Dark Sun Sandbox

Virtual Reality Trip

Presents: Jasper (DM), Jaroen (Therai), Davide (Hardok), Elena (Irann), Alex (Cor), Twan (Varnag).

…after the fight with the Hijkins the group spend some time looking around the “mine”, and basically investigate a bit to try to figure out what kind of operation Ianto is running in there. It appears quite clear that they are not really looking for minerals, there is no “prospecting” per se, the rocks are not inspected and there are no infrastructure in place or in construction to handle any kind of mineral found or organized excavation. There are very few peoples that have any idea of mining techniques and even less experienced miners.

And the site is even stranger, with these weird “smooth” tunnels. The group asks around about the tunnels and some of the more experienced miners said that it is very possible that there are pressure differential building up in different places and this generate a draft, however everyone states that a draft so strong is really strange. Some of the experienced miners explains that the air could came from the other side of the mountains, but that is awfully far away, so either the tunnels are really really long or something else is pushing the air.

Anyhow, the rest of the day goes by without further problems, so the whole group leaves the mine around dusk and marches back to the fort. It turns out that the blood traces found in the morning were what’s left of one of the scout, probably killed by a Silkwirm.

Returning to the fort the group realize that the place is really crowded now, it seems that another group has just arrived and literally the place is now full. The group goes to get some food after the day and bumps into Cor, that has also just arrived with the last group.

A strange event: it seems that a Templar was also traveling with the last carouan: Sarlon, one of the old City Overseers, he is in charge of ‘security’ and is traveling for some “state reason” to the fort. He is with his own guards and entourage. As soon as he arrives he gets in to talk to Uraks Ianto that runs the things at the fort.

The group are a bit surprised to meet Cor there and inquiry what’s the last news, but Cor is vague as usual.

Hardok – So, what were you up to in the city?
Cor – Well, usual rebel business…
Hardok – I was under the impression that Kalak was dead.
Cor – So?
Hardok – What are you guys rebelling against now?
Cor – Tyr is just one city! There are other city!
Hardok (rolling his eyes) – Oh sure…
Cor – And what are you guys doing here?
Hardok – Well, it seems that somebody is looking for a Tiefling to kill, but it seems they can’t tell a tiefling from another so they decided to kill all of them, so we decided to get out of Tyr for a few days. And get some money in the meantime.
Cor – Sounds logical.

The group decide to sniff around a little more, Hardok goes in the Guard Barracks asking for the latest news, Varnag and Therai try to sniff around the miners, Therai try to drop a few coins around and he gets lots and lots of strange or funny stories, but not much more, Irann goes to talk to the Elves of course. The Elves are a different group, they say that they have been talking with the other group of scouts that told them that “there is a cute but clueless elf in the fort”… Also, the news is that groups of Gnolls scouts are getting closer to the city limit, closer than usual.

The exciting news of the day is that the miners discovered, in the same cave the group fought the day, a staircase, leading down into the bowels of the mountain, it was behind a thin wall of rock that was very smooth, like the rock was ‘shaped’. Somebody suggest that maybe the Hijkins did it, since they can ‘swim’ in rock like a liquid maybe they can also ‘shape’ it like that. The workers however were prevented to investigate further by Leoricus, the stairs are still to be explored.

Cor’s inquiry to the personal Guards of Sarlon don’t gives out any information whatsoever, evidently they are very well trained.
Cor decide that, since he doesn’t need lots of sleep, he will try to get double-duty and some extra money working the whole night.

Walking around back towards the sleeping quarter, Hardok almost stumble upon Irik and Leoricus talking, there is a bit of a discussion, Irik claims that Sarlon wants everybody in the fort the next day while Leoricus insists that he got order from Uraks Ianto that they have to send at leas one group back to the mine to investigate the newly-discovered stairs and that Uraks is going there too, so they need at least one group of guards. Hardok returns to the barracks and share the information with the others. Everybody decide that they will try their luck at being there.

During the night, Cor witness a small group preparing for an early leave in the morning. So he goes back to the sleeping quarter and wakes up the rest of the group. Pre-dawn, the group gets out to check out the assignemnt and manage to track down Irik, that insist that there will be no expedition for the day, but then Leoricus shows up and interject that in fact there is going to be an expedition to the dig site, Irik looks a bit pissed at the interruption but Leoricus takes the group away and assign them to guard Leoricus and Uraks while they go to the site to investigate the staricase.

Leoricus lead the group where the small group seen by Cor is preparing, Uraks joins them, he is a tall, wiry man with a long sharp nose and a well trimmed beard, walking with a staff of old carved wood with a crystal on the top, he certainly looks the part of the mage. Therai doesn’t pick up any psionic vibe from him so he suspect him to be some sort of Arcane magician. What is clear to everybody is that Uraks looks a bit pissed, like he was in a verbal fight with somebody, he looks really agitated and both excited and frightened about something. Immediately proclame “Ok, we’re leaving NOW”.

The group leaves the fort and begins the march towards the dig site, is just the group, Uraks and Leoricus, no scouts. Is a bit of a gamble from Uraks’s part.

The march towards the mine site is almost uneventful, at one point Hardok spots something that pops up for a moment behind the hills and then disappear again, he warns the other that it could be a Silkwirm and to keep their eyes open, Leoricus tell the guys to make a lot of noises to scare the beast away, and the trick seems to work. The group reaches the mine entrance without troubles.

Uraks at this point, candidly admit that “is blind obvious that we’re not mining for minerals, we’re after some ancient artifact. If things go well, we could encover some ancient Davik script and I’m desperate to see it, because everybody that tried to do so, has perished”
Therai – And why are you trying to encover this staff?
Leoricus – He is into this stuff, and as far as I know, Davik script is some sort of powerful magic, everybody sais it never existed except for someone that is adamant that it did existed, and someone theorize that writing Davik is enough to alter reality.

The group reaches very quickly the cave, where a newly dug wall reveal an hole and through the hole a very smooth tunnel, oval in shape, with carved steps, also very smooth, so smooth as being almost slippery, that descend into the darkness. The descent takes some times, the walls are completely smooth, with no traces wathsoever of how were they carved, it seems that they were ‘shaped’ more than dug or carved. Hardok notices that there are no traces of supports for torches on the walls either, like the place was made to be in complete darkness or you have to carry your own light all the time.
Uraks summons some kind of magical light at the top of his staff, so he doesn’t have to carry the torch either. The group descends, then the tunnel widens out in a circular cave, still with the same smooth walls. The floor is curved, likes a bowl, it looks almost like something organic, the steps wides at the bottom and then they merge seamlessy in the floor. At the center of the bowl there is a protuberance, like a stalagmite that rises from the floor reaching up into a point and on top of it something like a metal quill, with a crystal tip is standing, and it seems shimmering and vibrating.

Uraks – What we see is a writing implementes, and if my hunch is correct, that thing has been used to “write” all this place into existance.

Uraks approach the quill, followed by Therai, to check it, and instruct everyone to stay on guard.

…then, suddendly, everybody is on a different position, Uraks and Leoricus are on the floor, there are a bunch of hijkins around, and the Quill is floating in mid-air, distorted into some sort of vortex that vibrate of malevolent energy, twisting time and space around.
Everybody pulls their weapons out and prepare for battle, but before everybody can move, the Hijkins recover from their disorientation and one of them let loose a release of static electricity that hits Hardok hard and pulls him toward the hijkin, another one hits Cor the same way, the third one attacks Leoricus with his claws, but Leoricus manage to defend himself even if he is lying on the ground. Varnag shift in a flanking position and distract the creature so Hardok manage to hit it first then he swipes his trikal but misses.
Therai hits the creature that is already hit with a mind-trust, frying his mind to death. Then he shifts and hit the creature near Cor with a psionic attack. Therai has also the time to identify one of the hijkin as an Elite type, using electric attacks while the others are typical “warriors” with big claws but not much.
Then he focuses on the Vortex, trying to discern what it is, but he can’t get any more informations about it except that is hostile and it works as a construct of some sort and it is possibly affected by Thunder attacks.
Irann attacks the creatures too and the smash is enough to kill it right away.
The hijkin’s boss rises his paws, electricity arching from his extended claws, and then it flashes about the cave, illuminating it in weird blue/green lights and it zaps out, Varnag’s trikal sparkles but he is untouched by the shock, Therai gets a nasty burn and fals on the ground, Hardok being the largest gets it square on the chest, and goes down dazed. But he gets up again and summons the Form of Mountain Thunder, morphing into a wirlwind of stones and thunderstorm, then he charges the boss, passing in front of one of the underlying he swishes his talons hitting him, but Hardok ignores him and smashes his sword square in the face of the boss. Cor moves around carefully and approaches the boss from the back, hitting him with his sword twices, but the boss seems really though and despite bleeding it doesn’t budge. The Vortex pulses, like in response to the events and flashes, but the only one that seems affected are Hardok and Cor that are the closest and they gets dazed by the flashes. Then something like a tentacle lashes out and hits Irann that is momentarily dazed.
The last of the hijkins releases another lightning attack and hits Irann, Varnag reacts by uttering some inspiring word to her, so she recover some vitality back, then he swipe his trikal again and manages to hit one of the hijkin.
Therai manages to use his psionic to distract the boss hijkin, leaving him at Irann’s mercy, she unleash a nasty swipe with her spear, hitting him and his minion hard, then she smacks the minion so hard that he flails around and smacks his boss, damaging him and killing the minion in the same time.
The boss hijkin, after being smacked even by his own minion shift aways from Hardok and Cor pinch and releases another static shock, hitting basically everybody he seems also to enjoy drawing blood and regains some vitality with it, then he hits Cor with his oversized claws, sucking up some of his lifeforce. Hardok shakes his dazement off and hits him with a thunder attacks.
The Vortex moves around too! Twisting and twirling and distorting the reality nearby, two tentacles swirl out and tries to hits Irann and Hardok, but it fails, the last remaining Hijkin minion is feeling alone now that all his companion are gone so he relases another lightning strikes and hits Varnag and Uraks that is on the ground and trying to get back to his feet.
Varnag attacks the remaining hijkins and kills it. Therai at this point uses his psionic to grab the hijkin boss and smack the Vortex whit him. This damages both of them but not enough to kill either, then he uses some healing power for Irann.
She tries to attack the boss, but she misses.
The boss swipes his claws and hits Hardok really good, bringing him down.
Hardok is on the ground stunned, so he doesn’t do much.
Uraks at this point manages to get back on his feet and launches some sort of magic spell at the Vortex, it rumble and shimmers and it appears ‘cracked’, then he yells “Now! Hit it while it’s distracted!”
Cor charges the hijkin’s boss hitting him in the back.
The Vortex pulses out an attack agains Hardok, but he resits the damages but it gets dazed.
At this point, Leoricus staggers back on his feet and tosses a dagger at the Hijkin’s head, hitting and killing it right away.
Varnag attempt an attack with his trikal to the Vortex but the attack is less effective than expected, but the Vortex seems affected anyway.
Therai uses his Hammerburst attack agains the Vortex, but agains the attack is less effective.
Irann attacks is a miss, Hardok is dazed on the ground but still manages to hit the Vortex with some Thunder attack.
Uraks attempt another magic attack but misses or the magic doesn’t work as expected, so he decide to move a bit away from the Vortex.
At this point the only thing left for everybody is to attack the Vortex, Cor attacks and hits, the Vortex starts to be instable, crackling and sparkling, pulsing and warping the reality arounds it, hitting with this Cor, and then it starts swirling around his tentacles, Hardok rolls out of the way but Cor is hit again.
Therai at this points thinks that the Vortex is almost collapsing and wants to knows somwhting about it, so he walks to it and try to touch it and try to figures out how it works. But he gets some psichic damages and very little informations.
Irann, tries again with her attack and this time she hits, collapsing the Vortex. It shimmers, disintegrate, flashing strange lights around, the quill falls on the ground breaking, Therai ends up holding the tip while Uraks holds the metal part.

…Suddenly, the whole room waves out of existence, everybody’s mind twirl a bit and then everyone recognizes the room as the place where they fought the hijkins the day before, only, there is no new excavation and there is no tunnel going anywhere, like it was just an illusion and now it’s gone.
They are still bloddy and messed up, but the tunnel is gone.
The only thing that Therai can relay is that wathever it was that thing didn’t used psionic or Arcane magic, was something else.
Is like the reality was rewritten by the Vortex and everybody reminds part of it

Uraks comments -Interesting, very, pity that is now broken!
Therai – Yes, I can’t explain what it is exactly, were you looking for it?
Uraks – Well… I was looking for something, non specifically this and I was hoping not to be erased from existance.
Therai – What happens to you when you entered there?
Uraks – I don’t know… I do rememeber entering and focusing my attention to the Quill, and then I was on the ground completely disoriented and the Hijkins were all over the place. And then we were here. I have no idea what happened in the meantime.
Hardok (to Leoricus) – BTW, nice shot with the dagger.
Leoricus – I think it was a lucky shot…
Therai – I’m just curious, if you plan to dig again and maybe find another tunnel.
Leoricus – I was expecting something like this starting around here, my guess is that the tunnel just doesn’t exists anymore. It was there probably because the quill wanted to be found, despite the hijkins.
Hardok – So you think this whole mess was due to the hijkins?
Uraks – Well, the hijkins are some sort of degenerated offsprings of the dwarf, so it is possible that they affected the quill somehow. The hijkins come to existance after Dakin script existed, in my opinion is a side effects.

While Uraks investigate the quill, he notices that there are small writings on the side of it.

Uraks – Fascinating! These are elven signs, but is not elvish.
Irann – Reminds me of something! I have this medallion that was given to me by my old master, but nobody can reads the writing on it.

She shows the medallion to Uraks

Uraks – That’s also interesting! Where did you get it? Is the same script. This elvish script but the language is something normally called “deep speech”, is a language used by creatures and being not of this world. Strange entities. Yes, it is very similar to elvish script. As far as we know they didn’t have a scripted language so they repurpoused the elvish. I can try to decode it, but it takes time.
Hardok – Well, we’ll be here for another 8 days or so…
Therai – Is this mining enterprise stopped now, because of this finding?
Uraks – For what I am concerned there is no point of going over, I got what I came from. There can be other things of interested but I don’t think so.
In any event, I don’t want to stick around here.

Everybody begins the walk back to the entrance of the tunnel, Leoricus ask aloud if there is the need to re-collapse the tunnel’s entrance but Uraks tell him not to bother.

The group walks back along the path to the beginning of the canyon and begins to walks back towards the fort, but they can see smoke in the distance coming from the fort general direction…

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