Saturday, January 22, 2005

Shark Bait

The remainder of the party, Ferrethryn, Linneaus and Malthus recover from the betrayal of Selazen, and take stock of the situation. Though Selazan is mere bones from the Terrana attack, his gear appears in good condition. They realize that he had the Instant Water (Sponge Spores) so Linneaus bravely races to the pack and drags it back to camp. After a short rest they decide to press on and see if they can find the lost tribe even without a guide. They survey the area seeing rough hard packed dirt, sandy dunes, and a forboding malpais of an ancient lava flow. They choose the malpais. After a half day's walk they spot a strange sight in the lava. A thrashing creature half shark half armadillo, Ferrethryn recognizes it as a dreaded bulette, or land shark, moving slowing through the tough lava rock. Linneaus tries to dance past the beast and score a blow, but is nearly snapped in half by its mighty jaws. The party eased away, but then as they did the thing leapt into the air coming down all claws on Ferrethryn rending her flesh from bone. The party was in dire straights. The magics of Malthus saved the day in this fight. First he blasted the beast with cold, which it shrugged off, then he slowed it, and delayed it with a conjured energy ape. This gave the others time to launch missile and spell attacks of their own. In the end, the creature fell just before being able to flee to the relative safety of the sands.
The rest of their journey was less dramatic. They faced three days of travel in the barren wastes. After two, the desert erupted into a sandstorm and forced them to make shelter in the night. Then with the malpais covered with sand, they had to use their natural (though magically enhanced) abilities to guide themselves to the creche where the Litorians were esconced. The last day of their journey was not without peril. They were attacked first by a huge horror heron, which used its massive jaws to try to swallow the party members whole. They made relatively short work of this bird though, but as they savored rending its meat as a prize, the scent attracted a pack of juvenille sand sharks (medium sized). These, though much less dangerous than the adult, proved a potent foe. Using tactics and teamwork they eventually succeeded in killing the six sharks and making it to the creche.
One Hero Point for Ferrethryn, Linneaus, and Malthus for teamwork, and creativity.
At the rocky outcropping they were welcomed by the litorians abandoned in the desert by Selazen. One, Sharaez, was an old friend of Ferrethryn and was pleased to see her. They spoke hopefully of some warriors they sent to bring help, and were saddened to hear that they had not summoned them. But still they celebrated the arrival of the party.
There was dancing and singing and general celebrations. They readily agree to be led from the desert to more hospitable climes and more welcoming people.
During the celebrations the tribe makes clear it owes the party a Life Debt, something considered sacred among them. They will swear allegiance to Ar-Ensul and its people if that is what is asked of them by their saviors.

The party stays a few days at the creche to gather supplies and water for the journey directly from there to Ar-Ensul overland. They plan to cross the rocky plain, pass the Lightning Dunes, skirt the Sea of Sparks and return to Ar-Ensul. It is a dangerous and wonderous journey, but eventually they make it safely with all hands accounted for to Ar-Ensul. The tribe under the leadership of Taeros, offers its services to Graal. They vow to train in arms and defend the city and keep against all enemies or serve it in whatever capacity the lord demands. Even the children begin to train in arms for the day they are asked to serve in the Lions Guard of Ar-Ensul. In the distant future, people may remember the origin of Ar-Ensul's mighty and feared honorguard made up of all Litorian Warriors, but its noble begnnings will remain with this tribe forever.

So ends this chapter of the Arsenal Adventures.


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