Fire and Ash
The hundred-year storm have hit Craghorn and the Blood Celebrants have started a blood bath, forcing the villagers onto their knees around a fire dedicated to the blood-thirsty elementals. Strange creatures emerged from the storm, and the heroes - encouraged by Valen - headed for the catacombs below the village.
The short journey was not without danger, as the Blood Celebrants were looking for villagers escaping their ritual. Indeed, one encounter had Tomalnes dropping, and the others badly wounded as well.
Strange, black smoke engulfed the village, with only the cultists impervious to its suffocating effect. The heroes soon realized that the cultists have a special mark protecting them (a rune composed of two arcane symbols meaning Fire and Ash), and Tomalnes was able to copy it, thus protecting the party.
The heroes reached the catacombs, finding several other people there as well, looking for shelter from the storm. It turned out that only a handful survived. Together, the heroes started to explore the catacombs.
Soon the party reached a fork, with runes marking each path. At this point, Valen started to loose his sight, being drawn into some sort of a trance. The heroes deciphered the runes, learning that one means Fire, the other Ash. Without hesitation, Anubis headed toward the path marked by Fire. The party shrugged, and followed.
Delving deeper into the catacombs, the heroes walked on and on, and seemed to lose track of time. After what seemed like an hour of walking, the air suddenly became moist! To the shock of the party, the end of the catacombs was in sight, with green vegetation covering it!
The party rested well on that place, and healing seemed to accelerate in the presence of moisture. Separating the vegetation and stepping out, the heroes found they have emerged in the monumental ruins of a vast city, with most of the buildings preserved, but abandoned.
While exploring the place, the heroes witnessed a column of pure energy climbing up from somewhere deep within the city. After reaching a specific hight, the column erupted, causing everyone to lose consciousness. Waking up an hour later, the heroes saw that while being consciousness, a beast of some sort have eaten one of the villagers that accompanied them. Valen then told them he heard a faint voice during the burst:
Worried, the heroes continued to explore the city. After what seemed like an hour, the column of energy appeared again. The heroes hurried to find a secure location to 'drop', and indeed were rendered consciousness again. This time, Valen heard a faint voice during the burst, saying:
"I'm alone..., please come..."
The heroes started to feel a terrible headache building, probably due to the bursts. They started bickering and debating whether to return to the safety of the catacombs. They decided to keep heading to the source of the burst, and it seems that someone seeks help. An hour later they found a temple with a good visage of the city. They located the source of the burst, as the column of energy rose again from the a lone, white tower. Anubis decided to stare at the blast wide-eyed, and he too got to hear the faint voice, saying:
"I'm alone...,please come...they're all dead...."
And then everything went black again.
The heroes continued the journey toward the tower, fighting giant spiders that were part flesh, part mechanical, with an arcane rune marking their inner skeletal system and strange wiring going through their bodies. Another look at the balcony in which the heroes made their last drop revealed the body of a strange being lashed up against the wall, webs surrounding it. The heroes found a metallic ring caught in the web and took it.
The tower seemed to be surrounded by a gnarled forest, and the heroes make their way into it hearing strange whispers of men talking and kids laughing. A strange cable running through the forest drew the heroes attention, and while fiddling with it, webs trapped some of them. A strange being - similar to that found at the balcony - approached, firing blasts of energy from a weird looking staff. The heroes shouted at it and the creature stopped in surprise, dropping its weapon and revealing a young looking woman beneath the alien-faced mask. "I'm saved!" was all she could say at the beginning.
At this point, Valen started stirring, saying something about Numor (the leader of the Blood Celebrants) returning, and that the heroes should go and search for the Valley of the Kings. The woman identified both names (Numor being an apprentice and the Valley of the Kings meaning the city's necropolis), and invited the heroes to the tower to further discuss their situation.
It turned out that the woman (Forlorn in name), was the last remnant from a great civilization that ruled the city of Bodach. Five wizards (arcanists and mentalists) used their power to create a city like no other in Athas, with water flowing and green trees growing. Now the city is ruined, because of the betrayal of one of them - a powerful wizard named Aazuk.
Forlorn explains that Aazuk stole an artifact called The Codex - a relic enabling a knowledgable person to reconstruct an entire civilization - and used a ritual to destroy the city. She believes he objected to the nobility (which she belongs to). The tower was her mean of calling out for help, a machine drawing on the mental energy of the last of her people to send a signal to the far reaches of the world. She was shocked to hear that the signal never got very far, and that the heroes are here almost by accident.
Talking to Forlorn, the heroes suggested that her belief that Aazuk is the only "traitor" might be wrong. Since the happenings in the city (and the heroes' village) suggests that the other wizards (controlling fire, ash, aberrations and constructs) are still somehow involved.
Following Numor might provide a lead - so the heroes went to the Valley of the Kings. Numor was there with his men, obviously searching for a specific tomb. The heroes have decided to stand and watch as Numor and his men descended to one of the tombs (so that Numor will take the hits from any danger that lurks within).
Finally entering, the heroes indeed saw traces of various traps springing and some dead bodies (Numors men). But a long fight with a Mimic caused them to arrive at the burial chamber too late - Numor has already got what he was looking for, the sarcophagus was empty.
Pushing forward, the heroes found an underground room with two Slit-Skates ready for riding. Numor set fire to one of the Skates, and used the other to escape. The heroes put out the fire and climbed the second Skate, ready for pursue.
The Skate blasted out of the tomb and into the desert (with the aid of an ancient mechanical construct designed for this purpose) with great speed, leaving Bodach behind, and facing the dangers of the Ivory Triangle ahead...
Shadow and Light
The heroes sped after the Slit-skater of Numor and his men, maneuvering to position themselves for a ramming attack. Numor's wizard hurled spells at the heroes' ship, calling forth swarms of creatures and awakening the beasts of the desert to hinder his pursuers.
But the heroes managed to outmaneuver Numor's ship and managed to ram it, killing Numor's crew in the process and sending the Slit-skater tumbling and crashing on the sand. A short examination of the wreckage revealed the wizard's staff, which Tormalnes took, and the package Numor and his men acquired from the tomb in Bodach - which contains the (still animated) remains of someone who died ages ago wrapped in leathers on which a strange map is drawn.
At the horizon, two colossal columns of stone were visible (the Pillars of Shar-Azam), and from that direction hooded riders fast approached the wreckage. The heroes decided to head for the columns while trying to avert the unknown riders.
Upon closing on the columns, a flicker appeared between them, revealing a hellish landscape full of lava, volcanoes and a monumental castle on top a black mountain (Note: At that point Anubis had a vision - he saw the ruler of the castle along with a missing throne for a general. The ruler - a fire giant - had the same yes of the dragon Anubis had encountered before). A winged beast emerged from that place, followed by two gargantuan skeletons. The beast's rider waved at the heroes, signaling to approach.
At that point, the riders attacked. The heroes, unsure of the rider's motives, decided to try and talk to them. Tormalens mental powers proved useful, as he created a direct mental link with the rider's leader. The rider - in an alarmed stream of thoughts - told the heroes to pretend to attack them. The heroes 'played along', and as the riders (revealed to be Dragonborn) feinted death, the winged beast rider fast approached.
The winged rider turned out to be a shadow, wearing a blacked crown. In a voice born of the grave he demanded the package, as promised. The heroes quickly understood the shadow mistaken them for Numor, and tried to extract some information by bluffing their way out of the situation. The shadow was not fooled, and he attacked the ship and the heroes using magic, destroying the last ship (Tormalnes managed to salvage the magical sail, though).
The heroes (as advised by the Dragonborn) feinted death themselves, and the creature moved to review the Numor's ship wreckage, returning to the portal afterwards.
The Dragonborn's leader - Rahim El-Saood - explained that his men are the followers of Aazuk (the wizard Forlorn described as the traitor causing Bodach demise), and that they were exiled from Bodach by a 'White Witch'. They are to awaken Aazuk from his decades old slumber when the portals open by the man of Shadow and Light (owner of the two staffs - Forlorn's and the dead wizard working for Numor, now in the possession of Tormalnes, which they see as the 'Prophet').
Quickly realizing the danger in staying in the open, the heroes followed Rahim's men to the Caves of Phuran, not far from the columns. Their clan now prepares for departure to Aazuk's tower (the Pristine Tower), now that the prophecy is revealed. Giving the heroes shelter and food, Rahim told the heroes his story.
Not before long, a scout returned to the clan's hideout, reporting that several black riders emerged from the portal and headed to the wreckage, performing a necromancy ritual to talk / raise the dead.
Realizing that Numor might return to haunt them (now that they hold the remains he sought), the heroes decided to take a deeper look at the remains. The leathers wrapping it contained a map to the Tomb of Amun-Ra, a powerful defiler and now a mummy, still able to answer questions about the arcane.
The heroes placed the rune covered protection ring they found at Bodach on the undead's finger, and witnessed its return to life, accompanied by twelve Eladrin warriors....
Sea of Salt
The Eladrin warriors approached the heroes and recited the legend of El-Kafra, Bodach's High Priest, who lies before them. El-Kafra - a prominent figure in ancient Bodach - trapped an Efreet to use her Wish granting abilities. Unknown to him, the Efreet had the power to infuse a mortal body with a Gin's spirit, and so produced a son - the Fire Giant Solzaak.
Solzaak raged when he learned that his mother was captured by El-Kafra, and sought allies against Bodach. The Eladrin told the heroes that a 'Shadow' approached Solzaak, and showed him a way to bring Bodach down by setting its ruling council against each other. El-Kafra, a priest and a powerful elementalist, came upon a prophecy speaking about an evil reign of fire lasting a thousand years, starting with Bodach's destruction. Fearing his dealing with the Efreet are part of the prophecy, he did what he could to preserve that knowledge and prepare for the future, preparing his tomb as a source of knowledge about the prophecy. Nobody know how come El-Kafra's body was cursed into undeath, and the Eladrin - bound to guard his newly born body until an Efreet spirit fills it - know nothing more than the way to call the spirit: Using the music of the Malachite Horn to call forth a spirit from beyond, and opening the gates for the leader of Solzaak's armies, as the prophecy predicted.
The heroes debated how to proceed, eventually agreeing to travel to the Tomb of Amun-Re, a source of knowledge of the arcane and the current location of the Malachite Horn, which the forces of Numor (now undead), also seek.
Traveling through the desert proved extremely difficult, as the weather alone nearly brought down the heroes during a short trip east (half a day). A close encounter with Numor's undead wizard depleted the resources even more, and they yearned for rest and water.
Another encounter, this time with a lone, wounded man and a group of Roc Riders trying to kill him, gave the heroes some information about the nearby fort operated by House Inix, and another fort operated by House Inika. The wounded man tried to have the heroes save his life. The heroes managed to do so, but the Roc Riders (identifying themselves as operatives of the League of Shadows) outnumbered them, slipping away after taking something from the wounded man's possession. The man identified himself as a Templar, now working to rebuild the city of Tyr and make it 'of the people'. For rescuing his life, the Templar gave Anubis a metallic key, saying that many riches can be found inside the chest that will be opened by it (in Tyr's Templars Bassilica).
At fort Inix, the heroes were refused entrance, with the guards claiming a plague is running free inside. The heroes, noticing that the guards seem to be very old, decided to stay away from the fort. Buying rations from a Thri-Krin merchant outside the fort and from farmers living nearby, the heroes prepared for the second phase of their journey toward the Windbreak Mountains and the Tomb of Anum-Re.
Born of the Gods
With four days to the Windbreak mountains, the heroes were well prepared this time for the journey through the desert. Heading toward a well known landmark - an obelisk marking the road to the Windbreak mountains, the heroes endured the desert.
On the second day, a storm front gathered before them. The heroes spotted a single Slit-Skater rushing head on toward them, with its driver obviously trying to outmaneuver the flesh-searing sand storm. With minutes remaining, the heroes suddenly spotted Numor's wizard again. The undead wizard summoned a devilish creature to fight the heroes. Trying to kill the wizard and his minion in a single, defiant strike, the heroes used magic to deflect the Slit-Skater's course into a collision with the wizard. Success! but the Slit-Skater crashed after making a sudden twist, sending people, cargo and splinters all over.
Then the storm hit.
The heroes quickly gathered the surviving crew and helped them build a quick cover under the ship's broken hull. Right before the massive impact of the storm, an Orthog (Athasian Half-Orc, an evil race) climbed down into the shelter ship, holding an infant in her hands. The heroes decided to let her in. The ship's captain - suffering from a head injury - was out, and his lieutenant tried to seize control of the situation. The heroes treated the captain, sensing that something's off with the second in command.
After the storm, the heroes started digging out of the ship, only to find the wizard and his minion outside. A short battle erupted, with the heroes finally defeating the wizard once and for all. The ship's captain revived, the heroes continued the journey with the remaining crew, keeping an eye on the captain's second in command. The Orthog left, telling the heroes to watch out from 'Taigam', showing her gratitude (she heard them mentioning the Free City of Arasin, near the Windbreak Mountains).
Reaching the obelisk, the heroes found out that it toppled. It pointed the way to the Pyramid of Amun-Re, and to the Garden City of Pazar. The latter is rumored to be a city ruled by a demon known as the Rakshasa, a horrible slaver. The heroes managed to find out that the captain's second in command have dealt with the demon before. A short interrogation yielded that the man have even kidnapped and sold young girls from his own clan to the demon. After killing the lieutenant, the captain told the heroes that he intends to deliver them to Arashin, and then head to the Garden City and confront the demon. The heroes told the captain to re-consider, promising to help him after they locate the tomb of Amun-Re. They then found out that the ship's crew are wearing some kind of a magical medallion given to them by the lieutenant, allowing a 'charm' spell to be cast remotely. The heroes took the medallions, and headed to Arashin.
Tormalens tried to activate one of the medallions, and managed to make a mental connection with the demon, who said: "This is going to be VERY interesting." before breaking the connection.
After another day of travel, the heroes arrived at the Free City of Arashin, and the Windbreak Mountains. When asking around to find some rumors about the Tomb of Amum-Re, they were told to search for Taigam (the same man the Orthog warned them from)....
Arashin turned out to be a bustling city full of colors, sights and scents. A city of merchants, adventurers and free people trying to build a new life far away from the tyranny of the sorcerer-kings.
While visiting the markets, Anubis procured a mighty two-handed sword, but only if he fights in the arena for the Sultai merchants, helping them jab at their Jekasi competitors.
Arron got himself entangled (literally) with a fierce redhead named Chandra, offering him a stage at her inn and much more, as it turned out. A short encounter with the now undead Numor, accompanied with Arron former boss - searching for some tomb in the mountains - climaxed with an assassination, but Numor got away.
Tomalens shook hands with a respectful Abzan priest in the library, trading books for knowledge. The name Caniba (uttered by Numor's wizard before his destruction) led to a legend of a treasure city now lost to the sands. Only later Tomalens discovered that the pleasant, knowledgeable priest was Taigam - a man the heroes were warned about. A coincidental meeting with a friend led the heroes to a lost tomb just outside the city, in which Tomalens used Forlorn's staff to open a cave leading to a 'fiery chariot of fire that can travel to the starts'. Tomalens friend was dismissive of the life lost to open that door, eager to look inside.
Utami bought a seemingly innocent looking trinket from a dwarven merchant, only to discover that the trinket hides a terrible secret of the past - the eye of an evil elven 'spirit', a magical artifact with powers yet to be seen by the heroes. But shadows follow the elf now, and the All Seeing Eye is still in his possession.
So Arashin turned out to be a bustling city full of colors, sights and scents. A city of merchants, adventurers and free people trying to build a new life far away from the tyranny of the sorcerer-kings.
A city of intrigue and mystery. Of dark, brooding secrets abstracted and hid...
The Prophecy Revealed
The heroes enter the crypt discovered by Xar-Thal, and discover that it's layout and construction seem to be a combination of the familiar and the alien. A vast pit surrounded by round walls that rise up makes the whole of the crypt, with balconies laid out in concentric circles around the pit.
The heroes started investigating the area, locating a corridor with an alien design with a metallic (!) floor above a small gutter filled with gore and blood. The heroes investigated the corridor, eventually encountering two aberrant creatures that look like a floating brain, armed with a nasty beak and with tentacles dangling from below its body. The corridor led to a dungeon full of evidence to massacres and butchery, with the gutters collecting all the slush and leading it somewhere.
Eventually, the heroes found a strange room with alien devices that sprang to life once Anubis sat on a chair found in an empty room. Tormalens managed to read the runes appearing from thin air, and managed to make contact with a rotting corpse that soon changed its appearance to that of a bald noble dressed man.
The heroes have found Amun-Re.
The mummy led the heroes to a private chamber, up above the crypt. Very curious about the way the heroes managed to find the two staffs (Forlorn's and the evil wizard's), he explained that these staffs (in addition to the one in the possession of Aazuk) form the Keys to Sentinel City - a floating city created by King Kalak to house artifacts, treasures and knowledge plundered from Athas.
According to Amun-Re, the city is powered by the force of the 'Chained God' - a being trapped by King Kalak by means unknown. The city is now without a ruler, now that Kalak is dead, and Amun-Re suspects Soulzaak is after its power.
The city was created as a last defense against the power of the evil race who transformed Athas into the desolate ruin of a planet that it is today. The mummy related the details of Athas's Blue Age, and its transformation to the desert that it is today. That evil race (collectively known as The Hive) is on its way back to feed again - and the mummy seeks a way to avert the coming disaster.
If the heroes will find the third staff and reactivate the city, Athas might have a chance to drive off the alien intruders, or at the very least, salvage what's possible from the coming destruction.
While the mummy seems to be 'a little off', with the years of isolation taking a toll on its mental state, he does seem to possess powers beyond what the heroes have ever seen…he is willing to equip them and train them for the quest they are about to take, and is willing to provide aid whenever possible.
The heroes did realize that Soulzaak is probably trying to defend the planet 'in his own way', by rallying the demonic army on Athas and taking control of Sentinel City himself. Amun-Re admitted that he is bound to help whoever take the reins. It's the heroes decision that will steer the course of Athas for better, or for worse…
Temple of Elemental Evil
After spending days in Amun-Re's pyramid, training, learning and regaining strength, the heroes were surprised to find the usually jovial Lich brooding. Apparently a magical effect emanating from a nearby valley blocks his scrying abilities. In addition, the Lich reveals that Numor's has been doing some shady business with the Sultai. The heroes decided to investigate - armed with fine weapons and well equipped, curtesy of the Lich. Amun-Re also provided a contact in the Sultai, a boy named Mael.
The heroes headed to the Sultai temple, finding Mael and learning that they are followed. Together the group headed to the valley, where they found a rift in the ground, deep and dark. After descending ancient steps leading down and facing winged creatures lurking within, the heroes arrived at something that looked like a temple made of black basalt.
Inside, the heroes confronted Numor and Taigam, who were apparently doing business. Numor - carrying an artifact later discovered to be a Devestation Orb, tried to detonate it to kill the heroes (and, as the heroes later learned, anything in a half-mile radius). Showing superb skills and a decent amount of luck, the heroes managed to prevent the Orb from detonating, killing Numor and Taigam (who was revealed to be a Nature Binder).
From books and maps in the temple, and from interrogating Taigam (before his demise by the hands of Xor) the heroes learnt that Soulzaak armies are laying siege to the Pristine Tower. The Devastation Orbs are some kind of doomsday weapon designed to assure Soulzaak's victory.
The heroes also learnt that Soulzaak employs agents from four cults, representing the four elements: Cult of the Hawling Hatred (Air), Cult of the Black Earth (Earth), Cult of the Eternal Flame (Fire), and Cult of the Crushing Wave (Water).
Soulzaak rules from his fortified temple, now known as the Temple of Elemental Evil. With his armies on the move, and his cultists apparently very active in the region, the heroes have a lot to deal with if they ever want to set eyes on Sentinel City - and glimpse the meaning of Godly Power...
The heroes found a closet with robes and masks belonging to the Black Earth cultists. Utami and Anubis dressed up, in preparation to board the Howling Hatred Cultists balloon that was expected, posing as Earth Cultists.
Later on, while investigating the caves below the Temple of Black Earth, the heroes discovered an entrance for altar dedicated to a long forgotten god of the elementals. The entrance room was filled with stone statues of humanoids in various poses of combat.
While the group was peeking from the entrance, Xor entered and examined the room, and found a single opening in the opposite wall, behind it only darkness. While he was with his back to the opening, 7 eyes blinked and stared dead a head, causing the other members of the group to turn to stone!
Xor, understanding he was facing a petrifying beast of some sort, fought without directly looking at the beast, and used every skill he had to maneuver and sidestep the beast's attacks. The two dueled for long minutes, but eventually Xor was the only one left standing.
Catching his breath, claps where heard behind Xor. A High-Priest of the Black Earth stood behind him. Miraj-Vizann - a powerful cleric of the elements - started questioning Xor. Mistaking Utami and Anubis for his own men (they were petrified, and wearing Earth Cultists robes and masks), the high-priest freed them and ordered them to grab the intruder. Anubis swatted the high-priest with the flat side of the great sword, and the man folded over, unconscious.
Anubis took the High Priest magical weapon - a mighty War pick called Ironfang - a legendary weapon made of heavy iron and containing a spark of the powerful Earth Elemental Re'moch.
While debating what to do with the prisoner, the heroes freed the other petrified group members. Deciding to board the Howling Hatred balloon and taking Miraj Vizann as a prisoner, the heroes went up to the temple and awaited the balloon.
It arrived, but not as the small vessel they imagined. A mighty ship powered by a bounded Air Elemental appeared above the rift. Seven air-cultists floated down along with an elven warrior-princess clad in white and holding an ivory spear.
The elven princess - Darreth - took the heroes for their false identify, and told them her Queen, Aerisi, is waiting for a demonstration of the Devastation Orb. Once the Orb proves useful, the plan is to use in near the Pristine Tower, to kill everyone inside without damaging the structure. The Queen is apparently an ally of Soulzaak, and has a portal to the plains around the Pristine Tower.
The heroes boarded the ship, and immediately learned that the ship is operated by a host of human cultists, along with some creatures from the plane of Elemental Air. The bounded Air Elemental that powered the ship seemed unhappy with its condition, and the heroes managed to communicate with it, as part of trying to leverage every beneficial edge in order to take over the ship.
During a feast in the lower deck of the ship, the heroes saw a messenger talking in Darreth's ears. She immediately excused herself and went onboard. Mael followed her unseen and found out that four Black Earth cultists mounted on flying beasts are chasing the air-ship. Darreth, finding it hard to believe that her guests are not what they seem (after all, they have Ironfang!), ordered her men to slow the ship so she can investigate what's going on...
What Goes Up...
The heroes decided to storm the ship from within in order to prevent the earth cultists from exposing their plot. Xor slit the throat of Miraj Visaan, throwing the high-priest's body from the ship's window, while Anubis - armed with the mighty Ironfang - started a rampage.
Howling Hatred cultists rushed to the lower deck, hurling spells and crossbow bolts, but the heroes were too tough to handle. Calling upon their elemental powers, the cultists summoned Air Elementals to their aid. The heroes responded with their own magic, and the battle rages for long minutes, as the cultists tried to gain altitude fast to knock the heroes senseless due to lack of air.
The heroes finally managed to defeat all the elementals sent to destroy them. At that point, Darreth and her remaining troops abandoned the ship, taking the Devastation Orb with them. The heroes were left stranded on the now plunging airship. Desperately trying to bind the air-elemental powering the ship to their cause, the heroes managed to remove the spells binding the elemental to the ship. At the last minute, the air elemental cushioned the heroes as the ship crashed into the earth around them.
Still dazzled from the fight and the crash, the heroes watched the air elemental dissipates, and the four mounted Black Earth cultists descend from the sky toward the crash location....
The heroes prepared themselves as the four mounted Black Earth cultists approached. One of them - a cleric named Brul - demanded that the heroes abandon Ironfang, as the weapon taints its bearer's soul, whispering words of destruction. The heroes decided to hear what the cultist has to say, and eventually discovered that Brul is indeed a member of the Black Earth cult, but he was not a follower of Miraj-Visan's evil ways in the cult.
Brul explained that Soulzaak created four mighty weapons imbued with Elemental Evil - fragments from the hearts of the four slumbering elemental titans who once dominated Athas. Soulzaak gave the weapons to four 'prophets' - members of the elemental cults who were now under his evil influence (Miraj is one, Aerisi is another).
While Soulzaak plans to fight the coming otherworldly invasion, he also plans to set a new order in Athas - one that Brul suspects will not benefit the free people of the world. Indeed, soon enough the four prophets began bickering and scheming against one another, and against Soulzaak.
The heroes learned that Soulzaak is now recruiting for his army, directing his men to the mountain on which the Pristine Tower resides. On the other side, Aazuk is calling for aid, using guerrilla tactics to slow down the conquering army - halting its advance. But the devastation orbs are about to change that fragile balance.
The heroes decided to join forces with Brul. The priest will go to the battlefield, and attempt to alert Aazuk to the threat of the devastation orb. If the forces of the Pristine Tower will continue to spread out and use guerrilla tactics, the devastation orb threat will be considerably diminished. In the mean time, the heroes will travel back to the valley of the dragon born, and resurrect the leader that will head Aazuk's army using the Malachite Horn they possess. Then, they will proceed to destroy the elemental weapons, chewing on Soulzaak's power even more.
The heroes traveled to the valley, a journey that took 6 days, in which they learnt the extent of the imminent war and its effect on the populace. In every fort, town and village there were recruiters for both sides, and shipments of weapons, food and men are sent to the battlefield.
Back at the dragon born valley, the heroes managed to slip past the Eternal Flame cultists guard and resurrect Sarkhan Vol, the Dragonspeaker, as the rebel army leader. Sarkhan, a monk wielding the combined powers of the elements, was found in the City of Brass, at the elemental plane of fire, deep in study.
(Note: the elven ghostly guard of Sarkhan recognized Utami, and one of them addressed him as 'father' before vanishing - saying that they are from his future).
After Sarkhan left to gather the rebel squads lurking around the Pristine Tower, the heroes heard the shouts of battle outside the cave. Rushing outside, they found Anubis engaged with the four Eternal Flame cultists guarding the cave entrance.
After a short fight, the heroes eliminated the cultists, subduing one for interrogation. From him, they learned that their prophet is named Vanifer - who owns a flaming sword named Tinderstrike. It seems Ironfang is being sought after, with Soulzaak promising the rule of Athas to the one returning it to him. The heroes decided to try and lure Vanifer to the valley, with Anubis posing as Miraj Vizann.
But Vanifer did not show up in person. She have sent an unearthly servant to do her bidding - The Xhavrath Doom - a huge elemental drake, to escort the heroes to her mansion for a feast in their honor as Black Earth Cultists. The heroes well planned ambush disintegrated in the face of the invitation, and the drake soon realized the heroes are reluctant to follow.
The heroes tried to do the impossible and attacked the drake - in spite of its apparent power.
The drake left the heroes reeling, with Anubis dying and almost burnt to ash - taking Ironfang with it to the temple of his mistress...
Into the Valley of Death
The heroes questioned the remaining Eternal Flame cultist, and learned that Soulzaak will use the elemental weapons to create the Elder Elemental Eye - the means to control the primordials slumbering in the deep. They also learned that Soulzaak have sent an expedition to the Tomb of Dedirius to learn the whereabouts of the staves the group is holding - the last piece of the puzzle required to finish the campaign for Athas.
Deciding to ambush the expedition (as the tomb's location is unknown to the expedition and to the PCs), the heroes prepared for the journey north to Gulg, and from there to the Table Lands, where the tomb is rumored to be located.
On their way, the heroes were approached by a creature well-known to Mael - a servant to the demon residing in the Garden City of the Pazar. The heroes managed to communicate with the creature, and learned that the demon (or at least, a manifestation of the demon in the form of a fat merchant) invites them to discuss "important matters" in his city, promising safety and safe travel to Gulg immediately after.
The heroes accepted the offer, and were transported to the Garden City, where a host of children rushed at them, happy to see them. The fat merchant arrived, introducing himself as their host, and speaker in the name of the King of the Golden Sands, Sheik Abdel Al-Amon Ibn El-Phatach, the Sun, Moon and Stars of the Garden City. After a quick tour of the city, the merchant offered the heroes food, wine, and the company of young, virgin women. The heroes quickly recognized the girl-slaves mentioned by the Dornal Domitian - the merchant who took them to Arashin, and Mael recognized the young boys that went missing in so many cities in the Triangle.
The merchant told the heroes that Amun-Re has lost Arashin to the military forces of Soulzaak, and that Forlorn has recently died after Soulzaak's forces swept Bodach. Aazuk is held as captive in his own tower - the "Master" (as the merchant refers to the demon he represents), is very displeased.
After some conversation the heroes realized that Soulzaak is the Third wizard (out of the five ruling Bodach eons ago), with Forlorn and Aazuk being another two. The fourth, the demon told them - is Amun-Re himself. The identity of the fifth remains a mystery. After some additional discussion, the heroes learned that Soulzaak, while evil, embodies total lawfulness, wishing to bring order to Athas. The merchant's master thrives where chaos resides, and so is willing to fight Soulzaak - siding with the heroes for now.
After a test to see if the heroes will be swayed from their mission by immense treasure and promises of great personal power, the merchant told the heroes he will help them ambush Soulzaak's expedition. They will get the third staff, and the Master will get the expedition's leader - Soulzaak's own daughter, the fiend Pleasure. The merchant told the heroes that he is aware of many futures branching from this crux point (as old branches - such as the one which Amun-Re, Aazuk, Forlorn and the heroes managed to lay hands on the elemental weapons - withered and died). A lot of worlds depends on this battle - the primordial Elemental Forces are stirring, responding to threats on their very existence, threats from a place darker than the abyss the primordials reside in...
The heroes then departed to Gulg, not before the merchant bestowed gold, supplies, presents (each hero got a unique present - holy symbol for Anubis, a page full or ancient lore for Tormalns, a seed to grow a forest from for Utami, and a meeting with Tessa and Malik for Mael) and an fiendish escort bound to the heroes and at their command. In addition, Utami took Dornal's daughters with them.
At Gulg, the heroes discovered that the elemental cultists are ruling the city as administrators, but the city seems to thrive, and is open to strangers. A short run with thugs pointing at Tormalens and trying to kill him for being a 'necromancer' got the heroes into a hit and run combat. Deciding to lay low for a while, the heroes met at Bakara's hut, where Anubis got them food and some local information. Then, finding a guide to the Table Lands in the Plunging Torrents got them a deal with Tezera, a member of the Eldraj nomad tribe and ranger familiar with that land.
The Table Lands
Tezera led the heroes in a route that should bring them to the Table Lands in roughly 5 days. The nomad was accompanied by two assistants - a human male named Kymnis (driving a huge insect as a beast of burden) and a halfling female named Jaseela (a cook).
Quaar, the Nothik Arcanist, told Tormalens that he 'doesn't like the shadow between Tezera and Kymnis. The heroes talked to the man and learned that on Tezera's last mission to the Table Lands, the two nobles he was leading disappeared mysteriously, with Tezera telling this companions that "they left".
Climbing the cliffs that lead to the Table Lands, led by Tezera, the heroes were ambushed by a host of humanoid, snake-like creatures who came out of caves scattered around the cliffs. The heroes managed to eliminate the attackers, but were suspicious of their guide, leading them into ambush. At night, while Tezera and his companions prepared a camp in a small, well protected cave, the heroes decided to venture forth and see if the snake-creatures were "nomads" drawn to their scent as Tezera suggested, or something else.
The heroes found a cave from which a huge snake-like monstrosity emerged, psyonically wrecking havoc as it charged the heroes. After a fierce fight, the heroes managed to destroy the creature, learning that the snake-creatures were not nomads. In the creature's cave, the heroes found the bones of the nobles Kymnis mentioned...
Returning to their cave, the heroes confronted Tezera using magic. The charmed guide admitted he wanted to "test" the heroes power. If they died, he would have taken their gold. If they survived, he would lure them into the tomb and let its deadly traps to the job for him...They heroes also learned that Tezera wanted to join Pleasure, but another Draj scout - a female named Bludge convinced the fiend that she's more worthy of a guide. Tezera knows the truth, though - Bludge never set eyes on the tomb's secret entrance.
Jaseela swore that she knew nothing of Tezera's evil, and Kymnis admitted he had suspicions, but the money was good...
The heroes decided to keep Tezera alive, as he is the only one with authentic knowledge about the secret path to the tomb. Their path to the tomb should pass in two small settlements, one controlled by a powerful Templar. But Tezera - still under the influence of the spell - promised the trek will be safe...
The heroes travelled further into the Table Lands, following Tezera's instructions but keeping a close eye on him. The first sign of life in this barren land was a trio of travelers from a village ravaged by a 'she-demon' (or so they said). The heroes soon learned that the trio are fleeing the village after Pleasure and her minions wrecked havoc there.
Indeed, when they arrived there, they saw that Pleasure's soldiers left only a few charred huts. Everything else was burned to the ground. A secret passage led from the village, through an underground mine complex, into the town called Mystill. The heroes learned about it from the travelers they met, and decided to use it to make sure they arrive at Mystill with (or before) Pleasure.
After an encounter with Tri-Krin, the heroes managed to arrive at the town just in time to see Pleasure's forces march in.
A quick investigation yielded the number of soldiers Pleasure possesses, and the fact that she and the town's magister struck some kind of a deal out of mutual respect. The ruling Templar, a necromancer named Uba, was strangely out-of-town.
The heroes soon learned that Uba was called to investigate the ruined town, and realized it was some kind of a plot to keep the powerful sorcerer out of town while Pleasure have her way. The heroes managed to separate two of Pleasure's minions (dwarf-like creatures from the plane of fire) and destroy them, hoping to take on the demon's forces one by one.
After learning that the magister holds a prisoner in his offices, the heroes thought of a bold prison-break plan, but the imminent storm might force a quicker execution than planned....
Io (a somewhat different recap this time)
The oldest story ever told are written in the stars. Stories of time before man and gods, when Titans ruled the earth. The Titans were powerful but their reign was ended by their own sons: Zeus, Poseiden, and Hades. Zeus convinced his brother Hades to create a beast so strong it could defeat their parents. And from his own flesh Hades gave birth to an unspeakable horror... the Kraken. Zeus became king of the heavens. Posieden, king of the sea. And Hades, tricked by Zeus, was left to rule the underworld in darkness and in misery. It was Zeus who created man and man's prayers fed the gods' immortality. But in time, mankind grew restless. They began to question the gods and, finally, rise up against them. Into this world, a child was born. A boy who would change everything.
With the fall of Kalak, the mightiest sorcerer-king, men started to question the eternal might of their false-gods. The other sorcerer-kings, knowing they are only mere reflections of the true ascendants, plotted a resurrection of the old pantheon. Using the might of the slumbering Titans, Soulzaak managed to tear the Pristine Tower from the face of the earth, and hurl it through the Immaterium toward Sentinel City. But his plans for absolute power shattered as the heroes awakened powers so far unknown, powers that cannot be ignored or denied.
Aazuk, Soulzaak, Amun-Re, Sarkhan, Forlorn, Deregoth and the Rakshasa,
along with the adventurers (Anubis, Xor, Tormalens, Mael and Utami) are
all aspects of the emerging pantheon.
Acquiring the keys to Sentinel City and delivering Pleasure to the Rakshasa proved valuable - the Rakshasa provided the heroes with an alien device that will transport them to the Pristine Tower. But the heroes decided to discuss matters with Uba - who was no one else than Deregoth, the unknown sorcerer-king of the 'world below'.
With the adventurers teleported to the Pristine Tower, accompanied by the ghost armies of Deregoth, floating above the planet Athas - new horizons are opening before them, and powers beyond that of mortals are now in their grasp.
Will the adventurers survive their travel through the vast Immaterium toward Sentinel City? Who is lurking in the Tower, and where is Soulzaak? What awaits in Sentinel City? Who, or what, is the Chained God?
All this and more, in the next episodes of....Eye of the Ivory Triangle!
Into the Void
The adventurers - after meeting the eccentric captain of the Pristine Tower - traveled through the vast Immaterium. Their destination was a port created by Kalak, holding three items needed to access the flying fortress that would take them to Sentinel City. At the port the adventurers encountered Kalak's second in command, now under the influence of an alien artifact. The port's spirit - a creature native to the Astral Sea named Mael-Destir - told the adventurers that Kalak's second attempted to take control of the port after his master vanished, and failed miserably. The adventurers managed to shut down the port's power source (golden sails trapping the rays of the sun), breaking the artifact's protective shield and defeating the possessed lieutenant.
With the port behind them, the adventurers managed to reach Kalak's flying fortress - a massive construct designed to travel the vast Immaterium between Athas and Sentinel City. Mael-Destir, brought onboard by the captain, told the adventurers that 'something is wrong' and that the fortress 'have traveled someplace...'. The former captain's log (thought dead by the captain) showed horrifying images of mutilation, pain, and masochistic activities performed by the previous crew of the fortress. Shocked, the adventurers paused to contemplate their situation and how to proceed...
Torch of the Morninglord
The heroes cleansed the Wraithwind - Kalak's flying fortress - from the demonic infestation that rooted itself in it, and destroyed the ship's former navigator who dabbled with an alien artifact known as the Pycharus Worm. Gaining access to the ship's treasuries, the heroes equipped themselves with new weapons both magical and mundane. At the navigational observatory, the heroes obtained a crystal encoded with maps of the nearby Immaterium regions, including navigational lines to several planets (the Hollow, the Lands within the Wind, Scarus and Drakassi), plotted by the ship's former captain.
While inspecting the newly gained information, the heroes where hailed by a Gith ship, and were threatened on pain of death to return the crystal containing the maps to its rightful owner - the Gith Emperium. The heroes decided on a quick assault, and overran the Gith ship, killing their Illithid navigator and coming to terms with the Gith captain Szessozzth.
The heroes decided to travel to the current whereabouts of Sentinal City, in the midst of a gaping wound torn in space by the Gith, at the command of their Illithid masters. But in order to do so, the heroes need the means to travel the Sea of Chaos - in the form of a Chaos Elemental.
A dealer of such beings is known to reside on the Torch of the Morninglord - an elven noble working with a merchant named Rasha. But the noble demands a special payment for his services - exotic food unlike anything he had tasted before.
The heroes traveled to the Torch, and were accused of being in debt to an alien looking merchant who claimed Kalak is owing him gold over some weapon shipments. That merchant was found dead soon after (a horrible crime by the laws of the Morninglord), and the heroes are prime suspects, all to the amusement of yet another Illithid, who is on board the Torch....
The heroes managed to shrug off the murder accusation by exposing the murderer to be a Red Sash assassin - a hired mercenary capable of inter-dimensional travel. The temple of the morninglord was touched by corruption, allowing the assassin to operate with the clerics turning a blind-eye.
The heroes' lawyer - a tiefling connected to the mighty mercantile house of Rasha the Merchant - managed to arrange a meeting between the heroes and the masked noble owning the void elemental, by connecting the heroes with the noble's cook - a man in constant search of delicacies to pleasure his master.
While trying to gain access to the elven noble's estate, the heroes learned that another group is trying to gain access to the noble's estate, probably to lay hands on the same void elemental the group is seeking.
During the arranged dinner - the masked noble turns out to be Mael himself. With Soulzaak stepping into the scene, the estate now holds all the avatars of Athas' Pantheon. In Soulzaak's own words: "Let the journey begin...."
The heroes heard Soulzaak as he related the goal of his conquests - the destruction of the Chained God, the entity binded to Sentinel City by Kakal. According to Soulzaak, that entity (its master in ancient times) and he escaped an eternal prison only to be captured by Kalak in their weakened state.
Kalak binded Soulzaak's master into Sentinel City, learning many dark secrets in the process, and Soulzaak was forced to serve Kalak. Now that Kalak is dead, Soulzaak plans to infiltrate Sentinel City and destroy his former master once and for all, payback for decades of forced servitude.
The heroes and Soulzaak forged an agreement, each placing part of their life force (or an equivalent) in the hands of Rasha the Merchant. With the contract signed, Soulzaak started to fit Kalak's ship to traveling in the Chaos Storm, while the heroes returned to attending their respective cults.
During dinner, the cook revealed himself to the heroes as a magician named Leomund. He claimed his companions (from a place far-far away in time and space) imbued spirits in the heroes, to be able to stop Soulzaak and his master, as the two mean the destruction of the godhood as a whole. He related that Athas holds a dark secret, which may lead to a mean to destroy gods. The spirits imbued in the heroes are supported to prevent that bleak fate for the universe...
Captain Sezzoth notified Anubis of an approaching Illithid armada. Soon after an Illithid ambassador named Shulush approached the heroes, and offered them to learn something of Soulzaak's past at the birthplace of Soulzaak. The Illithid told the heroes that he is sure the heroes will side with the Mindflyers once they realize the danger that is Soulzaak and his master.
The heroes accepted, and entered the real of Tovag, in an unknown pocket dimension. A mist wall circling a valley holding a graveyard and a castle was all they saw. After destroying several undead creatures, Anubis lost his temper due to his sword suddenly speaking to him, urging him to violent acts.
A voice was them head: "Welcome home...."