Dark Sun: Seared to the bone

The Canyon of Gothay

Two days later the little wagon train was traversing the Great Alluvial Sand Wastes. Ku-ki’cha was in a good mood; this was his homeland, and he chattered constantly about local landmarks until the party persuaded him to scout ahead. The sun had passed its zenith when the thri-kreen called out in his piping accent, “It is here! Come and look!” The company caught him up and found themselves close to the brink of a cliff. A broad but not overlong cleft ran through the rocky floor of this part of the desert. Towards the top of the cliff, many caves could be seen. This, then, was the Canyon of Gothay. The party pooled their knowledge of such places and formed an educated guess as to which caves might be most likely to hide the treasure vault – and what unpleasant denizens might lurk within them.

A search of the caves near the base of the canyon resulted in one opening, distinguished by a strong smell of rotting flesh. Wil noticed some scratch marks on rocks inside the entrance that he thought might be House Madar signs. “Let’s try this one”, he urged, and so Ku-ki’cha edged warily into the dark opening. Althaea, using her telekinesis, had lifted and dropped a sunrod in what she estimated was the middle of the space beyond. Its light partially illuminated a moderately sized cavern. Ku-ki’cha advanced into the centre and saw a pile of skeletal remains and assorted weaponry, interspersed with some fresher corpses, gith from their look. Rings on the skeletons bore the insignia of Houses Madar and Tsalaxas. As he took all this in the bodies began to move and get unsteadily to their feet. The thri-kreen dodged their grasping hands and dashed straight across the cavern, heading for an exit on the other side.

The next couple of minutes were taken up with fighting a good number of skeletons and zombies who appeared out of the shadows, a task complicated by the fact that one zombie was endowed with magical powers. Ku-ki’cha found himself cut off from his companions and sorely beset by this creature, which conjured an area of impenetrable darkness around him. He felt the zombie bite one of his limbs and hoped he hadn’t caught anything. Across the cave a furious fight was in progress between the party and about a dozen undead, while skeletal archers fired relentlessly into the melee, not caring whether they hit their allies or not. Despite their foes’ clumsiness, Ku-ki’cha and Althaea had fallen beneath their blows and Wil was struggling in the clutches of a zombie. Naivara obligingly destroyed its brain, allowing Wil to rejoin the fight. Together, he, Naivara and Graven rallied and counterattacked fiercely, overcoming their enemies. Graven was even able to revive Althaea and Ku-ki’cha, allowing the latter to finish off the last two undead.

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