Sand…. lots & lots of sand, grey & dreary, it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen this place, & I hoped I’d never see it again. But Rahdune never had grey sand, it seems we’re in a place we’ve been before, the alternate version of Gaea, this does not bode well for us, we need to leave. If we continue on this path we’ll end up in the capitol, not a place I wish to return too. Gladiator sport is a common occurrence & our lifespan will decrease exponentially. We need to get off these beasts before we get there, but not too close so we’re captured by the city guards.
Five days have past, as far as I can tell, probably many more, but for now it’s all I can tell. Thankfully they’ve put us all in the same cage. Spencer is still unconscious, but the rest of us have finally come around enough to start figuring this out. Our surroundings are fairly bleak, the six of us sit in a 10×10 cell across this beast’s back. We’re bound hand & foot behind our backs. Another cage sits not 5 feet from us, within are 3 humans & a dwarf. One of the humans & dwarf lay unconscious on the floor. The guards feed & water us once a day, barely enough to keep us alive, but for now it will do.
Thorus struck up a conversation with one of the humans in the cage next to us, Dennis by name, he let us know they’ve been here at least a week before we got here. He remains preoccupied with the unconscious human, his brother Richard. As they spoke we found that supposedly the prisoners in our cage died before we were captured. Another of the prisoners, Fenrear, let slip that we were found laying in the dunes.
One of the guards, Al’halal, broke up their conversation by slamming his spear against the cage. He seemed fairly jovial & intimated that we’re to be sold into slavery for fighting pits. From the corner of my eye I saw that Gruudash was beginning to work his bonds loose. (success 1)
Kiedro & Lecarde began a survey of our cage, made mostly of some bone, or tusks of some sort, it is formed into what would be a giant bear trap if it was to be lifted from where it dug into the back of this rock camel. In a few places it had actually dug in & scratched the skin of this beast where the plates of skin came together.
Thorus broke into a conversation with Al’halal as he made his way back to his post after getting yelled at by his ‘superior’. Consoling him he began to intimate that he too is forced to do the grunt work of the group. He seemed to take some consolation in the fact that they have something in common. (success 2)
As usual the birds flew in at the height of the day with water & grain for our daily feeding. Always they came from the northwest, which seems rather strange as we continue to travel to the southeast. Kiedro came up with an idea to mix some food with our waste & put it in one of the scratches caused by the bone cage on the back of this creature, in an attempt to cause it to fester so as to sicken or slow the beast. (success 3)
As the night set in it became as cold & bitter as it was hot & dry during the day. I noticed a fair amount of moisture developed on the bones at night & again before dawn, letting my companions know this we developed a plan to gather some of this to increase our limited rations. During the dark of the evening we began to slowly work on our bonds. I took the opportunity to search for magic in our surroundings, as weak as I am I only found a small source at the front of the beast where the captain slept. Believing this was the signature of our missing gear, it emboldened us to begin to work on ways to free ourselves from our bonds.
While Lecarde & Kiedro were on the lookout timing the guard I shifted myself into Halfling form which to our delight let my bonds slip off with ease. The others chose to work their bonds free the old fashion way, which for the most part worked, but Kiedro did draw the notice of the other guard, Al-hulige, who came over & admonished him to knock it off & go to sleep.
The next morning we put the plan to gather water to the test, Al’halal came over & watched us, commenting that in all his years we’re the first captives to try do this. As we finished this up the captain came out of his hut up front & yelled at the guards. They went over to the other cage & hitting the bones in some precise locations opened two of the bones & hooked the dwarf with their spears dragging him from the other cage. Thorus watched their actions with keen interest, as they finished up he gave us a look & nod that he had figured out how to work the locks. As he informed us of this the guards threw the body of the dwarf off the side of our beast of burden.
Believing this to be the fate of his brother Dennis began to sob & moan over the body of his unconscious brother. Thorus attempted to console Dennis, but was unable to assuage his fear. As he attempted this Gruudash spoke to Fenrear of the dwarf, he confirmed he did die during the night even though he tried to keep him alive.
During our noon feeding Thorus spoke to Al’halal letting him know that he is a healer & concerned about the health of the human in the other cage. Convincing him that it was in his best interest to keep the other human alive through this trip Al’halal moved Thorus to the other cage to begin looking at Roger to see what ails him. Just after Thorus was put in the cage the captain of this beast came over & raged at Al’halal for moving Thorus without his permission. As their argument continued Thorus finished his assessment & informed the captain of not only his ailments, but also what would be needed to allow him to survive the trip. In his continued anger the captain ordered the two guards to throw Roger over the side. Pleading his case Thorus failed to convince him to allow him to heal Roger (failure 1). After Roger was thrown over the side Thorus broke into an uncommon rage at the captain who chuckled in his face and signaled Al’halal who struck him in the side of the head knocking him to the ground.
Throughout the day Thorus swore & spit on the commander preventing him from getting the rest he sought in the heat of the day. Having had enough of this abuse he came over to the cage & drew his serrated scimitar threatening to throw him over the side saying he doesn’t make enough money from any one of us that he won’t throw us over the edge to die in the desert. Fenrear seemed to try to distance himself from this entire affair. As Thorus continued to be a distraction Lecarde & Gruudash were able to successfully loosen their bonds enough that they are able to escape at will (success 4).
In the cool of the evening Fenrear spoke to us of the 3 plans he sees as a way we could escape. 1. Wait till we get close to the city & escape during the night so we can make our way to the city or an encampment that we can get in. 2. We wait for the birds & take a bird to fly out. 3. We take this beast at night & pull it out of the caravan giving us the entire night & half the day to get away before birds could be sent after us.
Working through our plans with Fenrear we eliminated the first two as functional options. It was decided that we’ll take the stone camel at night. Trying to do it with stealth we decided to take down the single guard patrolling at night silently, open the cages, & make our way to the front of this animal to get our gear & dispatch the rest of the guards. After that we’ll pull the beast from the caravan & make our way through the desert. Hashing this out fully took the better part of a week as we sought to remain unnoticed by the guards.
A few days before we were to make our break Thorus was working at his bonds & Al-hulige saw him slip his hand free. Listening to his weak explanation as to how he got free he laughed aloud & getting more rope saw to it he was not only double knotted, but also tied to the bones themselves. (failure 2) Al’halal went through the rest of our bonds & found only Kiedro’s were loose, which he double bound as well, thankfully not to the bones themselves. Taking this in stride we adjusted our plan to release Kiedro so he could grab Al-hulige when he passed between the cages, snapping his neck & retrieving his spear for Gruudash. Allowing a few days to pass we were finally ready to attempt our escape.
Lecarde shifted to wolf form & began to chew the bonds holding Kiedro, the first attempt was a failure, but he remained unnoticed, allowing a second attempt that was a success. Kiedro successfully broke his bonds, stepping on the wound he created on the beast he caused it to rear up waking all others on it. Kiedro’s initial grab attempt failed due to the camel’s movement. Al-hulige turned to confront Kiedro, but Fenrear kicked his knees out letting Kiedro get a punch off that went straight to the throat, dropping him to the ground. After passing the spear to Gruudash, Kiedro stepped on the wound again which shook the beast to it’s core causing two of the guards to fall to their deaths.
Using this distraction Fenrear & I easily opened our cages drawing no notice from the guards. Gruudash took the spear & charged the remaining driver while Lecarde went to rush Al’halal trying to push him from the beast. Seeing this Kiedro followed Gruudash to take the captain out. I moved up to the bags containing our gear to begin sorting & passing out weapons.
Thorus was successful in working himself free while Gruudash did successfully knock the last driver off to the ground. Kiedro followed suit & did knock the captain off, but he was able to hang onto the rope dangling off the side. Both Lecarde & Fenrear charged the two remaining guards at the back knocking them off, but Fenrear did take a nasty wound to the leg in the process. I worked on opening the bags & did find several bags containing most of our gear.
Kiedro attempted to intimidate the captain to drop off, which failed, but Gruudash threw the spear knocking him in the shoulder which was just enough to cause him to fall to his death. Gruudash, Kiedro, & I used this opportunity to put on our gear & prepare for the night to come. Lecarde attempted to warn those on the beast behind us that all was ok, seeing this failed he released the bolt on the ballista behind us, missing the beast, but striking & killing one of the guards on the one behind us. Fenrear reloaded the ballista preparing for the next attack.
I took the next opportunity to take Fenrear his gear & help him prepare while he manned the ballista. Kiedro worked to pull the reins up & get the beast righted to steer it away from caravan. Gruudash acting quickly followed suit to get the other rein so they could attempt to drive this beast away from those following us. Lecarde took another shot at the beast behind us & then moved up to gather his gear. Thorus went to Dennis, who was cowering in fear, & attempted to rouse him from the ground to stand with us. His words inspired him to action & he quickly grabbed the hammer Thorus offered him moving out of the cage looking for something to fight. As Fenrear reloaded the ballista two bolts struck our beast in the front & back with ropes attached which riders from the other beasts began to slide across to confront us.
Before any of us could react 6 riders slid over & tumbled through our midst spreading out to confront us. I struck out & solidly hit the raider in front of me reducing his armor. Kiedro attempted to cause the beast to shake his head to throw a raider off, but to say the least failed. Gruudash tied down his rein, turned & charged to the back, taking an attack, but moving past to charge the commander, but he was unable to throw him back & off the beast. Lecarde finished putting on his gear moved in to take the reins from Kiedro to free him up for battle. Lecarde dropped a cloud of pure darkness around himself & Kiedro. Thorus pulled out the Punishing Eye & placed it on the back of the beast near the commander that came across, he then moved further into the cage he came from. Fenrear turned the ballista & fired point blank going straight through him & knocking him back nearly throwing him off the edge. Dennis moved to Gruudash & watched his back. Lecarde took a hit from a raider randomly thrusting his spear into the darkness. Thorus was engaged by a raider moving into the cage with him, being missed by the attack. The raider nearly thrown off stood up & began a whirling dervish dance moving through Fenrear, Gruudash, & myself striking only Gruudash. The commander struck a mighty blow against Gruudash, which seemed to revive the raiders around him. Dennis was quickly dispatched by another rider, while the last missed me.
I again struck the raider before keeping his armor reduced. I began my song to encourage & strengthen my companion’s attacks. Gruudash let out a great battle shout & drew in all of the raiders around him striking them all with a massive blow bloodying two of them in the process. Lecarde turned the beast further away from the caravan. As the darkness around Kiedro dropped he led with a massive swing leaving him hanging from the beasts head. Charging in Kiedro slammed him with another swing bloodying him, but not knocking him off. Thorus, cornered in the cage, struck-out at the raider in front of him, striking her & imbuing Gruudash with fire. The raider cornered by Kiedro began his dervish dance & whirled to strike both Kiedro & Lecarde, but the bars of the cage protected Thorus. However this didn’t prevent him from being hit & restrained it some form of magical cage by the raider before him. One of the raiders before Gruudash did hit him but failed in his attempt to restrain him.
I took advantage of Gruudash’s last attack on the raider I had previously hit to move to an advantageous position & finish him off with a blow from the back. Gruudash kept the attention of the raiders before him, but was unable to finish another off. Lecarde turned the beast further breaking the last line attaching us to the caravan & then dropped one of his attacks again damaging all the raiders before Gruudash. Kiedro charged in on the raider he’s been attacking, striking with a massive upper-cut swing throwing his bloody corpse up against the cage behind him. Thorus, restrained by the magical cage was able to shoot at another bloodied raider, not killing him, but greatly weakening him further. Fenrear, who had successfully reloaded the ballista, took aim at a weakened raider & struck him throwing his corpse from the back of the beast.
Kiedro, being critically struck by the raider formerly on Thorus, let out a laugh of pure madness reducing the strike to a manageable level. The captain of this raiding party went into an almost mist form, which allowed him to move from the position he was in, but for some reason went between myself & Fenrear. The last raider before Gruudash attempted to move from Lecarde’s zone of power, but failed & fell prone. Gruudash took advantage of this to finish him off as he lay before him, as he shook the blood from his blade he moved in to surround the captain. Backing the final raider against a cage Kiedro struck her a solid blow bloodying her in the process & gaining her full attention. Thorus struck the same bloodied raider further weakening her. She struck out against Kiedro, and much like Thorus was able to restrain him in a magical cage of force. The commander, being nearly surrounded struck me with a massive overhand blow, luckily I was able to use my armor to reduce it by almost half. I lashed out at the captain, reducing his armor & solidly striking him. Gruudash moved to encircle the captain, however he wasn’t able to get fully behind him, but again struck him a solid blow. Kiedro lashed out at the raider before him, again striking using that anger to shrug his way out of the cage surrounding him. Thorus finished off the last raider, but still was unable to get free of the magic surrounding him.
Seeing he was the last standing, the captain surrendered to us trying to make himself valuable in the fact he can lead us from the desert. We tied him to the cage as Thorus was tied, also just to show our intent we also tied a rope to the ballista bolt & the other end around his neck. Thorus attempted to attend to the wound on the beast to extend it’s life.
As we continued through the night we searched the bags upon this creature we found all the rest of our gear & a bonus of some note. Slippers of the Assassin & an Aversion Staff +3. 1500xp for the successful escape & 2150xp for the fight at the end.