After wrapping up gear purchases and the introduction of two new members—Clain and Mercutio—the PCs departed from Tyr to find Orthagrus at Boiler’s Foot. After fairly easy traveling through Tyr’s Verdant Belt, the party then traveled south through boulder fields, which were slower going. Not long after entering the boulder fields, Tibalt and Ta’riik heard a very faint explosion in the far off distance. Shortly thereafter, the ground began to move and shake, and Athas rumbled violently. After about 1 minute of shaking, the ground stopped and all grew silent. Very, very far off in the distance–farther than the PCs could discern – they saw a huge and steady plume of black-gray smoke billowing into the air in the southeastern sky. The plume continued for a couple minutes before fading into the olive sky. Whatever that was was staggeringly enormous…
After catching their senses again, the PCs set up camp. In the middle of the night, the party succeeded in fending off a large gith raiding party. The PCs departed again in the morning, and about midday, a roc began circling high overhead, following the party through the course of the day. Toward the end of the day, the party came across a small oasis with hardy shrubbery and short, stocky trees that created a ring around a very small hot spring. Water bubbled up from the ground, before seeping back in and leaving a small pool of cooling water.
Upon arrival at the oasis—Boiler’s Foot—the roc landed near the PCs and in a human voiced asked what their business was. Soon thereafter, the roc polymorphed into who the party would later find out is Orthagrus, the druid watching over Boiler’s Foot. Initially uninterested in helping, the PCs managed to elicit Orthagrus’ aid in destroying the disks in exchange for a favor. The old druid explained that he had a disciple, Iumis, who disappeared about 6 months ago, and his best information gathering suggests the disciple was captured by the slavers of Kra’Hunr while Iumis was intervening on behalf of one of the nomadic villages at the south end of the Empty Ring—a large, oddly unpopulated swatch of scrub plains, south of and presumably fed by Boiler’s Foot. Orthagrus explained that, if his information is correct, Iumis was either killed or more likely turned into a thrall by the slavers of Kra’Hnur. The village—comprised entirely of former half-giant slaves—has made a name for itself as a very aggressive and successful slaving tribe. Their strikes are overwhelming and aggressive, and once they capture their victims, they use suspected psionic means to turn their captives into thralls—essentially living zombies. Some thralls are kept to tend to the village’s flocks of kanks and erdlu but many are sold to merchants traveling the western road of the Tablelands.
He further explained that Kra-Hnur is located in the crumbled remnants of an ancient fort where the Ringing Mountains give way to the Forest Ridge via a natural valley in the mountain chain. The village isn’t large but most of the raiders are former gladiators or trained soldiers and are quite dangerous. As half-giants they do not have the most elaborate of tactics, but they are practiced raiders and will not completely be unprepared to respond to raids of the village itself. Orthagrus explains that the only way he will help the PCs and Tyr is to help find out what happened to Iumis. If possible, he would like Iumis returned, and if not, he would like Iumis’ life to come to a peaceful end. Iumis is a human in his mid-30s with dark brown hair and mostly typical features—save that one of his eyes is blue and the other green.
After spending the night near Boiler’s foot, the PCs departed the following morning and came across a herd of wild driks in the rocky badlands, who the PCs deftly circumvented. After a couple more days of travel, the PCs found the trail that presumably leads to Kra’Hnur. The party decided to find a good location to camp in order to watch the trail and scout the trail, as well as the village, with Tibalt’s eagle, C’ktul. Through scouting the party discovered the following:
- There is a huge valley between the party’s current location and the village, and a very long bridge traverses the valley.
- The village has more people in it than does the party and most are bigger.
- There is something with a very deep voice under the bridge.
After a few days of waiting, C’ktul alerted the PCs of a westward-bound group heading presumably toward Kra-Hnur. The eagle reported that there are significantly more people in that group the size of the PCs, but that there is also a number of larger humanoids about equal in number to the PCs. They are roughly 8 miles away.