Dark Skies

A Debt Repaid
The mystery that is Boroff is repaid for rescuing the party

All is not well in the hearts of the party. Out of concern for the fate of Boroff they strike a deal with Qq that allows them rejoin the fighting men within five days. They sail across the strait of Marlone on the Lir Khan sea, returning to the haunted wall and find the spirits of the fallen are tormentors no more. As the party passes into the darkness, the spirits bow in reverence.

On the far side of the wall, the party sees Boroff running for his life from a flotilla of Ro-Rexian sky galleons. The gravely injured Wodewick is slung across his pack lizard. The pair make the tunnel as a massive blast of energy collapses the entrance. Trapped in the wall, he and the party uncover an ancient passage. They flee deeper into the ruins, seeking an escape route. Far behind them, strange beasts born of the nightmare that is sentient chaos, claw and chew their way through the dark tunnels in pursuit.

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Knowledge of Chaos
Much is learned from slaying the Ro-Rexian chaos beast, but not before a friend is betrayed.

In the waning light of day, Andal and the remaining party members pass under the shadow of Marlone. His weary eyes are focussed intently on the pylon jutting from the silt sea, while his shield hand absentmindedly fidgets with the fresh bandages covering the acid burns on his right arm. He looks beyond the tower to the ridge line that is actually the ancient haunted wall.

‘Will Wodewick survive,’ he ponders, ‘and who is this Boroff creature that they seem so concerned about?’

The booming voice of Gloaming breaks his tribulations, “What sort of beast scars a man like that?”

Andal lingers on the dual connotations of the question before he smiles at the towering form of his old friend who is striding alongside the cart. He looks over his shoulder at his companions sharing the ride northward. Malharath is sizing up the well armed company of free gladiators they have joined, Pau sits meditatively, a hand resting on the coin worn beneath his cloth, Ranor is meticulously preening his acid scarred hide, and Garret is close by nervously glancing at the shape of the chest tucked into Andal’s pack.

‘I will tell you, old friend,’ he murmurs, ‘but let us talk quietly. I’m not sure I believe it myself, and I’d rather not have word get to Qq, lest he think me mad.’

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Tower of Horrors
The party learns about the opposing Ro-Rex factions and how each rewards its servants.

Garret, a member of the Veiled Alliance, is sent from the nearby city of Buma-tu to aid the party and direct them to the Iron Riders. He arrives just before dawn, and explains his purpose to the wary heroes, with Bugard vouching for his identity. The party interrogate him and Bugard at length before placing more trust in their counsel. Ultimately, it is the words handed down from Mur that convince them of their good intentions.

With a better understanding of the perils that lie ahead, the party decides to take the fight to the enemy before seeking aid from the Iron Riders. They confront Pyre in his decrepit tower and learn what “rewards” are bestowed on his followers, as well as witnessing some of the horrific nature of the Hierophant of the Night’s power.

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Besieged by The Great Hunt of Zatch
Night falls, and Minron is slain by the hounds of Zatch in the tunnels below Marlone.

The sun was low in the sky when two strangers claiming to be allies, servants of Ro-Rex in league with the Veiled Alliance, confront the party in Mur’s ruined temple. There’s a brief exchange of words before the form of the Great Other, Mur, rises from his remains and warns the party. “Outlanders! Barbarians! But, I see you have noble hearts and minds. If not selfish at times,” glancing at the Bull barbarian. “I failed my goddess in life, but in death I protected her heart these long centuries. The seal has been broken! When night falls, my brother Zatch will come to claim the Heart’s secret! He wants what we want, but his purpose will cost us everything! Trust in those before you. They know what must be done.”

Fearing the restless shadows at night and the demon that commands them, and having no other options for escape, the party follows the strangers through the ruined city to a hidden tunnel complex. Once underground, a ritual is started to hide the mysterious arcane constructed box from the sight of Zatch and other creatures of power. The ritual had only begun when Zatch’s minions arrive to slay all and claim the ancient stone box as their own before it is complete!

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The Temple of The Great Other, 'Mur'
The heroes are gathered and sent to Marlone

In the frigid cold of night, with the eerie green aura of Marlone lighting the western sky, three strangers are drawn to the unguarded camp recently set by the trio of escaped slaves turned necromancer slayers; Pau, Ranor, and Minron. First is the beastman druid, Wodewick, in search of his lost treasure, second is the sun child ardent, Malharath, in search of glory, and last is the human weaponmaster, Andal, in search of vengeance.

Food and water is shared among the strangers, and the strangeness of their surroundings is discussed. What are the massive pylons that span this narrow channel of the silt lake? Why is there a ladder and light atop the central pylon? What is the strange light emanating from the ruins of Marlone? Later that day, the pylon’s resident introduces himself and Marlone reveals some of its secrets.

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Three Strangers - Kindness, Darkness and Undeath
A friend goes missing and the remaining former slaves meet three strangers while on his trail.

Pau, Minron, and Ranor awake in the lizardman burrows and discover Naut is missing and possibly abducted. During their pursuit, they nearly succumb to the harsh realities of being poorly equipped in the desert and are saved by the kindness of a stranger. Pau learns a bit of mystery surrounding the turtle coin he wears, while in the care of the stranger, Boroff.

The following day, the trio proceeds towards Marlone at Boroff’s advising. Along the way, they must defeat the darkness within Marlone’s cursed walls, then face the acolyte of death who has camped along the silt lake separating them from the city itself.

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Overcome by The Dark Sky Storm
A band of slaves is freed by the fury of a Dark Sky storm

Dark skies crop

A band of cruel slavers transports their cargo across the blue-sands desert. They are savage and merciless. Before reaching their destination, the band is overtaken by a Dark Sky storm. Their cargo, Pau the fangling monk, Torment the dark one psion, Naut the scarred beast-man warrior, and Samiel the human bard are chained together and given clubs and knives by a slaver hoping to use them as muscle to escape the terrors in the storm.

Most of the slaves survive by fighting their way out of the storm and fleeing to a nearby cave to take shelter. Samiel and Torment are killed by the skeletal creatures that lurk in the storm. All of the slavers perish in the howling wind.

In the shelter of a small cave, other escaped slaves find shelter and join the initial group. These newcomers include Ranor the lizardling marshal and Minron the bull barbarian.

In the following day, the former slaves salvage what they can from the wrecked caravan, including a [mysterious gold coin that Pau feels a connection with, and depart in search of shelter. The rag-tag party soon finds an oasis and overcomes a sand folk ambush before sheltering there.

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