Siliceous

A Well Executed Thievery
A Well Executed Thievery

April 16, 994?

Here’s the plan: Alphariel is going to fly/phase up the shaft, grab the hourglass, then feather fall back down into the waiting teleportation circle created by Rowena.

Stone Arm talks to us. He’s worried about the Mad Architect who’s coming down here. He made a deal with Balarus the Efreet and now owes Balarus the Hourglass. He is only interested in gaining power.

Rowena creates a portal to the thundercloud tower.

Alph grabs the Hourglass and runs to the shaft. Featherfall down. The gleaner and nightwalker jump down after him.

Bui recalls Alph to the circle. We all dive through the circle.

Something happens to keep Craynor and Bui from going through the circle.

They apparently are in the first room of the ziggurat.

There is a color mist there that seems pretty badass.

Bui is doing his best to figure out what’s going on and how to get out.

Craynor is being insane, but eventually starts climbing the walls.

After many starts and stops, they get out.

As the Thundercloud Tower made its way away, the heroes saw the ziggurat phase out as several meteorite hit the ground nearby, leaving steaming craters.

Alphariel is able to put the Hourglass down.

We cast 3 × 360 gp rituals (1080 gp)

Mummy rot cured by Bui – Xabier nearly dies (full hp loss). Bui – half hp loss, Craynor extended rest stays the same, then cured at half hp loss by Bui.

As we are flying over the land where we saw a big battle on the way to the ziggurat, we see that there is now a huge crater and a lot of nasty alien things. Craynor talks to one of the fallen and gains that it was a battle between towns, started by youth of the other town who attacked their elves. The commoner blames inaction and lack of protection on King Goodwell II.

Samaa and Emerth find us.

We head up to the earth mote place.

Guess what. We fight the earthquake dragon. Who could have seen that coming?

The dragon tries to fly away, but Rowena calls on the powers of the elements and crushes the dragon.

It seems we lost a week in the Ziggurat – it should have been less than a day…hmmmm

Stonearm Scourge and Balarus the Efreet are likely dead – trapped in the ziggurat with the alien force inside, too. The ziggurat is now gone.

April 23, 994.

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The Deluvian Hourglass in Sight, Escaping the Ziggurat Not So Much
The Deluvian Hourglass in Sight, Escaping the Ziggurat Not So Much

April 16 (?), 994 continued continued continued

We make our way into the cavern. The drop from the opening of the shaft to the floor is 20 ft. There is luminous water. It lights the whole cavern. Three islands. One with twisted vine like masses. Another has monkeys and bugs. The third has treant. The second has monkey swarm. Xabier drops in and swims back up. The water is only about 10 ft deep. Tyzzer drops in.

Xabier finds a sack full of goodies near the alter and takes it.

We kill of the bad guys and then more bad guys – demons- show up to replace them. Jeff’s house blows up.

Xabier turns into a devil. This is distracting to the nalfeshnee demons, and to the others in the party.

We kill all of the demons after Xabier tries to intimidate the demon – unsuccessfully. There is a large red creature up in the shaft.

Vani flies up der and sees a red guy – Santa? Efreet more likely. There is a also a medium creature above – the Stonearm Scourge, and a little construct.

The Stonearm Scourge tells us to give up or give up the monk. He also wants the Deluvian Hourglass.

Vani flies up the other shaft and sees the hourglass guarded by bad guys. There is a mosaic of the fat lady with skinny lady. There is a sebastian gleaner and 3 crystal constructions, one with sebacean apes stacked atop one another, and the other two with large evil looking creatures.

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Deeper into the Ancient Ziggurat
Deeper into the Ancient Ziggurat

April 16, 994 continued continued

We enter the room. The gases begin to ooze out of the pods.

A bug man is in the corner. Larva mage.

An Astral stalker from Dart Mouth College appears. (ⓒSteve L)

Astral Stalker x2

“Let there Bui light!” (ⓒSteve L)

We kill everything

Craynor finds a sack of 1000 gp

Tyzzer finds 4 jewel-encrusted statuettes from an ancient civilization – Tyzzer feels a connection to them,
1 dragonborn
1 human crocodile

2 ft tall obelisk with ever changing runes

Notes from the larva mage: in common the larva mage was doing arcane research on the pods in the room. Tyzzer feels the pods were alien to this world. Maybe aberrant. Maybe they were going to hatch. Maybe not. Many hypothesis (plural).

The journals go in the spider. It is loaded. Like a diaper. Loaded Diaper.

Rowena checks out the fat statue. So does Craynor, but in a different way.

Historical statue from an ancient civilization

We exit to the West. It goes along ways. At least ¼ mile. Short rest. Path continues. Path breaks left right or straight or stairs down.

Go down the stairs.

Then we go left. We could have gone right. But we didn’t. ⅛ of a mile later. The pathway is blocked with rocks. The cave-in seems old. It seems old and thick.

We go back and then we go right. We run into left, right, or straight. We go left. A long pathway later is a crypt. We loudly walk into it.

There is a tapestry with a black-skinned man with a two-headed tiger and mountains. The mountains look like pyramids – some of them do. Our light source does not penetrate the darkness as normal. Bui feels a connection to the Shadowfell. Maybe a rift. Craynor sees a shadowy movement. He charges it.

It is a ghost. It possesses Alphariel. Fighting ensues.

Craynor finds 2 potions

We leave after freeing ghost and after three contract mummy rot.

We go back and go the original straight.

We go to a waterfall room. The builder’s didn’t plan for this. We see the broken remnants of crypts. Lots of bad guys and some floating gibbering talking creatures. We leave.

We go to the path less traveled. Back to intersection. Everything is all MC Escher.

We go back to the shaft. Craynor climbs down.

Everyone else stops wussing out and climbs or flies down too. There are islands in water. Altar. Treant.

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The Release of Rukaleth, the Bound Guardian
The Release of Rukaleth, the Bound Guardian

April 16, 994

We venture down into the lair of the Dracolich. There is a pyramid. Bones cover the slopes. Clusters of eggs cover the back of the room. Basins with dripping goo green are on the northern wall. The room is illuminated by the phosphorescent light from the green basins. Bones all around the pyramid.

Ceilings are 40 ft high.

The dragon makes us all afraid. And then he breathes necrosis on us. We fight.

The dragon refers to himself as Rukaleth, the Bound Guardian. He says, “Bound here as I am, I take no joy in your inevitable destruction, mortals…”

We kill it. It thanks us for granting him the final release that it has craved for centuries. It was the first real dragon that Tyzzer killed.

Xabier and Alphariel are afraid of water and weiner wizards.

Mummified dragon eggs. Craynor cracks open an egg it is full of dead stuff.

The green water area – the water is magical

We also find treasure by the dragon eggs:
Alphariel finds 700 pp and fist size star sapphire (5000 gp) in a small sack
Craynor finds a ring and gives it to Tyzzer (Luminary Ring LVL 22)
Vani drinks the magical water – she feels like she couldn’t be stunned

The dungeon is weird – elevations are all screwy, possibly even interplanar. It seems we are on the trail to the ancient artifact.

We leave from a stairway that we didn’t enter from after vani flies down a shaft. She finds nothing after flying down 200 ft with darkvision.

And then we go up the stairs entering into a room that has a tornado creature (earthwind ravager) and four crystalline obelisks shooting lightning with four sebascean’s. There are 4 exits out of the room.

We kill the aberrants and the earthwind ravager. Xabier goes back to get magic water. We all do. We all have the water in our water skins. We don’t notice anything…

We go down a ziggurat \ and it opens up into another room. It has four wispy pods with swirling green liquid. We came in from the north. Red marble statue on far end of room – fat human woman. Alcove to the east. Path to the west.

That’s where we left off. Craynor is not stunned.

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Heading Towards Despair, the Cliffs of Despair
Heading Towards Despair, the Cliffs of Despair

At dawn amidst the Mists, Kissandi used telepathy to try to convince the aboleths to let them pass. Aboleth skum and servitors emerged and attacked all those on the raft. The aboleth lasher moved in and did battle with Xabier. The aboleth overseer stayed back, dominating Shivon, and using her powers to injure Kissandi and use Kissandi to injure Scathe.

Kal-Kathier cut down several skum and servitors. Xabier took a lashing, but he was able to destroy the lasher. Shivon, after she finally broke free of the domination, protected the party with a beam of fey energy. Scathe continued to heal her allies, before being momentarily knocked unconscious. Kissandi took a stance that destroyed enemies that started next to her. Aboleth hatchlings emerged and were quickly destroyed.

After all but the overseer were destroyed, Shivon and Kissandi leapt onto the overseer. The overseer submerged itself with both Shivon and Kissandi holding on. Shivon was knocked off. Kissandi and the overseer descended to 50’ below see level and the battle continued. Shivon was pulled up by Scathe. Shivon guided Scathe to heal Kissandi. Shivon rejoined the underwater battle.

Two large death drinker skeletons swam towards the fight. The overseer escaped. Shivon helped Kissandi swim up. As the two made it to the surface, the skeletons reached out to grab them, one succeeding and grabbed Shivon. Shivon was able to burst one of her necklace beads to help her escape and damage the now-insubstantial skeleton.

Kal-Kathier, Xabier, and Scathe joined the battle. Kissandi relished destroying these abominations of life.

After defeating this enemy, both Kissandi and Shivon were able to shake off the effects of the dark water they had entered, but Scathe realized that the areas of her armor and of her arms and hands that she used to pull Shivon out were affected and aging. Her armor rusted and aged. The skin on her hands loosened remarkably and she felt her hands and forearms turning into whatever Nexes was, a skeletal looking human. Scathe fell to her knees and retched. Shivon tried to help. Kissandi asked the Raven Queen if it was Scathe’s time? Kissandi felt guidance from the Raven Queen that Scathe was not undead, just affected substantially.

The group continued rowing between the Mists. As they continued a few of them noticed two farmers on a raft a ways off, one grabbed by the Mists and pulled off the raft and right into Mists. The other farmer rowed as fast as he could in the other direction.

Trumpeted and screeching animal sounds along with human screams could be heard from a forested island that was partially covered by Mists. The trees on the island were white wood. The group decided to ignore it and continue on.

Nexes told the group head north through the islands to reach the center of the bay and Sunderheart, go slightly northwest and reach Glimmerhope Crag, or go slightly northeast and reach the Cliffs of Despair. Kissandi said to go northeast and for the Cliffs of Despair.

On the way there, weaving between the small islands, the heroes noticed muddy farm islands where they could hear common being spoken in the distance. The plants appeared unhealthy, the black-leafed trees with thousands of bulbous, bone-colored apples. A sore covered sow was giving birth to several limping piglets, one with only three legs, another with two legs and two half-legs.

The group kept on rowing and approached a mountain spur, surely the one known as the Cliffs of Despair. The cliff overlooks the Black Bay. Though the haze, two humanoids holding hands could be seen atop the cliff. Moments later, the two stepped off the cliff and without a sound fell to their deaths.

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Working with a Former Nemesis to Save the World
Working with a Former Nemesis to Save the World

April 9th, 994

  • Wow. That fight was Epic (level)!
  • We head back to Castle Locatha and the storm has stopped completely
  • We encounter the Stone Arm Scourge and one of his little golem guys.
    - He tells us to meet PR III again. He has info.
    - We go back through the same portal, and PR is there.
    - The Deluvian Hourglass has moved and is nearby.
    > Associate Zarenthal (the Imix Cult leader from Lambasa) can transport us to the ziggurat.
    >The Hourglass was to be used by the Primordials in the Dawn War to take back the world from the gods.
    -PR III wants Stonearm to come with us to the Hourglass. After much conversation, we decide that’s not gonna happen.
    -We don’t really want to take Zarenthal back to the castle, but we do because he’s the only one who knows where to go. Craynor beats him up periodically.
  • We fly the castle for several days south along the King’s Mountains under Zarenthal’s direction.
  • We spot a figure (Emerth) flying on a silver sphinx (Samaa) appears with a message from Krombaalt the storm giant. In order to prove himself, he tells us that the king’s daughter is a bitch.
    - Emerth says he needs our assistance.
    - He wants to perform an arcane ritual with our castle as a focus. This will be a gift for Krombaalt.
    - We’re down with this until he tells us that it will take many days.
    - He did mention an ancient earthquake dragon named Kul-Gira who has not been heard from in many years and must be dead.
    > We agree to meet him again in a week to help him with the ritual. He’ll find us.
  • As we fly overland, we see battles are occurring in SW Terkent, and we don’t know why.

April 16th, 994

  • We get to our destination and Arcane powers are diminished right now. Also, we smell sulfur.
  • More and more flames.
  • We get to a burning building. Clearly this is a place controlled by Imix.
  • Zarenthal says we need to enter a ring of fire in order to be teleported to the ziggurat.
    - “Look for the silver lake. Look for the ziggurat.”
    - We see a ziggurat in the distance and head toward the clearing.
    - Vani, Craynor, and Alphariel swim in the lake to see if they can find another way in. No luck.
    - We go up the stairs and into the ziggurat. It’s about 400 feet tall.
    - Vani flies down a pit in the entryway and sees a bone dragon about 60 feet down. We don’t go that way.
    - Instead, we go into the main room that has a dome.
    - ATTACKED BY MUTATED APES! AND GLIDERS! AND GUARDIANS!
    > They die
    > Rowena discovers that some of the aliens’ bodies adapt and develop a resistance to the first type of damage that hits them – seems very useful for them.
    - The dome is cracked, and we could break it, but we don’t, then we do
    - We follow one of the hallways for about ¼ mile, descending ~ 1000 feet to a room with more aberrant shit including a couple of gorgers, a gleaner, and more mutant apes with lots of extra body parts and slimey stuff. Blood fills channels, but it’s not that big a deal.
    - Before he died, the gleaner spoke both in deep speech and common, telling us:
    > “Turn back before the sublime potency of the sebaceous!”
    > “You cannot hope to defeat all of us!”
    > “When one sebacean falls, the Mad Architects send two more to take its place!”
    > “Fools! You’ll be entombed here and forgotten forever!” and
    > “You cannot postpone…the inevitable…”
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Nexes and the Black Sea
Nexes and the Black Sea

Kissandi whistled to get the attention of the hooded figure slowly paddling the raft 50’ off the shore.

The creature appeared to be skeletal. Kissandi readied an attack before Scathe’s told her that Melora assured her that this creature was not undead.

The creature paddled the boat over, whispering “What do you have to offer for safe passage?” Eventually Kal-Kathier offered some Athasian meat and Xabier gave Nexes 1,000 gp for passage to Sunderheart.

Nexes asked “why would you want to go to Sunderheart?”

When Kissandi caught a glance at the shrouded face of Nexes it appeared to be a skeletal reflection of Kissandi’s face.

Nexes cautioned the heroes not to enter the water and assured them they would need to fight. He said that difficulties they passed would be much easier than ones they were to avoid. He said, “my raft, my rules!”

Nexes requested Xabier’s great axe. Reluctantly, Xabier gave it to Nexes. Nexes turned it into an oar, but said Xabier would be able to return it to its true form as needed. Nexes staff also changed to an oar.

When Xabier saw Nexes face, it appeared a skeletal reflection of Xabier’s face.

Night was falling. The water was inky black and the night was darkening, too. A dim light emanated from Shivon’s necklace, barely illuminating the area surrounding the raft as Xabier and Nexes slowly and quietly paddled them further in a direction that seemed to run parallel to the where the coast extended.

Xabier’s spirit sank. The water beckoned him in. He felt his resistance weakening.

After a couple hours of rowing, two sharks and a sea cat attacked the party. Nexes said, “This means we are in safe waters.” The sea cat got a couple of bites on Kissandi and the sharks bit a couple of others, but the party repelled them well with Kal-Kathier striking multiple sharks at a time, Shivon psychically repelling the sea cat from dragging Kissandi into the water and Kissandi flinging the sea cat back on her own once. Scathe weakened and forced the sharks to retreat. Xabier sliced into the sharks with his great axe. Soon the sharks were killed, one kept for its meat. The sea cat stopped the attack and fled the scene.

About 2-4 hours of paddling later, muffled screams could be heard. Soon, appearing under the clouds crackling with lightning was a ship being torn apart by a shadow kraken.

With hard paddling by Kal-Kathier and Xabier, The Raven Queen’s divine guidance directed through Kissandi, Shivon’s arcanaically acrobatic stunts to save the raft from drifting wreckage and calling upon Melora’s power to direct the storm to center the Kraken’s energies on destroying the larger ship and ignoring the raft, and Scathe’s efforts to walk on the water while pushing the raft forward, the small raft made a narrow escape from the reach and attention of the Kraken.

A couple hours later as dawn began to appear, the light was broken up by several large areas of mist. The mists seemed otherworldly and many screams and loud, strange sounds emanated from them. Nexes said none return who enter the mists. As Nexes guided the raft to avoid the mists, two aboliths emerged, eyes fixed on the heroes.

Next time, aboliths in the mist!

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Surrounded by Death
Surrounded by Death

The Shadowfell path continues…

The group continued moving until they needed to rest. The darkness had crept in.

Scathe set up a strong protective force around the group as they tried to rest. Frequent, at times constant, attempts by undead to break through failed. The darkness grew ever so slightly lighter and death crept back into the shadows.

The heroes trudged on.

They didn’t know for how long.

Eventually they saw a coast in the distance. Before the coast was a forest of white, leafless trees. The trees seemed to move and clearly there was movement amongst them.

From the trees came a screening woman. On both sides, emerging from the shadows, several crawling undead made their way towards her. As she got closer to the heroes, the undead stopped their approach and then retreated back towards the shadows, clearly eyeing the woman and what could be their easy prey.

Bewildered she didn’t seem to even notice the group. Kissandi leveled her sword and told her to stop. The woman kept running. Xabier charged and tried to destroy her, but as he swung his axe the woman tripped, did a forward roll and then just kept running and screaming through and past the heroes.

They did not pursue her, continuing on towards the forest.

Entering the forest the group noticed movement and found a boar rider, something like a gnoll, but not a gnoll. Two other large boars followed. The group was ready to attack when the rider grunted at them. Kal-Kathier understood him (thanks to the potion) and turned to see what he was grunting about. Behind them some piles of leaves were moving.

Xabier dove axe first into a pile and splattered a ghoul that was crawling within. It’s blood sprayed into Xabier’s eyes and didn’t feel very good.

The others followed, destroying several ghoul hungeres while Shivon fought a tougher abyssal ghoul. Scathe aided her allies, tending their wounds and weakening the enemy as Kal-Kathier, Kissandi, and Xabier fought to destroy the hungerers. Meanwhile a zombie horde moved in on Xabier.

While the heroes fought the ghouls, the leader of the boars fought other undead nearby.

When the horde was defeated, the heroes noticed that two of the boars had died in the fight. The leader, nicknamed Grunt by the heroes because that is how his speech sounded to all of them except Kal-Kathier, said we are lucky that it was not night, things were much worse then.

Visibly surprised that the group was heading to Sunderheart, Grunt said the only entry was by water and the only way he knew of was to take the raft manned by Nexes. Grunt warned the group to only travel during the day on the water and to follow whatever Nexes said, being that he or it was the only possible safe passage to where they wanted to go.

Dusk had fallen as the heroes neared the coast.

Just about 100-200 feet off the coast, the group noticed a small raft paddled by a skeletal-like figure in a robe with a staff or an oar…

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The Gods, an Oracle, and Craynor vs. the Gnolls
The Gods, an Oracle, and Craynor vs. the Gnolls

April 9th, 994 (later that day)

The group is huddled in the castle and is still in a state of chaos. We make the plan to travel deeper into the castle to try to find a portal or something that can get us out of here.

Some people (many of the PCs) want to find a way to fight Adaelanter.

Elektra is a bitch and says that her dad could solve this, but she doesn’t want to do anything about it. Bui convinces her to follow us for awhile.

Tyzzer, Alph, Craynor, Xabier, Shivon, and Skyblade go up to try to get a lay of the land.

Shivon can tell that Melora is present in this storm and is trying to maintain control. Shivon wants to aid her god however possible.

Bui takes charge of the remaining group quite effectively.

They go down.

Elektra takes a group through a different door. This group includes Sarax and Carnavon.

The Tyzzer group realizes that outside the gods are fighting and there’s not much we could do about that. It’s likely they came here because the castle drew them here. They head back down.

They go down to a main room and see . . . something shadowy. It’s a she-wok. (or an oracle)

She offers to tell the fate of Vani and Tyzzer. Tyzzer is sceptical — he believes in making his own fate. Vani steps up.

The Deluvian Hourglass is missing it is one of the greatest magical treasures and has ties to the end of the world. We must keep it safe if we want to save the world. It might be lost in one of the ziggurats they used to store stolen artifacts.

We search a bit and find two portals.

The she-wok tells us that Yeenoghu is loose in the world, so Craynor runs off to fight the gnus on the other side of Portal #2.

Tyzzer feels like Portal #1 is pulling him, so he and everyone other than Craynor go through that one.

We go through the first portal and PR III is there in a volcano surrounded by Imix people. The short version of the conversation is that we are kinda working together to expose the fact that King Goodwell is an imposter. PR III is going to get us information that the real Goodwell is dead and the current king is an imposter. Once we get this info, we will work to make the people aware of this and bring the imposter to justice.

Tyzzer thinks that the group is going back to Lambasa, but instead we go through the Craynor portal and immediately start fighting gnolls.

FIGHT!

Craynor is already in the shit. He gets attacked and Tyzzer immediately inspires him to crit both gnolls who dared to attack him.

fightfightfight

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A Beckoning Call?
A Beckoning Call?

Despair began to set in on all except Kissandi.

The heroes turned to each other.

Shivon turned to Kal-Kathier. After slowing down her speech to try to make the well tanned, primitive elf who spoke a foreign language understand, she gave up and questioned Scathe about the portals. Shivon was pissed that none of these people had the wherewithal to understand how they came to the Shadowfell. She didn’t even bother questioning the crazy guy with the axe.

Xabier, guided by the voice of tortured soul of his dead brother Bael, approached Kissandi.

Kissandi prayed and felt she saw the face and the beckoning fingers of the Raven Queen. Shivon tried to interrupt Kissandi’s prayers and get an answer, but Kissandi remained focused.

Soon later, Kissandi began walking in the direction she thought the Raven Queen was leading her, towards a distant woods in the gray darkness ahead.

The others decided to follow her.

Eyes seemed to follow them everywhere. The trees seemed like they would reach out and grab them.

At one time, Xabier noticed a strange winged figure above the trees. Later they would all see this again, a sorrowsworn!

After some time, they overheard and encountered a battle/feeding in progress. Zombies surrounded three shadar-kai. The heroes (other than Shivon) dived in and helped, felling the zombies left and right. Scathe put a protective spell around the one injured shadar-kai.

Shivon decided to have some fun, first infiltrating the weak-minded Xabier’s psyche and having him attack the zombies for her, then making some of the zombies eat at themselves. The injured shadar-kai, not at Shivon’s bidding, began to eat itself, too.

Soon the zombies were destroyed. The shadar-kai, seemingly deathly injured and likely transforming into a zombie was beheaded by the swooping sorrowsworn who then flew away.

The remaining shadar-kai turned out not to be normal. They knew of the execution of Bael. They said it was a small part of the beginnings of a place they said was cursed. A place called Sunderheart. One of the Shadar-kai was named Bloodbeat. He has three nostrils. The other shadar-kai had 7 fingers on each hand. It seems the people of what is now Sunderheart are all cursed, and possibly all they encounter become cursed, too. Directions were given to Sunderheart.

Bloodbeat cursed Melora, so Shivon threw the shimmering image of her feystrike longsword right through that bastard’s head because F that dude for not understanding the power of Melora! The other shadar-kai departed, wanting to get as far from Sunderheart as possible.

The group set off. Days later, some feeling rejuvenated, others more depressed, the group made it to the Dead Man’s Cross. The Dead Man was consulted for directions to Sunderheart. He extended one of his skeletal fingers. Shivon asked how to get to the Feywild, and the dead man’s skin pulled across his face in a wry smile, but his finger remained pointed in the same direction. The group set off. After some time, Kissandi wondered if the others were still there, following her. She looked back and noticed them and in the distance three more.

She drew the other heroes attention to those that followed. Kal-Kathier recognized one as a guard of Tectucktitlay and charged forward. After words were shared, the leader, Ar-Ke-Kee-Tah, seemed to be interested in following Kal-Kathier if he were to replace Tectucktitlay in Athas. A mild poison was endured by Kal-Kathier. He then received 7 potion. Each potion lasts 1 day and allows Kal-Kathier to understand and be understood in spoken word.

Ar-Ke-Kee-Tah and his guards departed, saying they hoped to see Kal-Kathier back home again.

The group continued towards the direction they hoped was Sunderheart as night fell…

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