Blood & Sand

The beginning

In which a sandstorm brings the protagonists together.

As the story begins, Jordyn and Mask duck into Altaruk just ahead of a fierce sandstorm which proceeds to rage for 4 days and nights. With little else to occupy the travelers, they spend most of their time in one of the local taverns, the Stinking Kank.

On the third day of the sandstorm, 3 caravans enter Altaruk. Apparently the rest of their convoy got separated from them in the storm and they fear they may have been set upon by bandits. With no one else to turn to, the caravan master of the Wavir trading house, Rhotan Vor, calls in a favor from Kriv, someone he’s done business with in the past.

Kriv rounds up a motley assortment of volunteers from the bar, and after the sandstorm dies down he heads out to look for the missing caravan. Not far from town, they are ambushed by a pack of lizards which Jordyn recognizes as silt runners. After a short but brutal battle, Kriv falls unconscious, but thanks to some makeshift first aid by his companions, he lives to fight another day.

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Search and Rescue

In which Kira Vaan goes climbing, and the rest of the party attempts to hold some doors shut.

After a fitful but eventless night of sleep in the middle of the desert, the party continues following the caravan tracks to their source, and soon come across a set of three ransacked caravans. However, before they have a chance to investigate, they are surprised by 6 kruthiks, who were burrowed beneath the sand waiting for prey.

The group manages to fend off the vicious scavengers, but not without sustaining heavy injuries. Mask and Kriv in particular, are nearly too exhausted to go on, but Kira Vaan is less concerned. “What are you two complaining about?” she laughs. I’ve barely been scratched, not sure why you’re having such a hard time."

Jordyn manages to uncover tracks near the caravans which indicate that a battle took places, and the victors appear to have run off into the desert. She follows the tracks deeper into the desert, where they come upon the remains of a ruined tower.

Having learned some caution, the group opts to send Kira Vaan climbing up the side of the tower, while the rest of the party waits by the main doors. Unfortunately, the plan begins to unravel when Kira starts climbing and promptly falls flat on her back. Undaunted, she tries again, but in the meantime the denizens of the tower have been alerted and begin an assault upon the group waiting by the door. Jordyn is knocked unconscious not once but twice, but fortunately is revived just in time to throw her considerable weight against the door, preventing complete disaster.

In the meantime, Kira Vaan finally makes it to the top of the tower, and proceeds to rain fiery death down upon the lizards. Once all but one of them are slaughtered, the remaining lizard – a Ssurran Poisonscale Collector – decides the battle is lost, and pleads for his life. Reluctantly, Kriv decides to let the Ssurran go, and the grateful lizard promises to spread the tale of their mercy among his people.

In the ruins, they found 3 captured caravan drivers, as well as an obsidian box containing the crystal they were sent to recover!

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A Lost Vault?

In which Kriv finds a use for his mental tools.

It turns out that the crystal which the group recovered was actually the soulshard of Jhakobo Madar, the grandson of Darom Madar. Darom, the patriarch of House Madar, was assassinated along with his entire family by the Tsulaxa guild over 200 years ago. However, the Madar fortune was never found; rumors say that it was stored within a secret vault whose location is now lost.

Rhotan Vor learns from the soulshard the rough location of the vault, and decides that this is his chance to recover the vast fortune. However, he needs bodyguards to scout for him, find the exact location of the vault, and guard the treasure on their journey to sell the goods in Tyr. In light of the excellent job the party did recovering the crystal and freeing the hostages, he offers them an 8% share of the treasure. Kriv’s slick tongue bargains him up to 12% and a somewhat bloody, secondhand suit of armor up front.

Meanwhile, Kira Vaan has been acting rather strangely – she received a cryptic note from a hooded stranger when she entered Altaruk, and disappeared in the night while the others were conducting business with Rhotan Vor. It remains to be seen whether her motives are aligned with the rest of the party…

Before setting off the next morning on the road to Silver Springs, Jordyn receives a cryptic note of her own from one of the elven caravan drivers whom she rescued the day before.

The party finally sets off, scouting the road ahead, but before long, they are surprised by an Id Fiend – a terrifying beast who uses their own darkest fears against them. After a tense battle, the party emerges victorious, and they pragmatically decide to hold on to the fiend’s brain in hopes that someone (?) might decide to buy it from them. Perhaps the heatstroke has caught up with them after all…

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