The Burnt World of Athas

Session 11

It must be good to be a Templar whore

The group reconvened after concluding their grim task. While debriefing everyone eventually came to agree that the choice was inevitable and the action had to be taken. Except Hafeeza, who insisted there were other options that had to be exhausted, however unlikely they were to succeed. She stormed out, going back to Hasan to purchase a cure, though he could not be sure the antitoxin would work since she did not know exactly which poison was used. She spent every ceramic she had on 15 doses, and went to the Warrens to distribute them.

On the way back Bright Eyes saw Hafeeza was being tailed, but she entered before Bright Eyes could get a message to her. The tail also vanished once Hafeeza entered the safehouse. Towards the end of their rest the party could hear a tumult; people discovering their neighbors and family suddenly dead. The sounds of chaos outside quickly escalated, but the party remained indoors. In the dead of the night they left to find access to UnderTyr, with Hafeeza saying she forgave the party because she knew they could become better people (spoiler alert: they don't). They could see piles of dead being burned already and hear the whispered gossip of a sneaky, despicable assault on Tyr's water by the encroaching Urikite army.

The party kept an eye out for more tails and quickly noticed a series of individuals pointing out the party to others; an elaborate hand off that tracked the party as they walked through the warrens. They did not follow or stop any of them but continued on, and used an apparent lull in their pursuit to quickly inspect the dead end alley where they suspected an entrance to underground.They found it, went inside, and covered their tracks behind them.

A roughly hewn stone corridor stretched on into darkness ahead of them. Both yellow and brown mold grew along the floor and ceiling, which Chronicler warned the party about. Eventually they encountered a magical barrier in their path and investigated it carefully. They learned that the barrier was formed by the reflection of one half of a set of runes etched on the ground with the other half in a mirror on the ceiling. Hafeeza mended one etching on the stone, breaking the barrier.

After looking at their options and estimating their placement in the city the group decided to try locating the spear again and walking towards the crypts to see if the spear was in the ziggurat. The party sensed nothing so began the long walk to the crypt, ignoring forks and branching paths. Until individuals stepped out from a side path and surrounded them, saying they were glad they had followed their message. The party asked to continue alone while the spell persisted then return to speak to the presumed Veiled Alliance. They did so, sensing the spear was further underground and to the west, before they entered the crypts.

Returning to the people who had interrupted their walk, the party was ushered through an opening in an apparently collapsed tunnel and into a series of twisting corridors that opened to interconnected caverns, none on their original maps. Walking past dozens of individuals they eventually settled in a room. The interrupters were curious how the party passed the barrier without using the mold, and the party revealed how. The Veiled Alliance had not set up the barrier and was not sure they could fix the "mending," but also didn't seem concerned. The barrier was never going to stop an attack by Templars, but it was useful for keeping out undead who rose after wasting sickness, who for some reason seemed drawn to it.

The Veiled Alliance made introductions. Everyone seemed to take their lead from a half elf named Hakar. There was an elf named Shivrin who eventually revealed he was a Druid, taking interest in Malachi's gift of assuming animal forms once he detected a hint at that. Nori was a gruff Mul and Mariam a naive seeming half elf. They were most interested with how Malachi came to learn the language.Once he revealed how, Hakar said he believed his "parents" were once members of their order and that he knew them. 

At first they warmly questioned the party, but soon it became clear that they knew the answers to the questions they asked. They revealed they had been following the party since Bright Eyes went back to examine the Druidic marks left in response. 

The veiled ones already knew the group worked with Tithian but hoped they could be counted upon when needed. They warned immediately that they could offer no money and few, if any, resources but that more was at stake. What they wanted was the party to come to their aid when they finally revealed themselves. They planned to do so at the next large public gathering, which they assumed would happen with the Templar lords eventually, so that they could speak to the populace about the siege and the goings on and the new order, whatever it would be. The party thought this a foolhardy plan, and urged hem to wait until the siege was over, but Hakar said by then it would be too late, and Tithian would have consolidated power and hatched some plot to become indispensable or unstoppable. His power did not come through his personal magic or ability, but from his influence and those he had at his disposal. 

It also became clear that there was disagreement among the veiled ones about trusting the party. While Shivrin and Hakar turned to discussion of collaboration, Nori continued pressing the party. Hafeeza had been followed by their tails also. Why did she provide water to others in the Warrens? When Nori (bluffed) that the 15 who had water did not die, Hafeeza seemed relieved.  Had she known there was a poisoning? How? Fortunately, Kid had suggested exiting the Templar district from the North Gate, so it seemed their tails had seen them enter the Templar district but not leaving with the poison. Likewise, Mulses was a slave? Where? He had no fought in Tyr and she believed he lied when he tried to answer. Eventually Nori's questioning was stopped by Hakar, though she had not received satisfactory answers yet.

Hakar asked for all they had done and been asked to do for Tithian. After it became clear that the party had only eradicated records for Tithian and had done (or would share) nothing more, the Veiled Alliance took their leave. They offered escorts to the lower areas of the under city, though no one in the alliance ventured there. There was shuffling outside after Hakar and company left the group, and the ones most familiar with the deep city were slimy looking rogues, former gang members turned veiled ones. One introduced himself as Cutter and asked the more capable party to take the lead. 

They made their way through twisting paths and forks for a long way until, suddenly, Mulses and Hafeeza found themselves in a gelatinous cube. As the party dealt with the ooze, one of cutter's men stabbed Chronicler in the back, taunting him about the shiny gear one gets when they're a whore of the Templars. More oozes appeared, some of the metal-corroding variety, as well as a swarm of intelligent, psionic scarabs. It readily became apparent that the oozes were no coincidence, the veiled ones having led them into this hallway to set an ambush.

The party avenged their betrayal on the 2 lesser rogues, though Cutter escaped entirely unscathed as soon as the tide turned. Grievously wounded, the party finished the oozes and scarabs and turned to thoughts of how to proceed in their state. 

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