After the Alpha Male submitted to Vernaux, the party was able to gather up even more of the beasts and bring them back to the main army. The party was able to get 34 purple worms under the control of the Alpha Male. Riding on the backs of the worms, they led them across the desert where they could find their army, and begin the march again to Silver Mesa.
On their way back, an arrow flew out of nowhere, and exploded in front of them throwing up sand everywhere. A familiar voice called out from behind the rocks “Put down your weapons, and we won’t hurt you”. A figure, wearing a cowl, and many other pieces of cloth to obscure his face walked towards the party. He stopped however when he recognized Vernaux. He pulled off part of his cowl, revealing some black skin and asked “Vernaux, is that you?”
The party recognized the voice as Zant Majora. The old friends immediately got back together, and talked with each other about the things they had done while they were away. The party talked about their recent exploits, while Zant told them that he had joined an ancient league of assassins that had some secret headquarters in the desert. He told them that he would get permission for some of them to come, they agreed and Zant left, while the party traveled back to the army.
Fletchridge soon saw a huge dust cloud approaching them. He told the archers to ready themselves and soon as they were in range, he shouted for them to fire. Arrows zipped across the desert, and the party soon found themselves in a storm of arrows. Ander sent a message to Fletchridge telling him to stop firing. Fletchridge then went about telling the soldiers to cease fire. The purple worms then burst into the camp, startling Fletchridge and a bunch of soldiers. Vernaux then stepped off the creature, and it bowed it’s head to Vernaux. Fletchridge was impressed, but a little intimidated by the creatures.
They then took Fletchridge to the side, and told him they were going somewhere in the desert with Zant. Fletchridge agreed as long as he would know the Purple Worms would be kept under control. Vernaux went and told the worms to behave themselves, while the party geared up for a trip across the desert. Soon Zant arrived, with a few men in desert garb with them. Zant said he was only allowed to take 5 people, and so the party decided to go together.
They traveled across the desert, through the scorching sun, and by dusk came across an old city, that had been lost to the sands. The remnants of a few buildings remained, and they decided to camp there for the night. Gamli, put his hand to the wall of a building and started seeing visions of the distant past.
Shadowy forms crossed over Gamli’s vision until he was in a new time period. He was in the same building, just with less sand in it, and saw several soldiers running around frantically. The sun was setting on the horizon, and just as it set Gamli could see through a window the sand shifting in the ground.
Back in our time, the sun was just about to set. The party was setting up camp, and were up on the building with Gamli. Gamli then started muttering in his trance “sands… shifting… sunset…” The party unsure of what to do, looked around at the sand surrounding them. They then saw it begin to shift.
Gamli peered out the window, as a frantic guard ran past. He soon saw metal arms clawing their way out of the sand, and reaching out to grab anything close to them. One unlucky camel got grabbed by it’s ankle and was dragged into the sand. Gamli saw 10 of these shifting sand piles in the city.
“Metal… arms… camel…” The whispers from Gamli were quiet but distinct against the sound of the sands moving in the background. The party drew their weapons and set up a defensive circle around Gamli, as metallic arms just like the ones Gamli saw in his vision started to claw their way out of the ground. This spooked the camels they had and they started to run off. Vernaux, seeing the camels starting to get frightened, jumped off and chased the camels hoping to get to them before it was too late.
In the vision Gamli watched helplessly as these metallic golems crawled their way out of the sand and began to destroy the city. Fireballs shot at the golems were only absorbed by the creatures. Soldiers pitifully tried to attack with their swords, but the swords couldn’t even leave a scratch. Just then the building Gamli was in exploded as a metallic arm reached in and grabbed a soldier. The man screamed for his life as he was dragged and torn in two.
Gamli awoke from his vision to see the sands shifting in front of him. An arm burst from the ground and scared the camels away. Vernaux, began running even faster in an attempt to catch up to the camels, but the soft sand impeded his movement. Gamli shouted at them “Don’t shoot fire at the golems, it won’t hurt them” and then cast a spell on Vernaux, which hardened the sand at his feet, making it easier for him to walk.
Vernaux shouted back “We need to get out of here, I’ll bring the camels back to that entrance” he pointed as he ran to a spot in the old wall that had been torn down. An arm was pulling itself up out of the ground there. Alton jumped down, feet lightly touching the sand as he went to clear up the entrance for Vernaux. John and Ander saw 2 more golems headed in the direction of Alton, and went to intercept them. Gamli and Zant stayed in the building in an attempt to snipe from afar.
Vernaux pulled up against the golem crawling out of the sand and attacked with his swords. The golem took the hits to its head as it continued crawling out of the ground, the magical blades leaving cuts and dents where they struck. The things arms prevented Vernaux from running past, and the camels were now out of the city, running as fast as they could. Another golem was coming up behind Vernaux.
Zant seeing Vernaux needed some help, shot a bomb arrow off at the golem running towards him. The arrow lodged itself in the golems arm and exploded his arm off, exposing the insides of the golem. Vernaux, using this distraction, ran past the golem to chase after the camels. Another bomb arrow directed at the golem next to Vernaux, distracted it long enough for it to turn around and run towards Zant.
Alton ran up to the golem climbing out of the sand and lit up Dawnbringer. With a ferocious yell, Alton charged and started slashing at the golem. The golem seeing the threat, flipped one of it’s hands out for a sword, and shook his other arm to put up flaps like a shield. Alton and the golem continued to fight, trading blow for blow.
Ander and John ran to the golem, that was gearing up to attack Alton from behind. Running up to it, John hit hard, while Ander cast spells to make John stronger. John then did his best to tear the golem up. The golem not expecting this opposition, was promptly destroyed. Another golem jumped off a building coming towards the duo.
Zant saw the opportunity to attack the exposed golem with another bomb arrow. He took a deep breath, and fired his explosive arrow. The golem distracted by Vernaux got hit in the hole where is arm used to be. The golem exploded from the inside, launching his head so fast it blasted threw a wall. The golem staggered and then dropped to the ground. The other golem was charging towards Zant.
Zant smiling after his well placed shot, looked up to see the other golem coming towards him. Zant climbed out of the window, and hid behind the wall. The thundering footsteps in the sand got closer, until they hit something solid. The golem’s footsteps could be heard charging through the room Zant had just left. Before he could react, the wall exploded as the golem charged through it, slamming Zant in the side. They tumbled down the side of the hill, knocking his bomb arrow bag off of him. Zant jumped away from the golem, with a bomb arrow still nocked to his bow. He saw the bag that the golem had just rolled past and fired at it.
The explosion shook the area launching Zant, and the golem through the air. Alton had successfully stabbed his sunblade into the shield of the golem, and proceeded to cut him up into smaller pieces. Gamli had jumped down, and was using his axe to cut into the golem even further. It shuddered under the onslaught of the two, and eventually broke down, pieces of it scattered in the desert. The camels, being chased by a dancing sword, came around to the side where everyone was at. Vernaux was the first to jump on a camel, and they rode off into the night.
They made it to the fortress late into the night. Everyone was tired, but Zant still insisted that they go and see his boss before they go to bed. Althrain stood in the antechamber waiting for them to arrive. Zant introduced them to Althrain, and he came down to ask each of them several questions. Through the conversation, Althrain learned that they wanted to take down Silver Mesa, and he decided to offer his help on one condition. That he gets to choose who the next leader will be. The party agreed. He told 100 of his expert assassins to prepare themselves for battle, and for his butler Salaar to get the men a room. In the meantime they feasted on Giant Scorpion, and Gamli used some of the metal from the golems to craft some new blades. They slept and left in the morning.
On the way back they came to the place where they were attacked by the golems. The explosion’s blast marks was still there as were the golems that were destroyed. The ones that were still alive were nowhere to be seen. Althrain had some of his men gather the scraps and they moved on.
They soon arrived to the location of the army, and Althrain introduced himself to Fletchridge. With the spellcasters back, they decided to transport the whole army using the Gate spell, cast by Gamli. Vernaux took the purple worms across the desert by himself. The army lined themselves up behind Gamli, but Gamli then realized he needed a gemstone to cast the spell. Althrain obliged with a red diamond, that glittered under the desert sun. Holding the stone for Gamli, he channeled the magic through the diamond. The Gate opened leading into the canyon.
The army surged forward in an attempt to get as many through as possible. Alton, and Ander led the charge, with Ander sending a message to Skullmon about the incoming army. Alton had made a bet with Bree over who could get in first, and because they were standing on the shoulders of some unlucky soldiers, they smacked their helmets and told them to “go faster”! Alton’s mount was just a little faster than Bree’s. The gate soon closed, but not before a sizable chunk of soldiers could get through. They repeated this each day, until everyone had gotten through. Gamli and Althrain were the last ones to enter the gate.
The party helped with final preparations around the canyon, and even trained a lot of soldiers on how to be more resilient against fear, and to be better soldiers. Soon Fletchridge called them and told them that they needed to make some battle plans. Tomorrow, they would ride out against Silver Mesa. They were ready to begin the war on Gardway.