City in the Dust

The Diagram

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This much we know. What it means we do not.

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I Am Aleksej
From the Journals of Aleksej Kirikdan - Entry 1

Aleksej. Aleksej Kirikdan. I remember my name. And with comes the nightmares. The flames. The screams. The vicious hordes. The death. So much death. I am remembering, and I am here, the City in the Dust. I have no recollection of arriving, only of searching. But now I am remembering. I am aware.
Another notices that I am aware, and takes me gently to clean up and go see the master. I will finally meet the Eyeless Sage of Tanalore. But others are with him. Strangers. One bears a blue boar in ink upon his chest, he is Trueman. Another, just arrived in the city, clad in winter furs, an elf is named Kevquarim. The third is also a half-elf named Kainen. They all knew each other in another life. The old man says there are to be two others. He speaks with knowledge beyond what we understand, but we know he speaks truth. This is no longer just my story, this is now our story, and the Eyeless Sage calls us saviours. And in his assistant Leashem’s eyes I see hope. All I can think of is vengeance.
I am Aleksej and I am from Auren, in the fallen kingdoms. My City fell, and now the City in the Dust stands to fall as well. As we spoke with Leashem, who lead us to an armory to outfit ourselves. I learned that I am always armed. As we picked our gear, the bells began to ring. The City was under attack. This City can not fall. I will not let it. The others gathered their supplies and we left. Dust Goblins were attacking. We gathered on the front steps and met Cuthbert, the captain of the guard. The Eyeless Master shielded the shrine with old magics from his Dragonbone staff. and we met the enemy. As Kevquarum and Kainen started plying their magics strange things began to happen. The air began to vibrate. We began to make short work of the waves of Dust Goblins but then the magic air vibration popped and small fiery creaters popped into being. We later learned them to be Magma Mephits. They too attacked. Kev yelled for us to use no magic, but we became sorely pressed by goblins,Hounds of Hell, and by a winged man, a Cambion who began to do us great harm. The Cambion went after Kev, and at one point took his mind. We were hard pressed, because the magics had once more collided and popped, and a fierce creature of the outer realms appeared and lay waste. We learned it was a Grey Slaad. Kainen pulled lightning and healed Trueman, who hew and smote, as I blasted with my internal magics the dread beast. Eventually we laid it low and sought to help Kev. The Cambion had been demanding the book and the key, artefacts that protect the city. They must not fall in his hands. He was defeated, but not vanquished, and he opened the very earth and descended into its depths. We were sorely pressed, but we four survived. I survived. I am Aleksej Kirikdan. It is still new to say it.
With the crisis over, for now, we rested, and learned more from the Eyeless Master. We learned that for our magic to work without detriment, we need foci. The Etheric Thresholds react without a foci. Then we learned it was time for us to journey into the wastes and seek out Sir Gregor Brood, agent of the Argent Quill. He is to be in Kingrave to the south. We are given a map and information, and there we must go.

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Leaving the City in the Dust

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A pdf of this is in the Media Library and is called tripmap. It may be a better image to download, etc.

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Waking up
Kainen Awakens

Kainen awoke in a strange place, in a strange body, but somehow he recognized Truman…

My thinking is that this world may be an afterlife and that even Kev has died and moved on… tho his experience with the transition seems quite different than my own. It is interesting that I find myself in a half-human body… and I can’t help but think that perhaps the cycle of reincarnation has been a reflection of the life I lived. I must not have been been on the true path, and now find myself tainted with blood of a lesser race. Is this a punishment?

The eyeless sage speaks in riddles but one thing is clear, this next life is as I suspected, a balance between forces of good and evil, life and death, just as the last one was. He speaks of gods with no names and books, and keys, and I can’t help but think that perhaps I have been awakened here to continue a journey of spirit more so than a physical one. It has been shown to me that death is not an ending, and so, while I do not want to die, I do not fear it. I believe that this place, where ever it is in the miltiverse, is where I belong, and I will continue to follow the path laid out before me.

So when I saw those goblins in and around the buildings and called forth the magic of the land to erupt and bring the building down atop them, and I felt the magic energies building around me, I did not fear. Even when Kev was calling out to limit our magic, I felt a need to stay true to who and what I am.

I was aware of Truman charging into the one building that remained standing, but in the chaos of battle I lost track of the other two. I could feel the magic surrounding me, building, but I also knew that more enemies were coming. So I called forth lightning from the skies and struck down the remaining goblins.

And that’s when the magic burst, the energies that had been building surging around me and conjuring a group of magma mephits. I thought at first that perhaps they were under my control, but this proved to be incorrect as they quickly attacked. Cursing this new turn of events, I quickly put up a cold fire shield that would protect me from their attacks.

The rest of the battle was a blur of chaotic action… more goblins came at us, Kev and my combined magics again summoned a creature, this time a mighty slaad, which seems hell bent on eating everything that moved. Even when Kev put a group of goblins to sleep for it to feast on, it still chose to attack Truman! But together we brought it down with sword and lightning.

This cambion creature was an interesting encounter. He seemed focused on Kev and for a short time took control of his mind, but luckily a well placed lightning strike snapped him out of that… is there anything that lightning doesn’t solve?

So now, we once again have a quest and the road set out before us. I would be a liar if I did not admit that this strange new place feels completely foreign to me, but I also feel that it is where I need to be.

Now to find a focus so that this wild magic doesn’t kill us all. If I didn’t know any better I’d say there was some strange power out there that has something against spell casters…

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Origin Story
Gunga Mai

Drudgery. One step after another. My world, my vision, my consciousness barely extends beyond myself. I am locked in an endless rhythm of step after step, I stare at the dusty ground in front of me as one sandaled foot after the other enters my line of site only to retract again like a wave crashing on the shore and hastily retreating. My head full of cobwebs, I can’t maintain a single coherent thought. Grasping at the thoughts, memories, and reveries that enter my consciousness but then recede as quickly as that. Desperate to hold them. Desperate to maintain them. Whispers, faces, smells, and sounds from another lifetime. And just like that they vanish. I let out a howl of frustration. Or I think it was my voice. Who am I? What am I doing here? Walking? I’ve no concept of time. I’ve no concept of anything at all other than the rhythm of one blurry sandaled foot after another. The howl. There it is again. A cry … an anguished and desperate cry for something. Mai. Gunga Mai. Gunga Mai? There is something so familiar about that sound … that phrase. And why or rather how can I remember anything other than the endless steps and the dust? Gunga Mai I shout. That’s it. That is my name. Gunga Mai.

Slowly my vision clears and I am able to hold onto a thought. I look up; something I haven’t done for a very long time it seems. I see a city wall or gate or something. Have the Gods cursed me? Where am I? I have an unslakeable thirst. It seems consciousness has its price. “Water!” I yell as I collapse in front of the gate. I see a face. An angry face. Or is that concern? I know not which. Rough hands pick me up and load me onto a cart and I can barely make out buildings as they pass slowly by. A city of dust. A city in the dust. And then blackness.

Character crunch: Gunga Mai is a 4th level eldritch knight. He is an unremarkable height of 5’8” and weighs 175 pounds; with brown eyes and dark brown hair when his head is not completely shaved bald. He hails from the horse people of the grasslands. A nomadic people who live in Yurts off the land. They breed and trade horses of the best variety. I visualize him to be Mongolian so to speak. He has the military discipline of a soldier and is quite quiet and soft spoken.

He has wandered in the wastes for many weeks in a stupor. He is almost catatonic until he awakens. He has done something wrong; something very wrong. It is slowly coming back to him. He has murdered someone, someone prominent, and was exiled out into the wastelands to wander and die. Forsaken, cold, thirsty and alone he has stumbled though the dust.

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