Original Sin

Session 2: Bushwhacked
In Which the Party Gets Ambushed...Twice

Highsun, Year of the Defiant Priest

The others hung back, willing to let the Kikrik handle the spirit situation for the time being, though they all stayed ready for trouble. The shaman continued his approach, waiting for it to communicate. When it “spoke,” it came as a surprise for all. With a small gesture, a jet of flame sprang forth from one of the spirit’s appendages, scorching the rock to the kreen’s left. Once they had recovered from the surprise, they could see that runes had been scorched into the stone surface, forming a single word in the Common script: “Greetings.” Only three of the party could read the word, and Kikrik was not among them.

“Fire draws scribble lines on rock?” asked Vrack dubiously.

Les answered, “No, Vrack, it draws words on the rock.”

The half-orc scoffed. “Words are spoken, not drawn.”

Ignoring this, the eladrin continued, “It welcomes us…”

“Welcomes us to what, I wonder,” said Kikrik nervously.

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Session 1: Salvage in the Storm
In Which the Protagonists are Introduced

Highsun, The Year of the Defiant Priest

Rumors said that the path might be dangerous – vague threats of ssurran causing trouble on the roads leading from Altaruk to Tyr had kept others from risking the trip. But the overseer was insistent that commerce could not wait, and the offered pay for guard duty had been…adequate. After the first day of travel, a subtle shower of meteors was seen among the stars in the chill night sky. The caravan master, a practical man, dismissed the omen, but others in the train were uneasy.

Early the next morning, a sandstorm erupted and quickly turned deadly. The scouring sand was filled with unnatural obsidian shards that tore through the travelers and pierced the thick hide walls of the wagons, shredding most of the cargo. Some of the handlers were killed instantly. Still others ran to the imagined shelter of nearby rock structures before they died. Five of the hired guards wisely sought the shelter of the sturdiest and least damaged wagon – the one carrying food and water supplies. The storm raged around them for a time, and as the winds lessened they came to realize that they were likely the only survivors.

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Prelude: Master of the House
In Which Rayne Becomes a Slave.

Posted by Darth Krzysztof

seven years ago

The sharp-faced woman cut Rayne’s ragged clothes free with an obsidian knife, tossing them into the fire, until the girl stood naked in the cold, dark room. She might be able to trick the woman, to wrest the gleaming blade from her, to make a break for it… but there was nowhere to go. She’d be found. She’d be executed. The dark man had bought Rayne from the praetors… had made her his slave. Beats being dead, she kept telling herself, but it sounded no more true now than it had in the Praetorium the previous day. Pirates and cages simply didn’t mix. Maybe the other Profiteers had been the lucky ones.

The sharp-faced woman scrubbed Rayne’s body with gritty, lightly scented sand until her skin seemed to glow pink. She had never been this clean… and now she smelled vaguely of mint. The feeling bothered her, pleasant though it may have been.

The sharp-faced woman examined Rayne’s eyes, her ears, her mouth. She clucked her tongue when she found the bugs in the girl’s hair, then rubbed a cold slime that smelled like death over her scalp and armpits. She knelt, pulled one ankle away from the other to spread the girl’s legs, and moved her hand between them. Rayne shivered as the woman inspected what she found there, raised an eyebrow, then applied another coat of slime to it.

Without a word, the sharp-faced woman stood and walked away from Rayne, returning with a folded parcel of brown fabric. She shook it out, revealing a simple dress, and said, “Put this on.”

Having never worn a dress before, Rayne eased her way into the garment; it proved to be far too long for her, just as she’d feared. The sharp-faced woman shook her head, and her hands went to her hips, hitching up the sides of her own dress. “You’ll have to go around like this for now,” she said. “It’d take years for you to grow into this old thing. I’ll have to hem it later… Master wishes to see you now.”

The dark man wants to see me. Rayne swallowed.

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Prologue

20 years ago

Bijaz stumbled into the narrow cave and spat out a mouthful of sand. Running into a sand storm was not his best plan ever, but it was the only one he could think of considering the tenacious gaj chasing him across the dunes. He’d trusted his intuition and was grateful to have found the blessed shelter. Closing his eyes, he whispered a few words of thanks to the desert for sparing him. The former slave wasn’t particularly religious, but he felt compelled to express his gratitude to whomever or whatever might be listening. It certainly couldn’t hurt.

The dwarf sat in the cramped space and took stock of his remaining provisions. He frowned at the faint sloshing sound as he shook his canteen. Rations he had, but water was far more precious and much harder to come by. He drained the water both to quench his thirst and rinse the grit from his teeth. Cursed raiders! he thought, his mind drifting back several hours to the event that had resulted in his new and unlooked-for freedom.

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