Sand School

Session Fourteen
Strange Company

The stone wielding druid that held the caravan (and a troubled Annora) in check was agreeable, and with only the slightest trouble was convinced they had not poached the mekelliiot from the night before but assisted it to it’s resting place. The druid collected his now dead friend, the old man and owner of the now petrified beast, and set out to hunt the poachers who stalked the Dragon’s Basin. Before leaving he imparted that Malik visit the Last Bastion of Iron, a place sacred to lightning. The Last Bastion, he said, was hidden near the Raum arena and was a place where a man could either master electricity or purge it from him.

The following day the group got their first crack at Horizon the legendary crodlu that comes and goes with the dawn and dusk. Malik bumbled around trying to sneak up on the beast, but was spotted like a hawk sees an elephant. While Vertimer, Annora, and Toli tried to harry the creature (to little avail other than to mark it with a bola) the Balic prince dealt with a different problem.

A man at the lead of the caravan was arguing with a passer-by who wanted to join in the trek toward Raum. The would be caravaner, he argued, was in the desert with no settlement in miles and must be a plant for a bandit troupe. Ultimately Gyn spoke for the man, who recognized Gyn easily enough. Gyn saw him as well and knew him to be Bones who coveted their mermaid friend but had been easily defeated before. Confident in his ability to keep the granite boned magi in check, he led him into the caravan.

Their next challenge came in the fleeting hours of the day. Their last stop of the night, the White Oasis, lay just beyond a crevice where the Basin’s tendrils reached out. A stone causeway had been built over the chasm and was often haunted by bandits and highway men, and travelers took this to be an accepted toll and usually paid with little fuss. This time there were caravaner stacked out the front led by a slave driver. The agreeable dark skinned balding man, who might have giant ancestry, hailed them and informed them the covered bridge was haunted by some dark force and they were waiting for others to make the long trek through the salt cakes to the east to go around – through dangerous Tarek territory.

Unmoved, the party lept into action, bravely moving into the dark, wet causeway, where to look out from it the sky seemed as night even in the waning daylight. Battling raaig, thrask, and flood they pushed into the rear of the complex where a face with hair streamed over it crawled out of a well. A well which should have come out feet below over empty air, but was over flowing with a seemingly unending supply of brackish, insubstantial water…

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Session Thirteen
Pushing Muscle

The party returned from the obsidian tunnels lacing the Tyr underground exalted in victory, relieved to see the sky again, and pissed off at Dustin Sunn. Stopped by a confused Templar, they convinced the disheveled mage that they were just caught in the cross fire, but used the opportunity to leak some of the Veil’s secret hide outs. After confronting an elven Veil contact in the Warrens and passing along their warning, the party regrouped at the Erin stead to gather their things and each other.

The night brought it’s own set of hijinx, as it does. The city was thirsty for blood and the sudden end of the birds and eladrin fleeing the city left many with loose swords and something to prove. The Colleseum was packed, the main floor broken into many smaller arenas, and the opportunistic Prell took Malik’s… unresolved… aggression and unleashed it into the arena. She bet most of the Erin family savings on the warrior – who held up his end of the bargain, throwing a sand reaver twice his match twice into the spiked walls and lighting it on fire. The match came to a fast get as the handlers scrambled to save their prize beast from the savage goliath.

Across town the “witches” Ryn and Gyn gathered recourses in their own way, clearing out the east trade gate with deception born of the night’s confusion and their glib tongues. Ryn grabbed some provisions and confiscated magical goods from the holding room on “routine inspection” and bolted with Gyn before the remaining guard could get a word in.

The next fortnight was spent in the dull repetetion of the caravan, moving from Tyr to Raum. Most of the days were spent killing giant scorpions and running down desperate bandits…the usual stuff guards do on a caravan. Until one night, when a thin human man on in years came to the party’s camp, begging for someone to take his aged and dying mekelliot to it’s near by ancestral graveyard to pass from this world. Sympathizing with the man, they took his request and with Dart’s grace left short of high moon to escort the creature.

Poachers met them just before the grave site, a stone henge, and offered them a more practical solution than letting the beast petrify and become useless, slay it and use it’s meat and hide for armor and weapons. They even offered a share of the spoils, but the party decided to honor the giant’s wishes and let it die on it’s own terms. The two factions skirmished, but the beast came to rest where it wished, and reflecting on the battle the group watched it pass and felt inspired by the petrification that came on it nearly instantly. While they didn’t get the poacher leader, they repelled their assault and witnessed a miracle of the primal world.

On returning to the camp, a stride fresh crodlu borrowed from caravan neighbors, they met with a disappointing site. The caravan was in the clutched of giant stone hands…and an elven druid sets in the camp light cross legged, patiently awaiting their return.

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Session Eleven
Wax on, wax off...

The party is awakened from a night of rest and recovery after their adventures within the first two portals by the sound of a commotion downstairs. Wryn sneaks down to investigate while Vitoli and Annora march down the steps; meanwhile, Vertimer and Malik rappel out of the window, preparing to surround the invaders.

They encounter Dustin Sonn, a high ranking member of the elusive Veiled Alliance, who doesn’t seem to fear them in the least and only wants the orb. After some arguing, he agrees that since the party has already experienced planar shifting twice, they are the most qualified to take out the final portal, and even asks them to help with another Sea once they finish with this one. They agree, but there are shenanigans afoot: as they step into the final portal, the party gangs up to haul Dustin into the portal with them!

On the other side, they are greeted by a cold wind and a set of matching kimonos. Sitting nearby is Quin’Xi, an anthropomorphic basset hound, who claims that for hundreds of years, his family has awaited their arrival. And so begins a half-year trek to the fabled Phoenix Spring, mostly uneventful aside from “Kung Fu Inu” training and a brief visit to a small village so that the larger party members could restock on their drinks of choice (oh, and buy a weapon or two too).

After six months they reach the Spring, encountering Ta Lu Bai Xian, or “Burning River Story.” She challenges them and their kung fu, and the party finds themselves in an unfamiliar battle using unfamiliar strategies. Their perseverance pays off, however, and they prove victorious, gaining the right to touch the Spring, formed of the tears of a dying world. At the same time, Malik receives a new set of fortifying armor that had been protected by the water.

As the portal closes behind them and they return to Athas, the party is shocked to realize that although they were in the portal for six months, mere minutes have passed in their world. However, that proves to have been plenty of time for the sky to fill with tropical birds…

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Session Ten
Thinly Veiled

With Tembo down and Sea in hand the party crashed in the ERin family stead for nearly two days of rest, waking mostly to eat. With their strength regained the group hit the town, wheeling and dealing around the bazaar while trying to find leads to the Veiled Alliance under Ryn and Geyn’s leadership and following the group’s complicated mix of signals, sounds, and sigils that stitch the Alliance’s secret meeting places together. While their shopping with an Erin family contact turned out well (selling at 50% and buying at 150%), the Alliance was harder to pin down. Eventually they wound back up at the tannery mostly sober. Half sober. Less Sober than say … Snake.

As Malik re-furled his manly trousers in the middle of the night a bright flash from their third floor rooms prompted him to bound up the side of the building in time to figure out Snake had accidentally made multiple fractures in the time/space continuum. Lacking the Veil’s guidance she was trying to tie the Tide and the Sea together on her own and discovered the sources she would need to create the binding agent, a solid, liquid, and gaseous, water from three alien worlds. As the Vanishing Tide is want to do, it pointed the way to the water it needed. Violently.

The next few hours became nearly incomprehensible. There was a man with a fire sword…white armored knights with magic bolt weapons…a hollow metal giant…fire….lots of fire…and then the quite of the night. Leaving the remaining portal for the morning the party hit the snooze and content, as usual, to get half the job done went promptly to bed.

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Session Nine
Tembo Turner

In this short session players surrounded and defeated the shadowy Tembo while Mr. Bones took a small group into his labyrinthine, clearly extra dimensional wagon to calm the lost and wild earth elemental inside. In the end the Tembo claimed Ty, the dark skinned magus unlucky enough to have temporarily bonded with the first of the Lost Seas. While onlookers gawked from above, however, the group finished the reviled monster and clenched not only victory but a little bit of re known at the same time.

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Session Eight
Aftershocks

The shadowy assassins retreated back into the night, seizing the opportunity to escape the violent earthquake that was beginning to wrack the north Warrens. Mr. Bones’s elemental wagon had gone berserk and frightened when confronted by a vicious Tembo far below while at the same time above Bones’ concentration was on the mythic Sea stuck to the Veiled boy Ty Burns.

The landslide was chaotic, taking a portion of the poor elf neighborhood down into the tunnels below. The group awoke split – Annora with Vitoli and Vertimer wrapped in crystal webbing were assisted in their escape by Bones on the condition they assist his rebinding with the Earthquake Wagon before it caused any more damage. Ultimately the group wound up convincing an obsidian laced Id Fiend they would serve it in the world above in the interest of passing by the troublesome creature quickly and securing the Wagon.

Malik was the first awake in a topsey turvey inn called the Radiant, long buried by some other past event. He scouted around while Ryn came around and woke Geyn. The odd team gathered themselves and Snake and prepared to find a way out when the sounds of battle came from the attic below. There they battled down lightning crodlu’s to save a very injured Veiled elven woman named Tabetha. She ultimately confided she was sent to contain a being granting bio electrical powers to creatures willy-nilly in the Under Tyr and causing a lot of trouble – the quake interrupting her own plans and nearly putting her in to the ground. The team banded together to exorcise the spirit in her stead, but wound up binding it instead into Malik’s body rather than the jewel meant to ensnare it.

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Session Seven
Life and Death

Living in the Erin family tannery and tack shop reached a steady beat in just a few days. Having survived the rough desert together and been saved by the party they naturally extended their hospitality, inviting them to live in their third story loft. Night breezes blew away the unpleasant smells of the crodlu and camel sale stock brought in from the farm in the north farmland, and the whole group gathered for egg breakfasts and meat dinners. During this time the players gathered clues to the various mysteries and goals they had come to Tyr to pursue, inching closer but not gaining much ground in the civil unrest of the newly liberated city.

It was only a week when quite unexpectedly not one but two crodlu mothers began heaving with birthing pains. At least a two man job, the Erin family began to make arrangements for the very profitable birth when a freak storm blew in from the west. The strong winds and cutting torrents initiated experienced healers Vitoli and Vertimer to take over the birthing of the second mother while everyone else ran to bat down the hatches and secure loose items in the tannery.

After a wild few minutes (during which one of the mothers developed a wild psionic talent whom battlemind Malik shortly calmed) the storm abated, the tremors from the fast quake subsided, the investigating Templar left and the stew was hot. As the group reflected on the disaster and the quick saves more trouble was brewing below.

Crodlu thieves, whom turned out to be assassins targeting Gyn Armone, escaped with the kidnapped Prell Erin and simultaneously Snake’s ritual meditations paid off, activating the Vanishing Tide and splitting the group up between assassin chasers and Last Sea investigators. Both groups wound up deep in the Warrens near one of the smaller north gates, along with the unwilling bearer of the Sea Ty Burns, battling off the assassins whose plans had gone horribly awry. Even calling int eh backup the possessed Tyr Tornado Man (whom Annora readily identified as her missing master) didn’t turn the tide of battle. Vertimer made them an offer they couldn’t refuse and the Balic brutes retreated right as Mr. Bones and a cadre of wooden tentacles surrounded the group and demanded both the Last Sea and his femur.

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Session Five
Heat and Altitude

A chance encounter with slavers brought the party into conflict along a hot silt slip trying to free captured muls moving from Glug to the liberated Tyr. After battling their ettin body guard and bee-casting leaders the rest dispersed, likely to perish in the particularly fatal noon heat.

The six saved slaves help scour their former burdens of honey for supplies while everyone gathered water from the near by cactus as a biblical swarm of bees gathered on the horizon. The group fled east across trecherious boulder fields and after a small earthquake made it to the border of the Tyrian mudflats – the run off flat lands of Tyr’s fertile farm land.

This border was the long, deep canyon known as Sheath. Within this section of well build rope and metal bridges lived thri-kreen highway men who used special techniques to disrupt the wind in the canyon using magnetic rock to intimidate travelers into leaving their weapons an money. Despite a nearly fatal fall (Vertimer caught a hemp bridge at the last second) they defeated the insects and bartered succor and shelter from them, as well as their magnetizing weapons.

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Session Four
Escape from the Feather Princess

Players slipped into the Lands within the Winds to re-rescue the captured Snake. Upon her emancipation (and killing the Knight Robin Red), she admitted to coming to the dangerous land on purpose looking for the Vanishing Tide, the key to finding the Last Ocean and giving the people of Athas access to enough water to make them free from the tyranny of the Sorcerer-Kings.

Eager to help, the party formulated a snatch and grab plan, at once setting up to steal the rod from the slumbering Feather Princess and securing their exit via a frozen pool heated to allow passage. After a escaping a Roc and defeating the second of the Princess’s Knights Avian, Dove; Atarax boldly allowed himself to be sacrificed to Snake’s empowering ‘Killer Frost’. The duo and fended off the remaining Knights and stayed behind to keep the portal open. Snake returned to Tyr bearing only his sentient mask and a grim expression.

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Session Three
Roost

The party found themselves balancing atop the uncomfortably small surface of a sheer mesa overlooking Roost, locked in combat against an orange-clad goliath and his kobold brethren. These nefarious ne’er-do-wells had dammed the town’s water supply, and our heroes rose to the occasion to reclaim what was rightfully Roost’s.

Despite a few solid hits — including one that temporarily turned Toli into an impromptu aviator, aided by their aquatic amigo — and a nasty side-effect of the kobolds’ strange powers that stole the water from their bodies, the party held their own. The dwarven brothers that accompanied them succeeded in their demolitions, destroying the dam, though one of them nearly lost his life in the process thanks to tripping over their own equipment while fleeing the blast radius.

Thanks to a flurry of ferocious strikes from the bite-sized barbarian’s oversized instruments of obliteration, a vindictive vendetta against a kobold’s face fueled by the fracturing of the minotaur’s favorite weapon, and an unorthodox medical fix by the khopesh-wielding goliath, the party was able to achieve their goal with no losses.

They triumphantly returned to Roost, where Gyn’s eyes began to sparkle in that way that made the ladies uncomfortable as his mind began to work on ways to more efficiently supply the city with the source of sparkling water that they had liberated. He drew up his plans and the party scattered, some intent on finding ways to assist, and some intent on just staying out of the way.

Toli and Malik recruited Snake’s assistance in seeking out some satisfying spirits, soon joined by a crestfallen Vertimer who had decided it would be in everyone’s best interests if he occupied himself with something other than assisting the artificer. They stumbled upon the traveling caravan of Dr. Bones, a gaunt, pale fellow with a bit of a chip on his shoulder and questionable taste in facial hair. After a bit of bartering, they walked away with whiskey, insisting that Snake sample it and only remembering when it was too late that she had a particular effect on the liquids she touched. The three of them sadly stared at their new bottle of sparkling water as they trudged away.

Meanwhile, Atarax and Annora had chosen to help Gyn with his architectural adventures, the former donning a supervisory role and the latter displaying more of her inexplicable bouts of impossible strength. They worked through the day, even as strange visions of dead birds began to float behind their eyes. As the project neared its completion, the visions became reality, as the air around them filled with the ghastly avian apparitions; quick-thinking by the templar remedied this, as he used a turqouise as a medium to block the specters from assaulting them. Still, no one understood why the birds seemed so terrified.

As night fell and the party settled down, Snake uncharacteristically floated off on her own, trailed by a couple of concerned party members who witnessed as she curled up around a tree and vanished. Confused, the party bedded down for the night, none of them suspecting that when they awoke, they would find themselves sequestered in the center of a silent hurricane, with only a sharp-dressed crow there to greet them.

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