The provincial kingdoms of Dogoda have been under siege for years. Their attacker is not an invading foreign army, but a cloud that moves against the wind. The cloud brings with it a darkness that carries people off never to be seen again. What the inhabitants of Dogoda don’t know is that the cloud is actually a front for a group of slavers. The cloud isn’t really even a cloud; it’s the slavers mobile base disguised. Those taken by the slavers are sold in faraway lands to perform backbreaking labor. The slavers themselves are a group of drow who are only interested in turning a profit.
The sky bound slave taking operation was the brainchild of a drow bounty hunter named Bellis. She was inspired after watching a spider during a stakeout. Bellis watched the spider hang down from its web to attack a considerably larger cave lizard below it. Afterward, she approached the wizard Teforn a sometimes ally other times rival. After explaining her idea to Teforn the two of them set out to make it a reality. They gathered a crew of relatively loyal drow and claimed a section of caves. The crew’s first mission was capturing Zephora a powerful wind spirit. Once captured Zephora was forced to summon lesser wind spirits to help raise the slaver’s caves into the sky. With the wind spirits flying the “cloud” the drow slavers began their reign of terror.
Besides Bellis and Teforn there are two dozen slavers on the cloud. Of that two dozen, most are the standard drow, but a few noble drow serve as officers. They are a highly trained team that raids poorly defended communities. Using their cloud for cover, the drow will rappel down with several lengths of spider silk rope. Once on the ground they will poison and then bring up as many prisoners as possible. The drow who fail to return with an adequate number of slaves are punished by their superiors. They are forced to stand guard over the holding cells which denies them the chance to earn more money. The guards tend to take out their frustrations on the undeserving slaves. The drow they are always scheming against each other to try and capture the most slaves. One trick is to switch out a rival’s poison so the slaves they capture end up dead instead.
Zephora and the air elementals are the lynchpin of The Slavers Cloud. They are the ones who keep the caves aloft and undetected. The drow bound Zephora and the others to their service by uncovering their true names. Despite being able to escape most types of confinement the air spirits are forced to obey the dark elves. The air elementals are usually outside forming the cloud disguise or steering it through the sky. Zephora occupies an open aired chamber at the bottom of the cloud. She utilizes her ability to control winds to raise or lower the cloud for raids. Sometimes Zephora unleashes her lightning blasts against anyone attempting to assault the cloud.
The slaves are kept in crowded cells at the top of the cloud. They come from all walks of life and are all scared and confused. Most of them were captured while knocked unconscious by poison. They awaken to find themselves crammed into a cell with five or more other people. The slaves are stripped of valuables before being put into the cells. A few manage to keep a small item like a dagger hidden on their person. Breakouts and revolts are rare but when they do happen the drow deal with them in a swift and bloody fashion. The slaves are given very little food and water while in transit. This leaves them too weak to cause much trouble.
Growing weary of her imprisonment Zephorha has been engaging in a subtle form of sabotage. By a direct order from Teforn, she is forbidden from contacting the outside world for rescue. To get around this command she has been using her ability to play the wind as an instrument. Zephora has been performing a sorrowful song of her own creation. The song is then woven into the winds that flow across the provincial kingdoms. She’s unsure if anyone will be able to hear or recognize the song. But Zephora hopes that someone will eventually become curious enough to follow it to the source.
Concerned about the slaver’s reliance on the elementals, Teforn has been developing an alternative. He has been experimenting on slaves and infusing them with pure elemental air. He hopes to develop a hybrid being that can continue to keep the cloud aloft but be more easily controlled. Progress has been slow as most of the slaves end up rejecting the elemental infusion and dying. The few that survived the process have gone insane and Teforn was forced to secure them in his lab. Teforn has expressed considerable interest in a recently captured sylph slave. He believes they may be the missing link he’s been searching for.
Drag & Drop Encounter (CR 12)
The stone tunnels are long and twisted. You feel as if you’ve been walking for hours. The view out one of the narrow windows shows a sea of white clouds stretching to the horizon. The soft whistling tune has been getting louder the farther down you descend. Upon turning a corner you see a narrow bridge of stone suspended above the broad open sky. At the other end of the bridge, a sorrowful looking woman with grey skin and pale hair sits in the middle of a runic circle. She perks up upon noticing you and lets out a shout, “Hurry! Before they come back!” When you are partially across the bridge four drow descend from the ceiling on silvery ropes. Two of them are blocking your path towards the woman and two of them block your path back. One of the drow in front of you lets out a quick blast on a gold whistle. A patch of cloud coils up from beneath you taking on an avian shape.