Report Filed: Raining Leaves 10th, 3126
Forest Dance 23rd, 3126
We boarded one of those long, low desert ships. Odd thought that. The captain seemed trustworthy enough. Before shoving off, the desert rider slipped something to Lt. Volstagg. That, and the assassin declined to continue with the team. Not surprising. I would not have.
The trip was just under four hours. Beautiful, almost cloudless day on a cool boat ride across a placid lake. If were were not hundreds of miles behind enemy lines, cut off, alone, and being hunted…actually, I had a decent trip. The others…
RFC Zathlan/Volstagg spend her trip obsessed with fish. I think the pregnancy is affecting her mental state. Or, maybe not. Which is worse, come to think.
Danica prowled the ship like a caged animal. So, no change.
The Ogres, sat.
Sgt Amaroth was unusually quiet, though he did glower with his good eye. Again, no change.
Daynore bears monitoring. An adept and Farspeaking having their mind violated? One cannot compare such things, but I fear only Nexus has any clue of how he is feeling. Neither seem to be taking their…assaults well. But, she has more courage than most. He…will adapt.
The Lt did the rounds. I think it is a Ranger thing. Or, maybe an Echer’Naught thing. What do I know. The others probably need to ataboy. Considering the circumstances, Volstagg has held up fairly well. I just wonder what happens when he realizes that he can’t get us out of this alive?
Then we test his Olaran blood.
At just around noon we arrived in a large fishing village on the north-east shore of Oasis Lake. I took the skipper at his word and kept my hands inside the boat. Last way I want to die is swallowed whole by a 30+ foot croc.
At the docks we were met by local loaders. Good news, the disguises worked. As soon as we set foot, or more appropriately Tempari stepped foot, on the dock every linen wrapped worker dropped to their knees. Bad news, we would attract attention wherever we went. As long as we were not required to know the day’s passphrase…
The workers let us a pass, but a local Salar and is Paighan stopped us. With the necklace of translation that the Emissary lent Lt. Volstagg, we were able to convince the local guards to let us pass, but something gave me the impression that was not the last we would see of them. I noted, that they conformed to the patterns I observed in A’Tora. Each Salar officer led 4-5 guards. These were local, not Xaos; chain armor, helms, oval shields, and scimitars.
Once through the first security checkpoint, we found a community well. The locals cleared out as soon as we entered the area. Security was accommodating, but again, the high profile made me nervous. We filled our skins and moved on to a nearby outdoor bazaar.
Again, Lt. Volstagg took point, acting on behalf of the “Xaos Wizard” Tempari. He spent the Gold coin from the Empire of the Golden Sun. The merchant accepted it greedily, though, I fear that coin will continue to cause us nothing by pain. Still, it paid for our resupply, even with a camel. Entire process took no more than an hour. We were watched from corner streets and rooftops guards, but none intervened. Still, every officer and guard in the city was alerted to our presence. There would be NO way to slip away unnoticed.
After gathering supplies, food, water, medicine, and travel gear for two weeks of travel, we headed out of the town north and east. It was large, but we reached desert quickly after leaving the main residential areas. Just outside the town, we ran into another patrol. This, like the other consisted of the officer, and four men. All armed and garbed in local kit. However, this man was sharper than the others. He offered an escort for our party, but Lt. Volstagg declined on behalf of Tempari. That was a mistake.
The Salar did not challenge us, but it was clear he suspected out motives. And, because of that, the patrol continued to track us. We reached the Black Sand Wall at the north east corner of the clear zone around the Oasis Lake, but the cavalry patrol was a short, but respectful distance behind us. Our options were to try and ambush the mounted patrol, but we would have to eliminate every one in a single hit, or face a much larger force. Or, go ahead and start the Tempest Cyclone. At least that way, any fight would put everyone at a disadvantage.
Lt. Volstagg ordered Tempari to begin the spell, while we formed up around the Tempest mage.
In reality, the spell takes 2 minutes. But it seems like an eternity. As expected, as soon as the giant swirl of wind kicked up sand, the Raiders attacked. Five dismounted, crouched behind a high dune and opened fire with bows. The other ten in two groups of five, each lead by a Salar, flanked from the south and rode down out group in wedge formation.
You have to give the desert riders credit. Under normal conditions the attack would have been overwhelming and devastating. However, standing as we were in a literal hurricane of a sandstorm…much of the battle fell to lucky blows. Their numerical advantage disappeared as fast as the light in the midst of the storm, as the sun was blotted out by the sands. I was on the north side of our formation, so was spared the initial assault. In the blackness and roar that as the sandstorm I could make out shapes moving, and hear some screams and clash of arms, but mostly, I just fired at shadows in a black swirling cloud of death.
As the rider formation enveloped our team, the last four mounted warriors swung around, two attacking me, the last two managing to flank our position and make a run at the Tempari. All the while, from the dune, the archers loosed arrows into the storm. Most of their shots were blown wide off course, but enough stuck flesh to winnow our forces. A few found Tempari, but Corporal Daynore batted them aside with the large Targe he carries like a totem.
My of fight was fast and brutal, but I managed to put arrows into the attackers as our formation shifted ever north to cover Tempari from the flanking riders. Ever second I was alternately slammed into the ground, blasted by sand, or felt my very soul shearing from my body. But…after two harrowing minutes, Tempari released the cyclone into the Black Sand Wall, with predictable results…
A hole, however brief, appeared in the impenetrable wall of Black Sand. Around us, the bodies of the riders littered the bloody sand, their mounts running, shrieking in the storm. However, the bowmen continued to pour arrows into us. Lt. Vosltagg ordered retreat, so we ran. All but Volstagg and Ranna, who was just picking herself off the ground. At some point in the fight, she had been dropped, then the winds had picker up her massive body and hurled it into Volstagg and, I think, RFC Danica…
I sprinted with the others through the gap, and found ourselves on the far side, standing in an endless desert, baking in the noon sun. Joy…
Moments later, Lt. Volstagg and Ranna charged through, arrows whistling around them. The curtain wall behind us closed and were were alone, for the moment. However, intelligence reported that the Xaos warriors could navigate their own storms, so we had only minutes before the REAL threat showed up.
So, exhausted, we staggered deeper into the hellish landscape of the deep desert. And, the camel was dead with most of our supplies. We traveled well enough till nightfall, but the roving sand storms caught us.
Forest Dance 24th, 3126
As we were packing out gear to move out, the howling wind outside rose sharply. A sandstorm was upon us. Were it not for the arcing azure blue lightning protecting us, our flesh would have been stripped from our flesh as we huddled in our makeshift hole.
Four days, that storm tried to alternately choke us, smother us, grind us down, and toss us like ragdolls.
Forest Dance 28th, 3126
We dug out and moved that night for 8 hours until the morning of the 29th. And, we were hit again. This hell only lasted a day.
Forest Dance 29th, 3126
Dug out again, moved that night. We made good time, despite being low on food and water. No one complained. Not even RFC Zathlan. Respect. We bedded down early on the 30th, and waited. The storm was on us almost immediately.
This time, we were under for three days. No on saw stars until the 33rd.
Forest Dance 33rd, 3126
And again, we dug out. Without food and little water, we were in rough shape, but we could only move forward. We continued moving north and east overnight till the Raining Leaves 1st, 3126. Hit again before setting camp. Three days this time.
Raining Leaves 4th, 3126
Dug out and moved. By now, dehydration was getting to the team. We were on quarter water rations…If we didn’t find water soon… Hiked four days… Four days. Danica, Audric, and I gave up most of our water for the others… but it wouldn’t matter…
Raining Leaves 8th, 3126
Last leg. We don’t find water soon, mission is blown. Somebody spots structures in the dunes. We stagger for it. Location, estimate 30+ miles north and east of the north east coast of the Oasis Lake. All that we found left were some half tumbled walls, bits and pieces of adobe roofs. But, more cover than we had seen in weeks.
We hunkered down. Storm hit in the morning, the 9th. No chance to search for supplied. Lasted one day.
Raining Leaves 10th, 3126
Most of us were down, or as good as. Grendel and Ranna sussed out a well under the sand in a central square. They dug hard until they hit desiccated wood, and a well. We only brought up wet sand…but the best sight in the world.
No food. Barely any water. No support. Farspeaker still out of contact. This may be our last report.