Red Sand & Black Sun

The Winding Path Forward

Tom lands hard on the ground from his long fall. Only his own acrobatic abilities saved him from permanent injury. Gathering his wits, the half-elf runs up the stairs back towards the inn.
Inside the common room of the Lucky Blade, Kacha’ak is sitting at a table with Tanark nearby. The demon-marked human suddenly starts sniffing the air and says he smells a demon. Both abruptly hear the sounds of fighting coming from the smoking-deck Abraxas and Tom just went out on. Both rush forward but Tanark is the first on the scene. Both see the dray-like creature and Tanark goes to stab it with Vindicator but his attack is mostly ineffective. The dray backhands Tanark hard and knocks the fencer out. Kacha’ak has more luck with The Fifth Arm and the strike to the creature’s shoulder singes as though the weapon burned the creature to the touch. With a moments concentration the dray-creature phases and falls through the wooden deck to the ground far below. Looking up at the characters above, he then sinks into the ground and out of sight. Tanark moans in pain and Abraxas slips into blackness.

Tom comes upon the common room and sees the two other patrons, a pair of dwarves slipping out of the inn as quickly as they can due to the noises coming from the deck. Tom goes outside and together he and Kacha’ak tend to the wounded as they can. Soon Therai gets up and the two beckon him to take a look. With his cursory glance the tiefling begins to panic as he notices that Abraxas’s heart has stopped beating. After a long while of panic, the group mysteriously discovers that the dray is still breathing, so is alive, but his heart has ceased to beat. Kacha’ak winds up carrying Abraxas upstairs so they can keep him out of sight. The innkeeper offers to run and get a healer and when the group agrees, goes to do so. They get Abraxas into bed and Tom runs to Sorin’s room with the thought “this must be magic and Sorin’s the magic person” but finds only her two grandsons in her room; she has gone out.

After the combat, Abraxas finds himself in a strange and horrible situation. His soul or spirit has somehow been removed from his body, and he watches as Kacha’ak and the others carry his body up the stairs to lay it on the bed. He then hears three calls, each getting progressively louder for him to “COME!”. With each call he begins to speed inexorably towards somewhere. Abraxas’s spirit zooms beyond the walls of the inn, then beyond Nibenay, then out into the endless dunes and the last thing he sees before his ghost pierces the ground is a set of blurred ruins. He finds himself deep under the ground in a hexagonal room and there he sees Dregoth, creator of the Dray race. He is tall and emaciated with four arms, two containing black metal blades, the other two containing magical rods with lightning coursing between them. His form is draconian but still bipedal with reptilian skin and eyes and a down-turned muzzle. He turns slowly upon the soul of Abraxas. The room they stand in has several cages with the dray word “hold” written in runic form upon the bars and moving forms can be seen beyond the bars. Dregoth tells Abraxas that dray like him, who have the strength to betray their own people are exactly the kind of dray he wants in his army. The undead sorcerror king then begins to approach, telling Abraxas that he is of clan Kegon, or as he knows it, the bloodclaw clan. When his god consumes him, he will be reborn greater then he is now and will serve once again. Abraxas runs to the wall and tries to phase through, but it holds his form now. Just when the horror is upon him a thick armored arm comes through the wall around his neck and pulls him through the wall with it. Abraxas is now floating in blackness with a dwarf who uses his choke hold to put Abraxas out, saying it’s for his own good.

Back in the room Tom returns and informs the party that Sorin is out. Ka-Kliek goes downstairs, to deal with the stress she plans to use the oven to bake pastries. The group begins to discuss the fight which leads Kacha’ak to say that Tanark can smell demons. Tanark obviously doesn’t want the party knowing about this strange ability but tells them that he picked it up when he was with Bejein for all those years; he says demons stink. Therai then notices that Abraxas’s innate psychic abilities are beginning to increase and he is shrinking in mass. The party takes turns placing their various magical items on Abraxas in an attempt to do… something. Kacha’ak’s gythka is the only one that gets a reaction and it causes the dray to have a seizure. When it stops Therai bans anyone else from poking Abraxas with things. Just then Brokenscale enters the room naked and very injured. He falls to the floor immediately. Ka-Kliek is behind him and says that she found him yelling outside on the streets and brought him to the room. The party is able to determine from his wounds that he fought the same creature they did and didn’t do well. He is alive and breathing. Tom goes to Sorin’s room to wait for the eladrin to return and Kacha’ak leaves the inn and goes to track down Brokenscale’s movements.

His search leads the kreen to an alley-way where he sees the walls are near destroyed. He finds a small human street-child who tells him through terrified shakes that two monsters fought in that alley. Kacha’ak learns that their was one four armed and the other had tentacles for hands (brokenscale). With this horrible realization he returns to the inn and tells the others all he found except for the tentacles then goes to wait in the common room.

When the dray warrior awakens it is with the dwarf, in a infinite dune-scape with pitch-black skies. The land is featureless except for the dwarf before Abraxas. The dwarf introduces himself as Malan-beresh, or in dwarven, Armageddon. Abraxas introduces himself and then the dwarf tells Abraxas that he is in the Gray, and he is probably dead. Abraxas accepts his fate calmly and then chooses to go with the dwarf who says he is going to show the dray his friends that help him fight against Dregoth in the afterlife. Abraxas puts his hand into the dwarf and the Malan-beresh uses his knowledge of this place to whisk them off to another place. When they arrive they see a single camp fire and an old friend of the parties, TaNiik TaNiil, the magic-user who disguised himself as a shaman. In quick words the halfling tells the dray that he isn’t “really” dead; that the fire elemental that the party thought took his life actually saved it by sending his soul to the “crystal mother” who is a good being that helped him and is trying to warn the world about the impending battles coming towards it.

Sorin returns to the inn with a young girl, who happens to be her granddaughter “Gale” and is very startled to hear all the news that Kacha’ak has learned since she left; the boys are overjoyed to be united with their sister again. All together the party goes to the room where the party is keeping Abraxas and Sorin. Sorin learns all the party knows then notices that Abraxas seems to be gaining a magical power that he did not possess prior. Brokenscale wakes up and the party interrogates him about the alley fight. They discover that the tentacles are the manifestation of his connection to Ul-Athra and it will not be a danger to the party for another three weeks when the cycle resets and the sand-god calls on him again. Brokenscale tells the party that Dregoth is indeed responsible for the creature’s coming and that another once called upon him to join the sorcerer kings ranks. But with the lives of 15 dray warriors he said no. Dregoth is back, even though the old warrior didn’t want to believe it, and he means the world harm.

Back in the world of the dead a booming voice is heard over the endless dunes and Malan-beresh recognizes it as the spirit of his shield “Armageddon’s divide” and wonders why it is here and how it came to be here. Abraxas lets it slip that it the shield was in his arm when he died. This leads to quick and awkward questions about why a dray is holding the shield and what happened to the dwarf’s people, but all that takes a back seat to the idea that this event means that Abraxas is alive and the shield is there to take him back to his body. with Malan-beresh urging him to run, Abraxas takes off into a deep smoke and finds the gigantic primordial within his shield and wakes up. He spends the next few minutes telling the party all he heard and saw in the world of the spirits. Sorin is very concerned about the imprisoned spirits and Abraxas’s new magical powers. Therai questions Abraxas’s new psychic powers and calls him a battlemind. The party decides that things have gotten dicey and they need to change inns, so they buy rooms at a medium priced inn called the Happy Lady, a brothel.

When Sorin works on her rituals, Kacha’ak wonders the streets, Abraxas sits in private and makes objects float with his mind. He freaks out and goes to get Therai and Sorin’s aid. The two focus on helping him control his new powers and hiding it from would be onlookers. Kacha’ak meets another “sand kreen” out in the streets and they go to get food together to find out more about one another. The new kreen says he was bought by halflings to the city of Gulg as food, but he escaped. He is trying to flee from the people of Gulg, but they know him by a special necklace he wears; which he got for killing a terrible beast back in his homeland. Since both are keen, the other sand-kreen offers to give Kacha’ak the necklace in hopes that he can keep the traditions alive and put it to good use.

Abraxas seems to grasp the abilities of psionic and magic very quickly and thinks to combine the two… like a templar. Sorin thinks this same trail of thought and links him as a templar of Dregoth. Abraxas doesn’t think this is the case.

The party except for Kacha’ak meet in the common room and discuss not fighting in the tournament. Tom thinks that it is stupid to make Bruthambar angry and to pass up this chance for true freedom. Therai asks for directions to Bast’s cobbler shop. Tom goes to pick up his now fixed dagger from the shop. Tanark leaves, Abraxas is bored and Kacha’ak goes to follow up a lead about a tattoo job the other sand kreen told him about and learns that if he shows up the following morning that he can have the job.

Abraxas and Tanark have a conversation about Bejein and the human fencer says that Mezabran has only one friend, a man named Brathan who is also a noble. Tanark also says Mezabran used to speak about someone pursuing him, he would only speak in this way when things got bad.

Kacha’ak argues with Kacha about the ancestor’s desire for the kreen warrior to kill the young kreen woman who bought the kreen slaves. He does not believe this act will send the message that Kacha wants it to send, but will only cause more problems. Kacha’ak does not think the slum kreen are “people” but they have the potential to be. Kacha’ak does not know how to tap into this potential… But does not wish to lead the slum kreen to slaughter for no good reason. Kacha and Kacha’ak wonder about the correct method to use in accomplishing their goals. They wonder if leading the slum kreen out of the city, or killing the kreen woman and use the threat of death to coax them out would be the best approach. If they lead them out then they might find another kreen tribe and get those more experienced kreen to help the slum kreen learn how to survive in the desert.

The next day the group is sitting down to a meal and two half-giant guards are talking about the red dread. Apparently last night he lit a banner of Nibenay on fire and murdered a shadow guard. He and his fellows also broke into a nobles house and killed him. A lord Zitell. Their are rumors that he was dirty. These crimes happened back to back, this guy is very coordinated. Also rumors that a clan of Genasi have come to town spring up.


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