Mirrors in the Desert
“After I escaped Raam, I took up with a band of mercs under the command of Grak. He was the toughest half-elf I’ve ever met, and one of the scariest warriors. I swear I once saw him gut a silt horror, buried up to his chest in the Estuary. Yeah, I did good work with them, damn near snuffed out an entire family of those halfing bastards up in the Crescent. I left his company about a year back, but I still hear talk ‘bout Grak. Heard he’s gone soft, started playing house at that pool of his. I don’t know what’s gotten into him. You stop fighting, you get soft, that’s what he always said.” – Sachin, human mercenary from Raam
Midway between Altaruk and Ledopolus stands a mud-brick fortress built over a natural spring. Because surface water is rare anywhere on Athas, Grak’s Pool is a welcome stop for travelers. Grak, a half-elf warrior of some renown, commands a band of mercenaries based here. He allows visitors to set up camp around the outskirts of his fortress, but his water is not free. He charges travelers 5 gp per drink and 20 gp per bath.
Below the fortress and the spring, a foundation of older ruins extends beneath the stony barrens of the surrounding landscape. Grak and his mercenaries have explored only a portion of these tangled, echoing tunnels. Spine-chilling roars sometimes echo up from the deep passages below Grak’s Pool. Their awful resonance has been sufficient to keep the mercenaries from venturing too far beneath the fortress.
About six months ago, Grak’s band of mercenaries suddenly stopped taking jobs. Since then, they’ve focused solely on maintaining and defending his spring. Grak refuses to talk about it, saying only, “The water and ruins are too valuable.” He also has declared the tunnels beneath his fortress off-limits to strangers.