Dark Sun: Grave Burden

E11: Phthisis

Neurosis unearthed.

The threshold to the mine thrashes open, the large stone slab of a door creates a crumbling fissure in the archway as it is thrown off center. Out comes a 10 ft. tall walking terror, with eyes of green malevolence and claws that could tear through flesh and bone. The thing's spiny body seems purely unnatural. The mercenaries of House Wavir are sent into a sprawling chaos of fight or flight. The ones that stay behind are nearly shaken with hesitation, as the beast surely means nothing more than to rend their skin from the bone.


6th of Mist, Year of Priest’s Defiance

A joyful humming can be heard from within the fort as citizens begin setting preparations in motion for the festivities of celebration to begin in the evening. The party goes about preparing for the night as well, with the exception of Kathaalis and Asis whose whereabouts are still unknown. Dalamar does not worry about the two, because with the short history that they have spent together these actions are very characteristic of the mercenary. Nataku gazes of the edge of the well watching visions of his youth come and go through the shimmering ripples of the lifesaving water. The water priest spends time that he is not daydreaming thinking about how to address the crowd tonight about taking care of the well, without killing the mood of the party before it even begins. Hanibaal spends the afternoon in thought about what music he should, and ensuring his instrument is in perfect shape for his performance in the evening. Soon the festivities begin and all the preparations start to flow without flaw, Nataku preaches the sanctity found in water, Dalamar schmoozing with local merchants with hopes of gaining valuable insight in the trading markets. Hanibaal sets his makeshift stage watching the gathering crowd with a slight smirk; everything was going along the rails of a regular party until the bard began to play.

The crowd of near a hundred strong pours into the belly of the small mealhall, expecting a the party to begin. Hanibaal lifts his bow to his cello’s strings, and begins to play. A deep resonating melody erupts through the noise of the crowd and a heavenly tune if such place existed in Athas, poured through the fort making people gaze in awe as tears welled in their eyes as Hanibaal sang of the heroics of the merchant, the priest, And the noble. Such a tune even brought the reluctant fort master out to the meal hall. After the performance the Hanibaal, Nataku, and Dalamar graciously accepted the endearing praise, each of the three go off to celebrate the success in their own way. Dalamar notices the amorous eyes of the elven lass that wouldn’t speak to him a day before have fallen on him, and quickly swoops to capitalize. Hanibaal is approached by Bryphero who begins to offer the bard a handsome salary to stay full time as the forts entertainer, but Hanibaal politely declines. Hanibaal suggests that instead he can make stops by the fort and perform just out of friendship and for the simple favor of spreading word of Hanibaal’s triumphs through House Wavir as high as the fort master could. Bryphero was pleased with this arrangement, and announces his parting just as Nataku was stepping outside with a shady looking dwarf. Nataku proceeds to question the shady looking dwarf only to be offered some substances that Nataku could perceive being illegal. The priest then states he was mistaken and quickly left the dwarf and headed back to the party, where he spots the other Afidae he knew, Paalthas. The mul quickly takes the chance to strike up conversation with the man.

Dalamar sits with Hanibaal sharing drink and thanks for what the bard had done for them. They both share stories, music, and laughter gaining a healthy respect for one another, Dalamar admiring the man for his musical talent, and Hanibaal with a glint in his eye after discovering the elves keen knack for the business world. These good times are quickly interrupted by a frantic Nataku, who exclaimed that the three must leave immediately because their lives were in danger, who was rushing through his speech so fast that one word barely had time to finish before he was pushing another out. They rise and begin to leave once Nataku tells them that Praetors are currently among them. Hanibaal questions the mul, saying that leaving now is a hasty decision and one that should be dealt with in the morning. Nataku hurled an insult at the man, saying that they were leaving for the mines with or without him. Hanibaal did not put up a fight, but grabbed three attractive women and took them to his room for the night.

Nataku bursts from the meal hall, sprinting towards the stable in hopes of purchasing a beast of burden to make their hazardous venture into the unforgiving athasian night. He spots two beasts, an erdlu and a crodlu, but when no one was there to sell him one he yelled to a guard who informed him that he may take one without any problems. Nataku awkwardly mounts the crodlu and then hurries to a market stall occupied by the shady dwarf who then sold Nataku two potions of darkvision. Upon reaching Dalamar, they both hesitantly downed the potions and ran into the night.

Dalamar harnesses his elven instincts and navigates the eight miles of desert, guiding Nataku and himself to the mines safely. They arrive at the entry of the mines after an hour or two of riding. Both the elf and the priest get the feeling that the trip through the desert wasn’t going to be the worst danger they faced that night, because scattered around the vast entrance were wounded men who at the sight of the two adventures, yell at them to leave.

(to be continued)

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