the year of Priest’s Defiance, the 10th year of the Free City of Tyr.

Athas, a broken world where the heroes of ages further back than memory or legend failed in their greatest quests. The Gods turned their backs… or were killed off. The primordials, so weakened that they are chained within their own realm, fuel the chaos that spawned them. The Seas were boiled away and the lands burned, while the peoples who could survive did so in isolation. The spirit of the land itself struck back at those who had so wounded it, causing many mutations and changes.
It is now the 10th year of the Free City of Tyr in the Table Lands, a brutal and uncaring place where life is bought and sold for a palm full of ceramic coin and one’s life blood isn’t worth the water it would take to clean it up. It is the only civilization that Athasians know. This is life, and they will fight to keep it.
The nights are ruled by the twin moons of Ral and Guthay. Ral, a mottled green is the closer of the two. Sages tell that it is covered in great green seas and mountain-islands of dizzying heights. Guthay, the smaller, is a golden orb mantled in steaming mists. Beneath which, it is said, lie scarlet jungles and marshy seas. An ever-changing river of stars, flowing in the vault of the sky, is the backdrop to the dance of the greater and lesser constellations. The steady movements of the cosmos appear to be the only reliable thing in Athasian existence. Each 45 years the Messenger-a comet that turns night to day-blazes through the sky, and marks great changes or portends ill in the coming years. The sun can be trusted to rise and set each day but even its reliability is called into question every 11 years, when it is swallowed up by the two moons. The eclipse lasts nearly the whole day, leaving only sunrise and sunset untouched. This is a foreboding experience and to be outside on this of all days is considered the unluckiest of outcomes.
Each day brings the blasting fury of the sun, long blistering days that test even the strongest of life to its limits. Blinding white salt flats, burning black stone plains and red-grassed savannahs leave little protection, with no place to run when one of the beasts stalks for prey. Heat sickness and dehydration, predation and scavengers, are all deadly. But the deadliest things upon Athas are the descendents of those who burned this world and darkened the sun… its people.
One day, much like any other upon Athas, a train of Kank, Mekillot, Crodlu and other beasts pull, carry, and drag people and goods alike. The trade caravans are the life-blood of the Table Lands, flowing to the various City-States. One such caravan is headed for the Free City, and three day’s travel from civilization, when the sky itself attacks the unknowing travelers. Obsidian shards rain from the sky, some the size of a melon, others the size of a Mekillot. Shattering at impact, sending shrapnel out in all directions. Cutting people and mounts to shreds, leaving a swath of destruction through a few miles of wasteland but only a few hundred feet wide.
These obsidian rains are rare on Athas and come with little warning, save for a low-pitched whistle just before they strike. Most who spend their lives among the wandering tribes or caravans are more likely to see an Eladrin than obsidian rain. But to have experienced it even once in one’s life and lived through the experience, that alone can set them apart from those who merely survive.
After one such rain, the survivors of the caravan crawl out from cover taken under cart and wagon. Kank carapace and Crodlu scale alike failed in protecting those who hid behind armor or mount. One litter, gilt in carved wood and bone and draped in crimson curtains with the emblem of Tyr upon them, lay broken. The Mul slave guards sliced neatly in two, and the occupant pierced through the breast with a shard, could not be saved by a fellow traveler. Supplies and the wounded are redistributed among the surviving pack animals and the caravan moves on. To endure is all that is asked of any.
The obsidian fields are scoured by nomads, caravans, raiders, Elven tribes and anyone else who wishes for a sharp piece of the volcanic glass. Hauled away by hand, basket and cart load, the field is stripped of all which might find use. What is left buried will be ground to dust by foot and hoof of the next train which will cross this expanse of dunes and wind. As with any catastrophic event, those who survive an obsidian rain will either grow weaker in mind or stronger in spirit because of it.
A pair of survivors, now traveling their own path, are led by a wounded Silk Wyrm back to its lair. They slay the creature and salvage many items of use, also finding the body of an Elf, long ago drained dry and mummified. Cleansed of the beast and debris, the small cave has enough room for a couple of people to live close but comfortably. It keeps cool in the day, comparatively. A dry cistern sits full of sand and dust, but usable. Throughout the cave lays a veritable graveyard of bones, and the silk, skin, and silk glands of the Wyrm are items of worth in the Elven Market. With a little fortification and precaution against raiders, this could be a bastion against the wasting world.
Each citizen and visitor to Tyr is provided with water to fill one hand carried container each. Additional water can be purchased from water mongers by the pitcher, or from merchant brokers by the barrel. The purchases of water and preserved foods consume most of the income of Tyr’s citizens and visitors. But the Free Peoples still think the system preferable to the tyranny of the water-hoarding leaders of other city-states.
Formerly the most feared of the Seven Cities, a seed of change has germinated in the blighted bed of the Free City of Tyr. Once the greatest oppressor of the Table Lands, now its only hope.

Which way to the Witch
Paths choosen

Fiddenmar leads the way to her village, they are racing against time. Tyrwhitt having been gored earlier in the day by a Boar collapsed on the trail. Zan-kyri and Ruz constructed a litter to carry him to help. Jon Ravenstar over taxed himself to help his traveling companion and nearly collapsed himself. Zan-kyri and Ruz took up the litter duties while Fiddenmar went ahead to scout shortly she returned with a younger Wilden Hamaraka and they take up the litter and whisk the wounded raven kin to Wilden elder and healer Olwain.

A birch bark skinned Wilden of knotted hands and driftwood grey eyes administers healing salves and comforting drafts to Tyrwhitt and Jon Ravenstar. Zan-kyri, and Ruz are introduced to Olwain and they tell there story throughout the evening.

Having slept through a night and another day to rest Tyrwhitt is well mended by the time that Fiddenmar comes to the group with the news of a poisoned stream to the north that threatens all the water ways down stream. And that the knowledge they seek about the Trod may lay with the witch Selnarine to the west. Fiddenmar holds a bladder with the Clearwater potion that Praevilo the seer of the Hacanac gave her with the warning that “if you don’t have this with you then the path ahead will be far darker.”

She gives a portion of the purifying liquid to her elder Olwain who chooses three of his most experienced scouts to deliver to the Badger Family stream and clean the contamination that threatens the land. Parting with the Wilden the party sets off across the river with the three scouts to the west. After a few hours the Verdant Spears set to the north while the Cerulean Shields set to the west, seeking an audience with the Witch of the Wood.

Dragons and verdant dreams
Trod song

After finding themselves in the moon lit world above. The Dragon slayers have emerged from a brush with the underdark. They realize by the light of dawn that the path has led them from the world that most of them know to the realm where Fiddenmar feels herself at home, the feywild. Burdened by a desire to seek out her people the Wilden Shaman tells her new friends of the dangers that lurk within the green and flower scented lands.

Seeing what you see
Heracyan 1:6

The three rested and motivated, slip through a rend in the wall and move down into the Temple City of Khmer Vatta. Moving along rubble strewn paths and fallen trees they approach a vine covered temple entrance, these vines allow them to move forward easily but any effort to move back was barred.
At the center was a shaft of light and a ringed pool of Elemental water, the pool home to a true water elemental. Hasyn conversed with the creature and determined what was owed for entry into the Seers presence. Karek forged his masterpiece, a coiled serpent. While Freya conveyed a story and gave the tale of a lifetime. These were deemed as worthy and entry was allowed.
The Seers form was threefold, the form of a strangely beautiful woman, a serpentine form of some human shape, and a sinuous winged dragon each and all of a blue green hue that had an inner glow.
Cyan Blood-bane accepted her offerings and offered up tea, bread and salt as an agreement of hospitality. For the time being they were honored guests and under her protection.

The ancient Seers words were strange but she gave forth information of a powerful nature. The Crown Jewel set upon the brow of the the Jade Emperor is the heart of the soveriegns power and protection. When that is removed a simple blessed bolt made from a petrified tree will be enough to slay the creature that sits upon the throne of all knowledge and learning.

Leaving with the Bolt, the knowledge of how to defeat the Emperor and a request to bring back the stone known as the Kadyx. Do the Cerulean Shields set out for the final battle with the Jade Emperor, or do they seek allies and a means to stop the ravening hoards of Oni.

Caught between a snake fish and a wall
Heracyan 1:5

After resting and feasting with the Lizard folk the three Shields are escorted to the barrier stones. Large serpentine figures carved in a time before this swamp existed. They mark the edge of the Lizard folk territory. Every thing beyond here is under the eye of ‘the Seer’ A mysterious figure who has great power of form and insight. Reads the future and the past as easily as travelers read the stars.

Following the larger watery paths with their borrowed skiff the cold swamp gives way to ruins that are older than even the Duorgie city below Najin. The ruins are of an ancient serpentine race, ones who slithered and swam the way that humanoids walk and ride. Eventually they follow the flow out into a lake that surrounds the temple city of Khmer Vatta, the home of the Seer.

A large bump to the boat sends the Heavily armored dwarf over the side while Hasyn and Freya attempt a rescue Karek can see shapes moving below and around. Finding their way back into the boat and rowing around the island to a likely landing spot on the south western side they are able to discern that the walls of the Temple are made to look like coiling snakes laid atop each other.

After finding high ground and setting camp they are attacked by gnashing clawing snake fish that swarm up the rocks with the intent of devouring all in there path. Surviving the onslaught of mindless mouths, Hasyn scouts ahead while Freya and Karek find higher ground to rest upon.

A cold clammy damp
Heracyan 1:4

The last hut is charred and damaged but still stands. It lies at the edge of the swamp with a small dock and a flat bottom skiff bobbing in the wake of a massive form swimming away at speed.
Yosi describes the creature as it dove into the water, he gives the use of his skiff and warns them of the more common dangers of the cold swamp.

Over a day of travel through the swamps brought the trio to the stone hills. A grouping of ancient burial cairns that tower above the swamp just above the level of the trees. The stone rings etched with antediluvian draconian sigils make a good and peaceful camp site. The peace is broken when a grouping of Lizard folk lead by their matriarch arrive to ask the group their reasons for coming to the swamp and tell them of the beast that has disrupted the balance of this ancient place. Giving direction and totems of bonding, small toads carved as signs of wisdom and protection. The Lizard folk help the group find the foul beast.

The Creature that has harmed the land around the swamp was tracked to its lair where a muddy landing with raised stones rings a place of power. The flame spewing heads of the hydra lunge and snap, burn and clash with the hand, steel and armor of Freya, Hasyn and Karek. Though things seems dire when more and more heads sprouted from the body the beast was finally subdued. The overall fight was viscous but brief.

After a short time Freya and Karek were able to skin enough of the scaly hide to forge armor when they have a reprieve. And the Lizard folk arrive to take the eggs of this creature into hand. They will hatch and nurture the new ‘god of strength’ to replace the old corrupted one. And thus restore the balance to their home.

And it burns down the house
Heracyan 1:3

Following the pillar of smoke and fire to a village that is situated upon the edge of the Cold Swamp, the group enters a broken and burned village where many are hurt and more trapped. The people among the rubble are at first alarmed with the arrival of strangers. Then calmer when they realize that the newcomers are not Jade Army. And finally relieved when the seven dive right in helping to rescue the victims.

Montisar dives in through a burning hole in a wall and rescues several children, leading them to safety and reuniting then with their elders. Hardaws uses his prodigious strength at the direction of Karek to clean rubble and Freya, Helena and Vulpis work on healing the grievously wounded ones.
What stormed through the village was a gnashing and flaming beast of scale and claw that stole livestock and lives. Though few were actually killed, few came away with no injury. Cutting a direct line for the swamp at the edge of the valley.

The whim of a fox
Heracyan 1:2

Freya Ashwren, Karek Greyiron, and the ever fluid Hasyn traverse the byways of the western reaches of Heracyan. Coming upon a tied and beaten traveler tossed off a small stone bridge the group are suspicious that he was only hurt and not killed. Being rescued and kept close the man Vulpis leads on down the road. Less than a half mile down the road, the peace is broken with the thrum of crossbows cutting the air. Being fired at from both sides and a mountain of orcish form charges with a falchion.
Karek kept the other Shields on their feet and moving while Freya fired at the sources of the bolts. Hasyn took on the woman in leather coat lunging with longsword.

A quick tense battle ensues where Vulpis arms himself with a rapier and makes broad boasts of his prowess and how the trio should lay down their arms. At which the outlaws are subdued and the smallest of their number steps forward. A gnome with a shock of rainbow hair and flowing vibrant robes calls an end to the violence and attends to his mountainous friend.

“I am Montisar known as ‘Two-Talents’. My compatriots, Vulpis you have already met. This is his better Helena. And my mountainous friend here is Hardawz. We are a group of Brave Companions. “
Coming from many different places around the Cerulean Sea, this group is brave to take on larger odds but defend their work. Stealing mostly from the Jade Army the Brave Companions are a strange cross of over confident and understanding. In time the four might be good agents but for now they are merely traveling mates.

A bridge over troubled waters

A bridge over troubled waters
Heracyan 1:1

Freya Ashwren and a new soldier for her guild Karek Greyiron departed the ‘Laughing Hog’ trading barge and traversed through the tiny seaside shipwright village that sat on the northern coast of The Kingdom of the Blue Heron. For over two years the reports have been that the Jade Eyed Emperor had lost his mind and was ruling out of fear. Raising army’s to attack enemies that did not exist and suppressing rebellion where there was none.
Tales of a flying beast of scale, wing and claw that raided villages that were not under the ‘protection’ of the Jade Army were spreading since the previous year.
Trade and diplomatic dialog with the Philosopher Emperor are long halted while the unsanctioned black markets are a booming business. Selling to the populace the necessities of food and medicine.
Another ship was undergoing repairs, the ‘Lightning bug’ and with it was a girl of elven and human parentage. Hasyn wore the grey robes trimmed in green of a Monk from the island of Zulf. The ‘Lightning bug’ was a collegiate vessel that held sailors, a ships master and a half dozen scholars who dredged up and cataloged everything they could from the depths of the Cerulean Sea.
Hasyn took the trade of passage for work, and after several years of sailing every corner of the inland sea she stepped off of her most recent home to seek an answer to the questions that she was unsure to even ask.
Spending an evening in the common room of the Sea Hag, an unoriginal name since every port had a tap room named as such, she encountered another half elf. This woman of dark hair and keen eye was more self assured of her place in things than Hasyn had ever felt. An evening of talking and sharing tales of travel between the two daughters of parallel peoples and a son of stone from the east led to an invitation to help them change the world. How would they do that? None of them had a clue.

Two day’s later upon the northern boarder road the trio found a group of Jade soldiers raiding a farm. The farmer lay dead upon the threshold of his house, and the grunts were gathering the hard worked for spoils of a lifetime of toil. One duly appointed member of the Royal Army was filling a scuttlebutt from the stream next to a bridge. For a moment he didn’t see the group but when the Monk stepped forward and shouted at him in the language of the Elemental Chaos he balked. Throwing his charge to the water and drawing his sword a bellow of alarm went out. Answered in a heartbeat by the entirety of his patrol emerging from the house, barn and cellar. The three took up defensive positions on the far side of the bridge which was quickly blocked by soldiers. Two groups of crossbowmen took range and let fly with volleys that drew first blood.

Freya’s bow found true targets while the Zulfite darted about striking deathblows upon the soldiers. Her mothers ring gave her a glimpse of the truth of these ‘men’. And she believed them to be no such thing. The Warlord Dwarf threw a weapon that was meant to carve mountains and caught it again as if it were not but wind.
The creatures were quick to realize they faced not terrified farmers and despair stricken villagers but warriors, ones who had weathered many storms. When the Captain of the patrol stepped out from the shadows of the hovel he rippled with power and shouted a challenge. Strengthening his soldiers with orders he struck at the warriors from beyond the sea.
Much blood was spilled but this was a simple fight between trained soldiers and tempered warriors. Until the coldest scream of terror and pain echoed from the house. A woman cried for mercy and for release from torment, and was even quicker cut off. Silence over took the farm, turned battle field.
As the captain shed his guise of humanity to reveal a beast of larger than human proportion with bright blue skin and dark blue blood. The shadows of the home expelled a more ghastly creature of hooked claws and bloodied lips. This thing called to his compatriots and they fed on determination from the sacrifice of the farm wife. With a question for which he expected only one answer Karek rushed forward to meet this new foe with his mountain forged hammer. The metal upon it glistened an iridescent purple in the early light of day. The same for the twined blades of the Ashwren as they flashed through the air.
The monks bare fists found their own glitter as they struck lighting fast again and again. Soldiers were flung from the bridge as she danced upon the railing dodging there every attempt to lay a blow. Some blades found purchase and the trio regrouped and rallied one another as a long time militia would. As another bellow from the captain urged his remaining men to attack the creature at his side wove another bloody spell with the dwarf’s blood upon his lips. Each of the would be heroes were inundated by despair and an oppressive air. But quickly shook it off as the tide began to turn. The Shaman was sticken from the world of living things. A lone soldier stood toe to toe with Hasyn as his captain had his head bloodied by the dwarven hammer and throat cut by the quick blades of Freya.

Looking over the bodies the group determines them to be Oni, creatures used as mercenaries upon the elemental chaos in its endless wars. Who summoned them, how were they paid and why were questions for a later time.

Hasyn found a halfling traders wagon in the barn along with a halfling. A big one who Freya named Teahumble, a friend from many years back who first showed her the greater world and placed her on a path that has brought her thus far.
Teahumble collected his wagon and obstinate burrow Jack. Performed a quite but poignant service to inter the farmer and his wife. Who attempted to defend Teahumble from the soldiers and her husband respectively.
The four set out upon the road with a few more supplies and a little more knowledge of the troubles at hand. Teahumble explained that the halflings have increased trade to get the peasant what they needed but to also find information and work as go between for those who opposed what was taking place.

On the road the trader left a message at a roadside shrine to Avandra for those who might need it.
The others took this as the state of things that secrecy and subterfuge would be necessary to survive.
While making camp Teahumble fed and gave comfort to his friends. After a while Freya was sure of the security of there chosen sight and related their own tale to her host. Long contemplation of events and outcomes followed.
Teahumble told all to turn in for a good rest while he took the watch. But before there eyes closed he told them a story about The Cost of Grief.
After a short discussion about paths and destinations was punctuated by Teahumble by a question.
“Freya, what do you do if you meet a snake?”
“Cut its head off. Or walk away.”
“And if it strikes you while your back is turned?”
The conversation is cut short by a draconian cry that shatters the peace of the hills.
With the dwarf chiming in “I like mountains.” the course is set. Slay the dragon that one way or another is aiding the Jade Eyed Emperor. Then on to the center of all thought and power in the land and face the Emperor.

Character Creation
Heroes are made not born

Character creation is standard D&D 4e from the book and D&D Character Builder http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Tools.aspx

Characters will be Level 18, you start with Three magic items; One each of one level above, one level below and one of your level. You also have any mundane gear you can carry and money or trade goods equal to an item of your level.

A basic background of your character is required, early life & recent years. Any large events that have shaped the person they are. Backgrounds options in the Character Builder are a great place for ideas. Think about things such as a time that you failed, a tragedy or some sort of goal. Give the world something to play off of.

Characters will be starting near Four Winds on the western coast of the inland sea. You will be going from one location to another and are between adventures.


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