The Twilight Ascension

Annals 4: Haunting Laughter and Dark Days.

I write this notation with a heavy heart and an uncertain future. The last few days have been full of danger and the loss of friends. There is no time to mourne though, as we must press forward.

As we prepared to embark on our continued search for supplies and resources to make our journey, the group found it a pressing matter to capture the slaver we have come to know as Astara. Spluke used his tricks to track down the evil woman as she was leaving the city with a full crew of her allies in a caravan. We felt the need to press forward immediately, and decided the only way to catch her in time was to cut through the city via Under Tyr.

I led the way through the tunnels, as I am familiar with the passages. There were some minor setbacks with some Silt-Runners and a Dray, but we managed to get by without incident. The exit was to be within Ezar’s Storehouse, but instead of a direct passage we found ourselves in some strange and wonderous temple from ages gone by. The place was boobytrapped, and had bodies within both fresh and long since deceased. Among the treasures there were statues of unknown bodies of worship and a stone tree dripping blood. I am not sure what to make of all this, however Suldin promises that we shall return to investigate when time permits.

As we passed through the strange place and made our way into the storehouse, we were confronted by a surley Dray that threatened us for entering into “his property”. Apparently Spluke had gotten through mostly undetected, but we were held up a bit getting into the streets of the Caravan Gate and Caravan Way. When we did though, we wasted little time catching up to Spluke and preparing our assault on Astara’s caravan as it moved further and further away from the city.

The battle of Astara’s caravan wasn’t as simple as we would have liked. As we approached, we realized that the caravan housed captured people to be sold into slavery. They used the poor men and women as hostages, but that didn’t work for long. Soon enough the battle was on in full force. It seemed we had things mostly in control, with Rygar standing tall as an impressive specimen clearing away all enemies in his path as he worked to free the men and women of their vile captors.

The biggest problem was the Mekillots that were used to pull the caravan had gone crazy, creating added chaos into an otherwise straight forward fight. During the fight though, one man escaped on a Mekillot carying a wrapped up package that looked to be a body. Suldin bravely took off on Todlu to stop the man from escaping. When he returned, he did so with a badly hurt Matthias Morthen. Apparently Astara’s group had somehow subdued him and were taking him to a camp some distance away to have who knows what done to him.

Eventually our group subdued Astara and captured her, killing the rest of her crew except the one who had gotten free on a Mekillot when Suldin went to save Matthias. We took a little bit of time then and regrouped before taking the remaining Mekillot and linking him up to the caravan to head back to Tyr. Nanook took point, riding the Mekillot forward and guiding the way.

I think our battle attracted a vile creature in the desert. Before long we were haunted by a evil cackle that hounded our group and terrified the Mekillot. It didn’t take long before we saw what the beast was. It had claws as long as my forarm on each foot, a terribly wicked muzzle and stalked us like some hunting lizard gone mad. It followed and taunted us, bringing the Mekillot to a terrified panick. Wanting us to give it something for safe passage, one of our group, our captive, Todlu or the Mekillot.

It seemed it’s real plan was something worse yet as it roused the Mekillot into an all out panic, where it broke free of the caravan and went racing through the desert with Nanook still saddled on it’s back. Spluke and Katho raced to try to catch up to the beast, but were not nearly as fast as the creature that stalked Nanook. Knowing he would soon be beyond the reach of all help, Nanook jumped off the Mekillot and was immediately set upon by the Tembo.

Matthias, Rygar, Suldin and myself watched the sillhouette of our friend Nanook against the pale glow of the twin moons as his throat was torn out and a spray of blood sprayed into the sky like a cloud escaping a bottle. I will never live long enough to forget that image. As the battle was joined by Spluke and Katho it spilled beneath the crest of a dune. Although it wasn’t long before Spluke had rejoined us without our two companions and told us the story of the beast that had killed and taken away the bodies of our friends while promising to find us again in the desert later.

We then had to abandon our liberated caravan and travel, weary and exhausted along with our captive back to Tyr. As we got to the city, night had set in full and the gates were closed to us. Instead of risking entry into the city and a search by the guards that would reveal the nature of our captive, we snuck into the tent city along the outer walls of the city. I procured us a tent and the group was able to get a bit of rest with only some minor stirring by our captive that was short lived. Everyone except myself got some rest while I kept lookout.

Unfortunately I had to stir everyone early, as armored figures came crashing through the tent-town. Accosting residents and tearing down dwellings. Spluke made out to distract them while Rygar was to take our captive out the back and hide back in the desert. We had no idea what we were getting into.

It turned out the people combing the tent town were not city guards, but Templar Militia. Spluke ran headlong into a man of pure black skin, wearing head to toe scales of some serpent that glimmered violet. This man completely decimated a section of the tent town with a flick of the wrist, then teleported using the life force of an innocent bystander by….. melting through him…. to power some unworldly vile magic that transported Spluke away.

Everything then happened so fast. Rygar dropped Astara to go back and aid the fight, Suldin vaporized some of the Templar Militia as he turned bright white with crackiling lines running through him, Matthias erupted into fire and as Rygar approached he apparently used defiling magic himself, using Rygar as the catalyst to teleport to the man in violet, forcing him to reopen the portal to Spluke and allow him to escape. All this in a hail of arrows as the guards on the wall shot at anything that moved. It was chaos, and heartbreaking to watch. The evil man then grabbed Matthias and both turned to ash.

We were left in the aftermath, my friends painted as the evil magic users who had unleashed fury in the tent city. We all fled, back into the desert to escape the city watch. It is now, as we regroup that I write this. The last few days have been terrible, with three of our group now missing or dead, a captive who would see us dead, and I must lead my friends back into a city that thinks us all murdering defilers. The days ahead seem to only get worse.

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ChaosShifter

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