For weeks, it seems, we knew this battle with the airship of elf slavers was coming. Or rather, it took weeks to finally get here, but it was worth the wait. A wild and crazy battle took place, including dead elf surfing, Sharia Princess of flames joins the party as a pc, and they discover how to get home again.
Through circumstances terribly unlucky to our friend who played Cordelia the Genasi Barbarian, but lucky for our game, she was able to return to the game tonight, after a long absence. A character was prepared: Sharia the princess of flame, a 6th level lawful-crazy eladrin paladin. Sharia was last encounters enemy, and she surrendered when her betrothed, the prince, was knocked out. They revived him and he was unconscious over the back of the war camel, along with the White Rose.
The party was gathered together sharing their canteens of water when the airship hove into view. It was ancient and futuristic both, with a blend of ancient pitted metal and polished bone. The deck thronged with elves in painted leather battle harness, short bows in hand, bone swords on their belts. Underneath was a rack, four deep of the ribs of some gigantic beast, and within that cage of rune-carved bones was trapped an eddying, swirling whirlwind of sand and stone, keeping the ship afloat and directing its movement. The elves perched on and hung from the sides of the swift flying craft, twenty feet above the ground. The front end held an ancient glowing cannon, charged with lightning. At the rear was the half-elf captain. He wore a strange helm, but his vision was acute, and his stare could invoke psychic traumas untold.
Swinging into view between broken wall sections to the right and left of the airship were the outrider scouts, belted to a pole and disk upon which the elves rode. They carried tridents and a cruelly barbed and weighted net hung from their sides. A number of javelins hung from the pole, and these ‘tenser disks’ as they were called moved with great speed and agility. The wild elves commanding them would tilt and swing out from their disks to attack from a distance. Each of the disks was elevated to a maximum height of ten feet upon the shoulders of summoned dust devils.
The characters considered their options. Having a camel trained in the arts of war, it would return to its home on its own, carrying the unconscious prince and the White Rose. Tara the elven ranger chose to accompany the camel to safety, not the least because she had no desire to become a slave. It was a good thing she did, too. As she and the camel struck out northwards, awayt from battle and towards safety, the lighning cannon opened fire from the bridge of the airship. It launched an arcing bolt of electricity that exploded outwards from its center of impact, catching many of the party in the blast. Then the two scouts circled around to either side of the party, one stabbing at the poor Vulpix, and scoring first blood, while the other threw his net at Thokk. The half orc was not so easily defeated, and he ducked the net, and came up in a leap that ended with an avalanching axe strike against the scout.
The airship captain steered his ship in closer for a broadsides, and while putting one finger against his finger, he spread out the other hand so that two of his fingers pointed each to a different party member. Felipe and Thokk were attacked by the psychic visions of doom he sent. What was more appalling still was the avalanche of a dozen elves rushing to leap over the gunwales of the barge and descend to the ground by thin lather cords. Three leapt towards Felipe the druid and swung their bone swords as they flew at her from above. Their rending tears caused her grievous wounds, but they paid in blood, for her magic injured any who touched her and the three elves were slain even as they struck. This still left three more elves on the ground, while the other six each fired their shortbows. at the party.
The furious vengeance of Felipe had only begun. Three dead elves was not enough to satiate the lusts of the shadow panther lady, and the druid burst into a vast swarm of insects, like a cross between dragon flies and wasps, only with the heads of long tusked boars. The swarm exploded into a huge cloud, stinging or goring anyone caught in the cloud. This included every single one of the elf slaves, and they earned their well earned rest in that buzzing apocalypse.
It seemed the tables had turned and the captain, now crewless, brought his airship in reverse. At the same instant, two more tenser disk riding elf scouts came blazing at top speed in from the flanks. The scout to the far north was distracted by Tara and the camel riding by, and his first act was to entangle the war camel in his net. I must indulge the crowd here for a moment of role playing masturbation as I realized the camel was an NPC, so I was attacking myself, in effect. I wouldnt! I would! Does a 27 hit? Youve got to be kidding me, 27? Yeah, vs reflex. Im a camel, what do you think? Yes or no? It hits. OK, you are knocked… I know what it does!… etc…
It was Taras turn. She had veered behind the nearest ruined husk of a building, and was looking for a way inside. (It was a good thing she didnt, as many of the shadow-shrouded interiors of the more intact buildings serve as resting places for the shadow eladrin while the sun is in the sky. Tara would have seen a sand covered empty hovel with a single cot, upon which a beautifuol eladrin lay as if in sleep. She was entirely green, skin, clothing, hair, even the gold and ruby jewelry she wore was green. She would rise and attack him as a green arcanian, lashing him with arcane energy as long as she could while remaining in the shadowed interior of the brick hut. But when the camel fell, spilling both the White Rose and the unconcious prince, she raced around the building and attacked with a savage leap, stabbing into lanky elf with the spirit knife. They fought on the saucer to the death, swinging wildly. After Tara cut the belt they were on an even footing, and eventually the scout leapt free of the disk, hoping Tara would be thrown from it. Ut she managed to wrest control of the angrily compelled dust devil under the disk. SHe leapt dwon and finished him, rolling. His killing blow was a twin strike, and he rolled, for the first time I have ever witnessed it, two 20s. It was pretty amazing, and the enemy was instantly felled.
The battle though was not yet one. Another flanking scout came from the south, and his net caught Thokk unawares. The raging barbarian was immobilized, and as the pair of scouts taunted him by staying out of reach and goading him with their tridents, the half orc was forced to pull out his dusty long bow, last used by undead bandits, and send arrows after them. FInally he broke free and with a mighty avalanching blow, he clove the first scout in twain, sending his tenser disk spiralling out of control to the ground. The other scout turned tail and escaped, but he left with a gash in his back from Thokks axe.
And over at the airship, Poppy attempted to leap up onto a rib and climb aboard, but she failed tomake the jump. She then noticed (thanks Tim!) the 3 dead elves, still hanging from their leather jumping cords, since they hadnt had time to cut themselves free. She surfed upon one of them until she was able to climb up the cord and thence aboard to challenge the half elf ariship captain. Sharia the flame princess was right behind her. Together they cornered the captain and though he fought valiantly, they cut him to ribbons.
Part 2: A thickening of the plot
The party abandoned the airship soon after killing the half elf captain. The air elemental was loosed from its bonds and they had to evacuate the area or suffer its wrath. The Tenser disks however, continued to function for the length of time the dust devils we summoned, which proved to be a few hours at least, so they rode them into Mithrendoom to tell their tale and return the scepter of kings looted from the tyrants tomb the day before. When they arrived, the WHite Rose went into conference with the village elder, Vanyu, keeper of knowledge and arcane lore. For many hours they spoke, and when they came out, this is the tale they told.
The coming of the White Rose is both a salvation and a doom to the peoples of Nazerak. For she was indeed the rightful daughter of Gagnasdiak, the tyrant who cursed the city and sent it to its destruction. Therefore only she was able to weild the scepter of kings, and to command the faction to cease their war. When Gagnasdiak had taken Mthrendoom on it long journey of conquest, and presided over its final battle amongst theh hordes of savages at worlds edge, it was a future version of himself, now calling himself Kalak, who slew the younger version of himself in order to stave off the defeat he knew would follow. While history changed, the city was doomed, its people cursed. For Gagnasdiak had made binding contracts with the Far Realms of unknowable madness and so Kalak, doubly cursed by his own murder, descended into madness, but he abandoned the city and with his host captured the largest city in the known world, Tyr, and has ruled from that seat of power ever since, all these hundreds of years.
Meanwhile, we eladrin were cursed to eternal warfare, and have devolved into what you see before you, mere shades of our former greatness. We of Mithrendoom number only 42, yet every day we must fught the cursed people of the Malbion clan, who number in their hundreds. Here Princess Sharia steps forward and shouts with pride. Because old man we embrace our fate and relish nothing higher then the virtues of youth, beauty, and slaying and dying in battle. To finally fall in combat against impossible odds is our greatest moment in this short day-lit world.
Nay lass, the elder Vanyu replies. It is age and wisdom which will prevail. We do not breed like the desert rodents but cherish and work to extend each precious moment of our dark sun days. It is night we would stave off we could. And so for a moment the two descended again into the primal elements of the curse that kept them at war: heedless slaughter versus contemplative delay.
The people of Nazerak fought amongst the ruins of their city as it slowly sank into the desert sands. The madness unleashed by Gagnasdiak and the4 Far Realms only quickened what was already happening as the Feywild and Shadowfell slowly fell to tatters and ruins, mere shreds of their former glory. Nazerak was one such concurrence of these three realms. During the day, the fey wild held sway, but at night it was the shadowfell who ruled. When an eladrin fell in battle in the city streets, he appeared that night and every night thereafter as a shadow eladrin where he lived on with his same old grudge, fighting the same battles at night as his living brothers fought during the day. When slain as a shadow eladrin, the eladrin was reincarnated as a fresh new babe, only a sliver of spirit taken as a toll to help keep the city tied to its tenuous hold on the fey and fell realms.
And now the White Rose will take up the scepter of kings and lead the city out of its eternal war, and into a time of peace. however, the end of endless bloodshed means the city will at last lose its last grasp on the fairy realms and will sink forever beneath the sands. The White Rose can also send the party back to their world but to do so she needs the ruby of time. it, of course, is located in the deepest treasure chambers in the palace of the Sorcerer King of Tyr, Kalak.
All is not lost however, for a small group of slaves may accomplish what an army can not. If the party can act as slaves and enter the championship gladiatorial matches held each year to honor Kalaks ascension. The winning team dines with Kalak in the great feast hall afterwards, and with a little luck and ingenuity they might somehow steal the ruby of time, and thus their chance to return home.