The Burnt World of Athas

Session 10

Would that I had been born a simple laborer

The party ground the coins to powder and dispersed the remnants to prevent being tracked. They also took the log entry for the hour of their entrance to Tyr. While having this access to the archives, they raided it for any information they thought relevant.

Bright Eyes found logs of the under city by former librarians. Piecing together information from different epochs allowed her to match up maps with locations she knew, and suggested 2 access points in the modern city, one under the golden tower and one in the sorrows. 

Kid looked up Sukir's entry to the Festival of the Soaring Sun. He was registered as a gladiator owned by Aristophenes and sponsored by Hasan, a local apothecary. Surprised at this sloppiness, Kid painstakingly removed this page and replaced it with a forged replica that was identical except for the entry for Sukir.

Kid also took public speeches and minutes of Lord Templar meetings to try to get a better grasp of Tyrian history and politics.

Mulses looked up the water logs that Chronicler briefly mentioned mentioned and took them, though he found no significance when he skimmed through them. 

The party then had to decide what to do with the librarian and their sign-in. After exhausting all possibilities of magically manipulating or tricking him, they determined the only way to ensure their tracks were covered was to murder the librarian and destroy the log. They did so.

Heading to the inn, the streets were packed with guards. They roved in bands conscripting any able-bodied individual under orders of King Kalak. Intimidation by Kid and the letters of marque flashed by Bright Eyes spared the party from conscription.

Bright Eyes noticed small etchings under the marks Malachi had left and took a rubbing. The party went back to the inn and Malachi could read the response to his message: "By force, if needed," then the symbol for underground. While the rest of the party went upstairs to unload the books, Bright Eyes stayed in the tavern, having recognized the melody that began playing when she walked in as a rare Nibenese song played at special occasions. The same minstrel group as before sat in the corner playing and Bright Eyes did not know the female singer or musicians. The words of two refrains had been slightly altered, which alarmed Bright Eyes. She went upstairs to warn the others. The song's refrain was:

I walked to the well and who did I see

With her eyes full of sadness and fear

O sister Astrid why would you flee

And leave your sweet sister in tears

 

I walked to the palace, who did I see

Looking so worn and so aged

O sister Astrid why would you flee

And leave your good husband enraged

Taking this as a warning that her past had caught up with her, Bright Eyes shared the news without revealing what it meant exactly. But she believed this was a clear threat to her and therefore the party, and a sign that the location was not safe. While Bright Eyes went out the front door to a rendezvous point, the party members unloaded the books and took them to the safehouse along with their belongings, leaving some items in the room and their crodlu in the stables.

The party went to Hasan's apothecary to speak with the likely co-conspirator. They first made attempts to imply their connection with the veiled alliance. They then confronted him with the proof of his conspiracy which scared him. Since they weren't arresting or killing him, he assumed they were blackmailing him. When they offered the chance for him to destroy the papers, Hasan's concern gave way to relief. 

It became clear that he assumed the party had been hired by Aristophenes to resolve the issue. He said he would destroy the log and communicate to Aristophenes that their mission was successful so they could receive whatever payment was promised. The party wanted information before handing it over, and after some discussion Hasan obliged and largely confirmed what they party already suspected.

The Veiled Alliance did have someone on the inside, and it was Tithian himself. When the party asked why he would then summon Urik, Hasan was confused. He didn't believe Urik's attack was part of Tithian's betrayal, although they also probably weren't coincidences. They sprung out of a common catalyst, both had learned Kalak's plan and acted to stop it or take advantage of it. 

The party said they were unaware of Kalak's plan and Hasan shared what had been at stake: Kalak sought to sacrifice the entire city for a ritual that would have made his power nearly limitless. It sounded insane, but people he trusted had found proof of this. This is what caused the unlikely partnership of Tithian and the veiled alliance. Hammanu must have learned of this as well and sent his army to either stop Kalak or take advantage of the chaos that would ensue. Hasan would not give the party the location of the veiled alliance but offered to serve as a drop point for communication and to let the alliance know what the party had done for the cause. He also assured the party that the veiled alliance had no interest in folding to Hammanu and trading one tyrant for another.

The party then decided they had spent enough time dodging Tithian and went to him. He seemed unfazed by their absence and was delighted by the news he had already heard of what happened at the archives. It seems templars had been busy with other orders, so no one was able to investigate the logs before their destruction and that's why the archives were so empty that morning. That took care of the first item he would have had for the party and he had only one other pre-seige task for them.

First, the party shared that they wanted to track Sukir's spear, which Tithian supported. His fellow Lord Templars wanted to instill order by carrying on a ruse that Kalak was alive, something Tithian thought foolish. Recovering Kalak's corpse or proof of it could help him. He briefly described Kalak's guards, who presumably were the ones moving him and would be with his body.

Tithian then shared his other task. Kalak had squandered the available water in the preceding weeks in an attempt to pack the city. That meant despite Tyr's springs, there was not nearly enough water for all of the inhabitants. The conscription had cleared the warrens of any able bodied individuals, although it was taking longer to do the same in the other areas. That meant all that remained were the infirm, the elderly, and children, all useless during the siege; mouths to feed that provided nothing in return.

The three of them would take a large water shipment to the warrens, set up in the main square, and provide free water to the Warrens. This water would be poisoned. After the deaths, it would be revealed that Urik had poisoned the water supplies. This would cut down the number of unproductive individuals and motivate the new conscripts, who would hopefully banish any thought of surrendering to Hammanu or turning on the Templar-Lords and instead focus on avenging the deaths of their loved ones. It was a difficult decision to make, but ultimately necessary and unavoidable. These people would die of thirst one way or another, the question is how much rioting and unrest must accompany it. Tithian could not leave this to actual guards because he thought they would leak the information and, if left ignorant, feared they would drink the water, possibly sell some, pilfer some to share with comrades and generally muddle the situation. 

The party saw no flaw in the plan. They requested 7 guard uniforms and Tithian obliged. They then escorted the Mekillot laden with water to the Warrens. They put on an act of defending the water and doling it out carefully to keep up appearances. They also ensured that no one horded water (leaving behind complicated stores) and instead only took a serving. A crowd massed and followed them all the way to Sorrow Square. the elderly hoisted children on their backs to take a serving and hand down their own. The sick and infirm hobbled out, others helping them and handing them water. Children thanked the kind guards, saying that they wanted to grow up big and strong so they could also help people . This went on for some time, the party serving dozens, then hundreds, then losing count, until the water stores were exhausted and the Mekillot and rider returned to the Templar district.

Their deed done, the party went back to the safehouse in the Warrens were they had planned to meet up with the rest of the group, who had been resting and poring over the recovered manuscripts.

Comments

Gello10

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