Dark Sun: Desert Secrets

The Ruined Outpost

Arriving at the ruin, which remains mostly buried in sand, the party searches the area for entrances and finds only one, protected from the elements by an ancient and battered door. The adventurers manage to force the entry open, and discover a number of Tareks within. Through good luck and sound tactics, the first squad of tareks is defeated without alerting any farther into the ruin, though a tarek with a shortbow takes a particular toll on the group. Barring the entryway with some of the debris scattered about the room, the adventurers settle in for a rest before proceeding to the other sections of the ruin, but not without deciding who would be on watch and when.

As it turns out, the choice to rest is a good one – the characters wake to the sound of movement just beyond the makeshift barrier, and as they begin to move around and prepare to repel an assault, a male voice accosts them from beyond. He identifies himself as an officer in the Crimson Chains mercenary band, one of several (including the party) hired by Belgrom Vor to find and recover their lost caravan. The party is split on how to react – some wish to offer to join forces, others to pay the mercenaries to turn away, and still others to fight and eradicate the opposition. The latter-most option is the one which wins out, more by chance than by decision – as the party argues, the mercenary leader loses patience and has his men collapse the barrier. Faced with well-trained and numerous opposition, the party struggles to defend themselves, but eventually the mercenary leader is slain and his remaining troops lose their nerve. As they flee, the adventurers pursue them to prevent word of the fiasco from escaping, and also to protect the secret that two of their number use arcane magic, a dangerous ability likely to get them lynched by a mob or arrested by local templars if word gets back to the city.

Searching the bodies, the adventurers find that the longsword used by the mercenary commander is of exceptional quality – an obsidian blade with veins of red giving it a sinister appearance. Both templars recognize it at once as a blood obsidian longsword, issued to templar commanders who serve their Sorcerer-King particularly well. The mercenary commander had shown no inkling of templar capabilities, making it likely that the sword was stolen or plundered in the first place. Each immediately lays claim to the weapon, but after some discussion it is decided that Raeth, who mixes the power of sword and spell most effectively, should be the one to use it.

Exhilarated with their victory, the party prepares to continue farther into the ruin and confront the tareks who seem to have stolen from House Ianto…

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