Woeful ingrate pup! This is the last time I'm coming to this oasis to tell it stories!
Atajinn completes striking his meager campsite and walks past Kaaras in a hurry.
"Good day, sir spirit! I think I left something out in the sand over there..."
Atajinn appears to be heading north.
He's not completely bonkers, he'll leave plenty of tracks and "randomly" strewn rocks for the group to find him once they're done at the oasis.
Kaaras sighs as Atajinn walks off, muttering something about gnomes and patience.
"My apologies once again spirit. Atajinn lives in a world much too big for him and has to try and keep 5 steps ahead of everyone, lest he get left behind. His hastiness knows no bounds. If there is anything I can ever do for you, please feel free to ask and I will do what I can."
He bows respectfully to the retreating spirit.
Dahrani lets out a deliberately exaggerated sigh as he packs up his belongings.
"Kaepora, please follow Atajinn to make sure he stays out of trouble."
Dahrani turns to the spirit as he walks by, following Atajinn's trail to the north.
"Dear spirit, I vow to return to the Formian nest to exterminate those foul creatures once I am experienced and capable enough to do so. The demeanor of our dear Gnomish friend may deceive appearances, but I assure you we are all disappointed that we were no match for those beasts."
The spirit stops as the water reaches it's back. It turns around and addresses Dahrani.
"Thank you Dahrani. I foresee greater things for you all. The wisdom to know when a task is beyond your reach is something I find lacking in most people. Perhaps we will speak again another time."
The spirit then enters the pool and it can be seen briefly descending to the depths.
"Well, that concludes that conversation I suppose."
Gaddy looks to Dahrani and Kaaras, smiling faintly.
"Something about elementals? Or are we headed elsewhere? Are they far? We should prepare ourselves as best we can. Things from other planes can be dangerous if we go ill prepared."
Atajinn stops abruptly. While he stands alone in the desert he ponders to himself for a moment.
I almost forgot. I better take care of that little pesh problem before it gets out of hand any further...
He turns southwest and begins a return journey to Solku.
Kaaras hurries off to catch up with the impatient gnome.
"Looks like you have something you wanted to take care of back in Solku my friend. Probably a good idea restock on supplies and maybe find out if anyone knows more about those elementals while we are there. And we can update our friends on the formians as well and post warning to potential travelers."
The druid stops and waits for the rest of the party to catch up before addressing them.
"Did anyone else have anything they wanted to take care of?"
"No thanks! I've got all the supplies I need!"
Atajinn looks at Kaaras quizzically and points to his ring of sustenance.
"Dahrani said something about hunting some big vulture creature. I think there were some remains left at the oasis. I'm sure that silly hyena spirit is willing to forgive and forget. Let's go check it out!"
He turns around 180 degrees and begins marching northwest, casting rocks aside via Mage Hand as he strolls carelessly through the desert.
"Well there's rations and whatever one needs for elementals in town I suppose."
Gaddy thinks for a few momenths.
[b]"What does one need for elementals? Do we know anything about elementals? 'Fire! Hot!' is about all I know. Well and ice is cold...But really it always seemed a wizarding thing and not the kind of thing a performer looked into, however talented, well traveled and versatile I may be."
Kaaras watches the absent-minded gnome turn around and begin his march.
"Well, luckily we have a wizarding type gnome with us. Most of the time. If we can get him to pay attention."
Kaaras calls out to Atajinn.
"Let us leave the spirit be for now, my little friend. Besides, I know you are interested in finding out what it's all about too."
He calls for Adaar to follow.
Dahrani begins to broaden his strides to catch up to Atajinn.
"Yes, let's see what we can find out about this creature. We should at least try to stop one threat to local travelers on this journey.
Besides, I'm already rather upset about having to stand down from a battle because I was not strong enough. I think I need to vent out some frustration...
Dahrani will search for remains once we arrive (back?) at the oasis
Dahrani holds his tongue while he looks over the sands.
There is little sign of the Ruk left, but you knowing the sign was there you can faintly make out traces from it's landing and eventual take off with the remains of the giant scorpion you had killed.
Atajinn pauses for a moment, seemingly in deep thought. He then marches directly back to the group leaving a tiny cloud of powdered sand in his wake near Dahrani.
Elementals... why are we talking about elementals? oh yes! now I remember.
What does Atajinn really know about Elementals? HD, Special Attacks, Defenses, DR, Favorite colors?
He turns abruptly to face Gadrick.
Ah yes! well well well, young Gaddy. The thing to know about elementals is that they each have powers corresponding to their own elements. For example, air elementals can't breath fire, ya know? Isn't that something? Judging by where in the mountains they attacked the caravan, I'd say the troublesome elementals Jaal warned us about were likely the earthy kind.
He looks over at Dahrani off in the distance a moment then leans in close to whisper to Gadrick.
Just between you and me, I've known Dahrani long enough to know how much he hates gnolls. If he wants to hunt down a Rukh it's probably because there was a gnoll riding it! He'd never turn away from a fight with gnolls.
The basic elementals, air, earth, fire, and water are just that, basic. They are primal creatures from the planes, but there are other creatures that have evolved beyond their primal cousins.
The conversation with Jaal comes back and something stands out. The creatures they encountered seemed to be made of loose sand and the nearby guards seemed to fall asleep unnaturally. This points to a group of Sandmen.
The Sandman is an elemental from the Plane of Earth. Unlike true earth elementals they are made of fine sand, giving them an amophous yet humanoid body, allowing them to squeeze through small cracks and spaces. This also makes them resistant to most blades and spears (DR/Bludgeoning). The loose material of their form also allows them to change into a more traditional elemental form, losing their resistance to blows.
Most notably though, the Sandman is known for his powers over sleep. There is an aura around them that causes weaker minds to fall asleep, and their natural blows can also put their targets to sleep. Unlike the sleep magic wielded by most wizards, this sleep has no restrictions for those of great confidence.
Gadrick nods slowly.
"I suppose that makes sense. I mean I figured fire is fire and water is water and earthy kinds are full of earth, but uhh.. why do they go amok and how does one make them stop going amok? Aren't they tied to things or places or wizards?"
I am entirely out of my reckoning. I need to find a book on the local fauna...
"Also, what's a Ruhk? Some kind of horse?...camel?...antelope?..elephant mount....thing?"
Kaaras stares off to the east a bit, his tongue cleaning a tusk while tasting the air. He turns to answer Gadrick before the gnome can rattle on.
"It is a two headed vulture, my not-as-short friend."
I need to remember to look down more...
"I know Dahrani wants to hunt this beast, but I believe the elemental attacks a more serious threat. Unless our ranger has found any signs of the beast near by, I suggest we make for The Lightning Stones."
Atajinn shakes his head and wiggles his fingers. A small breeze of sand wisps around Gadrick's head.
"No No No! You have to listen to the words written in the sand, my boy! These earth elementals are different. They are Sandmen! They make you drowsy and sleepy and lethargic and unawake! I bet that's why Jaal's guards fell asleep on watch."
"I feel tired already! The merchant road to the west in the Brazen Peaks that passes near the Lightning Stones is an excellent place to start, Kaaras! You're so much smarter than you look, that's why I follow you! Solku's on the way if you wanna stock up on Twitch Tonics!"
There may even be a few loose gems nearby... I could probably get a good price for some new glass pieces.
Kaaras closes his eyes and slowly places his index and middle finger on his brow, pressing gently.
I still can't decide if the thought of Atajinn having a conversation with a Treant would be hilarious, or a nightmare...
The druid cracks a small smile before his regular relaxed look takes back over.
"I know for a fact you rarely feel tired. And I agree, the merchant road is a good place to start. Does anyone need to stop back at Solku or can we make our way straight there? Does anyone know a shortcut?"
Atajinn scratches his head a moment then shrugs.
Did anyone listen to what I said? Lucky for me I don't mind talking to myself! I'm always good for a chat.
"Maybe we'll come across another traveling merchant caravan that might have Twitch Tonics... maybe we won't? I'd advise to be prepared and stop in Solku on the way or fall asleep on the job just like Jaal's guards!"
He drops to the sand in a corpse-like pose. Tiny letter Z's drift lazily from his head.
"I know Dahrani can stay awake forever but I'll get tired for sure!
He closes his eyes, then opens his eyes wide to speak.
"Or! Maybe Kaaras can talk the Sandmen out of attacking travelers just like he did with the Formians! You're all so brave!"
He closes his eyes again.
"While I am still not proficient in gnomish, I am pretty sure he is trying to tell us we need Twitch Tonics to help us avoid the unnatural powers over sleep these Sandmen have. And that he doubts we will find any on the way to The Lightning Stones unless we stop by Solku."
He might actually be fae in disguise...
Kaaras peers at the gnome for a second before looking for affirmation in his statement.
Atajinn springs to life suddenly at the mention of his name. He stands abruptly and shoots his hands into his haversack.
"Gadrick, my boy! You are the most cleverest apprentice I have had to date! We must summon Akare to us! Conjuring merchants requires but the jingle of silver feathers."
He produces a silver raven figurine from his sack and with a simple command, it springs to life.
"Pretty silver bird, You must travel to Solku and tell Akare to meet us along the Brazen Peaks merchant road toward the Lightning Stones in all haste. Bring Twitch Tonics and other trinkets of value for purchase! Atajinn, Dahrani, Gardrick and Kaaras need your help!"
Atajinn smiles widely to the group as the raven flies off.
"Shall we get going then? Don't want to keep the Sandmen waiting."
Gaddy's face is a mix of shock, confusion and a tinge of worry.
"I...I really don't think she'd do that. Have you done that with her before? Does she do that a lot? What if she just ignores it? We'll have walked in the entirely wrong direction for nothing, only to then have to go back to Solku."
Dharani shakes his head in disbelief as he rubs his forehead, hoping to deter an inevitable migraine from dealing with Atajinn.
"First he wants to stop in Solku, now he's trying to get a merchant from Solku to come to us? I can't deal with this anymore."
Dahrani sits on the ground.
"Kaaras wants to go to the Lightning Stones, but Atajinn wanted to stop in Solku first. Now he wants to 'summon' a merchant to meet us along the way? I can't keep up anymore. The rest of you can figure out what we're doing. Until then, I'm not moving an inch.
People who hire me as a guide are not nearly as infuriating and confusing as the lot of you, and they at least pay me."
Atajinn lets out a loud chuckle at Gadrick.
Nonsense! Why would anyone say no to a business opportunity with the magnificent, ostentatious and stupendous Atajinn Whimspeaker!?
He walks nonchalantly over to where Dahrani is sitting and whispers a soft incantation.
Honestly, you're a bit green around the gills for desert work, young Gaddy but you'll learn soon enough that I'm awful hard to ignore!
A tiny rock floats up off the ground and falls harmlessly onto Dahrani's turban. Atajinn then quickly circles back and throws up his hands in the air.
Karaas! You like helping people. Help me out here! I don't feel like sitting in the sand all day today... There's so much more to do!
By the Bloom, he's going to get me in heaps of trouble. Neither of them will like this I think, but I can't tell HIM that.
Gadrick scratches his head while shaking it hesitantly.
"Well, now I'm used to trees and towns and rivers and things. I can't imagine a merchant running out from a town back home on the promise of someone looking to purchase tonics. Seems like they could get themselves killed, or spend a great deal more coin than the trip is worth."
The desert sands are hot but there is a casual breeze that relieves the worst of the day. After a few hours the walls of Solku can be seen to the west, various travelers coming and going. After another hour or two of travel Solku now passed, and the night is coming on.
Most of the groups of travelers are settling in to camp out the night. They cluster together to share fires and stories, as well as guard duties for the night. One such camp offers the party a place with them.
Shortly after sun down an outrider comes into camp. He dismounts and begins to politely ask a few questions. One woman he talks to points over at the party and he soon approaches.
After some hurried greetings it becomes clear that he is in the service of Akare. She has agreed to meet you and she will be arriving in the morning with some wares, including the asked for tonic. With his message delivered the outrider soon begins his return trip back to Solku.
What would everyone like to purchase?
Gaddy's blinks in disbelief at the rider.
By the Rose. Well, I suppose I'll get some of those tonics Atajinn went on about and I'd better check the food stocks. I'd hate for the vittles to run thin. Shame though, I wanted to see the garden again... Oh! I suppose I'd better be sure to prepare spells more apt to a combative situation once we break camp tomorrow. I'd hate to be caught at a disadvantage.
Gaddy then returns to entertaining some of the other travelers with his juggling sticks and conversing with them.
1d20 + 13 ⇒ (3) + 13 = 16
+2 for jugglesticks
Using Diplomacy to gather information about anything anyone might know about elemental attacks or lightning stones.
1d20 + 10 ⇒ (20) + 10 = 30
+2 to improve attitude of oppressed, enslaved, imprisoned unless they have reason to distrust, Starting attitude is always at least indifferent
1 Twitch Tonic for me please. 45g.
It has also come to my attention that Dahrani (and or others) may need blunt weapons. Using Black Market Connections to increase the magic item availability per the rogue talent.
Edited because I missed the info gathered by Gadrick
"Never seen anything myself but heard old tales of an ancient battle ground up here in the mountains. The tale tells of a portal to the Land of Floating Rocks, and the battle fought between the forces of air and earth for control of the portal. Legend says that in the end the forces of air gained control, which is why to this day the sky scorches the stones high up in the mountains."
The following morning arrives without incident. Being this close to Solku, a lot of the travelers start slower than they would out in the open desert. The party has time to gather themselves and prepare for the day.
About two hours after dawn, a small group can be seen approaching from Solku. With them they have several porters carrying crates. As they get closer each of the party recognizes Garundi woman as she leads this group to the gathered travelers.
Akare walks up to the group and smiles at Atajinn and then at Gadrick.
"Śubhākāṅkṣalu sōdarulu! Sūryuḍu maḷḷī mī mīda lēcunu."
She then turns to Kaaras, Dahrani, Adaar, and Kaepora.
"And greetings to you Brothers Snake and Brothers Hawk."
She reaches behind her back and brings forth a small silver raven and passes it back to Atajinn.
"I have never seen one of these in person. This must have been an amazing find. You must tell me more about it some time. But now, to the business at hand. I have the tonics you requested, and some other useful stuff for you should you find need of it. I left the more beautiful items home as beautify is great while home, but on adventure it is less useful."
And she looks over her shoulder and the men with her begin to unload the crates.
She has a dozen twitch tonics to buy at standard cost. Beyond that, let me know what you may want and I will let you know if she has brought it with her.
2 MW Light Mace (305gp each); if she doesn't have these, I'll look for 2 MW Tonfa (301gp each)
2 Twitch Tonic (45gp each)
8 Trail rations (5sp each), though Dahrani is willing to hunt for our food if necessary. I just realized that Dahrani doesn't have rations in his gear.
2 Oil of Magic Weapon (50gp each), unless someone is willing to cast that on his new blunt weapons. I will bring up this intention to the group.
Dahrani, while poking through some wares, makes his way to Akare to have a discussion.
"Akare, if you would be so kind, I would like for you to pass some information along to the guards of Solku as you return to town. There seems to be a growing threat not far from Solku that unfortunately, we are not yet ready to address on our own but the town guard should be aware of."
Dahrani tells Akare of the insect men hive, their apparent partnership with the gnolls, and the roads they seem to be hunting on for prey.
"Please let the guards know that we do not intend to let that threat remain, and once our business has concluded on our current journey, we shall return to Solku to speak with them, and hopefully formulate a plan to combine our efforts to eradicate those awful creatures."
Without knowing the total food situation, Gaddy is going to buy 14 halfling rations if available, else regular trail rations, and 3 twitch tonics.
"You know, Akare, the water is still hot from breakfast, if you'd care to share some tea. I've been traveling with a delightful black tea with some floral notes, as you might have imagined. I'd be happy to pour you some. It's a good, liberating, morning tea. Starts the morning with some energy for the day ahead. I know you've traveled already quite a bit, but perhaps a perk to your mid-morning would be nice.
Nothing mentioned would be unavailable, but please do not go into the rations. Please see the new post in the discussion page.
Akare nods to Dahrani.
"Of course Dahrani, I will pass along this news. I am sure they will have someone look into it. Perhaps Asweya and her snakes can offer some assistance. If nothing else, the Condors will possibly see more business from this news."
She pauses in her discussion with Dahrani to look at Gadrick.
"Perhaps we can all sit and partake of a cup Gadrick. Perhaps Karaas and Atajinn would can to join the three of us."
At this point, unless there is specific RP questions or discussions, Akare will conclude the business after her tea. I assume the group is heading toward the mountains and the Lightning Stones area, please let me know if there is more.