Red Sand & Black Sun

Ghost Town and the Judaga Returns

The session begins with Kacha’ak returning from the Fey-wild, where he was with Hazar for seven hours. The kreen was resting after his terrible beating at the hands of Zeburon the Iron Rider and just now thrust back into the world to follow after his allies. The kreen appeared in a small cave where his crodlu was waiting for him. The creature had been called by the gyno-sphinx to aid it’s friend and come it did. The two ventured out of the cave where they spotted a small cactus owl, a servant of Hazar’s sent to aid the kreen champion. The owl led the two out across the blacksands in a roughly straight line, supposedly towards the rest of the group. Along the journey Kacha’ak saw a heard of kanks crossing the blacksands in the rare event of hive-seeking. The group was dozens strong and Kacha’ak chose to follow the owl and slowly grow more distant to the swarm. It was only when the kreen saw the dust from their travels stop that he grew curious and returned only to find the kanks digging in the sands. He watched for a bit until the heard passed on. Mount and kreen approached the hole in the sands and saw that the kanks had found underground water, but almost none was left. Also in the hole were semi-cut gems and hints of an ancient building that may have been the source of the cutting. Kacha’ak gathered what was left of the water and rummaged among the ruins, picking up the gems. He noticed a large marble stone that had a particular symbol, obviously carved into it’s surface. After noting the symbol the kreen used his vast strength to roll the heavy stone and uncovered several metal shards. One was what was left of a cutting knife (perhaps for tanning) and the other was the top of a chisel. The crodlu made a noise of worry and began to scratch nervously at the ground while the kreen gathered. Just as the two metal pieces were picked up off the ground Kacha’ak felt the rumble of a burrowing creature. The kreen ran quickly towards the crodlu, who waited steadfastly for it’s rider despite the powerful warning of danger. The moment Kacha’ak mounted and veered the crodlu to run a megapeed (the same one the party would encounter later in the day?) burst from the ground underneath the hole made by the kanks. The massive insect began a long chase, attempting to eat the rider and mount, but to no avail as the pair were simply too fast over flat ground.

As the two ran away from the megapeed a rain of ash began to fall from the sky. The owl led the two to a maze of high brittle rocks and onward into the crossing rock paths. When night began to fall and the eyeless zombies of the blacksands began ripped their way from the ground Kacha’ak and crodlu stopped, much to the seeming annoyance of the owl, and found shelter to hold over in for the night.

(The events before this line happened during the last session and where what took place for Kacha’ak during that time. Below are events after last session)

The group, missing Kacha’ak since he was DEFINITELY dead had stopped to camp for the night after running from an angry megapeed. Abraxas had fallen asleep as soon as the group had stopped for camp and the cocoon of Ka-Kliek, the now kreen empress sat next to the sleeping dray. Sorin sat atop a large rock in their camp sight watching the blacksand zombies rise up from the ground while the others made fires, ate and drank, and fed the Inixs. Sitting around the fires, Brokenscale started up a conversation with the group about reasons they were all traveling with this particular company. Drokan said it was because of his promise to the party that they would reach Nibenay. Tanark cited his drive for vengeance and desire to rescue his sister Tassa from Mezabran’s hands. Clem, Maul and Irastus kept their reason secret. It wasn’t long until the group lay down for a rest around the fires, which kept the zombies at bay. In the night Clem suddenly cursed and frantically tried to free himself from his nap-sack. When he did it was obvious that he had been bit by something. The half-elf’s eyes rolled back into his head and he began to seize just as a violet spider crawled quickly from his sleeping bag. Brokenscale tagged the spider with a spit of lightning from his maw and fried it, much to Sorin’s annoyance. Sorin and Therai were on Clem quickly but neither had any expertise in dealing with what appeared at first to be a mundane poison. The two allowed Irastus to take Clem and try something, but it was too late, Clem was dead. Their was a moment of terrible silence before Clem’s eyes shot open and his hands locked around Irastus’s neck in a stranglehold. The half-elf’s eyes were pure black and he groaned much like one of the eyeless zombies. Abraxas tried to strike the possessed Clem with his weapon but the half-elf made a swift dodge backwards. Brokenscale rushed Clem and body-slammed the half-elf on the ground, pinning him. Therai then sensed a trickle of psychic energy and warned the party that Clem was only being controlled by a psychic venom and that the tiefling psychic could cure him. Abraxas held his assault back at this remark but Tom lunged forward and clubbed Clem on the head with his dagger’s hilt, knocking him out. Incapacitated, Therai was able to work his abilities on Clem, but had to keep in constant contact and wakefulness to restore him. The rest of the tiefling’s night was spent in the pursuit of wellness for Clem.

In the morning Sorin was still atop the rock from the previous night. She seemed triumphant with her long hours of work during the night. It was then that she spotted Kacha’ak and the crodlu twisting through the rock-ways and announced his surprising return to the party. Though everyone seemed surprised, Drokan especially made the extra effort to climb up on the rock and take a look for himself. Chiding remarks were made to those who had doubted his capabilities and a rousing welcome was given by all. As Abraxas fried up some rations to give the kreen the group looked over his now broken form, his missing mandible, the chopped off arm, several terrible slashed and holes punched into his chitin. The kreen settled down next to the fire and began his tale about Zeburon and Hazar. He explained it all over food and the party was impressed. During the conversation the kreen unveiled some of the more sensitive moments to the whole group, one thing led to another and both Brokenscale and Drokan were told that the party had met a sphinx and Kacha’ak was the champion of said sphinx. Also that Kacha, Kacha’ak’s ancestor resided within his crodlu and occasionally spoke to him. The group returned Kacha’ak’s khans gythka which he had dropped during the fight against the cloud ray and slowly explained what had become of Ka-kliek. The kreen was quite stunned at the news and had to stop the now stupid crodlu from trying to break the important cocoon. Brokenscale was thoughtful before announcing that this tale made Kacha’ak worthy of being dubbed a honorary dray-whelp and telling the kreen that he would now train under Abraxas. Kacha’ak tried to explain that he had been through quite the experience and would need some rest. Brokenscale left the decision to Abraxas, who was lenient and for his kindness was forced to carry the kreen warrior when he fell unconscious in the next few moments. With the story over the group packed up camp and got ready to leave. Sorin took a moment to appraise Brokenscale and Drokan before making it known that she was a wizard by announcing that she had been experimenting with creating her own rituals and had come to a breakthrough last night. She then told the party she would cast her powerful new magic to aid them in their travels and called for silence. She walked around and marked each party member and mount with an exotic symbol during her casting. When she finished she revealed her new power to create a tunnel of empty space that traveled with the group, allowing them to bypass many normal obstacles and speed up their pace greatly.

The group traveled for six clean hours and made good headway towards the stormclaw mountains. The ritual aided them both by cutting out the obstacles and fading their tracks greatly. At the end of the rituals duration the symbols that Sorin had made upon the party and mounts had faded into vanishing. When the ritual ended the group found themselves exiting into an area through a large rock wall. The brittle rocks that had formed the maze previously were here but in smaller sizes. The signs of ancient ruins were all around the party and strangest of all, off to their left was a huge road made out of smooth obsidian stone, polished and heated in the desert sun. Upon the road were the steaming bodies of charred zombies. Off upon the horizon the group could now see a huge structure of rock dominating the skyline. Spikes of black stone sprung out of a middle trunk of rock that rose up tall from the ground, making something like a giant, squat leafless tree. The party began to look around and found the carved symbol of Gulg inscribed upon a rock face. A theory that this place had once been an ancient city and that the warriors of Gulg had laid waste to it began to form in the minds of the party. It was then that a particular zombie crept out from behind a bend in the rock to the parties right and stared at the group with very blue eyes. After a moment, the zombie turned right around and went back behind the bend, leaving the parties sight. The group began to follow the strange zombie, fearing that it was a spy for a greater entity. When they turned around the bend they found themselves in an enclosed space with high rock walls. The group fanned out because the zombie was no where to be seen. Kacha’ak approached a wall and looked carefully at the rock structure when the zombie’s eyes opened up in the rock and it’s body cracked away from the stone, perfectly camouflaged with the dark rocky surface to try and grab the kreen. Kacha’ak dodged the grapple and Sorin launched a ball of force at the creature to blow it apart. Within the creature Sorin found a stone filled with defiled magic and forced herself to lay hands upon the object and diffuse the corrupted magic into the earth, cleansing it of taint. With that complete the group desired to move on quickly and Sorin recast her travel ritual called Trailblaze and the group proceeded to cut through the rocks and walls suffusing this area.

It was another six hours later when the ritual ended and allowed the group to exit the final stone before giving out. The party found itself in what appeared to be an ancient mostly-enclosed courtyard with the massive tree-like stone now behind them but still close. Four columns rose up at points within the courtyard but their purpose was lost to time. The party saw that it was growing darker and started setting up camp. As they were Kacha’ak jumped high onto one of the columns and looked around the street-like setup. He was alarmed at nearly a dozen of the eyed zombies could be seen from his high perch, crawling or shuffling as if on patrol through the otherwise empty streets. The keen was able to leap down just as the creatures raised their eyes to his location and they failed to spot him. Returning to the ground he warned the group that they should move camp elsewhere. Kacha’ak was put in-charge of finding the way to go through the streets that would get the party away safely, but immediately turned into two of the zombies. The undead began to make a croaking word with their mouths, it sounded like “KAR”. The two zombies were quickly dispatched but Therai wanted to get close to the undead to see what their thoughts looked like. Kacha’ak and he crept forward to try and get next to one for that very purpose. When the kreen looked around a nearby corner he was again spotted by a zombie that began to croak out the same word. Therai got a glean of it’s thoughts as the creature was being finished off. He found out that they were trying to scream the word “cartilage”. The group was off down the streets quickly and soon away from the yelling zombies. The night closed upon them and they needed to stop in the night or else risk an accident. They found a well-defended semi-enclosure that appeared to be the shell of a ruined house and made camp there.

In the night without a camp fire the group tried to sleep. Sorin and Kacha’ak kept watch on a rise, slightly out of sight from the party. In the middle of the night, though their eyes were sharp, the kreen was quite stunned when the arm of the Judaga and soon the whole body materialized out of thin air and clasped his fingers into Sorin’s head, making holes near her temples. The Judaga had been invisible and how that he had his prey formed a barrier of golden light around both of them. Kacha’ak stood stock still for long moments before gathering up his courage and throwing his common gythka, while striking the shield with his magical gythka. The common gythka was destroyed upon impact and while the other survived a powerful jolt of magic blew the kreen backwards and caused enough ruckus to call the other party members over. Abraxas fearlessly charged the Judaga’s shield, his own artifact shield first. The two shields collided and bolts of lightning shot out at the impact, searing the ground nearby with jags of energy. The Judaga was oblivious to this all, for he was focused within Sorin’s mind.

Within Sorins head the Judaga appeared on an area of open ground near a wall formed of ice. Not knowing what the wall was or where Sorin was the Judaga screamed, calling her a witch and vile creature. He began to attack the wall of ice, trying to bring it down to find Sorin. Outside Abraxas struck the Judaga in the head with his shield, managing to break through the Judaga’s own force shield. The sound of head meeting metal was like that of two metal objects colliding. The Judaga turned his attention outward long enough to hurl Abraxas into a stone wall, hard. The party then stood looking at the seemingly hopeless situation. Within Sorin’s own mind the eladrin began to fight back, freezing the Judaga in a block of ice using her own mental prowess. Outside the mind, Tom yelled for Therai to do something since he was the psychic of the group. Therai yelled that he couldn’t because he didn’t have enough life experience, but as the pressure mounted to act, the tiefling called upon the experiences of the other party members, using their skills and prior successes to aid his own efforts to aid Sorin. First he used Tom’s crafty thieving abilities to break into the Judaga’s shield. Next he the other party members abilities to find his way into Sorin’s mind through the Judaga’s own psychic passages (the party was not privy to what Therai was gaining from the others). When he did reach the area of Sorin’s mind where the Judaga was located he saw the spirit warrior break free from his cage of ice and begin slamming the wall with psychic blows. When Therai tried to interfere the Judaga attacked him and the ardent was forced to call upon Abraxas’s natural toughness to aid him in surviving the attack then Kacha’aks ability and speed to begin his own assault. While the two were fighting, Sorin began to call down a terrible blizzard, but protected Therai from it’s effects. The Judaga was both confused by these strange images that Sorin seemed to possess within her own mind (ice and blizzards) and saw her as a true villain. He began to flail wildly in the blinding winds as Sorin laced the falling slow with her own memories of the Judaga’s prior life with her in the Land Behind the Wind. These thoughts further confused the Judaga who was screaming in rage and the final blow was Sorin opening a crack in her minds wall and showing the Judaga what lay beyond. Whatever it was, the sight was too much for the warriors mind and he ripped himself from Sorin’s mind and fled, leaving behind his mask. Everyone was weakened from the encounter, but patted Therai on the back and helped Sorin up. She still had marks punched in the sides of her head from the Judaga’s finger tips which would never go away, but she could easily cover them with her hair. The party took a moment to breath after the chaos of the past few moments and gather themselves. After a moment Sorin approached the Judaga’s mask and sought to cleanse it using her ritual to remove the foul curse placed upon it. She succeeded.


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