When we last left the party…
With Dorkarat recovering from the attack the party decided to move on towards their goal. First though they met a gnome named Doxi, who after discovering the party’s dragon familiar was drafted to join them in their adventures. Raltar, meanwhile, took the first steps to initiate trade with the minotaurian civilization. To aid in the party’s travels the citizens of Dorkarat escorted them to the tunnels underneath the desert that would take them to Atarth without needing to traverse the desert, as well as offering what provisions they could spare.
Their minotaurian guide, Siti, led the party for what felt like a day underground before leaving them with pictograph directions of which symbols to follow and ominous warnings of the dangers in the tunnels. Progressing through the tunnels the group notices a variety of images and symbols etched into the walls, and Nicholas is able to understand that it’s a historical record of the various different civilizations that came to inhabit Zaatir after being forced from their original homelands after the Dragon Wars, the dialect and language fluxuating slightly as they leave the tunnels immediately underneath Dorkarat and travel closer to Atarth.
Supposedly, their journey should only take a week of travel thanks to not being hampered by the rough desert conditions above. However time quickly becomes irrelevant in a situation where the only source of light is the light the party creates through arcane or mechanical means, and their days and nights rapidly fall victim to their own biological clocks as opposed to the movements of the sun. Regardless they soldier on, making good time through the darkened passageways. Their first “night” alone in the tunnels passes uneventfully, but soon enough the dangers of the caverns make themselves known.
It begins in the form of skeletal serpents, sinking their fangs deep into the party’s ankles. Or in Doxi’s case, her tiny gnome calves. They manage to vanquish the bone serpents, only to discover a large cavern deep within the tunnels housing some sort of slumbering reptilian giant. Erring on the side of caution, the party sneaks around the beast and continues their journey through the tunnels. As the group reaches the end of their time in the tunnels they’re beset by a swarm of large insectoid creatures, and the battle for their lives begins.
Thankfully Nicholas is the only one to fall unconscious, and before more of the party can fall they’re joined by a pair of thri-kreen riding atop more of the insectoid giants. The thri-kreen wrangle the creatures and escort the party back to their camp, where Nicholas makes contact with the queen and learns that the thri-kreen were forced underground lifetimes ago by those who moved onto the surface above, fostering a deep distrust of surface dwellers. The party manages to talk their way out of being eaten and the thri-kreen send them on their way with much reluctance, especially from Histu, one of their generals. Not too long later, the group finally emerges into the sweltering sunlight of the desert as they exit the tunnels under Zaatir. The first thing they see is obviously the sand and the sun, but the first thing they hear is the sound of a horde of orcs and half-orcs crescendoing over a nearby sand dune and charging directly for them.
Will the party survive being charged by a horde of orcs? Is Doxi regretting joining the party? And how much longer could it possibly take them to get to the southern continent? Those answers and more next time on Dawn of the Storm!