And so the evening began with the party sitting around in a close knit circle, sharing a meal and stories of recent events. They had come a long way in a short time. The White Rose thanked her champions for all the work they had done. She came into the world with amnesia but quickly learned of her destiny. As a daughter of Gagnasdiak and rightful heir to the throne, she was the only one other than the tyrant himself who had a chance of breaking the curse. With the help of her champions she brought the city together, first by aiding the eladrin from the Clan of Albrion. By rescuing the White Rose from the cursed Ziggurat of the Tyrant and stealing the scepter of the tyrant from his crypt the heroes won the friendship of clan Albrion, and learned of their eternal war with the village of Mithrendoom. To the eladrin, cursed to turn a blind eye on the folly of their eternal civil war, the never ending clash with their cousins from Mithrendoom was only natural.
The elves of clan Albrion were few in number. They prized wisdom and age over the hot bloodymindedness of youth, and over the years their numbers had dwindled to the point where deception and ambush were the only options. The motto of the people of Albrion was “Wisdom will guide us.” Mithrendoom on the other hand, threw themselves into battle with wild abandon. Their village in turn was bustling, numbering over 200, with over a dozen wailing babes and knock-kneed youths. Sharia the Flame Princess was one of those youths, a young princess with a magic scimitar, Skarn, who loved battle (from a distance.) Their motto was “Live, fight, die for no tomorrow.” For many years the divided people of Nazerak fought against one another, ever since Gagnadiak, once tyrant of Nazerak, cursed them all by opening the gates to the realms beyond, where madness reigned and the flow of time were meaningless. With dark pacts, Gagnasdiak took the gifts the Far Realm offered, ad became Lord of Time and Space, but he was driven mad by the bargain, and his city cursed. Now the White Rose has begun to unravel the curse of Nazerak,but the threat of Gagnasdiak still remains, for Gagnasdiak took the remnants of his army and conquered the greatest city state on Athas, the city of Tyr. He left Nazerak to sink into the sands of iniquity.
Now all that remains is to escape back into the world from which most of the heroes came, and after a short discussion, those allies they have met along the way agree to travel together back to D Erte. In a vision The White Rose had shown them an army of giants marching out of the hills, and they saw the quaint town of Winterhaven fall under the merciless barrage of that gaint horde. To get home and try and save the D Erte from the army of giants was paramount, and they also knew that Gagnasdiak, or some version of him, was afoot in D Erte, and was in fact the reason they were thrown into Dark SUn in the first place. Gagnasdiak was punishing the heroes for killing off 2 of his 7 daughters, beginning with Ninaren, and continuing with the White Rose, who we found out wasnt killed after all, but reverted to a child-like state. Such is the wierdness of mucking about with time and space.
And so the story continued as the champions of Nazerak prepared for their next task. A teleportation circle waited for them at the bottom of the now dry pool which led to the gardens ringing the palace of Tyr. They knew not what to expect. Later that evening as they rested, Ocham the one eyed elf peddler showed up. He had two of his elves with him, each of them supporting one side of a great old wooden chest. In it was all manner of goods,especially picked out for what he thouht they might need. He was interested in getting back as much elvish gold as he could and was offering great deals on common and even some uncommon items. (Note: the value of the elvish gold is worth approximately 4 times the regular value for picking out an item from Ocham, let me know through email what you might want and how much gold you have and I will figure out a price. For example, Ocham sold a +2 flame burst dagger to Felipe for 500 elvish gold.)
Without further ado, the characters leapt through the black hole.
…And found themselves falling… unable to focus or see… suffocating…. tumbling end over end… a roaring in their ears… and choking and dripping wet. Wet? With a splash each character lands in a pool of water after tumbling down a waterfall. They emerge from the pool and look around. Besides the roar of the waterfall, little more than a pleasant sighing now that they are not a part of it, they hear a deeper roar further off, that of a frenzied mob.
The heroes find themselves in the garden of the palace of Tyr as dawn begins to break. The gardens ring the tower palace in a series of walled gardens, each higher than the last. After finding their bearings, they begin to scout the area. They discover that they are on the back side of the tower, with a view of the wastelands far below and to the south. On the other side would be the grand entrance as well as the elevated bridge that crosses over to the great Gladiatorial Arena of Tyr, Even at this early hour crowds wail and cheer for their favorite fighters as they march out one by one for the introductions to the yearly competition. Even the sorcerer king Gagnasdiak and much of hes retinue would be in attendance for the event, and it offers the heroes a slightly better chance to evade the guards and reach his deepest treasure trove, where awaits the gate that will transport them home.
The first order of business is the checking of gear, since high speed travel is known to have chronic problems with lost luggage from the medieval period, all the way up to even the post apocalyptic after-world of Dark Sun. They are lucky and their bulging pockets and pouches of loot are secure. The next order of business is to check for enemies, an here they are troubled to discover two sets of bunny ears poking over the ringing stone walls about every fifty feet. With a dungeoneering check, the mechanical minded of the characters understand that the hopping mad mutant bunny men are arrangedd so that each pair can see the next, thus ensuring security.
A wise character looks for another way, and soon characters are hopping, teleporting, and flying up the waterfall to check the next level of the gardens. The sun is beginning to push its big bulging red self up and over the edge of the world as they scramble up to the next wall. They attach a rope to the grate that secures the stream and pull. Sharia in her shell plate armor clanks and clangs against every object within ten feet of her while Ria’s chainmail starts jingling like a belgoi percussion instrument in their wild bell and gong parties. Luckily this does not alert the bunnies, which afre not nocturnal by nature, and therefore rather sleepy at this early hour. The party clambers up the waterfall ad through the streams opening in the wall to find themselves in the inner garden. Across the manicured lawns was the ivory and gold marble of the palace of Tyr. There was no door insight, despite the fact that they held the gardeners key.
Poppy spotted a healing fruit tree in the middle of the garden, but dared not risk picking the fruits. Felipe became invisible in her panther lady boar headed butterfly swarm form. She crossed the yard to the palace wall and began searching for a hidden door. She found an area of blank wall between two ornamental bushes and quickly found the outline of a door with a keyhole in its center. Again the party had to stealthily cross open ground as they one by one made their way into the gardeners mud room. Inside they found a room full of gardeners tools: pots, hoes, and wheel barrows mostly. The open doorway led to a wide hallway that ringed this half of the palace. The outer wall of the hall held doorways every few doaen feet, but the inner side of the hallway held arched openings into the central hall of the palace. The first door they tried was a storage room for official services held in the palace. Thisincluded a set of robes that the party slipped into as a disguise.
They continued on to the next door that led to a stairwell platform. Curving stairs led both upwards and downwards. Knowing the treasure was in the “deepest bowels” of the place, they naturally chose downward. This ended a ta stout door, behind which they could hear the raucous crowd of bunny warriors. They estimated at least a dozen voices. Poppy the bold, in her disguise as an official risked it all and strode into the room while the rest of the party hid back in the coat closet. Poppy acted like a tipsy servant who came to inform them of a party out in the gardens. She took a look around and noticed another 40 sleeping guards in the bunny barracks while a dozen off duty rabbits hung out in the center of the chamber. Across the room was another door. At the top of the steps he left Poppy while he wet to investigate.
Deciding the way down was too dangerous, they went up and through the unlocked door at the top of the steps. They found themselves standing in the throne room of the sorceror king. Across the expanse of marble tiles in one direction was the sword throne of Tyr, made from the iron blades of the invading armies Tyr has fought off. In the other direction were open double doors with human (looking) guards stationed, each wielding a bohemiean ear spoon at attention. Fortuanately they stared outward, and THokk and Hex crept forward tro silence them forever.
Hex seemed to glide across the room until just before he got to the guard, he leapt up and stabbed down. His hexblade slid between collarbone and clavicle to dissect the heart, and as the body slumped, Hex was there to gently pad his head from cracking on the stone. Meanwhile Thokk strode forward, more speed and velocity with every step which he transferred ino one mighty swing of his great axe. Th axe separated his guards head from shoulders and bore into the stone door jamb with an explosion of gravel and sparks. He put his fur-booted foot up on the jamb to free his axe, knocking over the cracked stone.
The throne was the key, and pooling their scant knowledge of history, they remembered a riddle (note this is a recreation of a riddle I cant quite remember the specifics):
When the king is on his throne
He can easily visit his hoard
Without danger or falling prone
Whatever the case, in one of the arms of the throne a gold coin was set slightly elevated from the sword blade. By pushing it, they were transported instantly into the treasure room. (I have to admit the main reason for this was time, I wanted to have the final encounter and time was pressing. I had planned for the possibility of meeting the ancient whisp of the ghost of Keegan, who would aid them with bloody “K” marks on the walls of the labyrinth beneath the palace. There was a magic fountain, and finally the chamber above the treasure chamber, where the rusting hanging chains through the floor would lead down into Sapho’s lair.
(Finally, we get to the battle)
They found themselves in the center of a vast hall dimly lit by flickering oil lamps. In one end of the chamber was the collosal remains of a statue. A horned head lay etween its cloven legs, and the huge mace in its hand was the skull of a giant or demigod. Across the chamber and embedded in the wall was a great stone circle inscribed with strange runes. Within the circle was darkness. On the floor in front of the star gate was a softly glowing arcane circle. The characters themselves stood in the center of the room ankle deep in rusty brown dust that had the aftertaste of blood. Ancient blood. Thokk and Poppy had a strage moment of vertigo as they realized this chamber was an exact duplicate of the chamber that lies beneath the Keep on the Shadowfell. Their Keep. It only looked to be aged beyond belief. The portal however, looked exactly the same except for the lack of grasping tentacle. The sigil was also the same except in the center of it was a small round depression that would exactly fit the apple sized ruby sphere they took from Nazerak. Felipe was quick to leap forward and place the sphere into the sigil, and it brightened immediately.
The other main feature across room them and on the raised stage at the end was a blue dragon lying curled on a massve pile of gold coins. The dragon had a haze of electricity dancing around him and with each soft snore his mouth and eyes cracked open revealing a bottomless cavern of white hot lightning within. It woke when the sigil brightened and bellowed “Who dares disturb the treasure hoard of Sapho? Prepare to meet your doom would be thieves and murderers!” He lifted hos mouth and let out a roar that started like a low rumble of distant thunder but by the end, Saphos mouth was extended wider than seemed possile and bolts of lightning were shooting out an sparking across the chamber. The palace itself began to ring with the noise as the whole city was shaken awake.
“Hut hut hut” went the rabbit special foces up above.
Sapho the blue dragon shook with the fury of seeing its slumber and hoard threatened, and under its rattling scales they glimpsed its hollow electrified body. Twenty blue shapes rolled around inside. As Saphos roar retreated back to a deep-throated rumble, it ended with a cough, and out tumbled the first of the twenty bundles to land next to Hex. It was an electrified blue gremlin with a blue glowing dagger and a wicked grin. Thus the party met and defeated Sapho the gremlin infused Hollow blue storm dragon.
The battle was intense, and while fighting the dragon, as well as the trickster minions that were coughed up or managed to “ride the lightning” down from the dragons attacks, they also had to use their arcana and thievery checks to activate the star portal. Once they had it opened but a gremlin managed to close it before they went through. The gremlins also turned the dried blood to real blood and it threatened to trip up an choke anyone who they pushed in. The chains rattled as the air assault bunnies prepared to rappel down, but this tale has gone on long enough, so dear reader I will leave this battle to your imagination. Hex, Poppy and Midget sought the secrets of the portal whilst fighting off gremlins. Felipe and Thokk held off the dragon Sapho as best they could while Ria kept them all standing with her healing words, when she herself wasnt getting stabby stabbied by the gremlins. They made it though in the knick of time, each of them managing to scoop up 1d6 x 100 old pieces from the hoard as they leapt through the portal… and into the Tomb of Horrors.