Friday, 24 May 2013

Dark Sun Marauders (Season 3, Chapter 5)

These posts are from our DnD group's downtime chatter.  The current adventure is a return to the world of Dark Sun.  In the previous seasons (the first run by me, the second run by Richard), the party were involved with hunting through Kalak's pyramid, confirming if the Sorcerer-King was truly dead, and retrieving the Orb of Dust.  The group is currently readying Tyr against the invading Urik army. 
His wounds were severe, his skin blistering and peeling underneath the lengths of chain that wrapped around his body, but Kulo, was not defeated.  Sure, he had fallen before the hideous hydra, and was still fighting to regain his consciousness when Paelias delivered the fateful arrow.  That annoyed him - it would have been something to see, and something he wondered if it was by pure chance, or repeatable skill.  Time would tell, he was certain.  But for now...

Kulo, stepped across to the squirming mul, and gazed at him in contempt.  There was no mercy in his eyes, no desire for the smuggler's well-being.  Stopping about ten feet from his blistered body, Kulo, sent out his chain, which easily caught Xalos' ankle and, with a tug that probably sprained, if not dislocated, the man's ankle, Kulo, slid their captive across into the middle of the group. 

He made no effort to free the mul from his bindings - had he caught the man himself, instead of 'rescuing' him from the strange fiery cultists, he probably would be in chains, not ropes.  "Quit ya moving!" he barked roughly, "It'll only be worse for ya if ya manage to get 'em off!"

When he felt confident that the mul was going to stay still, he began his questioning.  "Now, tell us - who were them that we just fought?  Why did they git ta have the fun with your smuggler buddies out back, and we had to singe and burn in here? What were ya all doing here?"

Xalos struggles on a little more, though somewhat half-heartedly once Kulo,'s chain had wrapped itself around his leg, causing not an inconsiderable amount of wincing. Finally he lays on the ground looking up at the half-giant, "I don't really know who or what they are. Some kind of snake-men. We ran into them down here when we started digging tunnels...", he says, gritting his teeth against the pain of his ankle.

"Fine. Ya screwed up." Kulo, was happy to accept that.  His enemy being weak was natural, normal. Still, he moved in a little closer, letting his chains snake variously over the mul's flesh. They had cooled significantly since the fiery battle, but their touch was still warmer than normal, and the residual heat stirred recent memories in Xalos' burnt and blistered skin.

Leaving in close, so that the mul could smell his breath - almost a torture itself! - he hissed another question through clenched teeth. "But what were ya all doing, digging here in the first place?"

Kulo,'s twisting of the chains elicit some satisfactory gasps and winces from the stonemason, but Mul's were known for their toughness and Xalos regained a semblance of his defiant mood, "I would have thought you might have worked that out by now, you addle-brained half-giant", he said with a sneer, his lips curling to add to the insolent tone.
Xalos' response - or rather, his lack of an adequate response - did not make Kulo, happy.  "Hah, look who is dumb one, now!" he sneered, placing a large foot on the mul's shoulder.  "If'n I figured it out, why'd I ask you?"  Making sure to put a lot of his weight down on that one foot, and twist it so as to grind his shoulder into the hard floor, Kulo, looked to the others.  "Don't think he wants to be talking to us, even when we stop him from burning. Should we be putting him back, to finish burning, or start opening him up, and look for answers inside?" 

Whilst waiting for an answer, Kulo, looped some of his barbed chain through the mul's still-tied arms, and pulled it tight.  Sliding underneath Xalos' underarm, the sharp pieces of bone, obsidian, and hardened wood pierced the softer flesh, and wedged securely in.  Shifting his foot from shoulder to wrists, he applied enough weight to press Xalos' bound wrists into his gut, and ensure he could no longer move his arms.  The chain was trapped there securely, for now.

Kuoroar! moved forward from where he had been sitting, and added his own voice. "If he ain't gonna answer our questions, put him back in. We have no time for fools who don't appreciate their skins being saved!" Sure, there was no fire any more - the strange liquid had burnt off - but there were plenty of bottles left to make more!  "Look, you got two choices. You prove to be a friend by helping us and we let you go, or you prove yourself to be an enemy, and we don't leave you behind alive, on the chance you backstab us. What's it gonna be?"

Quietly enough that he could be mistaken for failing to whisper, but loudly enough that everyone heard him, Kulo, mutters under his breath, "Please pick enemy, please pick enemy, please pick enemy..."

 Xalos frowns at the strangely muttering half-giant, then looks up at the younger one as he joins in the threats. The spikes of Kulo,'s chain now digging in rather uncomfortably makes the Mul wriggle slightly, which in itself seems only to cause further pain, so he takes a committee decision to stay still.
The sneer on the Mul's face, slowly fades to a wry smile, "Friends? Why not, eh? What sort of help might such likely fellows such as yourself be needing?"

Sounding like the child, and not like the parent in the relationship, Kulo, whines at Xalos' decision.  "Oh, Kuloroar!, why'd you have ta give him a choice?  I wanted ta kill him..."  Sitting down gruffly - on the mul's thigh - he held his chain tightly, and sighed deeply.  "Fine then...what were ya smuggling, and who were ya working for?"

The mul, strangely, didn't take Kulo,'s word that he would not be killed, and instead, demanded to be brought to the authorities.  There, he claimed, he would talk.  With their word already given, and the promise of information at hand, the party started their trek out of the caverns, and back to the surface of the city.  There, Kulo, and Beren took Xalos back to the templars that had initially sent them on their missions, whilst the others returned home to rest.  Kulo, claimed he could do the task alone, but Beren thought Xalos had an increased chance of survival should he accompany the bloodthirsty half-giant.

The following morning, when everyone reported back to the templars, there was some further news.  Xalos had given some names, and eventually spilled on one attack scheduled for later tonight.  Other groups of smugglers and those the smugglers had smuggled into the city were even now working on placing more of the dangerous jars of liquid fire at strategic points throughout the city's defences.  When the time was right, they would be released, to cause chaos, death, and destruction, allowing the oncoming army an easier time at taking over the city. 

A small strike-force, including the exhausted Kulo, and their thri-kreen contact, Ix'it, had taken down the communications cell, but the jars had already been transported throughout the city.  One of the captured would-be saboteurs, an elf named Mutami, had agreed to not only give names and locations, but help the group take the smugglers return for some spare ceramic, and not being killed for being a traitor. 

Before they departed, the very weary Kulo, took Kuoroar! aside, and with a grin, pointed out a new adornment hanging around his neck.  A bloody ear.  "Xalos didn't want to name names, he kept trying to play us, so I gave him some incentive.  This is my trophy!"  After a moment's pause, he held out a hand, and said "Thought you'd like one, too - there' pretty rare!"  In his opened hand lay another bloody ear, a pair for the one hanging about his neck.

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